Atlanta Decorator

Marietta Traditional Project: Piano Room

Right this minute the joists and subfloor in my guest bathroom are being cut out to be replaced. My poor house was left to rot into the ground over the years by owner after owner neglecting to take care of leaks, water mitigation, and just general upkeep. Sometimes, buying a fixer upper is a pain in the you know what. At least we have a good contractor who is doing the work for us so we don't have to go too long with our home in shambles because we just do not have the time to do the work ourselves. I'm excited to share all of that progress soon, but for now, it's just sawdust and loud banging and buzzing. You can follow along with the progress of that project and other of my home projects on my Instagram, @susiemaedesign. 

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

Let's talk about something that doesn't involve saws, joists, OR water damage! How about a serene family space? Here's a lovely, recently completed multi-purpose family room that has come a long way at the Marietta traditional project. It started out as sort of a catch all storage space with very little light and no real purpose aside from housing old toys and a piano. This family of four needed this space to work for them as more than a storage unit. It's just off the front entrance of the home so it needed more presence for sure, so we had to make sure it said "Welcome! Our home is pretty, and cozy" and really set the tone for the rest of the house. We affectionately call this "the piano room". It's a play on a formal living room, but updated for current life.

BEFORE

BEFORE

BEFORE

BEFORE

This room spans the length of the home, from the front of the house to the back, so it's a long room and needed zones to create a cohesive space with multiple uses. It also needed to be lightened up, both in terms of paint color and actual electrical lights. We added a series of 8 can lights (4 sets of 2) down the length of the room and later on added more localized lighting once furniture went in. After that, the ceiling got a fresh coat of white paint and the walls went Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray. This gray has a good bit of blue in it so while it is a neutral it also serves as a soft wash of color. I've decided to call this type of color "bluetral". A mashup of blue and neutral because blue really does act like a neutral quite often. Like blue jeans, neutral blues go with just about everything.

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

Next, we pulled together a furniture plan. To get those zones, we created a game/homework table that can double (or would it be triple?) as additional dining space for parties and larger family gatherings, as well as a sitting room centered around the piano, and storage console at the entrance to provide a natural focal point.  

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

Next came selecting fabrics and finishes for each piece of furniture and for the drapery. We had custom functioning drapery made so that the family could enjoy privacy at night without the need for blinds or shades, allowing more natural light to come in during the day. This color palette is a dream! The rose tone we used on two skirted swivel chairs, stain-resistant taupe on the ottoman, a super strong Crypton on the loveseat, beautiful cream linen on the drapery with a nice tape edge trim, and pulling it all together, a watercolor inspired print for the throw pillows. 

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

This is one of my favorite parts of this space! This gorgeous cupboard is filled with board games, homework, and craft supplies all while looking uncluttered and refined. What a victory! Just above the cupboard is a beautiful piece of art my client found through Atlanta Artist Collective. It has the right scale, mood, and palette to complement the space without looking "matchy". In this case we selected the art towards in the end of the planning phase, but I love how it looks like we planned the room around this piece rather than the other way around. 

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

Since the children both play piano (and it's a pretty upright!), it was important to keep the piano a key figure in the room. The piano anchors the sitting room area and gives focus to the space. We had custom frames made to house portraits of each child and a whole family photo on this side, and landscape photos from their travels mirror this arrangement on the other side of the space above the loveseat. We kept the piano top simple, but decorative. Since it will be frequently used, overdoing it wont work. 

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

See the landscape photos above the loveseat? We used some repetition throughout the space to create balance and symmetry with those images, color, texture, and pattern. The rose colored chairs swivel to offer options for conversation or to enjoy a piano concert. We chose a large ottoman to offer foot propping access for everyone seated around the space as well as extra seating when larger groups gather. This rug is another favorite part for me. It's a stunning hand knotted wool rug with an antique feel. The colors are muted, yet still colorful. I adore the thin fringe on the ends as well. 

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

While the room is not particularly formal, we wanted to be sure the game/homework area felt decidedly less formal than the other side. To encourage family time and fun without feeling fussy, we selected a natural weave rug with a subtle pattern and again, gorgeous fringe detail to anchor the space and not compete with the rug on the opposite side of the room. A family style solid wood table resists scratches and dings from pencils and Monopoly pieces, and Crypton covered seats finish off the pretty ladder back chairs. 

I loved designing this space! It's family friendly, yet refined. Neutral, yet colorful.

BEFORE AND AFTER

BEFORE AND AFTER

We hope you will feel inspired to create a space for your own family that works in a variety of ways. Find a place where there is wasted space and make use of it. If lack of space is your issue, create multipurpose solutions to make your home work better for you! If you need help making the best use of what you have and you want your home to be the best it can be, contact me today to schedule your consultation!

Design, concepts, and written content by Susie Mae Design.

All completed room images by Christina Wedge Photography

A Room With A Hue

What's a parent's greatest joy? When their kids become successful and move out, of course! While being empty nesters means more space and fewer mouths to feed each day, it also means a lot of old furniture and decorations that become a time capsule of 18-year-old-kid-style. 

In the case of these clients, they wanted to update their daughter's childhood bedroom from a whimsical blue and yellow teen bedroom with a traditional style to an inviting and more modern guest room for hosting family. Mrs. Client made a few attempts at updating on her own over time by bringing in antique twin beds to make space for more guests and purchasing upholstered stools that double as luggage racks. However, she felt like it just wasn't going anywhere so she brought me in! 

Merging styles is one of my favorite things to do at Susie Mae Design. These homeowners have a traditional style but they want to take it in a more modern direction while still maintaining their personal style. Having a room redesigned doesn't have to mean buying all new everything and starting from scratch--sometimes it may, but in this case, we were able to use a lot of pieces they already owned and just give them a quick facelift.  

BEFORE

Before we got started, the room was a flat pale blue and the trim was a deep glossy cream. The beds had traditional blue and yellow quilts. The oil rubbed bronze stools at the ends of the beds disappeared on the dark stained wood of the footboards. The room was laid out in the most efficient way, but there were a few things that needed to be changed to make it feel more open. The color needed updating and the lamp in the middle of the window was blocking the light streaming in from outside. This is one of the best parts of this room--dreamy daylight! The dresser in between the windows was not necessary as this bedroom is only being used for a guest room and storage is no longer an issue. The blockiness of the dresser made the room feel too heavy. Let's get to the afters!

AFTER

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Remember our post about when white does and doesn't work in a room? This room is one of those where it works beautifully! Lots of light pours into this room all day long, making it a perfect candidate for white walls. We chose to paint the ceiling a bright, fresh, flat white and the walls and trim in egg shell Dover White by Sherwin Williams. Painting the trim and the walls the same shade gives this room an airy feel and "adults it up" a bit. Dover White has just the slightest hint of warmth in it which goes beautifully with the warm tones we chose in this room.

The first piece we chose for this room drove the color palette and was the inspiration for the look and feel of the rest. We found these soft, luxurious throws and loved the coral/poppy color. This room needed a punch of color and these throws helped us start that off in the right direction. The homeowner wanted to maintain some traditional elements and I really liked the lines of the twin beds and the benches as well, so we chose to keep those.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

However, the stools disappeared on the footboards. We painted the stools a satin off white and recovered them in a beeeeeeautiful watercolor floral fabric with touches of gold. Something that is really fun to do right now is bring in gold and brass when updating a traditional space. This home has all brass doorknobs and brass is makng a comeback in a big way, so instead of replacing those pieces, we brought in touches of the hue on our fabric, some accessories, and hardware.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

We swapped out the white faux wood blinds for bamboo shades for a more modern look and replaced the yellow and white striped valance with some custom made drapes. Custom made....for someone else! When you're on a budget, a great resource is a drapery workroom or decorator warehouse (like this one) that often has custom made high quality draperies that either didn't fit or a client was unhappy with them. Sometimes, it may be that there are only one or two panels. In this case, we found these gorgeous panels (fabric I'd already been eyeing for the space!) originally made for $525 for the custom client on sale for $75!!! My client had a gift card for the store for $50 so we scored $525 custom drapes for $25! Talk about an insane deal! We already loved the fabric and were talking of making window coverings with it so we knew it was meant to be! Picking up some extra, the handy homeowner made the box pleat valance at the dimensions I requested. Is she good, or what?!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

The window has just enough space on either side to mount the hardware for a valance and we took advantage of every inch for maximum impact.  

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

In the before, the room seemed so heavy with the weight of the wooden beds and the dresser in un-matched stains and styles. It took a little searching, but we came across this beauty at a consignment shop. I wanted something wider than the dresser that would sit either just under the window sill or flush with it. The turned legs had that traditional flair I was looking for and the open shelving meant more storage without the visual weight. I painted this a snap pea green to bring in a more playful element and to pick up on the greens in the floral fabric.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Another great resource for decorating on a budget is a hotel liquidation store. There are a few in Georgia and they're quite the treasure hunt! We found these lamps with the exact right green translucent portion for $20 each! I wouldn't recommend going there looking for something in particular, but it's worth checking out and if you see something you love, maybe store it for future use! The stock is constantly changing. For this room, the hotel function on the lamps is convenient for guests. The room feels like a boutique hotel and also a home all at once. 

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

Every room needs a personal touch, even the guest rooms! We chose to use a wool throw the homeowner's mother crocheted to warm up the room for chilly Christmas-time visits. It's such a beautiful touch!

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

Speaking of personal touches, Not only did my client sew all her own pillows using the fabrics and pillow sizes we selected, but she had a great selection of artwork in storage in the bonus room. We chose three paintings of homes, two of which were collected on a trip with her husband to Bermuda, and one brought back from a mission trip to Trinidad by the very daughter who used to sleep in this room each night. We framed them all in gold/brass frames and balanced them on the opposite wall with a large print of "The Secret Garden" which was the homeowner's favorite book as a child. The mirrors were a find my client already had as well. They had a cottagey feel with the original paint colors, so we painted them cream and added Rub 'n Buff in antique gold to the edges to tie in the touches of gold around the room. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

One of my favorite touches in a room is hardware. Why add boring knobs if you can use a beautiful textured gold knob that looks like a tiny piece of art, or a hand painted knob, or knobs like these! These little beauties jumped out at me when I was casually shopping in Anthropologie (more accurately, I was getting knots in my stomach because I wanted EVERYTHING). I just knew these were the final touch I'd been looking for. The knobs are made from new bone china and have the same watercolor look as the floral fabric we chose for the stools and throw pillows. It doesn't hurt a bit that they have a hint of gold on the edges!

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

A guest room isn't complete without cards to write either thank you notes or letters home to tell about your trip. It's old-fashioned, but a real card beats an e-card (unless its a dancing elf with your face on it Jib Jab style) any day of the week! Also, give guests an alarm clock so they can stay unplugged but won't miss out on any fun you have planned for them. This clock and tray for the cards had both a little black to help anchor the room and touches of the gold hues I wanted to bring in whenever I could. 

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

Flowers and a live plant are an essential to almost any room. They bring life and brightness just by being there! I love these tulips! They're the perfect colors for the room and really make it feel welcoming.

We hope you enjoyed this little tour of a one room makeover on a budget completed by Susie Mae Design and we hope you feel inspired to tackle some projects in your own home so you can enjoy it more than ever! 

Interested in getting started? Give me (Susie) a call! I'd love to work with you to achieve the home style you've been hoping for!