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The Perfect Kitchen & Bath

A handy primer on your kitchen and bath remodeling options, the best sources in Dallas, and a wealth of advice and tips from the experts, including the hottest looks in design.

Dear Reader,

When the editors of D Home met recently to discuss the current issue, we unanimously decided to produce a special section on kitchens and baths. This is hardly a breaking story: in Dallas, it’s raining kitchens. We covet them, we talk about them, and we build them. Whether it’s ripping open boxes of Chinese take-out or dining on salmon straight from the grill, the kitchen is the place we share with family and friends. It’s the emotional center of the house. And, because this is Dallas, we all want new ones.

New kitchens not only serve as a heart-center for the house, but they also make sense financially. I’ve seen dozens of charts that show the projected return on investments for remodeling, and in every case the kitchen delivers the best return, right up there with master baths. Which is why we also covered baths in this special section. Have you seen the new sinks, hardware, and tile on the market? When I toured Dallas showrooms, I oohed and ahhed so many times that I thought my face would break. If ever there was a time to make the move on a bath remodel, it is now. Manufacturers have perfected all of the primary bath-building materials, and the choices you have are phenomenal.

A final thought: when you build your dream kitchen or bath, go with what you want. Don’t worry about what you see in magazines, except for D Home, of course (wink). Invest in high-quality materials and tradesmen rather than superfluous accents or styles that project a single decorating theme. Your new kitchen or bath should be timeless; save the trendy choices for a new handbag.

Happy remodeling.


Christine Allison
Editor and Publisher


PREP WORK: I can cook 100 steaks here, Mico says of his galley-style cooking arena. The island does double-duty as food-prep area and buffet line, which comes in handy when Mico and Caroline entertain.

The Professional’s Kitchen

Contemporary design and first-rate appliances characterize the kitchen of Mico Rodriguez, one of Dallas best-loved restaurateurs.

STOCKED UP: Mico calls the walk-in pantry, which also houses his to-die-for collection of serving and glassware, his own personal Crate & Barrel.(Left) Mico and Caroline whipped up a batch of homemade salsa during our photo shoot.

Isn’t it refreshing to know that über-successful restaurant owners eat Rice Krispies and Rice-A-Roni, too? That’s what we discovered when we visited the home of Caroline and Mico Rodriguez, the couple behind M Crowd Restaurant Group, which includes Mi Cocina, Taco Diner, Paris Vendome, and Mercury Grill. Caroline and Mico’s kitchen is sleek and sophisticated, outfitted with every modern convenience. According to Mico, his kitchen is an extension of the restaurants, a test kitchen for new recipes and a weekly meeting spot for his team of chefs. Mico’s vast array of cooking utensils is global, including Mexican cookery, French pots and pans, and Japanese sushi knives. And his appliances are top-of-the-line: Wolf flat-top stove, grill, and warming drawers; three Sub-Zero refrigerators (one for everyday food, one for drinks, and one for liquor and leftovers); and two Kitchen-Aid dishwashers (Something everyone should have, Mico says). Simple dcor allows these large-scale, industrial appliances to take center stage. The long, marble-topped island running through the middle of the kitchen is a natural space for people to gather around, lounging and laughing, and often serves as a buffet during parties. A walk-in butler’s pantry just off the kitchen doubles as a party-prep area and houses the couple’s extensive collection of glasses and tableware. While this is a kitchen fit for the finest chef, it is also home to Caroline and Mico’s two children (hence the Rice Krispies) and is truly the heart of the family’s home.

The Decorator’s Kitchen
Combining traditional elements with modern touches, Dallas decorator Michelle Nussbaumer creates a practical yet stylish and inviting kitchen.


HIP TO BE SQUARE: (Top left) The stainless steel hood above the 1947 Chambers stove is original. The centrally located butcher block island anchors Michelle’s kitchen and serves multiple purposes: workspace, buffet, and dining table for the children. (Top right) A large window over the sink fills the room with natural light. The wallpapered ceiling and hand-painted floor lend coziness and personality. (Above)
The lady of the house, decorator Michelle Nussbaumer, and her youngest daughter. (Left) When Michelle first moved into her home, she had the cabinets resurfaced and paneled, giving the room a traditional feel.

Michelle Nussbaumer has created a true, old-fashioned cooks kitchen in her Regency-style 1947 Bluffview home. Between her family of six and the constant flood of guests “Michelle is a tireless entertainer “the kitchen sees a lot of traffic. And she does all of her own cooking for her many dinner parties. I never use a caterer, she says. If I wanted my guests to eat someone else’s food, I’d take them to a restaurant. So she’s adamant that the kitchen be durable and functional, with a true sense of style. To combat constant wear and tear “and create a slightly worn, Old World feel “Michelle painted the floor in large, toffee and buttermilk-colored squares. A topcoat of shellac protects the finish. (Designer tip for anyone with unsightly floors and/or the constant urge to redecorate: this treatment can be changed “it’s only paint, after all “as often as you like.) A square, butcher-block island in the center of the kitchen serves as a workspace, buffet for dinner parties, and dining table for Michelle’s four children. Upkeep is less than minimal: I just wipe it down, she says. Michelle’s collected antiques see everyday use, from the 19th-century blue-and-white urns and jars that hold coffee, flour, sugar, and other kitchen staples to the original Chambers stove and ovens with warming drawers. But make no mistake: this is not a vintage kitchen. A Sub-Zero side-by-side fridge and freezer and stainless steel countertops add a dash of contemporary style, and Michele’s black-and-white color scheme, from the transferware to the toile curtains, adds sophistication. Recently, on the spur of the moment, Michelle decided to wallpaper the ceiling with a black-and-white floral print “a move that can give any space, and especially this kitchen, instant personality.


LOCAL FAVORITES: Dallas designers, contractors, and showroom mangers tells us that homeowners are in love with modern fixtures, such as TKO & Associates Arwa-Top faucet; dark wood cabinetry, as seen in this Kitchen Source installation; and Blanco’s granite undermount sink from Paragon Distributing.

Dallas Design Trends

Update your kitchen by incorporating some of these hot new looks.


Oil-rubbed bronze: The more oil-rubbed bronze is used and handled, the more the color starts coming off, says Kathy Richardson of Pierce Hardware. It’s called a living finish; the look, which is wonderful, changes as you use it.

 Painted-glass walls: General contractor Steve Snider of Steve Snider, Inc. created the look of a high-gloss finish in a bathroom he recently remodeled by applying taupe paint to the backs of large sheets of glass and installing them on the walls. The look is at the same time clean and dramatic.

 Semiprecious stones: Why not give your kitchen some sparkle?  Many clients are using gemstones, such as jade and amethyst, as accents in countertops and backsplashes, says Sharon Flatley, CKD, of Flatley and Associates.

 Simmer burner system: Mike Heuer of Paragon Distributing tells us that his No. 1 seller is the DCS five-burner drop-in cooktop. This gas cooktop has a high output system with a new simmer burner that is really incredible, he says. Finally, we won’t burn the Bchamel!


    The furniture look: Forget built-ins. Free-standing furniture is what people want now, says Tammy Bartlett of Stone Appliance. The trend in cabinetry is toward an older, almost vintage look. Cabinets look like pieces of furniture that are not necessarily anchored to the wall, she says
   Still stainless steel: Stainless steel is hot-hot-hot; it is simply the best selling finish, says Michael Davis of Capital Distributing. Larry Campbell of Jarrell Appliance Gallery agrees: Stainless is popular because it’s so versatile. Appliances last for many years, but when homeowners are ready to change the design, stainless steel gives them flexibility. Regardless of the kitchen, stainless fits in, whether it’s traditional or Italian or modern.

   Granite sinks: Blanco’s granite sinks are becoming very popular, Mike Heuer says. They don’t scratch, they’re very durable, and they look great with granite countertops.

Stainless steel (of course)
Vintage looks
Dark wood cabinets
Undermount sinks
Leather (doors, hardware, tiles)
Farm sinks
Built-in coffee makers
Bronze sinks and faucets

White appliances
Two-toned finishes
Glazed cabinets
Porcelain sinks
Heavily carved doors
Cluttered counters

   Designer lighting: More and more of my clients are becoming lighting-conscious, Steve Snider says. Lighting used to be something clients handled on their own, but now, he says, they want a professional to create a lighting plan.

 Dark cabinets: With all that lighting, you can take advantage of the beauty of wood. I’m seeing a lot of dark woods with distressing and matte finishes, as opposed to high-sheen cabinets, says Kathie Benson of The Kitchen Source.

  Wabi Sabi: This style of Japanese design glamorizes the beauty of the randomness of nature. Priscilla Ahrens of Granite Mountain Stone Design thinks this is one of the reasons why granite is so popular right now. People are really going for anything stone, she says. Stone surfaces are tactile, and the fact that it really is of the earth appeals to people.

 Contemporary hardware: Betsy Hoag of TKO & Associates says that minimal, sleek, and contemporary are the new kitchen design buzzwords for everything from drawer pulls to faucets.

 Mini-bars in the master: We’ve seen clients install a little breakfast bar or mini-bar in master suites, even a countertop and under-counter refrigerator or refrigerated drawer, Larry Campbell says. This allows people to enjoy a leisurely Sunday morning with coffee and fruit in the bedroom.

It’s Showtime
Sharon Flatley rates the new finds at this year’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show.


The newest design buzzwords from K/BIS

Ultra hi-tech and/or smart appliances
European design
Soft, sensuous lines
Matte meteorite and
burnished metal finishes
High-gloss finish
Exotic wood
Leafy green, dark fawn, sand, weathered copper: the new its colors

This year, more than 50,000 designers, dealers, fabricators, and consumers gathered at K/BIS to schmooze, gawk, ooh-and-ahh, and critique the newest technology and product offerings. Local designer Sharon Flatley took notes for D Home readers, culling the best and most intriguing products from some 4,000 booths these are the real standouts.

Best News for Internet Junkies
The Internet Refrigerator from LG has 26 cubic feet of storage; a high-quality, 15.1-inch LCD touch-screen; and its own LAN port to enable high-speed surfing, shopping, and downloading. Did we mention you can watch TV? Plus, the standard remote control allows easy operation of the computer/television functions from any location in the kitchen.

Best Excuse to Divorce Your Dry Cleaner
Whirlpool’s Personal Valet is an in-home dry cleaning system, removing wrinkles and odors from clothing in just 30 minutes.

Best Double-duty Appliance
Also from Whirlpool the Polara refrigerated range keeps food cold until the preset oven turns on. The food bakes, turns off at a preset time, and will continue to stay warm for one hour. If the busy homeowner is delayed, the oven turns back into a refrigerator.

Best Mother’s Little Helper
GE’s Profile oven with Innovection cooks foods up to five times faster by use of thermal convection microwave energies. Just program in the type of food, time, and temperature, and the easy-to-use controls converts your traditional recipe, leaving you with a fully roasted turkey in only half the time.

Best for Big Families
Not every household appliance is getting smaller. Dacor introduced the first 30-inch dishwasher on the market. The EDW30 holds 20-plus place settings and has adjustable racks to accommodate oversized pots and pans.

Best New Look
Kohler’s Swerve trough sink has undeniable style. The single, deep basin and sleek arcs reinforce commercially styled utility.


BATHING BEAUTY: A classic black-and-white mosaic tile floor is given graphic appeal by a frame of square black perimeter tiles. The curved chrome curtain rod, traditionally paired with claw-foot tubs, is a practical choice for this Jacuzzi/shower combination.

Retro Fit

Local hotelier Claire Heymann shares the secrets to creating your own five-diamond bath at home.

VANITY FAIR: A separate vanity provides an area for maquillage. Simply suspended from the wall, it is both space-efficient and airy.

A stay in a fine hotel isn’t complete without a long simmer in a deep tub with the delicate scent of oils and candles wafting in the air. What is it that makes a great hotel bath a luxurious pleasure? We went straight to Claire Heymann, owner of the seven-suite Hotel St. Germain, to find out.

First, says Claire, an oversized Jacuzzi tub makes all the difference for that memorable soak, transforming the ordinary into an almost sinful pleasure. Incorporating the shower within the tub is a good solution for the space-

DOUBLE WIDE: This porcelain pedestal washstand is perfect for a pair. Nickel-plated fixtures are beautiful, practical, and worth the investment “you’ll never have to replace them. The light fixtures evoke an art deco mood. Ensuring correct lighting in the bath is paramount, and these do it stylishly.

deprived, and the generously sized tiled shelf behind the bath is practical, allowing plenty of room for bath salts, soaps, and sponges as well as an Orchid or two “or even a spot for perching while primping.

The monochromatic black-and-white tiled bath is reminiscent of a classic 1930s art deco hotel such as London’s Savoy. The simple color scheme is easy on the eyes and very relaxing visually. Brazen colors or busy patterns are generally not a good choice for bathrooms, as they tend to jar the eyes, as well as quickly become dated. The St. Germain’s black-and-white scheme is carried out in the mosaic floors, and the fresh, white tiled walls are trimmed out in natty black”an easy shortcut to adapting the hotel look.

A white-porcelain pedestal sink with twin basins and shiny nickel fixtures is perfect for two and easy to keep tidy. The right lighting is also key “a generous supply of natural light (or fixtures that replicate it) ensure that you don’t leave the house with too much makeup or too many shaving nicks.

When replicating that hotel feel, nothing beats investing in a lavish supply of extra-plush towels and an oversized bathmat. We chose Yves Delorme thick, white, terry cloth towels and mats for their beauty and durability.

VICTORIAN GRANDEUR: The Hotel St. Germain on Maple Avenue was formerly a 19th-century residence. Each room is individually appointed with period antiques. Hotel St. Germain, 2516 Maple Ave. 214-871-2516.


PULLING IT OFF: Whether you want a sleek or intricate design, Omnia has a wide range of cabinet hardware. TKO & Associates, 1617 Hi Line Dr., Ste. 230. 214-741-6060.

Bathroom Trends

It may be one of the smallest rooms in your house, but these new trends will help you load your bathroom with style.

Custom showers
Single-lever faucets
Vessel sinks
Water-inspired colors
such as blue-green and pale green
Glass tiles
Undermount glass sinks
Subway tiles
Wall sconces

Soaking tubs
Mirrored backsplashes
Dark green
Ornate molding

Pretty lights: People are much more concerned with having good-looking, high-quality lighting in their bathrooms today. Betsy Muller of Apex Supply Co. lists the most popular sellers as wall sconces and tulip-shaped lamps.

Customize your space:
We have created custom concrete countertops with clients collections of shells, rounded river rocks, coins “anything that’s unique to their personality, says Sharon Flatley, CKD, of Flatley and Associates.

Undermount sinks:
Mounting a sink underneath the counter gives a sleek look, and it’s also easier to keep clean, says Brian Gregory of Gregory & Sons Builders. Undermounts are especially popular with granite counters.

 Body sprays: Multiple body sprays bring a whole new level of luxury to your shower. You can stand up and have the body sprays on, and it’s like you’re in an upright whirlpool, says Kathy Richardson of Pierce Hardware.

Glass tile: Tilescapes are changing from four-by-fours and six-by-sixes to a more sophisticated look with smaller, mosaic glass tile, says Sharon Flatley.

Copper: We’re seeing lots of copper, especially in wet bars and powder rooms, says Kristin Mitchell of Ferguson Enterprises.

A new way to heat water: Tankless water heating systems, such as those manufactured by Rinnai, produce hot water at 30 to 50 percent of the cost of a conventional hot water heater, says Bob Shelton of Enterprise Plumbing. Which is perfect for a long, guiltless shower at the end of a tough day.

Wall-mounted faucets:
Gain more space on your vanity “or create a cleaner look “by installing a new wall-mounted faucet, advise Jennifer Dickerson and Penny Bailey of Morrison Supply.

Stylish furniture: Kristin Mitchell tells us that a lot of her clients are installing vanities that mimic freestanding furniture in their bathrooms.

Paint-grade cabinets: Painted cabinets work well in bathrooms because they can stand up to the daily wear and tear. Small scratches will be nearly invisible, so you’ll be happy with them longer, says Brian Gregory.

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