Vessel Sink by Calling Crow Creative

Custom Vessel Sinks by Calling Crow Creative

j ellen Design LLC, had the pleasure of working with Calling Crow Creative to incorporate a beautiful custom vessel sink into a bathroom design. Each sink is hand painted by Leah Pereira, owner of Calling Crow Creative. These beautiful vessels generated quite a stir when we posted them on Facebook a couple of weeks ago so we thought we’d share more about how they’re made and how to get one of your very own!

First of all, what is a vessel sink?
A vessel sink is a sink that sits atop the countertop or vanity. On occasion, it can be recessed somewhat or partially, but most of the time the vessel sits right on top. Vessel sinks come in all kinds of colors and materials, including porcelain, glass, and metal. These sinks grab attention and can be a beautiful addition to any bathroom! LIke anything, they do come with obvious pros and cons; however, in the right space, a vessel sink is perfect and adds some serious style! If you’re looking for some WOW for your bathroom, a vessel sink might be it.

We sat down with Leah Pereira of Calling Crow Creative to find out how she makes these fantastic sinks.

What are the sinks made out of?
Leah: All of my hand-painted vessel sinks start with clear glass base.

How are they made?
Leah: All sinks are hand-painted with permanent, heat-fired, non-toxic paint. I typically begin a new design by creating a small prototype bowl first.

How a custom Vessel Sink is Started

I start with the white veining and splashes

Prototype bowl? What’s the advantage of making two?
Leah: A small prototype bowl allows me to experiment with each design, and it gives the customer or designer the advantage of seeing a mini version in advance. With the small bowl in hand, they can decide if they want to make changes, either to the design or the colors.

Vessel Sink Beginning

I add speckling and small details

With the red flower sink that’s was installed recently started as a bowl featuring a flower the customer loved. June then used that otherwise clear bowl to choose a background color that would work well in their powder room, and then I took the bowl back to add that background. Once the prototype was finished to their liking, the small bowl could be used by them to help choose other decor, like counter-top and paint, without the hassle of trying to match colors to a picture, or lugging around a heavy sink!

Vessel Sink with Paintbrush

I fill in small areas, darkened veins, and add dark amber and black touches

Sounds like extra work. Does it help you in the planning phase to make two?
Leah: In addition to helping to finalize a design and color scheme, the small bowl allows me to practice in advance and work out the methods I’ll need to use on the full-sized sink. Painting on glass is tricky, especially on a curved surface. Also, since all the painting is done on the *outside* of the sink but primarily *viewed* on the inside, I am always working in reverse, and partially blind. So having a chance to work on the smaller, lighter bowls first is extremely helpful.

How do you go from small bowl to full vessel sink?
Leah: After planning my layers and techniques, I thoroughly clean the sink, check for defects in the glass, and place it face-down on a turntable to begin working. Each layer has to be planned sequentially, starting with the small detail layers first and working out to the broad strokes. The paints themselves vary from thick to runny, and from opaque to translucent, depending on the color, so those factors have to be accounted for as well. Some colors run or pool easily, while others stay in place but dry so quickly that they’re hard to manipulate. And in between layers there’s always drying time required to prevent the earlier layers from being damaged or altered as the design progresses.

Vessel Sink Painting

I begin filling in larger areas, blending grays, amber, white, and turquoise

After completing the design to be viewed from the inside, it’s time to switch gears and prepare the outside viewing surface. Sometimes, as with the turquoise bowl, this requires adding opaque middle layers to prevent light from passing through the design, before re-engineering the design again on the outside surface. Other times, it involves layering of transparent colors to achieve a certain color or texture on the outside that compliments the interior design. Again, this all depends on the design itself.

Vessel Sink being painted

I work my way out from the center, working one area at a time and letting it dry

After all the layers are completely dry (at least 24 hours, but sometimes longer) I turn the sink over and carefully clean all the excess paint from the lip, as well as any stray paint that may have found its way inside. Once cleaned and polished, the sink is fired at low heat to permanently cure the paint to the surface of the glass. This assures that the final sink design will be durable and protected from damage during everyday use. And of course, because the design is painted solely on the outside of the sink, daily use, care, cleaning, and maintenance of the inside is just like that of any other glass sink.

Beautiful Vessel Sink

When the inside layers are complete, I flip it over and check the design before adding the opaque middle layers

Have you ever made any mistakes while creating the vessel sinks? What’s the hardest part about making them?
Leah: Handling the sinks during the painting process is a tricky business, as it’s unforgiving. Accidentally touching the painted areas, either with a brush or a finger, before they’re fully dry can cause scratches or dings in the design that can’t be adequately filled or painted over. If this happens, I may have to clean all the paint off and start over from the beginning!

Vessel Sink Inside

I add the white middle middle layers

Vessel Sink In Progress Underneath

I prop up the sink to check for transparency between each layer

Vessel Sink In Progress

Once it’s opaque, I reverse the process on the outside, starting with the large patches first

Vessel Sink Completed

When the outside is complete, I polish it, fire it, and photograph it

How can someone have a custom vessel sink made?
Leah: In addition to working with June (you can contact her by clicking here to start a vessel sink project), my sinks are also available locally at Keystone Carvings in Hudson or nationally through my Etsy store. I am also available on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Marble Countertop

What’s the difference with Kitchen Countertop Materials?

When starting you kitchen redesign, you may be thinking heavily about what kind of material you want to use for your new kitchen countertops. There are so many choices, what is best? In this blog post, we’re going to explore some of the most popular — and most trendy — kitchen countertop materials to help you make an informed decision about your new kitchen counters.

We’ll be rating these on a scale of price ($ to $$$) and durability (+ to +++), and give you some good information you may need to know before you make your decision.


Formica Laminate in Mineral Sepia Radiance

Formica Laminate in Mineral Sepia Radiance

Price: $
Durability: +

Laminate is a great choice for a lot of different styles and if you need to stretch your buck a little bit further. It’s easy to use and comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. It’s very versatile to use, and may be a good choice for DIYers. However, it can chip easily and because the inside of the countertop is often times either MDF or particleboard, if it gets wet, it can swell, so you’ll have to make sure all your seams are securely covered and caulked.

Solid Surface, a.k.a. Corian, Avonite

Solid Surface Countertop in Arrowroot

Corian Solid Surface Countertop in Arrowroot

Price: $$
Durability: ++

Solid surface countertops are not like laminate where they have a softer material like particleboard or MDF in the middle. Instead, the material you see on the top and bottom is the same all the way through. This is great because if you scratch or chip it, not only will it be not as noticeable, but you may even be able to sand out the scratch. The only downside is that solid surface countertops often look and feel like plastic — because they’re usually made of such. Sometimes this can cause the countertop to crack if exposed to high heat as well.

Engineered Stone

Engineered Stone Countertop

Price: $$$
Durability: +++

These countertops, sometimes also called quartz, can function a lot like solid surface countertops, but without the plastic feel of solid surface countertops. The reason being is that these are usually created of waste stone materials, bound together usually with resin. Unfortunately with a more premium feel comes a more premium cost.

Natural Stone

Marble Countertop

Marble Countertop courtesy of HouseBeautiful

Price: $$$
Durability: ++

Natural stone such as granite, marble, or soapstone makes beautiful counter tops. We’ve all been envious of gorgeous marble counter tops we’ve seen in home supply stores or in magazines. Everyone wants to have a natural stone counter top, so natural stone will also do well on the reselling market. However, natural stones are porous, meaning they need to be treated from time to time and sealed to keep from bacteria growing or flourishing in the counter top. Natural stone, despite being pricey, can also crack under heavy strains or weight.


Price: $$$
Durability: ++

This new trend in countertop design can have an interesting look, but comes with a premium cost. Concrete countertops are extremely heavy and are made to fit. While you may be thinking that anyone could simply just pour some concrete and this would be a cheap option, the opposite is actually in effect. Concrete countertops are often polished to perfection, and a lot of care has to be put into making sure they don’t crack. Like natural stone, they are also porous, meaning it will have to be sealed from time to time.

Stainless Steel

Price: $$$
Durability: ++

Stainless steel might look great on your appliances and good in an industrial or restaurant kitchen, but it might not be the best choice for your home kitchen. It’s very expensive to install and, despite the name, it can be subject to staining, oxidation, and pitting.

Need help with your kitchen remodel? We can assist! Contact us today!

Undermount Sink

Undermount vs Drop-In: Which is best?

If you’re considering a kitchen remodel, you may be dreaming of the possibilities for lots of things. How will your cabinets look? Where will your new pull out trash go? How about your appliances? What kind of flooring will you have? A big thing to think about is the style of sink you want. While you may be stuck thinking about whether you want a double or single sink, what color you want it to be, and what kind of faucet you want, another big factor is undermount or drop in?

Undermount Sinks

Undermount sinks are great for a few reasons. Aesthetically, they look fantastic. They do excellent for reselling your home, as many homeowners enjoy the look of an undermount sink. Undermount refers to where the sink is mounted, meaning it is mounted beneath the countertop, and a hole in the countertop allows you to access the sink. Undermount sinks also give you a bit more counter space because the counter top runs up to the sink. It makes pushing things into the sink a breeze — as well as cleaning your countertops.

The con to owning an undermount sink can come in the cleaning aspect. While it’s easier to clean countertops with an undermount sink, since there’s still a mounting point on the counter top, food and otherwise can get stuck between the sink and the counter top. While there is silicone caulking there to prevent this, the caulking will need to be replaced every 3-5 years.

Drop-In Sinks

A drop in sink is a classic. It’s the sink you’re most used to, which comes down over the hole in the counter top and then is sealed into place with caulking over the countertop. This does reduce some counter space, however, it’s much easier to clean than an undermount sink. On top of this, there are a lot more options for countertop materials for drop in sinks because most drop-in sinks have a standard size hole they are to be placed in.

Undermount sinks can attach to almost any material except for laminate, whereas drop-in sinks can. If you need to save or just love a laminate countertop, a drop-in sink may be a better solution for you. Plus, drop-in sinks are generally cheaper than undermount sinks.

Need help with your kitchen renovation project? Contact us today to get started!

Metallic Finishes

Using Metallics as an Accent Color

While metallic accents may have once been considered to come across as a sort of “cheap” looking accent, many different tones of metallic accents are making waves in interior design nowadays. With the abundance of rose gold tones and copper, you may be tempted to add some of these glistening accents to your home.

Let’s take a look at what some people are doing that’s super glitzy and successful:

Copper Pots & Pans as Accents

Copper pots and pans are coming back in a BIG way. Not only are they great to cook in, but as long as you keep up on the cleaning of copper pots and pans, they make awesome accents for your kitchen.

Rose Gold Accents

Rose gold is sort of similar to copper, but it has a bit more of a “warm” tone to it. You can think of it like copper that is blushing. Don’t expect to find lots of things in rose gold when you’re shopping: the concept of rose gold is relatively new in terms of coming to popularity so suddenly. Though it was invented in the 1920s, we didn’t start seeing it in pop culture until recently.

Yellow Gold Accents

Once considered a bit tacky, gold used sparingly can actually look pretty glam. Here are some great ideas on how to use yellow gold accents without going crazy and overdoing it. Some of the best uses of metallic accents occur sparingly against limited palette interior design rooms, such as black and white rooms, or monochrome rooms.

What do you think? Do you use metallic accents in your designs? What’s your favorite color to use? Let us know in the comments below!

Plessis Extendable Dining Table

A Touch of Farmhouse: Farmhouse Accents You Can Use at Home

“Farmhouse” is a term that you’ve probably seen coming up more and more often. The idea of farmhouse has come more into modern interior design with the show Fixer Upper and the rustic, country vibe (but not too much!) that the interior designer often has in mind when designing. Going “farmhouse” means bringing in certain rustic elements — but usually not going all out on the country vibe. You don’t have to decorate with chickens — not unless you want to!

Let’s talk about some easy farmhouse upgrades that can give you that farmhouse vibe:

A Farmhouse Sink

The envy of many kitchen dwellers, a farmhouse sink is big, deep, and has a nice oversized apron you can see from any point in the kitchen. No more struggling to fill big pans with water or wash even bigger ones. A farmhouse sink is big enough for all your dishes.

I personally love this copper farmhouse sink. It looks fantastic, but copper needs to constantly be kept clean and has a lot of upkeep on it. Unless you’re committed to never having dishes in your sink, copper may not be for you. Try porcelain or stainless steel instead.

Copper Farmhouse Sink

A Farmhouse Kitchen Table

Rustic with beautiful natural wood showing through, farmhouse style kitchen tables are known to be simple in style but beautifully accent your room and your house. Coming in counter high heights or regular height, usually they look a little more worn and battered, giving off a good rustic feel.

When buying a farmhouse table, it’s important to know that not all farmhouse tables are created equal. If you plan to eat at your table, you might want to fill in any holes or pits with wood putty. Remember that the look and feel of your table comes from the leg style, since that’s most of what you’ll see.

Plessis Extendable Dining Table

Rustic, Distressed Decor

Old roadsigns, wooden signs, old pieces of metal, and more can be used to give that rustic and distressed charm. While you might not have any of these things kicking around in your backyard, most stores have items that showcase that sort of “distressed” and old charm without actually being old.

You can, of course, go antiquing! That’s super fun and you never know what you’re going to find. Instead of getting the same item as a thousand other people from Target or HomeGoods, find a unique antique you’ll want to keep around as a focal point in your home.

Farmhouse Distressed Sign


This one’s a bit trickier as it involves drastically changing your walls, but if done correctly, can really pay off. Wainscoting is the panel-looking pieces of wood that you can install onto your walls about waist height. Usually it is painted white, but it can honestly be painted any color you want (we would suggest white as it’s neutral).

Wainscoting with a fun dutch door can really give people at your home something to talk about!


Barn Doors

You won’t have a barn, most likely, but you can still utilize barn door styles. A lot of people have really taken to the barn door style by hanging barn doors as sliding doors and room separators. They look fantastic! You can mix and match colors and styles with barn doors as they’re meant to be accent farmhouse pieces, not the piece that dictates the colors of your room.

Sliding Barn Doors

Remember, you don’t want to throw everything together. The key to successful design is putting in some elements of the design you’re sourcing (the look and feel of a farmhouse or barn), but use modern elements as well. Less is often more, and having certain accent pieces rather than the whole place looking “farmhouse” is going to be far more appealing and modern.

3 Reasons to Hire an Interior Designer

You might think to yourself… Only rich people hire interior designers. There’s no way I could afford to hire an interior designer. Or maybe you’re thinking — “I can do it all myself.” While we love it when homeowners do it themselves and we applaud them for the attempt, not everything can be achieved by a DIYer.

Oh, and you don’t have to be rich to hire an interior designer!

So let’s look at 3 reasons why you should hire an interior designer right now:

1. Save time and money

Kitchen Redesign

Save yourself the time and hassle of trying to figure out how something can best fit in the design and layout of a room when an interior designer has spent years having formal training on just such a thing, as well as working with multiple clients to achieve their goals. We’ve done this before, and hiring an interior designer brings on a second, more knowledgable and experienced person to help you get the job done.

When you don’t have a boatload of guesswork to do, guess what? You save money, too. No buying the wrong items or items that are too big or look funny. Your interior designer will help you decide where and what, honing in with laser precision as to what needs to be addressed and what doesn’t. Sometimes even existing furniture can remain in an interior design project: the piece you may think is the problem might not turn to be the problem at all.

2. Create your dream space

j ellen Design LLC Beautiful Kitchen

You might have a Pinterest board full of things that you love, but do you know how well all of those items will work together — if they’ll even work at all? We spend time on social media and looking at newspapers enjoying beautiful design, but your interior designer knows what, exactly, makes that design so dreamy. Rather than attempting to DIY a dream space yourself and mashing up ideas and styles, your interior designer can hone in on your personal style and taste, working out something that works for you personally as well as your space.

3. We do it all

Roman Shades on windows add a dramatic flair

Maybe you’re thinking about treading into a kitchen remodel or bathroom remodel. We have the resources to contact builders and contractors that are tried and proven. We know which contractors to go with — and which to avoid. Plus, we handle it all, including the timeframe and any problems that may arise. You just need to sit back and help make decisions when they come up!

Ready to start and interior design project? Contact us today!

Red and Green Bedroom

9 Times Complementary Colors Can Look Great In Your Room

You may remember from school that complementary colors lie on the opposite side of the color wheel. Orange and blue, yellow and purple, red and green. You know that mixing these often produces a not-so-nice shade of brown (or maybe a wonderful shade of brown! There’s no wrong color). But did you know that using complementary colors in design can actually be a good thing?

When utilizing complementary colors against one another, an interesting thing occurs. The colors can “vibrate” against each other! The term “vibrate” is in response to the way your eyes feel when interacting with these colors. This doesn’t always happen with complementary colors, but it does happen most often with them. Here are some examples:

Red and Blue Vibration

Green and Pink Vibration

Blue and Purple Vibration

See what we mean?

Usually in design and interior design this can be really harsh on the eyes and you want to attempt to stay away from “vibrating” colors. However, sometimes vibration of colors can bring visual interest to a room.

The thing about using complementary colors is that you want to have one color that is the main color, and use the second color in spurts, not excessively. Using the second color sparingly will help from too much vibration from occurring.

Now that we understand the basics, let’s look at some awesome complementary colors in interior design:

Blue & Orange

Notice that the blue color has been toned down into a lighter blue-aqua tone that really helps pick up that orange tone. The color of the cabinets is a nice echo of the orange tone of the chairs as well.

The dark blue of these walls really help to accentuate the tone of the orange, drawing your eye in to really look at this couch. The echo of the dark blue as a pillow on the couch is a great touch!

Orange Stools

From Stephanie Krauss Designs

You don’t have to go all out to get the pop of complementary colors. You can use complementary colors in just accessories or furniture, like in the above photo by Stephanie Krauss Designs. This makes for easy swapping of colors if you get sick of them.

Purple & Yellow

Purple & Yellow Couch

From Curated Interior

This couch from Curated Interior with golden mustard yellow accents really shows off a royal purple, drawing you in with that pop of yellow.

Purple and Yellow Comp

From Houzz

This room is decidedly retro, but we enjoy the usage of the muted purple wall, couch, and the rug. The pea green helps to bring together a bright yellow and yellow-green piece into the rest of the room. The orange-brown of the wooden flooring helps as well!

Mustard Yellow Couch

This fantastic bright mustard yellow couch plays nicely against the muted purple-pink backdrop. Don’t you just want to plop right down on this couch?

Red & Green

Red and green can be difficult because we often associate these two colors in conjunction with Christmas. The important part is making sure you have textures and possibly another color or two to break it up.

Green Built Ins

From Hunted Interior

These balsam green built ins from Hunted Interior are amazing. Just a hint of red really pops against the green, and utilizing black and white as well (along with the stripes and dots patterns) help to not give off a Christmas type of vibe.

Red and Green Bar Setting

From Simone McEwan

Look at this gorgeous use of red and green by designer Simone McEwan. The red brings in an intimate setting, and the muted green color helps to keep it from getting out of control. The pattern of the carpet helps to keep it from giving off a Christmas vibe.

Red and Green Bedroom

This bedroom had the potential to really get Christmas-y given the shapes of the embroidery on the comforter as well as the lamp. The usage of the deep brown tone and white helps to break up the space. Plus that red is just luscious!

Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comment below!

Lessons in Color: Warm Colors

You may have heard of the term “warm” colors. We’re going to explore what a warm color is and why it’s called such. Warm colors tend to be colors that are between red and yellow on the color spectrum. This is because these colors remind us of “warm” things, such as fire. Pink, red, orange, and yellow are all considered warm colors.


Think about what makes you feel warm

Flames & Fire

Sunlight, fire, bright areas, maybe even fall, those are all valid things that make people feel warm! We all associate color with different things, but for us as a whole, we generally think of things on the red-orange-yellow end of the color spectrum to be universally “warm”. Think about the color of metal when it is heated — it’s “red hot”, right? Yellow and red peppers are generally hot, too. Spicy things are often colored red or orange, like buffalo chicken. The reason is because we consider these colors to be warm, so it’s a visual cue as well that “this is warm”. You can trick your brain into thinking a space is warm this way, too!

Bring warmth to your room

Along with warming up a large space, a warm color can make you feel comfy and cozy. Certain colors can evoke certain moods and emotions in a room. Warm colors are typically used in large spaces to make them seem smaller and more intimate.

Warm Colors Infographic

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Lessons in Color: Neutrals

Roman Shades on windows add a dramatic flair

Neutral greige tone on a wall

j. ellen Design, LLC is putting together some great infographics with tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your design. Today we’re going to talk about neutral tones and neutral colors, what they are and how they work.

You’ve heard the term “neutral” tone, or “neutral” color, but what is a neutral color? Why is it so useful and versatile? Neutral means that the color or tone is lacking in a specific hue or saturation. Neutral tones tend to be without preference to a certain color.

Why are neutrals so great?

A neutral color is great to use because it makes designing against it a breeze. For example, a neutral gray can match any other accent color you want to use — yellow, orange, red, purple, you name it, it’ll match. Neutral tones for walls and floors make it easy to update your decor when you eventually want to swap out colors or patterns. Check out the image above where we used a neutral color on the walls, and then we decorated with poppy color and light aqua-blue accents. Swapping out those pillows or rug will be easy with the neutral tone on the wall!

True neutrals

A neutral tone can have a color preference, however. Sometimes beige or taupe can have an undertone of pink or purple, maybe even gold. Finding a true neutral tone can be difficult, but being aware of undertones is important as well.

Here are some examples of some neutral colors:

Pantone Neutral Colors

Neutral Color & What it is

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