A Bright Rental Kitchen Refresh
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Having been a rental apartment dweller for 10 years now, I’ve focused a lot of my energy on ways to update and improve my homes, in ways that won’t lose me my damage deposit. Not always an easy feat, so when I find ways to give the space a refresh that isn’t too time or money intensive, I need to share. My current apartment is a little studio in Vancouver, but despite its square footage it has a pretty sizeable kitchen (relatively speaking). It’s a little room off the side of the other room (the bedroom / living room) and it gets a ton of natural light. The cabinets are basic wood doors and boxes, and I decided they were the prime opportunity for an update. Because they’re painted wood it was easy to give them a fresh new colour, and I’ll be able to simply paint them back to white before I move out. When it comes to rental changes, I try to opt for things that are easily reversible.

I didn’t want to make any big changes, so I left the plain shelves in there and focused my attention on the paint, hardware, and styling. For the cabinet colour and hardware direction, I was inspired by Devol kitchens. Have you heard of them? They’re a British company that designs and builds the prettiest kitchens (they remind me of modern Downton Abbey kitchens :)). Here are a couple that inspired my plans:

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I ended up going with Behr Granite Boulder for the paint colour. I wanted a somewhat complex colour that fell somewhere in the range of grey, taupe, and sage. When picking your paint colour, it’s great to do a big swatch by painting a sample of the paint on card stock and leaving it where the cabinets are so you can see the colour in the different light throughout the day.

One of the things that I love about that kitchen on the left (above) is the painted wood knobs. It’s such a great way to add a special touch to the kitchen, and it’s so affordable. You buy simple wooden knobs (I got these ones at Home Depot) and paint them to match the cabinets. The doors in my rental had an uncommon hardware centre spacing measurement, and I didn’t want to drill new holes / fill the old ones, so I found the same hardware they had drilled the holes for, in brass. Turns out they were just from Ikea. If you don’t know your drawer pull centre measurement, remove the hardware and measure from the centre of one screw hole to the other. You can also take one of the pulls you have to the store to find matches. But if you’re ordering online you’ll need to know your measurements.

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I really wanted to add a sconce up above the shelves, and I looked through so many plug in options. And then I remembered that I had stashed a pair that I used in an old project and they’re the exact shape and material I was hunting for. They aren’t available anymore, but here are some similar options with great finishes and cool shapes. I’ve pulled together a mix of budgets.

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The kitchen has space for a little dining table, so I brought in a marble and oak cafe table from Article. It’s a perfect size and super pretty. The round shape is great for a small space.

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For the shelves, I kept most of the pieces white but mixed up the textures of the ceramics. This is a good way to style your open shelves if you don’t want them to feel too busy. I added some other visual interest with art and flowers/branches.

Get the look of this rental kitchen makeover yourself:

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wood knobs | brass pulls | dustpan and broom | paint colour | white vase 1 | white vase 2 | candle sticks | sconce | dish brush | glasses

And for fun, here are a couple before shots so you can see where things were at going into the project!

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Thoughts? Would you paint your rental cabinets? Or maybe you prefer an all white kitchen? Tell me!

Kendra Murphy
Elevated Stock Photos for Your Business
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Hello + happy weekend! I hope you’ve been doing some of your favourite things these past few days.

If you run a small business, you probably know the struggle that comes along with producing imagery for your marketing materials, website, and social accounts. I work with clients to produce this type of imagery, styling product and lifestyle photos for use across marketing and sales channels. But! Not everyone is ready to take the leap and hire sometime to help. I totally get it, these photoshoots are investments and are best made when you’re ready for them. So what do you do in the meantime while you’re building your business? You still need beautiful imagery if you’re going to stand out from the crowd.

In order to bridge this gap and make the process easier for you, I’ve built an Etsy shop with styled stock photography that you can use on your website, emails, social media, and ads. The shop will be filled with interior vignettes and still life photography. Pro tip: A lot of these shots would be easy to add text over top of (because of the white space in the image), so they’re great for banner ads or headers.

I’m working on building out the shop, so if there are certain types of images or subjects that you think would be helpful, please let me know!

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I hope you find this new shop useful! I want you all to be able to market your businesses in a beautiful way and I’d like for these styled stock photos to be a new way to get simple, elevated photos for your brand.

Kendra Murphy
Happy 2019!
Beautiful image from    Our Food Stories   .

Beautiful image from Our Food Stories.

Can you believe it’s January already?! This past year was filled with all kinds of new experiences and changes. It’s been quite a while since I wrote a post, but I’ve been wanting to create for the sake of it lately, and I think this could be the platform to do it. I want to kick off the new year by saying hello and welcoming you to this space. I blogged for many years and it was one of my favourite parts of my studio (you can see all of that over here) and I’m excited to see what it will be like to add this back into my routine.

To get started, here are some of the things I’d like to focus on in 2019, in no particular order.

Create because it feels good. With a full-time design job, as well as this studio, I spend a lot of my time creating, and I’m very grateful for that! This year I’d like to carve out time to create what interests me, even if it won’t further my work. Which leads me to…

Spend time on hobbies. I started knitting this year and I really liked it. However, there’s still a massive bag of yarn in a corner of my apartment that I had big blanket plans for, and haven’t made time for. I think I’ll dive into this blanket pattern.

Cook more often. I’m definitely guilty of takeout or cereal, and I’d like to spend more time in the kitchen. I find it quite relaxing when I do, but I always seem to find something more interesting I want to do in the evenings. But I’m going to try anyways. I’m thinking it could be fun to buy a pretty cookbook and work through it, one recipe at a time.

Read lots, listen to lots of podcasts. I started using a Kobo reader a couple months ago, and it’s so great. I love it for reading on my morning commute, and it’s easier to carry around than books. I also want to find some more podcasts to add to my library. My longstanding favourites are A Few Things and Second Life. Recommendations welcome!

What are your focuses right now? I like to look at my intentions no matter what time of year it is, but January always feels like a good time to reflect.

personalKendra Murphy
Modern Art to Update Your Space

Welcome to 2019! I always want to update my space a little when this time of year rolls around, and art is such a nice way to do that. If you’re feeling the same way, I’ve rounded up some of my favourite art prints from around the internet. Consider this your encouragement to spruce things up a bit.

You can click through on any of these images to shop!

As you probably know, Etsy is a treasure trove for art. It’s a great way to buy original pieces and prints from upcoming and established artists, and support small businesses.

Digital print downloads are a new discovery for me (I’m probably behind the curve on this one) but I think it’s such a great idea. You can get a beautiful design from an artist, without having to pay for shipping or wait for the order to arrive. You simply download after you’ve purchased the image, and then have it printed (just take it to your neighbourhood printer). I love the Etsy shop Hearts in Colors for their minimal, elegant designs.

These simple prints are so pretty and calm.

Jenny Komenda’s shop Juniper is another of my favourites right now. She offers both digital downloads and physical prints. She has worked with artists to amass a beautiful collection. Lots of really lovely abstract florals and some vintage paintings of people.

I’m smitten with this one. Alice is a vintage painting that Jenny has had in her collection for years. I love the quiet it exudes.

These abstract floral pairings would be so cool above a really modern sofa like this one.

Where do you like to shop for art? This is just the tip of the iceberg of where I do my hunting, but they’re definitely some favourites at the moment.

A Springtime Bouquet
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While it's nice to keep it simple with an easy grouping of one type of flower, sometimes you just have to go for it and create something new. The next time you have  a free morning, head to your local florist and grab a few types of greenery, two different pretty little blooms, and 3-5 stems of something really show-y and special. Play around and create an arrangement you like. I tend to lean towards arrangements that are a bit wild and free, but with delicate flowers incorporated. Experiment and see what you like to make!

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Do you tend to lean towards groupings of a single type of flower, or do you prefer something more like this? 

A North Vancouver Kitchen Redesign
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When the client and I got started on this kitchen design, she knew she wanted the space to feel brighter, modern without being stark, and a little bit rustic. The home is in a beautiful area of Vancouver and it was an exciting task to bring the kitchen up to date and make it a space that she'd love to spend time. 

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We gave the whole kitchen a coat of white paint and had the cupboard doors refinished. All new white KitchenAid appliances make the hardwood floors and other wood bits really shine. 

One of my favourite features of the kitchen is the live edge slab of wood for the bar. 

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The old kitchen had a very short window so we took that out, raised up the height and installed a new custom window design. I love how much character it adds to the space.

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We also had this beautiful hood vent cover built custom. It's a great extra piece of storage and the wood grain is a great contrast to the clean white subway tile. 

This was such a fun project to work on and I was super pleased with how it turned out. Plus, working with clients as lovely as this one is always the best. 

Kendra Murphy