DIY

Sleek Modern Bathroom by Susie Mae Design

When we bought our 1960s house in January of 2017, we knew we had a lot of work to do. There were a lot of things that took priority like a new roof, HVAC system, insulation, and water mitigation. Naturally we wanted to renovate the kitchen and bathrooms immediately, but that just wasn't in the cards. Now, a year and a half later, the kitchen and both bathrooms have been renovated and IT IS SO GREAT! 

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Before we started any work the to the house, this was the view in the dining room, looking at the front door and the closet that was once in the dining room. 

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Next, we painted the walls white, Sherwin Williams Alabaster to be exact. The door and windows were replaced and that closet had to go! The closet backs up to the end of the master bathroom. If you were to knock on the back wall of the closet, you'd be knocking on the end wall of the bathroom/shower. We didn't want a closet in the dining room and we really did want some room to move around in our bathroom, so we decided to close up that closet and take it for the shower. We made plans to move the plumbing down so that the shower could take over that closet space. 

Dining room, looking through the demo'd closet and into the master bathroom. You can see the master bedroom drapes just beyond the bathroom doorway. 

Dining room, looking through the demo'd closet and into the master bathroom. You can see the master bedroom drapes just beyond the bathroom doorway. 

The wall gets framed and then drywall goes up. 

The wall gets framed and then drywall goes up. 

Sanded and painted to look like a regular wall.

Sanded and painted to look like a regular wall.

Here are the BEFORE photos. The bathroom was small and cramped and had haphazard storage "solutions" that were not really working for us. The toilets in our house also had tanks about 2xs the size of the bowl. Wasting water is not something we're into, so we opted for a dual flush water saving option instead along with other more green solutions. 

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It's unclear if the bathroom had ever been updated, but from what we could tell, the only real change since the house was built was adding new layers of floral wallpaper, and then painting over that in recent years. Frankly, I'd have preferred the wallpaper to the paint job in there. Paint all over the tiles, toilet, and ceiling...what a mess. There was nothing we wanted to salvage about this bathroom, so the sledgehammer and Victor got to work smashing and trashing. I had to be at a baby shower that morning, so I got to skip some of the demo labor. But really, demo can be fun so I would have liked to help more.

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A cast iron tub doesn't move easily. The best choice is often to break it up with a sledgehammer. It's messy and LOUD work, but it's effective. 

A cast iron tub doesn't move easily. The best choice is often to break it up with a sledgehammer. It's messy and LOUD work, but it's effective. 

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As with the other bathroom in our house, there had been a slow, continuous leak for who knows how long in the pipes between the bathrooms. Some patching had been done, but nobody had actually fixed the issue in years past. We don't want to do any project half-assed so to speak, so we made sure to replace all of the pipes that needed replacing, and replaced joists and sub flooring. This was the subfloor when the tile flooring came up. Shocking that we didn't just fall through to the crawl space--it was paper thin and crumbly with some areas of no sub flooring at all. 

Now that everything is out, let's look at the design plan. 

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This was the original plan which did change a little, but it started here. We knew we wanted a wall hung vanity in a warm wood tone, a dual flush/modern toilet, round black frame mirror with black sconces, herringbone stone tiles, black ceiling, white walls, and large white body tiles on the sides of the shower, black faucet, chrome shower fixture and towel bars. 

Here's a look at how things would lay out once we took over that closet and where the different tiles and colors will go. 

The Sketup plan. 

The Sketup plan. 

The first step after demo was pocket door installation. Even after we expanded into the closet, the bathroom was still only 10ft long x 5ft wide, we needed to save as much space as we possibly could. When Victor and I are both brushing our teeth or getting ready at the sink, the door being in the way just doesn't work. So, this in-swing door gets the boot. 

We went to an outlet for building supplies in our area and found this solid wood, unfinished pretty 5-light door with ribbed glass. Most bathrooms would not benefit from a glass panel door, but this bathroom in our master bedroom, and you can't see through the ribbed glass so it's still very private for us and that extra light coming in makes the bathroom feel larger, too. 

I sanded, stained, and finished the door with Sherwin Williams English Chestnut and a clear satin varnish. It's so nice to have the extra space this door gives us! In the 1960s houses, pocket doors were everywhere. I'm not sure why they fell out of favor, but I'm a fan and love to use them in tight spaces in particular. They're a great solution for small spaces and are often a much better choice than the super popular barn door, depending on the location and architectural style.  

Next up: the plumbing gets moved. I was working in my office as the plumber was sawing into the new subfloor to relocate the shower drain and pulling the new pipes to the correct heights for the new fixtures. All of a sudden I see Weezy out of the corner of my eye. 

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I guess she thought the new subfloor smelled good so she sneaked in behind the plumber and got this disc of wood to play with. It was so cute! I let her play with it for a little bit but eventually it started to splinter so I had to take it away from her :( This is not design related, but it is incredibly cute so I figure everyone should see it. I love it when she acts like a puppy still, even in her gray-faced years. 

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New drywall and durarock went up, and then the entire shower got thoroughly waterproofed. This is an essential step! If there is a void in the grout, or a crack ever occurs, water can wreak havoc but with proper waterproofing, it wont be so tragic. 

The other side of the pocket door wall in the bedroom needed some drywall patching at the same time to make it smooth and as if the pocket door had always been there. While we had the wall opened up, Victor moved the electrical so that the TV which hangs on this wall can be plugged in without any dangling, ugly cords. He's good. 

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I wanted the tile to flow from the entry up the back wall, and then up onto the ceiling of the shower with the remaining ceiling area finished with black paint (Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, which you can see on my bedroom walls below). Ideally, we would have had no shower curb and a linear drain so I could have had this herringbone pattern on the shower floor as well, but that is $$$ soooo we selected a different shape tile in the same stone for the shower floor. 

Pattern time!

Pattern time!

Painted ceiling in Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, semi-gloss finish

Painted ceiling in Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, semi-gloss finish

Side walls get large format white body tiles, stack bond pattern. Stack bond is straight up and down, not in a brick pattern.

Side walls get large format white body tiles, stack bond pattern. Stack bond is straight up and down, not in a brick pattern.

The reason we had to go with a pebble style tile for the floor is because of the angle of a shower floor. A 3" x 3" tile is the largest you should go in a traditional shower pan so that the pitch to the drain can be achieved without risk of cracking tiles or sharp corners sticking up. We did use the same tiles from the herringbone pattern on the curb and rounded by sanding to keep the corners from being sharp. This is another important thing to remember in bathroom remodeling. Either use a bullnose trim tile if available, a trim like Schluter systems to cap the end of tiles with no pencil or bullnose option, or, if it is a natural stone, have it rounded by a professional tile installer. 

The sconce boxes shown here. The mirror will go centered between them. 

The sconce boxes shown here. The mirror will go centered between them. 

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I selected Pewter Gray grout so that the pattern would show up, but it would not feel too stark and high contrast. We had enough contrast with the white walls and black ceiling and floors. The same grout was used for all the of the tile. You can see in the above photo that we had 3 niches built into the end wall. I did not want shampoo bottles to show when you look into the bathroom. The showstopper tile wall would be interrupted with bottles and it just wouldn't be right. The bottom niche is perfect for leg propping and shaving. It's really great because it works just like a step without creating a break in the herringbone design.

Vanity is hung, toilet is in, almost all of the shower fixtures are in.

Vanity is hung, toilet is in, almost all of the shower fixtures are in.

Finally, we hung the mirror, lights, and the shower glass is installed. We selected just one piece of frameless glass from floor to ceiling with a comfortable 24in opening. Since we are using a rain shower head, this works really well. I wouldn't recommend this same arrangement for someone using a traditional shower head as the amount of overspray could get out of hand in that situation. 

The finished bathroom feels serene, modern, clean, and super functional. It feels so much more high end and spacious, even though we added only 24 additional inches to the length of the space. 

Someday soon I hope to have Christina Wedge photograph this space to really do it justice. I am so happy with it! We have SO MUCH more space, and the function all around is exactly what we need. It's amazing when storage and function is considered in a design, how easy it is to keep it organized and clean :)

Tell us, what's your favorite part of this renovation? What does your dream bathroom look like?

 

Simple and Relaxed Valentine's Day

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

A few Valentines ago, Victor and I had reservations at a nice restaurant in the city. It was a place where we had one of our first dates and so it was special to us. Unfortunately, it must've been special to everyone else in Atlanta also, because even though we had reservations at 8pm, we waited for our table for over an hour. Once we sat down to eat, the entrees we each wanted to order were sold out. 

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

This year, I think we'll keep it a little more low-key and have the entrees we pick to make at home. While going out is nice, keeping it simple at home can be just as special, if not more. Christina came up with this nice meal and how to enjoy it with the one you love, or with your closest girl friends! 

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Dinner doesn't need to be fussy to be special. Make your favorite salad, appetizer, and pasta dish for a hearty meal that isn't too heavy. Making multiple, simple courses gives dinner a fancy feeling without having to spend hours in the kitchen. More time to make moony eyes at each other!

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Make dessert fun and unexpected by dipping yummy snacks in chocolate! Refreshing orange or clementine wedges and pretzel sticks hit all the sweet, salty, and tart notes you crave!

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Having a Galentine's night instead? Pick up some cute V-Day tags like these from Target for serve as wine charms for your best friends.

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Keep things simple and make it buffet style. Everyone will appreciate that you've made a delicious meal, even if it was super easy to make! Using basic pieces you already have and adding in some sweet Valentine themed accessories add a really special touch. You can find these pretty heart napkins at West Elm.

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Dress up easy appetizers by making them bite-size and individual! Who doesn't love a ball of cheese on a stick, right?!

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Easy pasta keeps it low stress. Make your favorite one-pot pasta dish to make clean-up a snap so you and your friends can enjoy more time chatting and eating and less time scrubbing pots and pans. A fresh salad is a breeze to make and will add brightness to your dinner. 

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

What's better than a cupcake? A NAKED cupcake! Cupid goes around naked, so it's only fitting your dessert do the same on Valentine's Day. Top some rich chocolate cupcakes with these pretty little hearts from Target for an extra special presentation. 

We hope you have a sweet and Happy Valentine's Day!

DIY Sugar Scrub for Your Sweetie

Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Valentine's Day is just around the corner! What could be sweeter than making something for those you love to let them know you're thinking of them? Chocolates are a sweet gift, but what about something that pampers a little more? What about if you just want to pamper yourself? The perfect gift for your Valentine, Galentine, or yourself: DIY Sugar Scrub!

Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup sugar (we used white sugar, but you can use raw sugar, organic, or brown as well)
  • 5-8 drops essential oil (we used lemongrass)
Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

DIRECTIONS

  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar and oil. Add in the essential oils one or two drops at a time for the level of scent you desire. 
  • Put in an air tight jar and wrap with a utensil to scoop the scrub and you're done!
Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Personalize your gift with a pretty tag, ribbon, and instructions for use. Use about 1 tablespoon in the shower to exfoliate by gently rubbing in and rinsing away excess. Dry by patting with a towel rather than rubbing. Use caution in the shower as the coconut oil will be slippery!

We hope you'll love making this sweet pampering treat for your loved ones and for yourself this Valentine's Day!

DIY Christmas Tree For Small Spaces

I recently (5 months ago) moved from my tiny one bedroom apartment into a small mid-century style house. It's much roomier than my apartment, but with two apartments merged into one house, we're somehow still bursting at the seams. Eventually, we'll cull the furniture collection and have just what we need, but in the meantime, we're short on space but I still want to decorate for Christmas!

If you, like me, love decorating your home for the holidays but are struggling to find the space for a big Christmas tree, I've got a great solution for you. And it's something you can do easily yourself!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

Introducing....THE LADDER TREE!

It's easy to do and you probably already have most of the items you'll need to make it happen. The best part? You are only temporarily changing a ladder into a tree. It will still work as a ladder and fold up for easy storage when Christmas is over and you can still use it to change light bulbs in your ceiling fixtures!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP ONE

Gather your materials.

  • Wooden ladder (I found mine Grandmama's shed)
  • Table saw
  • Medium grit sandpaper
  • Wood (we used plywood) + blocks for cleats
  • Painter's tape
  • Primer 
  • Green paint (I used Rust-O-leum "Spruce")
  • Good quality garland
  • LED Christmas lights
Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP TWO

Give the ladder a good sanding. If there are globs of paint, give those a little extra attention. Even if your ladder is new, sanding is a good idea as it will help the paint to stick and go on smoothly.
TIP: Paint your nails with OPI nail polish if you want them to stay looking decent after you complete this project. I am astounded by this, but even with sanding AND spray painting, my nails still look fine! 

Photo by Victor Prince

Photo by Victor Prince

STEP THREE

Tape off all of the metal parts on your ladder to keep them from getting painted over. Keeping the working parts from being painted will keep your ladder more able to open and close and it also looks much prettier with the metal details in the end!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP FOUR

Have your handsome partner in crime (or you can do this yourself!) trim* down your wood planks to fit across the steps of the ladder. We measured for a 5 inch overhang on either side to best fit our space. You'll want the wood to fit snuggly between the steps, but not be so tight that you can't remove them.

*We do not have a table saw, so we used a circular saw but this is not the best way. Please use a table saw if you have one!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP FOUR AND A HALF

Check to see if your board will sit level across the step to the rungs on the other side. If not, you'll need to add some simple cleats for your board to sit level. We cut some small blocks, measured for levelness, and screwed them into the side of the ladder. The board will now sit level on these cleats, but will appear to sit on the rungs!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP FIVE

Prime it! I love spray primer, but I'm also a huge spray paint fan. Use whichever primer you feel most comfortable with, and go to town! Watch for drips and get the most even coverage you can, being sure to get the underside sprayed as well. At the same time, prime your boards. You'll have two sides to do on those, so be sure they get nice and dry before flipping. Let it dry until it's no longer sticky to the touch.

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP SIX

Paint your ladder and boards your desired color. Again, I used spray paint because I love it. My ladder took two even coats to be completely covered. Always get one more can of spray paint than you think you need. Remember to spray your boards green now, too!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP SEVEN

Remove the painter's tape, place the boards on the rungs/cleats and begin wrapping in garland! Wrap however you like! I did a criss-cross pattern on mine. Be sure to fluff, fluff, fluff your garland! Look up photos of live garland to see how it lays naturally if you think yours is looking a little funky. 
TIP: Do your garland wrapping and other messy decorating over a drop cloth to make clean up easier. You can shake out a drop cloth easier than you can sweep up every little piece of stray garland.

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP EIGHT

Wrap your garland in lights, following the same pattern you did earlier. Pretty!!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP NINE

Decorate with ornaments! 

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP TEN

If desired, get a shimmer blanket/batting and make a soft surface of fake snow on each plank. How festive! We used a white blanket with a snowflake pattern under our tree instead of a tree skirt. You could use fabric, or even go no tree skirt! 

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

Pile presents on each step and even under the ladder. This tree is a great solution for small spaces. Not only does the ladder itself take up less space than a traidtional Christmas tree, but it offers tons of storage for your presents all throughout AND under! Don't forget to pin these photos to your Christmas Pinterest boards!

Happy decorating!

 

Home Free Episode 3: Before and After

As a contestant on Home Free, I was able to design some spaces I am really proud of! We have limited time, limited instruction, limited resources, and limited sleep. Add all that together, and you could get a mess, but what you get instead is a beautiful home that goes to a deserving family each week. 

We got the first hand view, and while we were not able to take our own photos (we had no cameras or phones for the entirety of filming), the Home Free team took a couple photos of our spaces. Some of the spaces I included here were not included in the "before and after" photos of the house, so I had to take screenshots of the show. I apologize for the poor quality of those photos.

Outside BEFORE

Outside BEFORE

Outside AFTER

Outside AFTER

This house was the best of the three so far. Nothing seemed to truly be in terrible condition, it just looked like someone had run out of funds and chose to abandon a project. But honestly, I think we all thought "alright! it's all in once piece!" and we really did see a lot of potential in this property. Not only is the shape of the house attractive, but this house sits on two acres of land surrounded by horse farms. If you're going to live in way outside the city, this is the place to live!

Living Room BEFORE

Living Room BEFORE

Living Room AFTER

Living Room AFTER

Living Room AFTER

Living Room AFTER

This space was done by the design team, The Design Hunters. They designed all of the spaces the contestants did not work on, as well as the exterior of the house on episodes when that was not included in the project list. Originally, this room had a wainscoting treatment at a different height than what we using for the dining room, and the design team worked with us, removing the wainscoting in the living room so that the two did not compete. They were great about working with us and understanding that our designs felt crucial to us!

Dining Room BEFORE

Dining Room BEFORE

Dining Room AFTER

Dining Room AFTER

Dining Room AFTER (apologies for the poor quality screenshot)

Dining Room AFTER (apologies for the poor quality screenshot)

This room turned out to be so much of what we envisioned! Victor and I had the idea to use corrugated metal to create a wainscoting treatment. We used reclaimed boards for the chair rail and cut a rebate along the length of each chair rail and baseboard so that the metal would sit down into both pieces being "sandwiched" into place. In addition to that, we used construction adhesive and pressed the pieces against the wall, paying special attention to the seams to be sure they were totally flat and would not pose any risk of cuts. I think it turned out really beautifully and looks much more upscale and smooth this way. If we had used screws to attach the metal as it is traditionally attached in more utilitarian settings, it would have ruined the smooth aesthetic, essential for keeping the balance of industrial and upscale in this dining room. 

Originally, we planned to make a built-in bench with storage for below the windows. I was going to upholster it, and Victor was going to build it. However, due to some codes, we were not able to make that happen in the amount of time we had since the two of us were busy getting the room put together and finishing the water feature, and everyone else was tied up with their projects. We could feel the pressure on week three of being one team short again!

Master Bedroom BEFORE

Master Bedroom BEFORE

Master Bedroom AFTER

Master Bedroom AFTER

Master Bedroom AFTER (poor screenshot)

Master Bedroom AFTER (poor screenshot)

I wish we had drapes for the bay window in the master, but unfortunately, there was a curtain rod mix-up and we did not have the appropriate rod for the bay window upstairs and downstairs. So, we used it downstairs and sacrificed drapes in these windows. I really think this room turned out beautifully. It's calming, serene, and still has that industrial farmhouse edge. On TV, they never mention that when you have "wallpaper in the master" or "art installation in the master" that the team is also responsible for designing and styling the entire room as well. We did, and it was a lot of fun! I think we really came together to make this room look like a cozy master retreat. 

Also, I completely disagree with the decision on who won the art challenge in this episode. I saw both pieces up close, and heard the concept behind both, and I truly believe that Siddiq and Aidah's concept and execution was much better. They planned ahead, hung it beautifully, and it looked finished and thoughtful while still maintaining a rustic charm. 

Master Bathroom BEFORE

Master Bathroom BEFORE

Master Bathroom AFTER

Master Bathroom AFTER

Since we were in charge of the master bedroom and the bathroom was open to the bedroom, we were tasked with designing many features in there as well. This large sink was already chosen, so we selected a mirror, accessories, and the lighting and window coverings to complement the fixtures. We wanted the room to be light, bright, and sort of disappear into the background of the room. Having a master bathroom open to the rest of the room is a bit odd, so by keeping things very neutral and subdued, we made sure the bathroom was pleasant to look at, but did not draw the eye.

Guest Bedroom 1 BEFORE

Guest Bedroom 1 BEFORE

Guest Bedroom 1 AFTER

Guest Bedroom 1 AFTER

This bedroom completed by The Design Hunters.

Guest Bedroom 2 BEFORE

Guest Bedroom 2 BEFORE

Guest Bedroom 2 AFTER

Guest Bedroom 2 AFTER

Another bedroom completed by The Design Hunters.

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen AFTER

Kitchen AFTER

I love this kitchen! It's a little bit modern, a little bit farmhouse, and a little bit glamorous. This is the room we did our demo in since the dining room did not really require much demo. For some reason, the ceiling was dropped and there was a flourescent light being used there--eek! We removed the ceiling and it was lifted to create more height. That alone made the room feel much bigger. Taking the wall down and opening the kitchen up to the living room made it feel like half of the house is kitchen! It's open and lovely and much more useable now.  

Water Feature

Water Feature

Victor designed this water feature and we built it together. I struggled to get a good screenshot of it as I was playing the show sine none of the photos were included in the before and after shots, so this is the best I have so far. The foutain is made from a clawfoot tub. Victor immediately had a good idea, sketched it out, and then we found some of the main pieces in the reclaimed scrap yard! The idea was to bury about half of the tub as if it had sunk into the ground with the back feet sitting flush with the ground. An old water pump (found) sits on top of a post (also found) and slowly pours water into an old bucket which trickles down into the tub below. The powered water pump is covered with gravel which is pouring out all around the part of the tub that is buried and a hose carrying the water supply was fed up through the post behind the tub, and up into the old water pump. It worked beautifully! We use super-dangerous power tools to grind down the enamel off of the tub to reveal the iron below so that over time, it will rust a little and give the entire feature that rustic old-farmhouse look. We love it and I could not be more proud of Victor! He is an engineer but has worked tirelessly to produce works of art, something that is not in his typical zone. You could say, we are growing by leaps and bounds and while I learned new power tools I'd never used before, he was learning to make art and stretch himself in different ways. 

The barn was also beautiful. I'm proud of both teams for the work we put into this week. However, again, there were no photos of the barn in the before and after photos from FOX, so I don't have any beauties to show of the barn. If you haven't seen this episode, you should check it out for yourself! The work we all put in is intense! It's amazing what we can all accomplish when we work as a team! Watch this episode here

Choosing the Right Rug Size For Your Room

Rugs are a wonderful way to tie a room together. With texture, color, and pattern, you can really make a big statement and also bring more coziness and comfort to both your indoor and outdoor spaces. One challenge that many people have when selecting a new rug is size. It's the classic Goldie Locks situation--this rug is too small, this rug is too large, this rug is juuuuust right! So, what rug size do you need to make your room look just right? 
Here are a few visuals to give you an idea of the size rug you will need for your living room.

This is typically what you see when someone is using a 5x7 rug in a living space. The rug seems to be floating and none of the pieces are connected as they should be. 

This is typically what you see when someone is using a 5x7 rug in a living space. The rug seems to be floating and none of the pieces are connected as they should be. 

This look is typical of an 8x10 rug in a living room. It's comfortable, and the rug anchors the space, creating a real harmony in the room. 

This look is typical of an 8x10 rug in a living room. It's comfortable, and the rug anchors the space, creating a real harmony in the room. 

This look is typical of using a 9x12 rug. You'll get more of a statement from using a larger rug. It often even makes rooms look larger to use larger rugs! Just be sure that you have at 18 inches or more around the perimeter of the rug so that your room does not become cramped.

This look is typical of using a 9x12 rug. You'll get more of a statement from using a larger rug. It often even makes rooms look larger to use larger rugs! Just be sure that you have at 18 inches or more around the perimeter of the rug so that your room does not become cramped.

Cat Eye Eyeliner Tutorial

Makeup can be so fun to play with! I love to try new looks and perfecting old favorites. One makeup trend I love that has been around for decades is cat eye eyeliner. It's so pretty and has a retro feel that I love. However, sometimes it can be very tricky to get a smooth, consistent line rather than a big, clumpy, or uneven line that grows thicker with every pass of the liquid liner brush. Once you know a few little tricks, achieving the cat eye look is much simpler and can even be de-meow-er (couldn't help myself!) enough to wear every day!

Want to achieve this look? Follow these steps below and try it for yourself!

There are a few things you'll need:

Spotlight On: Niki Gray

A few months ago, we Ends In Style girls spoke at an event at Steve McKenzie's for designers and bloggers. The objective was learning how to get published but more importantly, learning how best to "Tell Your Story". It was a great event and we were honored to speak alongside Michele Williams of Scarlet Thread Consulting and Lisa Mowry, Atlanta editor of Better Homes & Gardens, Traditional Home, Renovation Style, and Decor magazines. We invited attendees to enter a contest and be featured on the blog by writing us and telling us their story. We received many great submissions and were thankful for each of them, but one was able to really tell her story in a way that stood out.

Let's meet the contest winner, Niki Gray of HomeMadeville.com and NikiGray.com

How did you get your start?

To say I came out of the womb looking for ways to communicate and connect with others, would probably be an understatement.  But just because something comes naturally doesn't mean that it will come easily.  I feel like almost every life experience has somewhat contributed to doing what I love, but the simple answer is this -- When I had my daughter, I was only 12 classes from my degree. As a stay-at-home mom, I started my blog, www.HomeMadeville.com as an outlet for creativity.  When my daughter started school, with a little push from my friend, Carole, I decided to go back to school part-time.  I felt like this was the perfect opportunity for me to pursue my passion, not just get a degree. 

Was there one job or contact that set the course of your career?

Adoption Discovery, a nonprofit that educates people who are considering adoption, asked me to be the on-camera host for some of their training videos.  This opportunity not only confirmed that I would enjoy this career path, but it also connected me with a professional actor who has given me lots of great advice and helped me understand more about the industry and pursuing the opportunities that are best for me.

What is your favorite or most successful way to advertise?

So, I don't mean to sound like a broken record here, but I have to say networking.  I have made connections with some amazing bloggers who have promoted me on their blogs and helped me tell my story.  

If there was one thing you could change about your career, what would it be?

I would outsource the things I don't like to do and focus on the things I love.  Both as a blogger and communicator, I have to wear many hats.  I love creating, I love communicating, I love being on-camera or on-stage, and I love telling a story, but there are many times that in order to get that story out there, I have to photograph, edit, produce, promote, and re-promote.  As I grow, I hope to outsource some of those daunting tasks, so that I can just do what I love.

What is your favorite stress reliever?

Spending time with people.  In case you haven't noticed, I am an off- the-charts extrovert.  I am energized by spending time with others, but it also helps me get away from whatever is on my mind. I push the stress away because I want to invest in those relationships.

What is your favorite destination?

Newport Beach, CA.  The minute I step out of the airport into the California sun, I instantly feel invigorated.  The weather is almost always perfect, the food is fabulous and usually healthy, and it is not a place where I feel like a tourist.  Instead, I feel like I am home -- not a feeling this southern girl expected.
 
Niki blogs at HomeMadeville – “Your Place for Homemade Inspiration.”  She is a broadcast journalism student who works as an on-camera and on-stage host for corporations and nonprofits.   Her blog gives her a platform all her own to showcase DIY tutorials,  crafty videosevent decor & more.  She is energized by connecting with others and would love for you to reach out to her on FacebookPinterestTwiitter, or Google+.

UnEggspected Easter Eggs

I apologize for the pun but I just couldn't help myself! It was an eggcellent opportunity to make a corny yolk. OK...I think I have that out of my system now. 

I always loved decorating Easter eggs as a little girl, but now that I'm all grown up, I wanted to come up with a few new ways to make Easter eggs that are a little more modern and suitable for the centerpiece at a posh brunch. Christina and I gathered some supplies and made some really unique Easter eggs you can easily make yourself for your weekend gathering. The kids can even help with this fun DIY project, too!

We're going to use some unconventional materials to achieve a truly unique look.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Follow these four easy steps to create beautiful and unique foliage eggs!

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

First, collect your materials.

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

You can use leaves you find in your yard, flowers, or even herbs like cilantro or parsley!

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Place the eggs where they can dry until the mod podge is clear and shiny.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Next up, mossy Easter eggs! If you've got little helpers, they may need a little extra supervision with the mossy eggs as they use spray glue which is not suitable for young children to use. 

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

First, collect your materials.

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

I got my supplies at Michael's. Look for dried moss that comes in many varieties of colors and textures. 

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style & Design by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Let us know what you think of these fun DIY and unconventional Easter eggs!

Our Favorite DIY Halloween Costume Ideas

It's that time of year that everyone becomes a creative director/costume designer and begins dreaming up complicated, funny, scary, or gross costumes for themselves, loved ones, pets and friends.  We have divided up the categories and picked our top 3 DIY costumes in each.

 

Kids and Babies

A Spider and its Web!  How adorable for you and your little one?  And so easy, too!  I imagine you can stay simple with all white clothing and a black sharpie, a black onesie and some stuffed black tube socks.  And hey, not only is it cute, but black and white is always chic.

This is one of the coolest costumes for either adults or kids.  I first saw this costume on a couple one Halloween in Chicago and completely fell in love with it.  This can get as complicated or as simple as you want, depending on how many layers you add.  The most essential ingredients are the clear umbrellabattery powered Christmas lights, and some awesome shiny fabric cut into strips.  The best part about this costume other than the oohs and ahhs when you walk by is that your kids will be easily seen by a car.

I have yet to meet a child, girl or boy, who is not enamored with this series.  I can't get over the cuteness of this little yellow costume, and again the bright yellow color makes it easy for cars to spot.  You don't have to make this from scratch, just a little shopping around and you can put together this little yellow number: pants, jacket, hat, satchel.

Adults

Who doesn't have a trench coat (it doesn't have to be red) an awesome hat (if you don't have one, its not a bad investment) and a globe? If you don't have a real globe or just don't want to carry one around all night get a blow up one!  

For a dramatic, simple costume, Mother Earth is a great costume.  You can make it by purchasing a green or black dress or pants and shirt and hot glueing faux foliage from Michaels or Hobby Lobby.

This has got to be the best find yet… OMG!  I have no words except that I love it!  The link gives you the perfect tutorial.  Pair this makeup with a color blocked outfit and you are good to go!

Pets

 

A scuba dog!

A scuba dog!

Ok, this is seriously cute! I can hardly contain my laughter! This poor dog looks miserable in the cutest way possible. If you have a smaller dog, use a kid's scuba mask and 20oz bottles rather than the larger ones in the photo. Most everything in this costume can be easily made and you may even have most of the items in your home already.

A dogion? A liog?

A dogion? A liog?

I have a soft spot for pit bulls, bullies, pitties, etc. They make excellent lions because of the short hair and square head. ADORABLE! Click the image to find the Instructables "how-to" on making your own lion mane for your four-legged friend. Really, this will work well for any tan dog, big or small.

Puss N Boots--just try not to give this precious cat all the treats!

Puss N Boots--just try not to give this precious cat all the treats!

If you have an orange cat, this is the perfect costume! My boyfriend has a chubby orange cat and this would be perfect costume for him, but I doubt I could get him in a costume and come away with all my limbs intact. If your cat doesn't hate being dressed up, this is sure to impress all his feline friends!

Couples

Google Maps!

Google Maps!

Feeling clever? Try this easy DIY costume on for size. Wear a comfy t-shirt in a tan or grey, use yellow duct tape and print out road names from your surrounding areas, then make a pin headpiece out of red poster board and paint. Voila! A simple and cute costume for you and your significant other that feels personal and local because of your choice of street names. 

Feeling fancy and French?

Feeling fancy and French?

Here's a new twist on an old favorite, French maid Halloween costume--try being a delicious and pretty croquembouche and have your fella dress as a chef! This costume is DIY friendly and very original. Don't forget to use your French accent all evening to really sell it. Oui oui!

Paula Deen and a Stick of Butter

Paula Deen and a Stick of Butter

This one makes me laugh so much! It's simple and easy to make, and you probably have nearly everything you need on hand already. Maybe you need to run out and get some materials to make a giant stick of butter and some grey hairspray, but isn't it worth the trip for the laughs?

We hope you'll have a great time planning your Halloween and coming up with a costume you love! Have any great ideas for a clever costume? Share it with us! We'd love to hear from you!