Bikini Beach Bliss

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A while back I was introduced to designer Annabel Kwateng who launched her line during fashion week, Ashanti Brazil. I was intrigued by Annabel’s bold use of color and pattern, and how she drew inspiration from the vibrant colors of the environments that surround her, read more here. Today I am sharing her fresh new line of swimwear and the inspiration that makes this line come to life.

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African and Brazilian cultures are expressed in Annabel’s summer wear brand found in patterns and colors infused with inspiration from the beach and coastal living. As a designer I am often inspired by the latest fashion trends from swimwear to couture, looking at this line I am reminded that sometimes you just need to “go for it” when it comes to color and pattern. Enjoy those beach days friends!

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Just Ask A Designer: Kitchen Countertops


Q. I am preparing to replace my kitchen’s tile countertop with either granite or quartz. I am struggling with the appropriate color of the new countertop and specifically whether to go dark for contrast or light for a seamless look.  I have white cabinets and light colored flooring.  Are there any design hints you can share on how to think about this big decision? Thanks for your expert opinion!  Jill

PicMonkey Collage4 A. It is a big decision selecting the countertop for your kitchen, one that will have a huge impact on the overall design aesthetic you are creating. Based on the information Jill sent in there are several directions she could go in, lets start with exploring the options including the pros and cons of each.

Granite- Probably the stone I specify the most based on the variations in color, pattern, price point and durability. With white cabinets you can go with light or dark granite, it is a personal preference. I have been over the moon recently for honed (not shiny) black granite shown in the first image. This look works with light or dark floors and creates a design aesthetic that combines cottage and farmhouse influences. Left, white granite for a monochromatic look that is a more durable alternative to Carrara Marble. Kashmir white granite has a warmer hue but keeps the look light and airy with some horizontal movement if you are looking for subtle contrast to the cabinets.



Marble- Stunning and classic requiring slightly more maintenance and care than granite but worth the effort in my opinion. For my clients that want a true Carrara look there really is no substitute. Shown above in a thick slab for a real wow factor but typically specified in thinner slabs. Marble is porous and can stain easily, I recommend taking extra precautions when preparing meals and more frequent sealing. Sealing sounds intimating but it is actually a simple process; purchase marble sealant and a sponge, wipe the sealant onto the surface and allow it dry thoroughly, I recommend over night.


Soap Stone- One of my favorite choices when a client is looking for a darker color and interesting material. Looks similar to honed black granite but certain slabs can have some veining adding another element of character and charm.

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Quartz- A manufactured natural stone, I often use CaesarStone or SileStone based on the color and texture I am after, their quality is equal. Quartz countertops are virtually indestructible and the look is consistent. When you select a natural stone you need to select the slab because each slab can vary greatly. With a manufactured product like quartz what you see is what you get. The negative is that it is more expensive than most granite and marble, I like using it in bathrooms.


Concrete- Pictured above is a concrete countertop, it is such an interesting option that can be easily combined with granite in the same space. I use it mainly on kitchen islands to change up the look and add some character.


Wood- I like to use wood on islands for warmth especially when I cannot fit a dining table in the kitchen. I stray away from it on the countertops because of wear and mold concerns but love the look and use it sparingly.


When choosing countertops for your kitchen consider first the look you are after, then decide if dark or light stone fits this aesthetic best. Once you have made those decisions it’s on to which type of material you are going to use based on style, function and your budget. Don’t be intimidated when your contractor sends you to the stone yard to select your slab if you are going with natural stone. There are actually very few slabs that you will like for your kitchen and the right choice will stand out. For more tips on kitchen design and a step by step guide to designing your dream kitchen read more here.


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Tory Burch Tote Love

*** This giveaway is closed – see who won! ***

{Our lucky winner has been selected by and she is Jennifer Ingram, Congratulations Jennifer! Thank you to everyone who participated, stop in daily for design inspiration, free advice and our next exciting Giveaway}


aa tory Summer is in full swing and what a perfect time to win a fabulous tote from our friends at Tory Burch. For those of you who don’t know I have been a huge Tory fan since her brand hit the market in 2005. Like many of us I was immediately drawn to her signature logo, fresh design and choice of materials. Enter today and you could be walking away in style carrying one of Tory’s scrumptious tote bags.

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  • PRIZE: One lucky winner will receive a Tory Burch tote bag pictured above.
  • TO ENTER: Leave a comment below telling us which tote is your favorite. From the left; Striped Stacked T Tote, Nylon Ella Tote or the Baja Stripe Jaden Tote.
  • BONUS ENTRY: Subscribe to Adore Your Place found in the right side bar to receive a second entry and let us know in the comment. I promise we are not annoying just inspiring design, free advice to solve your design dilemmas if you ever need it and fabulous giveaways like this.
  • GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Sunday July 14th th, at 8pm EST. Come right back here on Monday morning for the announcement of our winner. You must claim your prize within five days of the announcement or a new winner will be selected.
  • NUMBER OF WINNERS: One; selected using
  • DETAILS: One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winner will be announced on Monday, July 15th. You get to choose one of the tote bags pictured above, the Ella Tote is also available in Emerald City or Peacock Blue.


As a fellow designer and working Mom I wanted to share Tory’s inspiring story. Starting out as a fashion copywriter after her marriage ended she began designing clothes in her kitchen while raising her children with a budget of $2 million. Sounds like a lot of money but when launching a fashion line from scratch it is a drop in the bucket. The good news was that Tory has serious talent and the “it” factor. Her hard work, determination and fresh look paid off when Oprah took notice calling her, ”the next big thing in fashion.” Less than a decade later Tory Burch’s company is valued at $3.5 billion. Her story doesn’t end there Tory is constantly looking for ways to help others and give back. Check out The Tory Burch Foundation here for The Economic Empowerment of Women and Families.

Best of luck my friends, I wish I could send a tote bag to each of you!



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Note: We are not paid for hosting giveaways, these are just companies that we adore. 

New England Farmhouse

Hello friends, just back from Ireland and organizing our hundreds of pictures to share later this week, what a “grand” adventure we had. Driving in Ireland from Dublin to County Kerry to Galway we found the resemblance between Ireland and New England to be uncanny. The beautiful lush countryside, picturesque cottages, charming villages and rolling mountains that end with the sea were just breathtaking.


No surprise then that our house tour is lakeside New England, designed by John Morris Architects located in Camden, Maine one of our favorite towns in Maine. This year we are renting a lake cottage just outside Camden, a lovely coastal town.


The renovation incorporates the character of an old New England farmhouse with fresh design ideas and a 4900 sq. ft. addition. A touch of turquoise on the front door sets the mood as you enter into a large foyer with vintage inspired lighting and cottage furnishings.



The main living room seamlessly leads to the porch and both are encompassed with oversize windows allowing the beautiful landscape in.  Below, the same concept applies and the exposed ceiling adds to the cottage charm.



A mix of vintage and modern can be found throughout the home even here in the bathroom where antique wicker and abstract art are combined with a pop of turquoise.


The dramatic lines from the steel-clad gabled roofs complement the porch and balconies adding to the farmhouse charm. Natural materials including slate, reclaimed lumber and stone from the surrounding areas were carefully chosen creating a home with real New England character and attention to detail.



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