kitchen island design

Kitchen Island DOs and DON’Ts

I can’t imagine designing a kitchen without an island!

The kitchen island serves multiple purposes, providing space for prep, dining, and conversation. With the right setup, your island helps create a flow that makes your time in the kitchen more efficient and enjoyable. 

But I’ve also seen some islands take away from the kitchen’s functionality, creating a space that feels cramped. So what do you need to consider when designing your island? Keep reading for the dos and don’ts of the kitchen island!

DO: Think About Function

One of the most important things to consider is the primary function of your kitchen island. Is it a gathering spot? A place for preparation? Cook center? Extra storage? Your island may indeed combine all of these things, but you’ll want to decide what is most important and design around that element. You may realize you don’t have enough space for everything on the island, and will need to put part of the design somewhere else in the kitchen. 

DON’T: Go Too Big

The kitchen is a room of movement, and creating the right workflow is essential. If an island is too big, it will disrupt this flow, creating an obstacle between you and other areas in the kitchen. In addition, if it is too wide, you’ll have a difficult time reading the middle of the island. Base the size and placement of the island off the size of the kitchen.

DO: Add Storage

Let’s face it: we could all use more storage in the kitchen! And an island is the perfect place to sneak in more cabinets and drawers. Cabinet design has become so functional for the kitchen, allowing you to opt for pull-out shelves, sectioned drawers, and even spice racks!

DON’T: Skimp on Seating

Most islands come with a place for you and your loved ones to sit. This creates a more casual place to dine, a space for paperwork, or a spot for conversation. Ask these questions if seating is essential for your island:

  • What height do I want the counter and chairs to be?
  • What type of seating do I want? 
  • How many seats should fit?
  • What is the width of the eating space?

DO: Plan for Electric

If you plan to do any type of food prep or cooking (or even charging your phone), electrical outlets are essential. Plan for a minimum of one electrical outlet at each end of the island, so you’re never left looking for an outlet!

DON’T: Forget about Appliances

You can include a wide range of appliances right into your island. If you want your main sink on the island, it makes sense to put the dishwasher next to it. You can also choose to put the oven range and stovetop if you want your island to be a cooking center. Some fun appliances you can add include a wine cooler, warming drawer, or microwave.

DO: Have fun with Design!

While you want the island to fit with the rest of your kitchen, you can afford to take a little risk with the design. Opt for a bold color at the base of the island, or add a dining table to the back of the island. And, of course, add some unique lighting!

This week, you get the chance to vote on the island at the Residences at 66 High Street. Go to the Social Redesign Facebook or Instagram to cast your vote today!

gas fireplaces

6 Benefits of Gas Fireplaces

There’s nothing like a cozy fire to warm you up during New England winters. A gentle fire changes the ambiance and lighting of any room, not to mention the temperature. 

This week’s votes will help us determine what style of gas fireplace to install in the new unit at the Residences at 66 High Street. You may be thinking:

Why a gas fireplace? 

Wood-burning fireplaces and woodstoves certainly have their benefits, but a gas fireplace adds much more to a home. Keep reading for my top 6 benefits of gas fireplaces. 

Controllable Heat

The main benefit of any type of fireplace is the heat. With a gas fireplace, the heat is easily controlled by a button or remote. The fire starts up immediately, eliminating the skills needed to get a fire going, and set your desired temperature. Remote thermostats make it easy to get the perfect temperature and program your heat. When you are ready to leave the house or go to bed, the fire turns off with another button. 


Gas fireplaces offer a level of safety far above other options. Proper ventilation ensures all emissions are released outside the home, maintaining indoor air quality. In addition, mesh safety screens and glass safety barriers keep children and pets safe from hot surfaces. 

High-Efficiency Saves Money

It can be nerve-wracking to open the first heating bill during winter. Gas fireplaces are high-efficiency heating appliances that can be programmed and used for zoned heating. This allows you to turn down the average temperature throughout the house, and add extra heat to the rooms you utilize the most. Used properly, and you’ll see your utility bill begin to drop!

Minimal Effort and Maintenance

There is no need to gather and chop wood with a gas fireplace. Entirely self-sufficient, you don’t have to add pellets or wood chips. Simply turn on and off as you desire. Once a year, an annual maintenance check by a professional is required, and even that just requires you to call and schedule their visit!

Add Value to the Home

As a real estate agent, I can tell you buyers love to see a working fireplace in listings. If the fireplace is easy to operate and maintain, it becomes even more appealing. In fact, a new fireplace can return up to 91% of its investment when selling a home!  

Match Your Style

Now for the fun part! Gas fireplaces come in a variety of styles, elevating the design of any room. You can make a gas fireplace the focal point of a room with a modern linear fireplace with one, two, or three sides. If traditional is more your style, keep a classic look with a facade and mantle. For a vintage look, opt for a mid-century gas fireplace. When you add color options, size, and shape of the fireplace, the design choices are endless!

This week, you can help me select the style of the gas fireplace at 66 High Street! Head to The Social [RE]design Facebook or Instagram to vote today!

entryway design

3 Ways to Transform Your Entryway

Large living spaces often steal the limelight when it comes to home design.

But there’s no denying that a well-designed entryway causes people to pause and take notice. It is, after all, the first and last impression of a home. 

So what makes a foyer stand out? Benches, built-ins, and decor are all options, but they can clutter up a small space and end up collecting dust. 

With an entryway, less is often more. One accent – whether it’s the ceiling, floor, or wall – is enough to make a statement you and your guests will love for years to come. 

Accent Ceiling

A detailed ceiling draws the eye up, immediately creating a sense of awe. Some builders add this in during the construction phase with a double-height ceiling in the entrance. If that is not the case in your home, you can still add some wonder to the ceiling with paneling, exposed beams, or intricate crown molding. 

Accent Flooring

Instead of focusing on the ceiling, make your floor stand out. The foyer is the perfect place to incorporate special flooring, distinguishing the area from your main living areas with a pop of color or intricate design. Since the surface area is small, it’s also an opportunity to incorporate that gorgeous tile you’ve been eyeing that doesn’t quite fit the budget. If new flooring isn’t an option in the near future, consider a unique rug to add a new dimension to your entrance. 

Accent Wall

An accent wall can also make a great feature in the entryway. A simple way to create an accent wall is with bold paint color on one wall. If you want to be more daring, a new texture with paneling or molding is sure to catch the eye. Accent walls are perfect for where guests hang their coats or next to a sitting area of the entrance. 

Which is your favorite type of accent – ceiling, floor, or wall? Be sure to cast your vote on The Social REdeisgn Facebook page

residences at 66 high street

First up: Residences at 66 High Street

You may have already heard the news: my first project with the Social REdesign is in a brand new unit at the Residences at 66 High Street. 

What you don’t know is how incredibly special this is for me. residences

Not just because it’s the first design in this new venture, but because I am working with a group of industry professionals with the same passion for excellence and quality as me. The team at the Horton Group, including Interior Designer Maryellen Sullivan, is one I’ve gotten to know well over the years. The opportunity for us to design a new unit with all of YOU is indescribable. 

Hometown Pride

I’m a Guilford girl. Always have been. 

Guilford is a unique community on the Connecticut shoreline. Filled with local shops and restaurants, many owned by town residents, the Town Green brings people together year after year. With a train station for easy access to cities, a small-town feel, and beaches and hiking trails all around, it’s quite simply my favorite place.  

When I first heard about the Horton Group’s plan for the old Mill Building at 66 High Street, I was immediately intrigued. Their vision was bold: build the premier luxury development in the state – part historic renovation, part new build – walking distance to downtown. What could be better?

About 66 High Street

The Residences at 66 High Street are a blend of luxury and history – not to mention an incredible location. The first building on site is a beautifully restored mill building. Originally built in 1884, the mill once made everything from lollipops to torpedo switches. I love the original features that remain intact: old mill trusses, refurbished factory lights, brick, and exposed beams.  

Named after Guilford’s original settlers, the Whitefield and Leete are brand new buildings, and the Chittenden is soon to be built. The attention to detail is apparent everywhere: the landscaping, unit finishes, even the hallways. 

Exclusive Listing Agent

Almost three years ago, I became one of the exclusive listing agents for the new development. Working with Kenny Horton and his team, I’ve learned the ins and outs of the property, am familiar with every single unit, and have become part of the special community the residents created. My work at One + Company has helped fill the units with incredible people who love Guilford (almost) as much as I do. 

Award-Winning and Record-Breaking Development

If you haven’t heard about the Residences at 66 High Street yet, get ready to get excited!

Just this month, our latest sale was of the Leete Building penthouse, which broke two New Haven County records for the highest sale for a condo unit (at $3.65 Million) and highest price per square foot (over $912 per square foot). 

In addition, the development has won 10 HOBI Awards since 2016, including Best Luxury Condominium Community, Best Luxury Condominium Unit, Best Luxury Townhouse, and Best Historic Rehab Overall.

Do you see why I’m so excited now?

Starting next week, get ready to help me, Maryellen Sullivan, and the Horton Group design the newest unit in the Leete Building at the Residences at 66 High Street!

Introducing The Social [RE]design

I’m so excited to introduce you to The Social Redesign: a new platform where we can design and learn together. 

What led me here….

Those of you who were part of The House that Social Media Built know my love for design and community. That journey marked an amazing four years of learning, swooning over tile choices (among other design elements!), and connecting with incredible people and businesses in Connecticut and beyond. 

What many of you don’t know is that I do so much more than flips! As a real estate agent with over a decade of experience, I work with builders, developers, and homeowners on a regular basis. 

I realized in the past, I only shared such a small part of what I do. And the desire to share more sparked the next step on my journey.

The Social Redesign

So what is The Social Redesign? It’s a deep dive into all things home design – from dilapidated homes to brand new developments – from mood boards to floor plans. With each new project, I’m inviting you to join by voting on your elements and watch your vision come to life.

But that’s not all. 

I receive so many questions about interior design. And I thought, why not make those questions part of the journey? I’ll be featuring YOUR questions about YOUR homes, and giving you my best insights along the way. 

First Project

Right now, I’m gearing up for the first project for The Social Redesign – a blank slate in an award-winning luxury development at 66 High Street. Join me and the Horton Group team as we turn studs into something spectacular!

Can’t wait to see you there!

Follow along!

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