Dress Up Your Coffee Table, Nightstand and So Much More…

Dressing up a coffee table or a console table is an opportunity to make a statement which guests can appreciate.  A vignette is a fancy word used to describe the beautiful placement of keepsakes, pictures and architectural pieces on a table top or any flat surface in your home. And once you know the rules, these beautiful pieces of décor are very simple to recreate.

There are 3 main elements to always remember – layers, varying heights, and varying sized objects

This graph demonstrates how simple it is to create a vignette. Using the 3 key elements of layering and gathering objects of various sizes and heights.

Make sure to…

  • Find the perfect place

While the most common placements are console tables, nightstands and coffee tables – in truth, any flat surface will do. Just remember, you are bringing the most treasured pieces of your home together. So placement should be wherever  you can enjoy it the most.

  • Grab your favorite mirror, piece of art or print

Choose this piece carefully. Both the colors and theme of your art piece will be the basis for your vignette and really dominate the composition. A helpful tip would be to choose this piece in coordination to the location of the vignette, the

  • Bring in a tall item

Use a lamp, vase of flowers, thin sculpture or something else (get creative) to give your composition some height.

  • Incorporate a stack of books or a tray

This is again to add some varying height to the vignette. Depending on where you place it, it can also hold smaller accessories (see next step) and even add a little bit of a layered feel to the composition.

  • Add an uneven assortment of smaller accessories

Small boxes, figurines, even candles will do in a pinch. This is really where you add some interest, bring in your personality, or customize for the holidays or themed parties.

  • Review and Edit

Step back from the vignette you’ve just assembled. Eliminate one or two of the small accessories you added (trust us, it’s not impossible to have a good-looking vignette with a lot of elements, but a simpler composition will seem cleaner, feel fresher and look better). Ignore all the previous rules and follow your instincts if you think the vignette needs more accessories, more art or anything else.

If all else fails, look at some pictures of vignettes for inspirations!

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

If you are interested in a consultation for your design and build home remodel please call us at #516-775-8696.

Visit us

DJ’s Home Improvements


* DJ’s Home Improvements is an award-winning design and build remodeling company. Vita and Jerry have been staples of the Franklin Square community for 30 years. As homeowners and business owners for over 21 years in Franklin Square, we are also members of the Franklin Square Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Sons of Italy, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, plus the National Kitchen and Bath Association and awarded Big50 in Remodeling. In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 we have received the Contractor of the Year awards. Visit us at www.djshome.com

DJ’s Home Repairs & Improvements, Inc. Nassau Lic. #H18C4240000 – Suffolk Lic. # 46377-H”

Art To Enhance Your Home

Art is an expression of color and feeling and each person will view it differently, according to his/her likes and dislikes. Artwork decorates your home, bringing out the colors and hues in the walls and décor. When remodeling your home, think about how it will enhance your favorite print, painting, or photograph. As an experienced designer for over 20 years, I can help you incorporate your artwork and treasured photographs into your project.

CAD Rendering - Fireplace Family Room Remodel With New Art - Paintings by Karen Neiman and Isobel Kaufman

When exploring the world of art, we come to realize that art forms are as unique as our personalities and characteristics. When remodeling your home, think about how your newly remodeled home and new decor will work with your collection of art and photographs. We can design and present to you CAD drawings of your new home remodel incorporating the artwork you love and cherish, even before your remodeling project begins.

CAD Rendering of Den Remodel by DJ's Home Improvements

Carefully finding the best location to bring out the best in your art collection, along with good color combinations, will not only be eye-catching, it will bring the focus on the art pieces. A designer will help you create an arrangement of accessories in your home, which can bring out the colors in your decor.

Arrangement of framed art in Den Remodel by DJ's Home Improvements

Another thing to consider is how light will play on the artwork in the room, especially if there is a great deal of sunlight. Natural lighting in the morning and the afternoon will make colors appear differently. With a properly planned lighting design, you will find that situating artificial light, such as spotlights, can bring out the colors in your art.

Of course, there is nothing as beautiful as a piece of artwork that you are passionate about, however, you can also affect how a viewer’s eyes are guided toward the art by the choice of matting and frames. With the many choices in matting and frames, your designer will help you choose the best suited for your (grouping of) art.

Many people are in a quandary when it comes time to hang a painting. Most people erroneously believe a painting should be hung at eye level. However, we all come in many different shapes and sizes. If a 6’3” man and a petite woman of 5’1” are looking at the same painting, it might appear to be too low or too high, depending on who is looking at it.

Living Room Fireplace Design, with Framed Painting by Isobel Kaufman

To gauge the correct height of a painting, measure the distance to the furniture below it. A picture should be six to eight inches above a sofa or eight to ten inches above most other furniture. If placed any higher than that, it will seem disengaged from the furniture and put the rest of the room off balance. A well-planned design will show your contractor where to appropriately mount your art.

When hiring a design-build remodeler for your new space remember to mention your most precious art collection and photographs. A design-build remodeler will help you incorporate your treasures into your home remodel to create a completely improved space full of your beautiful art and fond memories.

Do you have a collection of art and/or photographs that need proper framing and display? Is your home decor currently clashing with your art collection? Do your walls feel empty and can’t decide how to decorate?

Contact DJ’s Home Improvements for a design consultation. We can incorporate your collection of art, in its entirety and seamlessly, into your home remodel. # 516-775-8696 or contact@djshome.com

*DJ’s Home Improvements is an award-winning design and build remodeling company. Vita and Jerry have been staples of the Franklin Square community for 30 years. As homeowners and business owners for over 21 years in Franklin Square, we are also members of the Franklin Square Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Sons of Italy, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, plus the National Kitchen and Bath Association and awarded Big50 in Remodeling. In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 we have received the Contractor of the Year awards.

If you are interested in having us design and build your home remodel project please call us at #516-775-8696.
Join us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterLinked InYoutube

DJ’s Home Repairs & Improvements, Inc.
Nassau Lic. #H18C4240000 – Suffolk Lic. # 46377-H

Michael S. Smith “Kitchens and Baths”

I recently went to the Ann Sacks Tile Showroom, in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan, for the book signing of Michael S. Smith’s newly released book, Kitchens and Baths. It was a little chilly that day and after a drive into the city a nice glass of wine at the showroom was a welcoming touch. Including being a world renowned designer, the interior designer to the Obamas in the White House and author, Michael S. Smith is just the nicest person you could ever meet. If I look and sound like a fan, it’s because I am.

This is a third book by Michael S. Smith. “The newest book from acclaimed designer Michael S. Smith showcases his exceptional take on kitchens and baths, the busiest yet most personal rooms in a home. Legendary designer Michael S. Smith has stories to tell about kitchens and bathrooms – those he has designed himself, and those that inspire him. In this fascinating and inspirational book, Smith, who has his own line of kitchen and bath fixtures for Kohler, explains how these rooms define a house. “

Kitchens and Baths by Michael S. Smith

The book is a great inspiration to me, as a Certified Kitchen Designer and Certified Bath designer. The book is also split into different categories like “Beach”, “Town” and “Country”, each bringing the reader into a different but equally stunning experience. I encourage everyone to pick up a copy at the bookstore or online. Share with me your feeling of inspiration, from Michael S. Smith’s Kitchens and Baths book, to redesign the most utilized and most important rooms in your home.

* Vita Anne Burdi, Certified Kitchen Designer, Certified Bath Designer, is the co-owner and vice president of DJ’s Home Improvements, a design-and-build company licensed and insured in Nassau and Suffolk counties of Long Island, NY, since 1990. Her dedication and experience lends her to create and design, innovatively, all projects in home remodeling, including specialties in kitchen remodels, bath remodels, additions of dormers and extensions, decks, basement remodels, and many more upgrades in home improvements. Vita is a leader and designer of award-winning projects and has been featured and quoted in publications such as The New York Times, Newsday, Remodeling Magazine, Remodeling News, and Lowes for Pros. Vita is also an active member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). Please visit www.djshome.com for more information and to view some of the awards designed by Vita.

This Summer, We’re Doing Extra Good!

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Neighbors,

It’s that wonderful time of year when we all have the opportunity to do something to help make the summer special for someone else.

We would like your participation this summer to help a group of soldiers as a summer project and we want to present each of them with a special gift set.  This will help protect them in the heat of the summer.

We’re asking individuals and businesses in the community to adopt a soldier for the summer.

For every 10 followers we get on Twitter, you will sponsor a special gift for one soldier and help them to feel remembered and supported. For every 5 gift sets earned from Twitter follows, I will donate an additional one myself!  So, get onto Twitter, follow us and share this message to get more followers and therefore more gifts to our soldiers!

Follow us at https://twitter.com/djshomeimprove to get a soldier their special gift. We will mention you in our tweets every time we hit a goal – A Special Gift for each solder for every 10 followers!


We have 83 followers on Twitter now, so when we hit 90 we’ll donate a gift set, then another gift set will be donated at 100 followers, and another at 110 and so on… Even more, for every 50 followers, I will donate an additional gift set myself! Follow us now to keep track of this summer donation project and help our troops feel remembered and supported!

Thank You for helping to make the summer brighter for this special group of people who serve us daily!

The gift set includes a sunblock, lip protector, tax and gift wrap!

Our soldiers thank you and we at DJ’s Home Improvements thank you in advance for your support.

Vita Anne Burdi, CKD, CBD

DJ’s Home Improvements
55 New Hyde Park Road
Franklin Square, NY 11010
(516) 775-8696

DJ’s Home Repairs & Improvements, Inc.
Nassau Lic. #H18C4240000 – Suffolk Lic. # 46377-H

Ins and Outs: New Kitchen and Bath Ideas

As a Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer I scour articles on kitchen and bath design every day, looking for innovative ideas and products. Here’s a look at a some emerging, and fading trends in kitchen and bath design.


Fading Out: Distressed finishes dropped significantly from a year ago, when they were used by 16% of designers, to just 5%.

Emerging: Dark Finishes… Dark natural finishes are chosen over medium natural, glazed, and white painted finishes

Fading Out: Too much effort and budget into the design of the exterior with little thought to the interior where people spend most of their time.

Emerging: DO give some attention to your ceilings by installing a coffered or tray ceiling, and even add color with paint. Treat it like a fifth wall.

Fading Out: Incorporation of wine refrigerators, gadgets like built-in espresso makers, beer tap dispensers, independent ice-makers (systems that take a fair amount of energy and planning but return very little usefulness.)

Emerging: to continue incorporating wine storage into kitchen design, unchilled wine storage is growing in popularity.

Fading Out: Freezer-top refrigerators were only specified by 8% of designers as 2010 drew to a close.

Emerging: According to the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) french door refrigerators jumped from 67% to 78% as the type most often specified by its members.

Fading Out: Commercial stoves and over-sized exhaust hoods. Oversized exhaust hoods can depressurize a home causing back-drafting down chimney flutes, etc. Bad air can get sucked from your garage or down your chimney.

Emerging: Instead of the commercial stove, try an induction cooktop. It is closer to 85% efficient in terms of usefully applying its input energy into heating your food. Gas cooktops are still the most specified.

Fading Out: Incandescent lighting and halogen lighting, even CFL’s due to poor quality of light produced.

Emerging: Designers are clearly opting for more energy-efficient lighting options. LED (light-emitting diode) lighting has increased from 47% to 54%.


Fading Out: Using all and any green products. Thoughtful design with use of the right green materials and applications are more appropriate and green.

Emerging: Quartz continues to take away market share from granite in the market for bathroom vanity tops.

Fading Out: Fireplaces in the master bath and master bedroom. They are found to be rarely used when installed.

Emerging: Green bathrooms (the color green). While white and off-white palettes are up, beiges are down as well as browns. Other common color tones include blues, grays, and bronzes and terracottas.

Fading Out: Oversized tubs in master bath. “You get much more use of an oversized shower, especially if it has access to an outdoor private courtyard.” – Ed Binkley, AIA

Emerging: Under-mount sinks continue to dominate newly remodeled bathrooms. however, vessel sinks have become the clear second choice among designers.

Fading Out: Brushed nickel faucets and stainless steel (in bathrooms).

Emerging: Satin nickel faucets, as well as bronze, oil-rubbed bronze, polished chrome and polished nickel are still high in popularity.

These were just a few of my observations from the kitchen and bath design industry. What do you think of this list?

I’d love to hear from you…

– Vita Anne Burdi, CKD, CBD

Continue reading

New Mixed Material Tile

Anaki, part of the Metal Series by Maniscalco Tile, available at Old Country Ceramic Tile

Well, we made it – the second snow storm of the new year.

At least this time it wasn’t a blizzard, just a regular Long Island snowfall (if there is such a thing). But let’s look on the bright side. There are only 11 more weeks of chilly, snowy, blustery, toes-fingers-nose numbing, my-car-really-needs-to-be-washed and it-gets-dark-so-early weather until Spring.

So while you’re shoveling out the car, getting ready for the weekend and looking forward to Spring think about all those projects that need to be done in the Spring, i.e. Spring cleaning, painting, organizing, getting work done on your home… having that family room addition made so that next winter you won’t all be cooped up in a small formal living room; turning that unused basement into a great media room so that all of the video games and paraphernalia can be out of sight on the first floor and you can be at peace in your cozy living room; finally having a master bath with a walk-in closet for just the two of you; enjoying entertaining with a more open floor plan; and let us not leave out enlarging the kitchen to accommodate the entire family comfortably; right-sizing your home for your family’s needs.

While sitting on all these delicious ideas, I’d like to introduce you to a a new tile out by Maniscalco Artisitic Stone, a family-owned tile manufacturer of glass, stone and metal. They have released a new product in their line of Maniscalco Tile.

In remodeling a home, many homeowners get stumped on what to choose as their tile. Tile can be beautiful as well as functional. It serves to compliment the other elements in your space as well as create style with color and texture. Also, tile will protect your walls from moisture, wear and tear.

With so many options out there it is hard to narrow your choices down…

That is what makes this new mixed material tile line, called Anaki, so great. Without having to choose, you get stone, metal and glass all in one tile and in the great tones of yellow, orange and brown.

Use this tile as an entire backsplash, accent and trim, or make a huge statement when it is applied to an entire wall. It is available in 1×1, 2×2, or in a waterfall pattern so the application options are endless and will take you as far as your imagination will go.

This tile would be perfect for any room such as a kitchen, bath, family room, den, a study and even used on a fireplace.

Contact us and we will help you with three dimensional pictures of the proposed changes to your home – even a virtual walk through of the new space we will create for you.

Please call DJ’s Home Improvements at 516-775-8696 or visit our website for some photos of our work: www.djshome.com

A Beginner’s Guide to Updating Your Kitchen – Cabinetry Style 02

Continued from : “A Beginner’s Guide to Updating Your Kitchen – Cabinetry Style 01”

First of all, Everyone, Happy Holidays! Best wishes to you and all of your friends and family!

Now that we have discussed some of the steps in designing your kitchen and choosing a direction in your style of cabinetry, let’s take a look at some of the cabinet finishes you will be deciding on.

We are using examples from the Kraftmaid cabinetry line, a line I use often for its beauty, durability and affordability.

Line of Kraftmaid cabinetry

* Please click on the names to see an example

Stained Finishes – enhances the inherent beauty of each wood type

Highlighted Finishes – a base stain hand-rubbed for maximum absorption

Glazed Finishes – a base stain is applied and then a coat of glaze, emphasizes subtle variation in color

Antique Glazed Finishes – for an heirloom look

Burnished Finishes – creates the warm traditional look of fine furniture

Painted Finishes – heavily pigmented for beautiful color

Vintage Finishes – labor-intensive finish process creates the heirloom look, distressed and over-sanded

Thermofoil – for flawless silky smooth surfaces

These are just some finishes, but there are also many other things to consider in selecting your new cabinetry. To see some of our completed projects using some of these cabinetry finishes, please visit our kitchens portfolio on http://djshome.com/kitchens_portfolio.html.

More to Come on Cabinetry Style, the Beginnings of Updating Your Kitchen…

Subscribe to this Blog to get all my blog updates. You’ll be reminded every time I post something new!

A Beginner’s Guide to Updating Your Kitchen – Cabinetry Style 01

Cabinet manufacturers have an extensive offering of styles, finishes, storage solutions and decorative enhancements, so you can personalize your living space with the perfect combination of cabinetry details. There are many ways to begin your journey.

Steps to Your New Cabinetry:

Inspiration (Find Your Style)

Selection (Explore Your Options and Discuss with your Designer)

Request (Your Designer Orders a Finish and Door Sample)

Design and Order (Your Designer Presents Your Newly Created Space)

Installation – the Designer Oversees (Enjoy Your New Cabinetry Design)

Planning Your Design

Creating a personalized living space takes careful planning. Choosing your own unique combination of features, from the door style to the finish to decorative hardware and enhancements, will bring your own personal style to life. Make sure your designer orders finish and door samples to help finalize your selection.

You may be inspired to choose a finish color first, or perhaps you’ll gravitate toward a certain door style from the very beginning. Just follow your instinct and use the following information to create your own path. With so many choices, you can design a living space that’s so personal, it could only belong to you.

Cabinetry Options To Look For…

There are beautiful options for just about everyone. Enjoy the journey of creating an attractive living space you are proud to call your own.

Standard Cabinetry Features:

– Full-depth shelves provide 25% more usable storage space per cabinet than half-depth shelves.

– Sturdy ¾” thick shelves are adjustable for maximum storage capacity

– Special Permaset™ bumpers cushion doors for a quiet close

– Concealed hinges are adjustable six ways for optimum door alignment

– Round face frames duplicate the appearance of fine furniture and keep hands scrape-free

– Cabinet boxes feature I-beam braces or corner blocks for stability and strength

– The 14-step fine furniture finish process brings out the innate beauty of the wood

Standard Drawer Features:

Full-extension, self-closing drawer buffer system provides easy access to contents and closes drawers quietly

All-wood drawer boxes with dovetail construction provide strength and durability

cabinetry style 101

Greater clearance between the drawer box and cabinet frame enables storage of larger items


Before you begin the selection process, I recommend finding your personal style with the help of your designer.

What’s Your Style? …

Contemporary: Sleek, modern, sophisticated
Classically Traditional: Authentic, refined, time-honored
Natural and Warm: Informal, inviting, Cozy
Luxe transitional: Distinct, stylish, striking
Light and Timeless: Simple, streamlined, functional

More to Come on Cabinetry Style, the Beginnings of Updating Your Kitchen…

Subscribe to this Blog to get all my blog updates. You’ll be reminded everytime I post something new!