Designing Our French Inspired Kitchen and Bath: The Kohler Store

Greetings everyone!  Things have been progressing behind the scenes as we continue to design our French inspired home.  As you might have already noticed; we have been on a short break from blog posting. We have been working our way through some unforeseen design obstacles.  The bidding process has again resumed and we too will now pick up our blog postings right where we left off.

Today we want to share a few photographs from a recent trip to The Kohler Store in Glenview, Illinois just outside of Chicago.  For those of you interested in visiting, you can find the Kohler Store at:

The Kohler Store (Chicago Area Locations)
1180 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Glenview, IL 60025

For your added shopping pleasure, you can also visit the Abt showroom right next door!  See our trip to the Abt showroom, home to all appliances and electronics.

Back to The Kohler Store.....

Who is ready to take a loooonnnnngggg soak in this tub?  I think I could sit in this white porcelain Kohler beauty for the rest of the nigh…

French Style Fireplaces and Mantels: Which is your favorite?

Good morning everyone!

The most recent discussion with our builder has focused around if we should construct four full masonry fireplaces. As with anything there are pro's and con's.  Our builder no longer recommends that solid masonry fireplaces be constructed due to energy efficiency.  Our state has enacted energy codes that all new homes must meet.  Since masonry fireplaces are responsible for a great amount of energy loss in our homes (especially during a cold Indiana winter), it has been recommended that we use sealed inserts.  Additionally our design only calls for the mantel to be exposed so the design of a solid masonry fireplace would go unseen behind the walls.  The debate goes on!  Let us know your experience good or bad with solid masonry fireplaces.

To the more exciting part of today's post......we want to choose a mantel style before searching the yards and warehouses for the "perfect" mantel.  There are so many great choices, but we want to know which is your favorite.

We really like the look of this Limestone mantel.  The design has what I call a rustic elegance.

This cast stone mantel has a more traditional look with defined columns and a french arch.  Our ongoing full masonry debate is evident in these first two choices.  The first choice has no insert and is open.  This second choice has an insert (notice the black trim going around the firebox) which is covered by the fireplace screen.

Love the large cooking fireplace.  Okay so this won't go in our living or family room, but its still a fun choice.  A similar picture actually lead to our desire for having a mantel like hood over the kitchen range.  Look at the size of logs you can fit in the firebox!  The arched limestone ceiling is also amazing.

This limestone mantel looks great with the rustic stone.  I can't get over the height of the firebox.  This is certainly on our list of favorites, but would not work with an insert.

We took this photograph while touring a Jack Arnold home in Colorado.  This cast stone fireplace mantel style is high on our list, in addition to choice 1

We really like the angle above the mantel in this fireplace.  We also like the rustic wood beams and ceiling in this photograph. How great does that wood arch look? -Barbara Gilbert Designs

Another great limestone mantel.  I see this being used in a very formal setting.

This fireplace mantel seems to encompass the entire firebox.  A very simple design.

Another simple and elegant cast stone (limestone?) mantel used in this bedroom.  This scenario is very similar to ours.  If the mantel and firebox were not there, it would be difficult to detect a masonry fireplace behind the wall.

This cast stone fireplace is obviously for a grand space with tall ceilings.  We have 21ft. ceilings now and are over them.  Still like this formal look. This appears to have matching limestone shelving.

If we had to do a stone fireplace, this would be the one.  Such a rustic pattern and love the blue colors in the stone.  Does anyone know what kind of stone this is?  If we build a solid masonry fireplace this is the kind of detail we want to bring out of the wall.

Our bedroom has a corner that could accept a nice cozy fireplace.  We also have a wall that could benefit from the small limestone mantel shown in choice 9.  We thought this would be a different approach to creating a corner fireplace.  What do you think? Like it or no (the design not the stone)?

We like how the firebox is lifted slightly up off of the floor in this design. 

Another great solid masonry fireplace that showcases all of the stonework.  The stacked wood next to the firebox is both functional and looks great.  Maybe we need to build a lodge in the country also?

Hope you enjoyed some of our mantel design style choices.  We are curious to hear what you like.

Also we have updated "Our Favorite Blogs" shown in the right column.  We removed some that have quit updating, and added new blogs that we currently follow.  Check to make sure your blog is there and let us know if you would like added.

Hope everyone has a great day!

- Tonya and Rob


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