Seeing Double!

FDK Design is honored and excited to win two National Kitchen and Bath Association Awards for Best Medium Kitchen and Best Small Bathroom - both from the same project! Check out the whole story here ….kitchen & bathroom


Creating a California Room

Back in the day, “outdoor living” meant some basic plastic or aluminum furniture and a barbecue.  Well, get ready to rethink that concept and embrace the “California Room.”

San Diego has the perfect climate for alfresco living.  Long summer evenings and mild winter days mean we can enjoy the outdoors year-round.  So why not live it to the max?  The California Room is one of the largest growing elements in new home construction, and owners of existing homes are re imagining their yards to include them.  

Casa Manuel

Casa Manuel


What is a California Room? It’s an outdoor space that has protection from the elements.  It has a roof to keep out rain and sun, but it’s open on one or more sides. More than a patio, it is furnished with all of the luxury of interior spaces: sofas and chairs, tables, rugs, fans and light fixtures. Some homeowners even add a bar, TV, and fireplace. It functions like an extra room in the house, a space where people can gather for special occasions, socialize, or just relax in the evenings after a hectic day.

When creating a California Room, the key is to treat it like an indoor space. Here are a few tips to get started…..

Space Plan for Function

Just like any room in your house, think about how you want to use it.  Consider the pieces of furniture that you would like to use, their sizes, and how they will be configured.   A scaled model will help you see how much space you will need. Plan for adequate clearances and traffic flow.




Consider Focal Points

Do you have a great view? Want to catch the sunset? Or maybe cuddle up in front of a fire and watch a movie in the evening?  The space should invite people outdoors and encourage them to linger.

House Beautiful

House Beautiful


Open It Up

Expansive openings blur the boundaries between outside and inside, allowing for full, open views and breezes.  Many door and window manufacturers offer sliding, stacking, and folding glass doors that can span whole walls. This doubles the living spaces and allows light to flow inside all year long.




 Create a Flow

If possible, level out the floor of the California Room to the height of the adjacent indoor room.  Maintaining consistency in flooring/finishes, color scheme, materials etc. creates a smooth transition and the illusion of one large open-plan space.

FDK Design

FDK Design


Add all the Comforts of the Indoors

Thanks to advances in materials such as all-weather finishes and fabrics, outdoor lighting and indoor-outdoor rugs, you can live as stylishly and luxuriously outdoors as you do indoors.  Test drive sofas for lounging…. this is a place to splurge on quality and comfort.  Great lighting (on a dimmer) is a must.  Accessories add personality and the finishing touch.

Studio Lifestyle

Studio Lifestyle


 A great design for a California Room is an excellent way to add value to your home, but more than that, it’s the perfect space for relaxing, entertaining and enjoying the SoCal lifestyle, year-round.

Great Storage Ideas for Your Kitchen

Can’t find the matching lid to your pot or pan? Just found an open box of cereal from 2014 at the back of the deep, narrow pantry? And where the heck Is your favorite spatula?

One of the top requests from hour clients who are remodeling is for more storage. Sometimes that really means better storage, particularly in the kitchen. Many homes have original builders’ quality cabinetry that is inefficient: unusable corners, shallow drawers. Sound like a familiar story? Kitchen and cabinet designers are constantly coming up with solutions to make working in your kitchen easier and more functional.  

Your home may be reaching an age where it’s time to remodel the kitchen. Below are a few suggestions to consider that could maximize storage, improve functionality, and generally make your life run a little smoother. Who doesn’t want that? 

Pot/Pan and Lid Double Drawer

Tired of rummaging around for the right pan in a cabinet? Don’t even mention finding the matching lid!  Deep double drawers help keep your stacks neat and accessible and the lids in check.


Utensil Drawer

This clever utensil pull-out keeps cooking tools conveniently at hand.

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Dishware Drawer

A peg system allows dishes to be placed in a base cabinet for easier lifting and organization.  Sturdy slides under the drawer can support up to 150 pounds, so heavy plates are no problem. This can be located close to the dishwasher for ease of loading and unloading.

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Pantry Pull Outs

No space for a walk-in pantry?  Losing food at the back of deep shelves? No problem. Tall pullouts and drawers/ shelves of varying sizes which allow for a variety of food storage needs.

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Crazy Corners

Corners are a particularly annoying storage spot in the kitchen. Take a look at this super tricked out corner pull out….almost makes you want to open it just for fun!


That Weird Space Over the Microwave or Oven....

What at great spot to store narrow items that you don’t want to stack: platters, cookie sheets and other bakeware/serving dishes.

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The Message Center (previously known as the junk drawer)

You know we all have it, but we don’t want to see it. Stuff that piles up on the counter tops and multiplies like rabbits. And you can never find those keys when you want them. Carve out a little space for a message center in your kitchen.


A new kitchen can be a fun and exciting project. There are many great new products available and inspirational images are everywhere.  Maybe it’s time to evaluate your kitchen and develop a plan to turn it into a space that makes preparing meals a pleasure and frees you up to do more of what you love……like relaxing in your “California Room,” but that’s a story for another article!

It’s A Dirty Job, but Someone Has to Do It!

The least glamorous of all of the rooms…. the laundry room.  We spend more time in there than we’d like, but hey, the laundry doesn’t do itself! 

Laundry rooms have come a long way from the sad, tucked away rooms that many of us grew up with.  They can be more than places to clean clothes.  They can be fun, inviting places for activities such as caring for pets, sewing, doing DIY projects, wrapping packages, gardening and more.

If you plan to revamp your laundry room, it’s worth taking the time to make it as functional and efficient as possible.  Consider some of these tips:

Sink and Counter Top Space

Having a sink in the laundry room makes a lot of sense.  They are great for hand-washing items, soaking, mopping, post-project clean- up, and more.  Plan to have plenty of counter top space close to the sink for set down, sorting, folding, crafting, gardening, and other work tasks.  Space was at a premium in this laundry so the counter top was too shallow for a regular sink and faucet. We used a stainless steel farmhouse sink and a wall mounted faucet to save space.


Adding a counter top over a side-by-side washer and dryer puts wasted space to work.

Allan Clarke Architecture

Allan Clarke Architecture

Drying Racks

Trying to prolong the life of that favorite t-shirt, protect the investment in that overpriced work out wear (you know the one we mean), or care for your unmentionables? Don’t put them in the dryer!  There are plenty of wall mounted drying racks on the market to help add valuable space.


Photo: Ballard Designs

Photo: Ballard Designs


You can never have too much storage space in the laundry room. Ever.  If you are the kind of person who needs some visual peace, hide everything away in cabinets.  If you like items close at hand and in plain sight, consider open shelving or cubbies.  Maybe it makes sense to have a combination of both?  So, plan to add storage above sinks, counter tops, washers/dryers, benches etc. Drawers below and cubbies and cabinets above maximize the organization of this laundry/mudroom.



Fresh and clean are two vibes everyone wants in a laundry room.  A light, bright, color scheme and easy-to-care for surfaces will go a long way to achieve this.  There’s nothing better than sparkling white with pops of fresh color help to you get that “just laundered” feeling.


If you are thinking of making changes in your laundry room, have a great plan in place before getting to work.  Space planning, drawings, correct finish and product selections save time, money and headaches…. not to mention giving you a space that makes you almost happy to do laundry.


Creating a Luxurious Master Bathroom

As our lives get busier, our homes become the place where we retreat, relax, and restore ourselves. There’s no space where that is more important than in the first room you see in the morning and the last room you visit at night - the master bathroom.

Take a look at this remodeled master bathroom. If you are considering a remodel, it is an example of some ways to rethink your bathroom and turn it into luxurious retreat.

Think Big

Take down those walls, remove the dropped soffits and weird niches.  Open up the space so the light flows and makes the room feel bigger.  If you are short on space and only use the tub occasionally, take it out and enlarge your shower instead.  Nothing says luxury like a large shower.


No Barriers

You don’t have to stay in a five-star hotel to have a wet room experience.  Make the shower part of the room with no threshold or barrier to step over.  Continue the same floor tile throughout, sloping to a linear drain and creating an uninterrupted visual flow.  Check with your tile supplier or designer to ensure that the tile is rated appropriately for wet areas.


 Lighten Up

Chose a light, bright color scheme.  Add some contrast to give the space a fresh look.  Don’t forget a variety of textures and surfaces. A little sparkle…. glass, mirror, chrome/nickel…..can go a long way to energize and lighten a space.

Take it Easy

Less cleaning is the greatest luxury of all!  Look for easy to care for surfaces.  Larger format tiles with rectified edges (90-degree edge details) allow tiles to be set close to each other and minimize grout lines.   Engineered stone, often called quartz, is a low maintenance choice for counter tops, bench seats, window surrounds etc.

Something for Everyone

When a bathroom is demolished, that’s the perfect time to think about Universal Design; design that accommodates all users, whatever their abilities and stages of life.  Adding bracing for grab bars while the walls are open makes sense.  Lever-type handles are easier to use than twist-type knobs or handles, and they’re especially convenient for kids or anyone with limited dexterity. Hand held shower heads attach to a flexible hose that makes them easy to use while sitting. They’re also good for cleaning the shower stall or bathtub….and kids or pets!

Plan Ahead

Perhaps the most important ingredient for success is having a plan for your design – on paper. Preparing dimensioned drawings, documenting finishes, fixtures and all necessary products is a must.  This allows you to bid out the project fairly and accurately, order product in a timely manner to keep the project flowing and stay on budget.  They are an invaluable tool for communication with all the trades; limiting misunderstanding and surprises (not the happy kind!)

Creating your own luxurious master bathroom can be an exciting project with a great payoff…..somewhere to begin your day on the right foot and to relax at the end of the day.

What's Hot at Highpoint

I just spent a few days at High Point Market — the largest home furnishings industry trade show in the world!  It was great to get out there and see what sort of trends are up and coming from manufacturers.  On display were pieces that won’t be released to the public for another six months or so, which means this is a great opportunity to get ahead of the game.

Here are my top three take aways.


Pink Plus One

Pink with dark green, pink with black, pink with turquoise...... basically pink with anything!

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Nature Invades

Organic, natural items were everywhere, but with a fun twist.

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Lighting – Go Big or Go Home

Statement lighting pieces were everywhere.....bringing the drama!

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NKBA Star Design Award 2017 - Best Large Kitchen

FDK is proud to be selected as the winner of the National Kitchen and Bath Association's "Star Design Award 2017"  in the category of Large Kitchens.  What an honor to be chosen to be acknowledged by professionals in the bath industry! Take a look at the winning project here.


FDK Design is announced as one of "Best Of Houzz 2017" winners.

Each year Houzz performs a survey and analysis of community of over 40 million monthly users and reveals the top-rated home remodeling professionals and most popular home designs.  FDK Design has been announced as a "Best Of Houzz 2017" winner for Customer Service.

Houzz Inc., the leading platform for home renovation and design, today announced the community’s picks for Best Of Houzz 2017, a homeowner-to-homeowner guide to the top home buildersarchitectsinterior designers, landscape pros and other residential remodeling professionals on Houzz from cabinetry or roofing pros to painters.

“We are so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality."

A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge appears on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz. Winners will be announced globally throughout the month. 

About Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit

Getting to know the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA)

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is an excellent source of support and education, not only for kitchen and bath industry professionals, but for homeowners also.  

If you are considering remodeling, you can use them as a resource for ideas, guidelines, and to seek the help of qualified pros. The NKBA envisions a world where everyone enjoys safe, beautiful and functional kitchen and bath spaces. 

FDK Design has been an active member since 2007 and is proud to be able give back in any way possible to the organization.  Take a look at their advertisement in the November issue of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyle.....that's one of our kitchens in the top left corner.....

For more information, visit or call 1-800-THE-NKBA (843-6522).

Restoring a Craftsman Cottage to its Original Glory

It's a common story.....a quaint 100+ year old Craftsman Cottage that lived through a sad 1970's remodel. It needed some TLC to give it the character it deserved and to give the clients all the amenities of the twenty first century.

See how it turned out here.

This kitchen was featured in the November 2013 issue of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles  as winner of the National Kitchen and Bathroom Association Small/Medium Kitchen Star Award. 


Details Make the Project!

The goal of every project is to create a beautiful, functional space where the personality of the client shines through.  

This home in Encinitas a a great example of that. The wife is of Japanese descent and she and her husband travel extensively in Asia. The husband loves his tropical outdoor space and wanted to bring it indoors.

Here are just a few details inspired by both of them. 

We designed this pantry to look like an antique piece of Japanese furniture. 

The glass tile from Walker Zanger echoes the bamboo growing outside the window.

The ceilings were removed, the beams were exposed sandblasted to give the space  a natural feel.

The regular geometric pattern of these beautiful tiles balance the random, flowing grain of the teak cabinetry.

All of the little things add up to create space that is uniquely theirs.


The Hidden Kitchen

Every second year Milan is home to the trade show EuroCucina.  It showcases the latest and greatest in kitchen design and technology.  So what’s cooking in kitchens (sorry, I couldn’t resist)?

Well, the hidden kitchen is evolving.  There’s been a growing trend towards bringing together living and kitchen areas with clean lines and stylish details, creating a more sophisticated space.

New and creative ways of designing a streamlined, uncluttered space are the next phase in morphing the kitchen from a cooking-and-eating hub to a flexible multitasking space.

In the past, the design industry had been treating high-end appliances like trophies (think commercial style ranges and refrigerators) and making them the room's focal point. Now, we are heading in the opposite direction, hiding kitchen bling behind wood panels or underneath counter tops.

For a few years we have see appliances disguised using panels which creates a clean, airy, sleek feel.  The Subzero integrated refrigerator above is “panel-ready" to help it blend seamlessly with cabinetry.

We are seeing inventive ways of hiding work spaces and small appliances using vertical folding doors such as in the kitchen above by Poliform Varenna.

Or by using vertical folding doors like these by German company Warendorf .  It features an electronic panel that lifts at the push of a button.

Let’s not forget the island.  Manufacturers are showcasing kitchens with retracting and telescoping counter tops.

Take a look at the Atelier collection by Minotticucine.  The counter top can be pulled back to reveal a cook-top underneath, a kitchen sink, a pop-up faucet.  

This trend has been growing worldwide for a while now.  It has been quietly creeping into the US market, but it is definitely making an impact and is a sign of things to come.

Having Fun with a Small Bathroom

Small bathrooms may be tight on space, but it doesn’t mean that they have to be short on fun. Just take a look at the two bathrooms of this La Jolla beach condo.  With no option to move walls or relocate plumbing, we worked with what we had.  See how it all turned out…….


We didn’t have to go too far for inspiration. We just had to step outside the door and look down the street! This beach rental property is yards away from the surfers’ favorite: Windansea Beach.  The client loves the blue-green color of the waves as they break.  Luckily we found an accent tile that captured that perfectly!

Finding that one special piece

In each bathroom we found that one special piece to set the tone. In the guest bathroom it was the weathered, beachy vanity that we found online that perfectly complemented the tile.

In the master bath it was the reclaimed wood that was used to create the vanity and a towel shelf.


To make the tiny 5 foot by 6 ½ foot guest bath feel bigger, we kept all of the walls white and painted the ceiling to a turquoise color match the vanity. 

Using grey pebble tile in the shower and grey weathered wood look plank tile throughout the condo added to the beach feel.

The niche and a hotel towel rack solve some storage issues.

Of course every bathroom needs a little sparkle …..mirrors, glass,  and polished chrome fixtures do the trick.

And every bathroom  a little luxury….a seat in the shower does just that.