All Posts in "Ask the House Counselors"

Pictures in the Powder Room

My wife likes black and white pictures in the bathrooms. I’ve told her that it’s okay as long as they aren’t pictures of the family. What do you think? – Dan G, TX

Photo:, Designer Michael Habachy

Underneath this seemingly simple question, I feel that there’s a greater debate here, Dan. And that would be about family photos in general. I’m a fan of trying to limit personal photos to your absolute favorite pictures and memories. We take one zillion photos all of the time and – let’s be honest – not every one of them is a gem. A well curated group of photos that have a topic or a theme invites someone else to get to know your family better and can be a great reminder of your family’s greatest hits!

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Is a Retro Kitchen a No-No?

After 23 years of marriage, my wife and I have met our Waterloo: Our kitchen’s remodel. I’ve always dreamed of having a 50s-style diner kitchen. My wife says they’re tacky and wants a modern, chef’s kitchen. Neither of us are chefs by-the-way.  We’re turning to you to mediate. Are 50s kitchens tacky? - Paul & Marie in Sedona, Arizona

You seem like a hip couple. Let me see if I can help you out.


Paul, you’ll be happy to know that my answer is no, 50s and/or retro kitchens are not tacky as a rule.  But like any bold design choice, a retro kitchen can go sideways quickly. Your wife’s fears are valid. Here are my thoughts on how to include some kitsch in your kitchen without rocking and rolling your marriage.

50s retro kitchenPhoto (c) HGTV, Jennifer Designs
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Knotty Pine Cabinets and Bamboo Flooring Face-Off in the Kitchen

I’m about to buy a 1955 house that has knotty pine cabinets in great shape, but I need to put in new floors. Would bamboo be too busy?  -  Alice in Florida

Get the Answer + Bamboo Flooring Ideas

Are Grasscloth Walls a Good Idea?

Cathy in Texas asks, “My decorator stated that grasscloth paper in my den, “dated” the house. Is this true? She wants to texturize the walls. Than­ks!”


My thoughts…

People discover design trends at all different times. For instance, my little sister Katie is gleefully discovering the 1970′s and all the browns, oranges, mustard and avocado – they all feel new, fresh and fun to her.  Good luck telling her the 1970′s have come and gone!

kitchen cabinets

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The Skinny on Kitchen Lights

Is using a track light fixture over a kitchen island dated? – Anonymous

Design by Dennis Martin

Get the Answer + Lighting Ideas

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