#TimberView Reveal

Talk about a transformation! #TimberView is complete and just radiates sleek sophistication. Click here to see how it all began. 


When the client requested seating for 10-12 at the kitchen island, we simply couldn't resist the design challenge. We know there will be many memories made around that countertop.

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The hood was our custom design, fabricated by a local welder. 


This last view almost didn't happen. There was going to be a wall between the kitchen and dining room as you can see here in our initial renderings. However, after demo it was easy to see that the wall should come out completely. 


Meet #TrestleWilliams

#TrestleWilliams is receiving a remodeling trifecta- kitchen, mudroom and basement! One of the biggest issues in the kitchen was that the door from the garage opened directly into the room. We were able to solve this problem by moving the laundry room to the second level of the home. This made room in the previous laundry space for the re-located garage door and a true mudroom. 


Progress is well underway! We are excited to show you the plans with a good amount of progression to put things in perspective.

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Here is an update on the basement as well. So much improvement already!

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Follow #TrestleWilliams on social media so you don't miss a beat, this one is moving fast!

#OutdoorRestore Reveal

#OutdoorRestore is complete! It has quite the bird's eye view, don't you think? Well, the original home had more than that...

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The home was plagued with woodpeckers. More than a mere nuisance, these birds were destroying the wood exterior, a problem that had existed since the house was built some 30 years ago. 


Not anymore! With our re-design, #OutdoorRestore is now equipped with woodpecker proof, low maintenance fiber cement siding and a new contemporary style in keeping with the original architecture.


Goodbye Mr. Woodpecker!


Meet #ClearView

Meet #ClearView! This home has space, all it really needed was a bit of clever re-organization. Currently, there is a small kitchen, closed off formal dining room and somewhat awkward family room addition. Here are the before pics...


The plan is to open all these spaces to improve the flow and layout, providing a #ClearView for our clients! The kitchen will gain some much-needed square feet and some amazing new appliances.

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Demo is underway! Follow the hashtag #ClearView for updates on this project along the way.


The Perfect Paint Colors

We've all been there. Finding the perfect neutral paint color turns out to be so much more difficult than you thought. This one is a little too yellow, this one too blue, why are there so many whites!? Luckily for you, we have some tried and true favorites. Neutral paint colors that look amazing time and again. And we are going to share them with you!


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"Suggesting the striking sandstone façade and sculptural detail of historic Manchester Town Hall, this neutral on the khaki side is classic and elegant." is how Benjamin Moore describes it. Manchester Tan is a neutral with noticeability, but not overwhelmingly so. We used it here in an open entryway and love how the afternoon light shows all the nuances.


Sophisticated and soft, this is a grey that never feels cold. You can never go wrong with Revere Pewter, a "classic shade that creates a unifying look that calms and restores." It really seems to add elegance in a way that's extremely liveable to this living room we designed.



Slightly more subtle and a touch warmer than Revere Pewter, Gray Owl is amazingly versatile. It works with virtually any color scheme, opening up the room to make it look bigger. We love it so much that we've even used it in our own homes! These sweetly styled corners are from Carrie's nursery.



"Unerring style defines this classic, softly shaded white." Yes. Yes to all of that. This shade helps you go white without blinding the neighborhood. We used it on the cabinets in this kitchen for a super fresh and inviting update.

#GreekIsland Reveal

Another amazing project to cross off the list! With a marble island countertop straight from Greece and a banquette cushion repurposed from curtains, this kitchen remodel has its share of interesting details and custom features. Scroll down for the full reveal!

When searching for a marble top, we struggled to find one without too much grey. Then we discovered ‘Volakas’ marble straight from Northern Greece. This marble was a true white with subtle veins of grey, hints of green and warm golds.

Our client wanted to open up the space by removing a walk in pantry. We added in pantry cabinets flanking the refrigerator to make up for that lost storage space. Unlike fixed shelves where canned goods can easily get lost and expire, these pullouts offer full access to all pantry items.

2017 Kitchen & Bath Design Competition

We are excited to announce our win at the second annual design competition organized by Kitchen & Bath Design News magazine! There was some fierce competition but after careful consideration, the panel of judges bestowed our very own Carrie Gallo with third place in the Best Specialty Project category for her project Command Center.


Winners were evaluated based on aesthetic appeal, the functionality of the space, attention to detail, design challenges, originality and more. Command Center was a project that combined great design with functionality. Carrie’s clever use of specialized storage and custom design elements turned a cluttered catch-all space into a remarkably usable office and laundry room. According to Carrie, "Designing rooms with purpose is a lot of fun. It allows us to help our clients reorganize how they live within a space and make it work best for their lifestyle." 

Click here to see the full reveal of Command Center, and be sure to look out for our feature in the August issue of Kitchen & Bath Design News as well as KitchenBathDesign.com

Meet Helen!

Helen is our new Project Manager and we are so excited to welcome her to the E&B team. She's organized, efficient and extremely funny- she fits in perfectly! We did a little Q&A so you can get to know Helen a little better. 

Q. What will you be doing as Project Manager for Ember & Brune?

A. Hopefully relieving some stress from Brandie and Carrie. I will primarily be coordinating job site activities like requesting bids, processing permits, scheduling, providing project updates and answering client's questions.


Q. Who is your favorite architect?

A. I’ve been thinking hard about this one. I don’t really have a favorite. I guess Sir Christopher Wren but that is only because I was raised in England until the age of 15, my “favorites” always seem to be UK based. He did have a great influence on the re-build of London in the late 1600’s due to the London fire which destroyed ¾ of the city. His most famous structure was St. Paul’s Cathedral in London which is magnificent.


Q. What do you do for fun?

A. I am a huge scrapbooker, I love to create Shutterfly books. This allows me to remember everything.

I love to travel and read or watch anything related to travel. I will go anywhere, anytime. I also like to plan trips for other people. I get just as much enjoyment investigating places to stay and things to do for friends and family as I do when I am planning for myself. I mostly help out when people are looking at going to Great Britain.

I am murder mystery fan, especially UK based i.e. Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, etc. I love to sit and either read or watch a good mystery.

Another passion is afternoon tea 😊        

Smith Barrow Reveal

The transformation of this historic home is now complete! There is so much character in these walls it's almost difficult to remember where it began. (although you can read about it here) An 8' addition off the back and some interior reconfiguration gave this couple the open floor plan and extra space they needed. Scroll down to see the full tour!

Meet #kneadanewkitchen

The name really says it all! Our newest kitchen renovation is for a couple with a love for bread baking. We are so excited to give them a space that will serve them better. Here is how it looks now... 


Most of us can relate to clutter on our countertops and lack of prep space. Our new kitchen layout at #kneadanewkitchen has a spot for everything with storage space to spare. Other than removing the pantry, we stayed within the original kitchen boundaries. You do not need to do a major remodel to enjoy a more functional kitchen. 

We can’t wait to show you the finished product, and all that open countertop space! Be sure to follow the progress of this project using the hashtag #kneadanewkitchen.

Command Center Reveal

#CommandCenter is officially complete and it looks amazing! It has all the style and functionality you would want in an office and laundry room, working in perfect harmony within one space.


The laundry portion of the room offers order and organization while maintaining a very clean look. 


The cabinets are equipped with pull out shelving for easy access to all necessities.

A free standing table and stools are perfect for an art project or folding laundry.

Adding a corner desk creates a ton of surface space without sacrificing much square footage of the room. 

Those countertops really make the room special. They are salvaged pine from a 130-year old home, repeatedly stained and lacquered. This finishing process reinforces the quality and durability without detracting from the rich, organic look.

Click here to see the before photos from #CommandCenter, and how our plans became reality!

A Versatile Laundry Room

Meet #CommandCenter! It's every homeowners dream, a true multi-functional space. Here is a look at the original room. 

The goal was to add order, function and design to a space that had turned into a catch-all of projects current and unfinished. 

Our plan was to integrate the laundry room and office with plenty of organized storage and a ton of style.

The new space will feature a corner desk space, dedicated wrapping paper holder, cubbies for laundry baskets for each family member, storage for board games, files, personal in-box cubbies for kids homework and communications, broom/vacuum cleaner storage, and craft storage. 

This beautiful countertop is salvaged pine from a 130-year old home.

Stay tuned for more updates on #CommandCenter, we might even need some opinions on a crucial design decision... 

2017 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show

We just returned from KBIS 2017- the world’s largest international trade fair dedicated to the kitchen and bath industry. 


We spent 3 days reviewing products and designs inspired by the past, present and future. Here are just some of our favorite discoveries.

1. The End of an Era? White on white was noticeably missing from the show. Instead, the cabinetry stood out in rich and colorful tones. It's refreshing to see the industry moving to a bolder trend!

2. Tour of Tech. We then moved on to a date with Nate Berkus... Well, pretty close. We attended his seminar on LG's new digital rendering software.

The future of 3D rendering- virtual reality! Imagine being able to "walk" through your renovation plans. Pretty incredible.

3. New Nostalgia. On the flip side, these vintage appliances were a blast from the past. The pink toaster was so cute!

4. Tonal Texture. The subtle blend of smooth and textured, matte and gloss was a universal trend. It's understated but impactful and we love it!

5. The Overachievers. With parts and pieces that are easily movable/ removable, this galley sink makes multitasking easy.

This pantry cabinet does double duty transforming into an amazing workspace/ serving center by simply sliding it's bi-fold doors.

6. Live in Luxury. This 100% walnut hood is a rich component that adds some extravagence, while still working in harmony with the rest of the space.

This bath featured a marble and brushed gold floor- beautiful and lavish.

7. Work Hard, Play Hard. We did have a little time for fun in the #kohlergravity display!

We left tired but invigorated! And ready to put these innovative new ideas to work for our clients. 

Smith Barrow Progress

Well, it's been a while since you've seen Smith Barrow, and oh how it's changed! New wood floors on the first floor, coffered ceilings, tile in the master bath, and walls! So many clean, white walls.

We are so close to completion, each day brings more progress, more finishing touches. As always, make sure to follow the hashtag #SmithBarrow on Facebook and Instagram to see up to the minute updates on the renovation.

Timber View Progress

Ch-ch-ch-changes... The Timber View kitchen remodel is coming along, but if there's one thing we've learned on the job, it's to remain flexible. The plan was to keep part of the wall between the kitchen and dining room. But after demo it became clear how much more functional the space would be with the wall down completely.

Here's a little sneak peek of the rest of the progress.

We can't wait to see those countertops, can you? Keep up to date on this project by following #TimberView on Facebook and Instagram.

Meet Timber View

Each project presents its own set of challenges. But honestly, we love a good design dilemma! Meet Timber View house.

When it was time to update the kitchen, this homeowner had the usual requests; better lighting, more storage, updated finishes, etc. However, they also wanted seating for 10-12 at the island.


This was especially difficult because they wanted to keep the formal dining room adjacent to this space and were not interested in adding square footage to the home.


Working within the existing kitchen perimeter we were not able to accomplish this, however moving the dining room wall over slightly gave us just the right amount of space for an island that would rival Hawaii. Here is the plan...

The cabinetry we chose is a satin black with a high contrasting white quartz that could fool most people into thinking its marble. This room is going to be a stunner when it’s finished! 

We are going to have some gorgeous final photos very soon, so keep checking in here! You can also track the progress by following the hashtag #TimberView on our Facebook and Instagram.

Introducing Smith Barrow House

Living in downtown Chicago, Adam and Sarah encountered a common issue- space. So, this growing family of three decided to explore outside the city limits. Disappointed in their initial search, they began to look instead for a home that could be remodeled into their perfect space.


Ember & Brune came on the scene after the couple found a home for sale in the coveted downtown area of a nearby suburb. Meet Smith Barrow House.

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After consulting with the couple on how to improve the space within a reasonable budget, we proposed an 8' addition on the back of the home, along with some interior reconfiguring. 


This will provide Adam and Sarah with a large open kitchen and living room area, master bath with walk in closet, powder room, mud room and simply more space throughout the entire house. 

And here we are now! Walls are up!

Keep checking in here as we take you through the renovation room by room, or track the progress by following the hashtag #SmithBarrow on our Facebook and Instagram. There's so much more to come!

Trending : Rose Gold

Do you see the world through rose-colored glasses? We have been lately. Well, rose gold to be exact. This finish is trending in a big way, and we love the way it adds the perfect touch of warmth and sophistication to a home.


"Historically, rose gold gained mainstream popularity in the 1920's when Cartier released their coveted Trinity Band, which consisted of gold, platinum and rose gold bands intertwined," notes Knikki Granthan, Trend Manager for Hickory Hardware. "Then again it peaked during the War Period when the government banned the use of platinum for consumer use, many jewelry makers turned to rose gold for their statement jewelry. After a brief stint in the 50's, rose gold faded again and became "vintage."

Now, rose gold has expanded beyond just jewelry. From hardware to lighting and beyond, this vintage color is now paired with clean lines and simple shapes, making it more modern and very versatile.

Want more rose gold inspiration? Check out our rose gold ideabook on Houzz!

Oak? Really….Oak? (Yes, Oak!)

This isn’t your Grandmother’s Oak! We are all for leaving the honey colored oak (and the kids!) at Grandma’s. But, it is time you gave Oak another chance and we are by far from being the only people who think so. 

Why in the world is Oak resurging in popularity? There are a couple of schools of thought on this.  Some will tell you it is because the emerging international design trends, Scandinavian modern and Russian traditional designs alike. Another school of thought is the texture. With all the time we spend in our non-tactile, online worlds these days, it is leaving us craving texture - and Oak delivers in spades! And, there are just so many options; it is really quite a versatile species when you think about it. There is Red Oak, Quarter Sawn Oak, Rift Cut White Oak and European Textured Oak, just to name drop a few. And, within those we can deliver almost any style from Organic Contemporary to Arts & Crafts.

Quarter Sawn

It is how a log is cut which determines whether it is Quarter Sawn or Rift cut – or plain sawn for that matter. In Quarter Sawn White Oak, the round log is first quartered into fat pizza slice shapes and then the cuts are made straight into those quarters. The medullary or pith rays are seen as flecks (their shape reminds us of a boomerang) or stripes. You’ll see they are reflective and produce a wavy pattern. This hard, long, straight grained wood ranges in color from light tan - gray to medium tan – gray; and takes stains well in a variety of colors. 

Rift Cut Oak

Frank Lloyd Wright is oft associated with the linear grains of Rift Cut Oak. The hardwood logs are milled perpendicular to the tree’s rings, which creates the linear grain pattern. The Prairie School of Architecture, with its roots right here in the Midwest, is what Wright is considered the “Father” of, by many. The style was given its name as the lines, normally horizontal design lines, where thought to be reflective of our Midwestern Prairie. Rift Cut White Oak has a linear grain pattern and is a dense hardwood, which holds up well to the Midwestern sensibility of how we actually live in our homes.  John Skojac, dealer development director for The Corsi Cabinet Group says it best when he tells us, “Rift Cut Oak is reminiscent of the rugged, resilient and authentic American spirit.”  Rift Cut White Oak features light-colored sapwood and light grey to dark brown heartwood. (Heartwood is the wood closest to the core of the tree.) It is mostly straight-grained with a medium to coarse texture. Mineral streaks and small pin knots may be present, and celebrate those pin knots – because they are considered part of the wood’s natural characteristics.

 European Textured Oak

European Oak is structured to be totally random in grain flow, character and knot distribution. It’s funny, today woods with knots apparent in them are highly sought after, and often charged a premium for. We especially love those knots in the Organic Contemporary styling we see today. Back in the day knots were considered undesirable and that part of a tree was always disposed of! Just another example of how trends ebb & flow.

Cerusing / Liming

From the floors of high-end homes in Florida to cabinetry found in kitchens of the Gold Coast neighborhood in Chicago to expensive stand alone furniture pieces on the East Coast to the new RH Modern furniture collection, we’re seeing Liming on Oak, aka: cerusing, from Coast to Midwest to Coast.

What is cerusing – more commonly referred to as liming? It is a labor intensive process, during which a wire brush is used to open up the grains of oak. The graining is then filled in with a colored “wax,” normally a white wax.

We can let you in on the secret of making Oak work in our Midwestern homes in just two words; cleaner lines.  That, my friends, is truly the secret to getting a fabulous look from Oak in today’s design world.  Pair Oak with clean lines and you will be on trend and in love.  Look, Oak is a hard wood and thanks to it’s graining it rarely warps.  There is simply no way around it and no reason to fight it.  Oak holds up to the Lake-House-Guest-who-is-hard-on-everything to the repair man who just hit the cabinets with his tool belt.  If you crave on-trend, no fuss and across the board style – we’d like to re-introduce you to Oak.

We practice what we preach! Check out this palette, centered on a beautifully cerused oak door from Greenfield cabinets. Yes, oak… in a modern condo downtown Chicago. We are over the moon with this palette.



House Enemy #1: Woodpecker

After completing some interior remodeling two years ago, our past clients came to us again with a new challenge. Design and specify an exterior remodel that is true to the contemporary architecture of the home, and eliminates their woodpecker problem. This was not just a small problem, but a problem they have struggled with for 30 years since the house was built. The woodpeckers are destroying the wood exterior and no predator noise machine, decoy, spray or otherwise is going to deter them. So, we begin our search for contemporary styled, woodpecker proof, materials. Beware Mr. Woodpecker, you've been warned.