Episode 349: Lamp Shade Selection and Kitchen Choices

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Hello, everybody. Happy fall. I hope you’re doing well. I hope you’re staying warm. I’m not this cottage cold, Connecticut is cold, it is fall and I have not stopped shivering since the temperature dropped below 50. This is my new life. This cottage takes forever to warm up. So it does have an electric heater. It is like a system, not just a heater, which is nice, but it takes forever. And I do have a wood burning stove that is supposed to heat up this space, which is one log. All the logs are soaking wet from the day of rain we’ve been getting. And I have no confidence that I know how to work a wood burning stove. I’m going to figure it out. I

By golly, I’m going to figure this out. But until then I’m just going to shiver, wear my daughter’s hoodie and muddle through. I hope you guys are surviving and thriving. Hope you are a little bit warmer than me. I hope you’re settled and not living out of boxes. We are just at month two living in this house . We are still in boxes, I still can’t find my toothbrush, I still can’t find several lampshades, I still can’t find a number of things that feel very important. I’m just lucky if I can take a shower in the morning and find a clean towel. That’s how things are going. 

If you’re moving if you just moved, I know that I sympathize and empathize. I had moved many, many times before this. But it has never been quite like this. Five days out of seven, I have a team of men in and out of my house during various projects that I have to supervise. I have multiple tasks at my real job. And then I have another task which is being a foreman. On many home projects, my brain is swirling with everything that is going on. And my body is shivering with a cold. That’s me in a nutshell. 

Okay, let’s move on to more exciting news. The mailbag is full, it is brimming. I am so excited to tackle these questions. And I’m going to do so in a sort of a quick manner today. That way I can get to the biggest volume of questions in the shortest span of time. 

This episode, we discuss…

[10:24] What do you think of rattan lamp shades? Are they ever appropriate, or are they too dark? (Emily)


What do you think of rattan lamp shades? Are they ever appropriate, or are they too dark?


All right, well, I love a natural texture, you know, rattan is kind of a woven texture. So the exciting thing about using that as the lampshade is that you’re probably going to see a little peekaboos of light coming through the cracks in between the weave, right? 

You might even see areas where that natural kind of basket texture is thinner than others. So you might be seeing different types of light all coming through the same shade, which is really beautiful and could add a lovely warm glow and texture. And I’m saying warm, because typically rattan is kind of a warm, brown or light tan color.  So of course, that’s going to impact the type of light and color of light that you actually see, it’d be quite different and much warmer than if it was coming from, say just a typical standard white lampshade. The problem is that it will also be a little diffused, so you won’t get as much light as you would get from a lampshade that was just white. 

So you want to make sure that you’re following my rule at least three lamps in every room in addition to overheads, but you may find that three lamps is not sufficient with a rattan shade, you’re just not going to get a big bang for your buck, it’s going to be more of a sculptural beauty, something that adds a little touch of warmth, but it’s not going to make it easier to read a book. 

It’s not going to be a great light, if you wanted to write a letter to someone. I just worry that it’s really not going to move the needle in terms of illuminating the space. But I think it’s a really nice choice in certain styles of rooms. Would I ever use a return shade in a contemporary space? Not right now. Certainly probably not in a modern space as well. I think there could be a really interesting application and of course, a beachy style space that would be perfect for rattan, seagrass vibe. 

I would also love to see it in an eclectic space, Boho space, something maybe that embraces Heuga which has a lot of natural materials, right? There’s a time and a place for rattan and it is certainly not everywhere. But if you’re designing and one of the styles I just mentioned Emily, I think it could be the perfect touch for your space. 

[12:58] Any tips for adding things to a kitchen to make it functional? What are the best brands of appliances to buy? How do I incorporate color into the kitchen without making it that I have to redo in a few years? What is the best quality furniture? (Sophia) 


I will be getting married and buying a house. I am in the research stage. I will be updating the kitchen first. I love to cook. My future husband is a chef. I do cooking, baking, canning, making cheese and sausage. Any tips for adding things to a kitchen to make it functional. I Want to know the best brand of appliances to buy. I will be buying pre fab cabinets from lowes. I don’t have a budget for custom. I was looking at cabinets. I always go back and love white cabinets. I love traditional, farmhouse, English and French country style. How do I incorporate color into the kitchen without making it that I have to redo in a few years. Any tips. I have gone through so much of my furniture over the years. What is the best quality furniture? My favorite colors are blue and gray.


Oh my gosh. Well, you are really getting into it. Sophia. First of all, congratulations on your next life phase. I am so excited for you. And I am so excited that your future husband is a chef. Back in my dating days I dated several chefs. And I think the reason that I was so attracted to chefs is because I love to eat. I at that time did not love to cook so my love of cooking and I will say it has developed into a true passion has only developed since I’ve had children and moved to the suburbs because even when I lived in Brooklyn, I was constantly ordering takeout. There were so many amazing options. There was so much affordable food. It was cheaper at that time when my kids weren’t eating meals that we were eating. 

Anyway, that is all to say that I am no expert when it comes to kitchen planning. The other reason I am no expert when it comes to kitchen planning is because I don’t do it for my own clients, I help them pick out the pretty stuff. So we pick up the backsplash, the hardware, the countertops, the cabinet color, but the person who should be kind of designing the interior of your cabinets should be the person who you’re buying the cabinets from. 

Whether it’s IKEA or Lowe’s or Home Depot. Depending on the line of cabinets you choose, there’s going to be different options. Most of them have very intricate computer systems that only work for the line of cabinets that they’re selling. But they’ll allow you to customize it in so many ways. There are of course, some tried and true rules for outlining a kitchen which is like the triangle thing and all this stuff online. But I am no expert in any of that. 

I can speak to what I like personally, but I’m not a chef and I don’t do as much as you do. So you might find that you’re not as drawn in by my comments, as you might be by some of these comments who do this every day. I would recommend leaning in hard and spending lots of time with that kitchen planner. Even if these cabinets are prefab they’ll help you to determine exactly the right inserts. exactly the right functionality that you want for how you typically cook.

Same goes for appliances because I don’t manage renovations for anyone. I never pick their appliances. I myself have purchased appliances a couple of times. I will say that I loved my KitchenAid dishwasher. Right now I have a Miele dishwasher which is supposed to be amazing. Everybody wants it, not me. 

The Miele is not rocking my world. It does a pretty good job with washing and drying but the problem is that the inserts or whatever you call it, have different components. The trays are not set up in an intuitive way that works well for the dishes that I have and I have very standard dishes. So I just don’t find it to be a great fit for us. 

But my KitchenAid dishwasher was amazing, I mourn the loss. It was perfect in so many ways. I called it to my husband’s chagrin that my boyfriend. Nobody talked bad about my boyfriend. Because he was like my partner in crime this dishwasher I would load it up and it would wash the dishes so quickly so quietly Oh my gosh. 

The Miele is quiet. I will give it that but I can only get like half a load of what I could have piled in my KitchenAid and I never had to rinse with my KitchenAid. I am a throw and go gal in pretty much every aspect of my life but certainly when I do dishes, I don’t hand wash. I’m not going to scrape and I’m not going to pre wash. Judge as you will people but that is who I am and I’m standing in my power.

The other thing is that I currently have a Viking Range and I really love it. Before I had a Samsung which was supposed to be top of the line. I was not a fan at all. These are just my personal experiences, take them for what you will but it was supposed to be top of the line when we bought it back in 2020 or 2018 like Cafe model or something like that.

And then we had an amazing LG fridge with ice in the front. I loved it so much. When we moved into this house it had a sub zero which everyone says it’s like the gold standard, not a fan. I mean, the ice meter is constantly breaking down. I do like that it’s not as deep so stuff doesn’t tend to get lost and it is nice and wide. But the drawer layout is not intuitive, and I can’t really change it too much, unfortunately. These personal preferences, and I have limited experience. I’ve only done this for myself. Takeaway saved is certainly not my area of expertise.

Anyway, Sophia, we left off with me letting you know that I have limited experience with appliances, really only my own. My clients rely on not only their budget, but also their kitchen diner designer to help guide them because that’s what the kitchen designer does every single day. 

You did also ask a question about furniture selection, you mentioned that you’ve bought lots of furniture in the past and need to know sort of where to go for what piece of furniture at what type of quality. And I will tell you, unequivocally 100%, no company does everything well. Even the high end companies, even the expensive companies excel at certain things and do not do a good job at other things in my humble opinion. Now, this is an area where I have a lot of expertise. But not only do I think about what type of furniture I’m shopping for, I always think about the style. Because different stores have different styles. And I try to match the quality and the style when I’m shopping with the right vendor. 

I need you to write back, Sophia, I need you to let me know what style you’ve settled on. Because you mentioned about four of them in your note. And I also need you to let me know what piece you’re looking for. 

Betsy, I needed a traditional sofa. Betsy, I’m looking for a transitional buffet. Betsy, I need an eclectic table lamp. I can direct you if you’re looking for something specific. And I can really make it actionable. But when it’s just so vague and broad, I would talk all day and don’t nobody would have time for that. We’ve got baseball playoffs to go watch. We’ve got boxed meals to go make. We’ve got boxes to unpack, we’ve got to call optimum and find out why the WiFi is not working. We’ve got so much to do.

So I will not keep you on the podcast too long. Instead Sophia, write me back with a really specific question and i’ll give you a really specific high value answer. 







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