Sensibly Chic Interior Design
The Design Diva Dishes!
          Design Trends and Lifestyle Tips 
Dear  ,
The greatest joys in my life are my two daughters, Shannon and Bonnie. To paraphrase John Steinbeck, raising children can be the best of times and the worst of times. The most we can hope for is that they grow up to be self-sufficient, responsible adults and that the good times outweigh the bad. This May I send out warmest wishes to all the Moms out there. It is a very difficult job, and often thankless, but it is the most important one we as women can do.
This month's issue pays homage to the room most often occupied by Moms... the kitchen. I will share easy  ideas for updating your kitchen, trends in kitchen design, and ways to go green in the kitchen. Our color of the month is blue and our recipe of the month takes advantage of two abundant produce items this time of year: strawberries and spinach.   
I would personally like to invite all you savvy business women to attend "Spring Into Smart Success" an all-day regional event on Thursday, May 6th from 8 to 4 at the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It will be a day for working ON your business versus IN your business. I will be leading a session entitled "Secrets of High Growth Companies" demonstrating why most marketing plans fail and what steps you need to take for a successful marketing plan. There are many other topics to choose from and you are sure to walk away with countless ideas to put to immediate action. To register, contact Lori Dvorak at (704) 947-8476. Tell her the Design Diva sent you!
Happy Mother's Day! Have an awesome month, and please feel free to contact me at with any questions or comments.
Barbara Green 
Kitchen Decorating
by Article Author
The other night I went to a party at an amazing home. It had a wonderful open floorplan, perfect for entertaining. Outside there was a band playing on the large deck, a roaring fire in the outdoor fireplace, and an inviting pergola-covered dining area. Why am I sharing this with you? Because with all those ammenities, everyone was hanging out in the kitchen! No matter how big (or small) your home is, the kitchen always seems to be the epicenter of all the action. Since it is the most popular room in the house, here are some ways to update it quickly and affordably:
By now everyone knows that paint is the quickest and easiest way to update a room. When looking for inspiration for a paint color for your kitchen, why not start from one of your favorite foods? Do you love lemon meringue pie? How about a yellow kitchen? Do you prefer Italian food with rich tomato sauce? How about a red kitchen? If you prefer eating dessert first, maybe a luscious chocolate brown would suit your taste. You can go with a deeper tone than you might normally feel comfortable with since there is very little wall space to cover. Avoid any color that is not naturally found in food because it will subconsciously affect your ability to be comfortable in your kitchen. However, non-food colors are fine to use as accents.
                  Brown Kitchen 
Window Treatments
Since most of the kitchen consists of hard surfaces, it is important to add some softness wherever you can. Window treatments are a great way to add the needed softness and also a great decorative detail. The most practical type of window treatment for the kitchen is a valance, since it will add style and warmth without blocking the view or the sunshine. It is also a very affordable way to update the room since valances use very little fabric and they are easy to construct. If you need privacy from nosey neighbors (or boaters as was the case in this lakefront home) roman shades are a great option because they give total privacy when needed, and can be lifted when you want to enjoy the view.
              kitchen window treatments 
Be judicious when choosing accessories for the kitchen. Too much clutter will reduce the functionality of the most used room in the house. Decorate with items that serve double duty, such as decorative bottles of vinegars and spices or colorful kitchen towels. Group the vinegars and spices on a tray for extra style and easier cleaning and roll up the towels in a basket. A dishrack serves double duty as storage and a way to show off your pretty plates. A potrack with gleaming pots adds vertical interest and can make even the worst cook look like a gourmet!
               Kitchen accessories
Trend Report
by Article Author

Kitchen trends today reinforce the saying that everything old is new again. While so many people have spent the last few years remodeling their kitchens to get rid of white cabinets, now white cabinets are back in style! The difference now is that instead of having white cabinets with white counters and  white plumbing fixtures there is more contrast built into the design. It is typical to see white cabinets along the outside walls, with accent cabinets by the stove and an island stained or painted a darker color, as shown below.

           dark island 
Notice how the kitchen below incorporates the color of the year, turquoise, for added interest on the back wall of the upper cabinets. That is something you can do very easily to update your own kitchen. Another trend to note is the dark gray tile backsplash and island. Gray is the new neutral being used in both home decor and fashion.
        trend kitchen
In my January issue I shared how glitz and glamour are hot design trends for 2010. The KraftMaid kitchen below illustrates this design concept with a glitzy iridescent tiled backsplash, glamourous crystal chandelier, and gleaming silver accessories. The contrast is provided by the dark wood countertop on on the island and the amber glass fronts on some of the cabinet doors.
                       glitz and glamour 
Color of the Month
by Article Author
May's Color of the Month is Blue. From the sky to the ocean, blue brings a sense of peace and tranquility. It is the favorite color of dreamers who work tirelessly and patiently to achieve their goals. If you don't like blue, you may tend to feel restless and ready for change. You are always looking for the next exciting thing to keep your interest.
Blue can give off many types of energy, depending on the shade you choose. The kitchen below pairs white cabinets with a refreshing bright blue island. It is perfect for an active family that likes to entertain. The elegance of the crystal chandelier balances out the casual country style of the island.
                   birght blue island 
The blue kitchen below is sleek and sophisticated, perfect for urban living in a high rise condominium. 

urban kitchen

The royal blue kitchen below is bold and beautiful, but not for the faint of heart. The color is playful and youthful, but the styling and accessories are polished and refined.
          royal blue kitchen 
Green Design
by Article Author
Twenty years ago I was in Washington, D.C. as a member of the Junior League of Fairfield County, CT. We were lobbying congress to address environmental concerns and develop legislation to reduce wasteful consumption by businesses and citizens. Who knew that it would take twenty years before the reusable canvas grocery bags we brought to our congressional leaders would  finally be widely accepted by the general public??

Here is a list of ten simple things you can do NOW to reduce your consumption, use less energy, and prevent waste:   

1. Purchase items in bulk rather than in individual serving sizes. This practice is called "Pre-cycling," as you are preventing the excess packaging from even entering into your household.
2. Eat whole, fresh foods, rather than pre-packaged meals. Fresh meals are tastier and healthier for you and it will prevent tons of  trays, plastic wraps, and boxes from piling up in landfills.
3. Buy local. Food that is in season and produced locally reduces the carbon footprint by not having to travel thousands of miles to get to your grocery store.
4. Use Energy Star appliances and run your dishwasher only when full.
5. Use dish towels instead of paper towels.  
6. Bring reusable bags to the store instead of using paper or plastic.
7. If you do use paper or plastic, bring the pastic bags back to the store for recycling and reuse the paper bags for bundling up newspapers, magazines, and junk mail for recycling.
8. Store food or leftovers in reusable plastic or glass containers instead of plastic bags.
9. Use green cleaning supplies (as mentioned in the March issue) to prevent chemicals from leaching into our water supply.
10. Purchase a "to go" cup and fill it at home or at your favorite coffee shop instead of using a disposable cup each time you get your caffeine fix.
Quote of the Month
by Article Author Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. 
                             ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Recipe of the Month
Warm weather and sunshine beckons us to the farmer's market to find the freshest produce, and this salad makes the most of the spinach and strawberries available abundantly this time of year. Bring it to your next picnic, potluck, or party and you will be very popular!!
                           spinach strawberry salad 
Spinach and Strawberry Salad
8 oz fresh baby spinach
1 1/2 to 2 C cleaned and sliced strawberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds or chopped pecans, lightly toasted
2 to 3 ounces goat cheese or blue cheese, crumbled, optional
1/4 C Canola oil or other salad oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T sugar
1/4 tsp dried tarragon
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp dry mustard
Toss spinach with sliced strawberries, pecans, and cheese, if using. Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well blended. When ready to serve, drizzle dressing over the salad and toss lightly.
Serves 4 to 6
Community Outreach
by Article Author
Most people say there are only two things guaranteed in life: death and taxes. Well I would like to submit to you a third guarantee: No matter how bad your life is, there is always someone worse off than you. I believe that it is more important to give than to receive. Additionally, it has been my personal experience that when I give generously, whether it be of time or money, the rewards I get are exponentially greater than anything I might have given. In this spirit, I am going to share with you each month opportunities available for us all to give back, for we are all greatly blessed, even in these times of struggle. 
Dove's Nest
This is an immediate need, so please act quickly! The Dove's Nest is Charlotte Rescue Mission's program that helps women who have struggled with addiction for years. To encourage them in their recovery, they are planning a Mother's Day picnic at a local park and need items such as hamburgers/hot dogs, buns, chips, slaw, salad, and condiments. Please call the mission at 704-334-4635 if you can help.
Big Day at the Lake 6
This is a charity I personally support, and I hope you will consider supporting it as well. The purpose of Big Day at the Lake is to provide a day of fun for deserving young people in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte. These youths would not have access to  one of our favorite treasures, Lake Norman, any other way. We also use this opportunity to recruit more Bigs and raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. We are currently seeking Corporate Sponsors, boat hosts to take the "Bigs" and "Littles" out on the lake, and cash donations. Please email me at if you would like to be a sponsor or make a donation. Boat owners can register at For more information you can call Dave Yochum at 704-895-1335.

In my personal quest to share the needs of local charities I was lucky enough to find out about . This website was designed to help charitable organizations collect donation items and increase their visibility in the community. Charities are able to post their needs and volunteers are able to offer their services. The website also has a calendar listing upcoming charitable events. Be sure to check out the website and find someone to serve. Life is so much more rewarding when you are helping others.
Save 15%
Kitchen Decorating Sale!!!!
Save 15% on furniture, accessories, or window treatments for your kitchen..
Feel free to share this offer with friends, family, or associates.
Mention offer DDD0510 at time of order.
Call 704-987-0277 today to schedule your appointment. 
Offer Expires: 5/31/10                                                                             Not valid on orders placed before 5/1/10 

Thanks for reading The Design Diva Dishes. I hope you enjoyed this issue and will forward it to your friends using the link below. All past issues of The Design Diva Dishes are now archived and available though a link at my website: 

Have a great month, and I'll see you again June 1.
Call me at: 704-987-0277 or   Email me at: