Why Do I Need Gutters?

Gutters are very important to the integrity of your home. They mainly serve two purposes:
1. Catch roof water and divert it away from your foundation – Depending on your soil conditions, allowing water to drain off the roof and soak into the ground next to the foundation can lead to a wet basement.
2. Historic applications that serve an aesthetic and functional purpose – Purcell routinely use a “K-Style” gutter to mimic the look of crown moulding.  In doing so, we capture the function and aesthetics.  
Gutters come in many materials and styles. Vinyl, aluminum, galvanized and steel gutters can easily be designed and colored to match the theme of any home, while wood and copper gutters are less versatile but offer a more individualized look.

The most common styles of gutters include: K-Style (commonly installed), half round, built-in, and box style. 
Examples of K-Style Gutters
Examples of Built-in Gutters
Built-in Gutters
Examples of Half Round Gutters

Shown above is a Box Style Gutter that Purcell designed and had built for a project.
The home desperatly needed gutters due to poor soil conditions and a old stone foundation.
The client was adamant about keeping with the look of the existing fascia lines.  So we created a gutter to match the lines.

Trends in Bathroom Design

We sat down with Brenda and Gina of Kitchen Comfort, a Kitchen & Bath Showroom and Design Firm located on charming St. Clair Ave. in St. Paul. Nestled between homes built in the the early 1900’s the location couldn’t be more fitting!

They shared with us trends they are seeing in bathroom designs:

Designing with aging in place in mind:

It used to be that young adults would move back in with their parents, now the parents are moving in with the kids. Lately, we’ve been getting clients that are remodeling a bathroom for a parent who may move in with them, due to aging. Your body doesn’t work the same way it did 50 years ago.  By designing bathrooms with aging in place in mind, you create a bathroom that works for everyone. No matter if they are 5 years old or 75  years old! Some examples designing in this style are:

  • Adding grab bars
  • Large open showers without barriers
  • Adding a duo shower head
  • Incorporating a bench into the shower


  • Gray is everywhere! From cabinet finishes, tile, wall color, floor coverings. Gray is having a very strong presence in the design world. Check out these gray bathrooms.

Function first:
While fashion matters, by an large people seem to be focusing on products that are easy to clean, use and live with. Eliminating time spent cleaning and maintaining and more time with family, enjoying life.
For the first time since 2001, Bathrooms are being chosen to remodel over kitchens by 78% of people

Sources: 123

Thanks Brenda & Gina for the great information.

Check out more of Kitchen Comforts work here!

Master Suite Renovation – Project Update

We recently started a master suite renovation. We completed a family room addition for them three years ago so it felt like reuniting with old friends!  With many of our clients, we create short term and long terms plans for their house.  The clients goals of this project were to create a larger master bedroom, a functional master bath, more closet space, and a laundry room with lots of hanging space and storage.  This home is a hidden gem, located at the end of a cul-da-sac, surrounded by “your typical neighborhood” houses; The home sits on a large piece of wooded property and has a hidden little secret; it has an indoor pool!   
With this project due to be completed mid October we are moving quickly on the construction and are excited to show you a few before and some progress photos:
Exterior Before
Master Bedroom/ Laundry Before
Master Bathroom Before
Indoor Pool 
We hope you are excited to see the final product, stay tuned!

Trends in Tile

To get expert advice on this post, we talked with Uson Design, a eco-friendly tile and fixture showroom located in International Market Square in Minneapolis. Their products range from traditional to contemporary in style and although they are fairly new to the Minneapolis design scene, they have made themselves very well known by offering designers, homeowners and commercial clients a wide variety of tile selections.

Uson Showroom
Tile Trends:
What will tile be wearing for 2012? Tile isn’t just for kitchens and baths anymore. We are seeing it pop up in every living environment in new and creative ways such as more bold and vibrant colors. Graphic patterns create interesting and eclectic accents in homes. Tile is also becoming an increasingly popular way to add texture to a space. New printing technology has taken stone and wood look on porcelain tiles to a new level.
Villeroy and Boch’s Cherie line make a statement with a bold graphic pattern in a vibrant turquoise blue.
Villeroy and Boch Cherie Décor in Seladon
For a more contemporary look, Kale’s Cube Series can be used interchangeably to create a pattern unique to your taste. Visit cube and dot to create your own patterns with their virtual designer.
Mixing metallic surfaces into spaces has become a huge trend in fashion as well as interiors. Metallic has made its way into tile by way of accent pieces and mosaics. You can add a bit of flair to any space with a splash of metal. It’s like adding a pair of fantastic gold or silver earrings to dress up an otherwise bland outfit.
Kale’s Dot Series has various metallic tiles that can be used interchangeably with their system, much like the cube above.
Inax, a Japanese tile manufacturer, is known for their textured tile lines. Their EcoCarat line not only creates a deeply textured wall, but also improves indoor air quality by absorbing harmful substances, controlling humidity, and reducing odors. As you can see, these tiles really make a wall into a work of art.
Inax EcoCarat Precious Mosaic – Pearl Mask

Stone and Wood:
Classics are always in. Here is an updated look on a classic marble floor.

Mirage is on the leading edge of a new form of printing technology in tile. Mirage has applied high definition photography to the production of their stone-look tile. Using photos of actual stone pieces, they have created a system of printing these photos directly onto the porcelain’s surface; the result is astonishing. Now it is easier than ever to get the look of real stone with the improved durability and low maintenance of porcelain. You can also get the look of real wood with the same printing technology.
To check out more products Uson design carries, click here

Union Oyster House – A Historic Gem!

If your ever in the Boston area and want to visit a unique piece of history, we recommend you check out the Union Oyster House. It’s the oldest continuous service restaurant in the U.S. opening its doors in 1826. It’s got great food, and has an impressive list of patrons, including regulars such as the Kennedy clan and Daniel Webster. 

The Kennedy Clan has patronized the Union Oyster House for years. J.F.K. loved to feast in privacy in the upstairs dining room. His favorite booth “The Kennedy Booth” has since been dedicated in his memory. 

The building was built around 1704, prior to it becoming a restaurant. It was  formally known as the Atwood & Bacon House.  The Food is traditional New England fare and it is said that it is where the toothpick was popularized in America.  The menu still features Yankee classics, such as clam chowder and boiled scrod.

 Much of the original restaurant’s flavor and physical structure remains. The floors, structural wooden beams, bar, and fireplace are showing their age. 

Sources: 123

Appliances in Color – Dare to be different!

Appliances are craving color! We spoke with Monique of MJ’s Appliance and here is what she had to share regarding this colorful trend!

Stainless is still the most popular appliance finish, but color is getting some attention.  Blue Star ranges are gaining market share for their simplistic design, high 22,000 BTU burner output and color.  With over a 190 color choices and a precious metals collection you may be awe struck by all the options available.  Your color options will range from subtle to electric, a nice neutral tan or neon yellow, color chart below.

 At MJ’s, we have had clients match their ranges to their favorite baseball team, “Go Twins” blue with red knobs, another in a beautiful robin’s egg blue, one in Harley Davidson orange and more in various shades of red.  
Are you nervous about the forever vows of marriage to a color?  No worries!  You get a prenuptial agreement with this range.  The colored panels can be removed and you can have them refinished by your local body shop or order new ones direct from Blue Star.
Blue Star is not spinning solo on the color wheel. Viking Range Corp also has their 24 shades of fun!  They offer culinary inspired colors such as Wasabi, Dijon, Cinnamon, Chocolate and Pumpkin, to name a few.  If you are not ready to dive head first into a pool of color but may want just a splash of it, the Viking D3 collection could be just for you.  D3 allows you to add color or wood accents to your appliance knobs and handles.
Custom Knobs

Are you daring enough to follow this trend?

Thank you Monique!

Featured Designer- Renee LeJeune Hallberg

The featured Interior Designer of August is Renee LeJeune Hallberg, of RLH Studio in Minneapolis.  Renee is truly an icon in the design industry.

Share your background
  •       I began my Interior Design career as an assistant to Dorothy Collins in the mid 1980’s, a prominent Interior Designer. After assisting her for 2 years, I worked as an Interior Designer at Durr, Ltd, which specialized in English and French antiques. It was at Durr, Ltd that I built a wonderful clientele and began to hit my stride as an Interior Designer. After 5 years at Durr, Ltd  I brought my business to William Beson Interior Design where I continued to grow until I opened the doors to my own design studio in January of 2010.
 If you could live anywhere  in the world, where would it be and why? 
  •       I’d love to live on the the coast of South Carolina. I’m a summer girl at heart and would prefer the milder winter season. I also love the southern hospitality and graceful design sense. Truth be told, I wouldn’t leave Minneapolis, Its home.

    Describe your dream home in five words:
  • Classic, American , understated, properly proportioned.

What are your hobbies:
  • Travel, reading, designing, family
 Five things you can’t live without:
  • My husband and children, dog, extended family, ability to create beautiful rooms.
What are your favorite local shops and restaurants:
  • Ampersand, Five Swans, IMS showrooms
  • Restaurants: Piccolo, Blvd, Bacio, Gianni’s
 Describe one of your favorite projects:
  •       Recently completed two renovated colonial revival homes-classic, strong bones and beautiful millwork. I really enjoyed honoring the era while adding updated aesthetics and using family friendly materials. The homes are located in Orono and St. Paul.

Who is your favorite furniture/ lighting designer:
  • Victoria Hagan and Suzanne Kasler
Victoria Hagen Furniture                                                         Suzanne Kasler Pendant Light

 Fill in the blank, No room would be complete without…

  • Artwork and green plants

    What is your favorite room in your own home, why?

    • My favorite room in my own home is the sunroom. It’s surrounded on three sides with windows and it feels like I’m in a tree house. It is the place I go to read or chat with family members.
    Do you have go to paint colors, if so which ones? 
    • Benjamin Moore Historic Colors

    Thank you Renee! Check out more of Renee’s work here

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    Trends in Kitchen Design

    We Spoke with Kayla Vig, a designer at Gunkelmans interior design regarding trends she is seeing in kitchen storage and design, and here is what she had to share: 

    LED Lighting
       LED lighting offers a clean light and is energy efficient, with the ban of incandescent bulbs at a higher wattage (which is going to continue until incandescent bulbs are nonexistent).  LED’s are the way to go. 

    Drawers and Integrated Handles
       Drawers are everywhere these days! Many people prefer drawers instead of cabinets for the lower storage of their kitchen. This makes accessing your items easier and keeps you more organized.  Integrated handles are becoming the norm, offering a more streamlined look.

       Microwave drawers

    These allow you to place your microwave below your counter and out of sight.

    Corner Drawers   
    Drawers are also starting to replace your traditional lazy susan for your corner cabinets. Again easier access and more organization. 

    Images: 1 /  2 

    Trends in Flooring

    With so many options for flooring where does one start? Here is a list of the most popular flooring options today.

    • Reclaimed wood, hand scraped and American Hardwood are popular now.
    American Hardwood                             Hand Scraped Hardwood


    • “Textured cut and loops are very hot right now. Darker colored carpets such as, browns and greys. ” says Ann of carpet resources

        Loop Carpet
        Loop Carpet


        • Linoleum is a great option for various rooms in a residential setting. It has been specified by interior designers lately for craft rooms, bathrooms, mud rooms and many other areas. Linoleum is a green choice for flooring because it is made from all natural materials and has a long lifespan.  Linoleum is also antimicrobial,  cost effective, easy to maintain, and offers many color/ pattern options. 


        • Tile options are so broad and with so many different styles, tile is not limited to the kitchen and bathroom any more. More to follow next month, with help from an expert!


        • There are many new luxury vinyl products that are wide plank that look like wood.  Also vinyl tiles that look like ceramic come in more unique sizes such as 18″x 24″. While vinyl may not be the first thing that comes to mind in flooring. It is cost effective and has come along way in the past few years. 
        Wide Plank Luxury Vinyl Flooring

        What about transitions in flooring?
        Transitions in flooring can be tricky, handling this issue incorrect and your home may end up looking like a bad patchwork quilt. 

        • Sometimes there are logical transition points and sometimes you aren’t so lucky but in both cases you can make the transition look just right.
        • Stick to 2 or 3 flooring options, adding more may create an overwhelming, non cohesive design. 
        • Use your resources- interior designers, remodeling companies, and tile/flooring showrooms. These professionals deal with these questions on a daily basis and can recommend what is going to work best for you on both a function and aesthetic stand point. 
        Images: 1 / 2 / 3

        The Witch Hat Garage

        Purcell is currently working on a project with a very unique style of a roof, a witch’s hat. Although not limited to a specific type of architecture, this style of roof is typically seen as a turret  on a Queen Anne style home. 
        Here are some images of our witch’s roof: 

        This style of roof can be seen all over the world.  Seen here locally in the Twin Cities the Prospect Park Water Tower was built in 1913 and is one of the most iconic examples of a “witch hat roof”.

        Prospect Park Water Tower                             Purcell’s Witch Hat Roof       

        The labor involved on this style of roof is considerably more time consuming vs a standard pitched roof, thus this type of roof is rarely built anymore. The roofing material can be asphalt, cedar, slate, clay tile, and/or standing seam metal.  Usually the roof is capped off with a finial made of copper or similar metal:

        Copper Capped Witch Hat Roof

         Have you ever seen any examples of this roof style?

        Images: 1 / 23