Design

Marietta Traditional Project: Family Room

Starting from scratch is not alway necessary in design. In fact, sometimes the nicest results come from blending together new and old and updating the old to feel like new. That's just what we did with the Marietta Traditional Project and I love the results! 

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BEFORE

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As you can see, the room was not bad! It has good seating, solid, good quality furniture, and lots of storage. BUT, it also has dare I say too much storage and the built-ins with the large cabinetry visually overlap one another (their lines do, not physically overlapping). This space is just off of a porch so the window is shaded and there is not much natural light at all. Because of that, it feels dark and the darker colors on the furniture feel even darker than they are. 

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My client did some smart things to try to get more light in the room with lighting and a mirror to bounce light around. There are 3 points of light (table lamps, overhead, and floor lamp) but it still felt dark and the cabinet on the left feels heavy and a little oppressive for the space. 

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As you can see here, the window is a little odd. It's sort of a bay window but the wall does not follow the shape of the windows at all. The crown moulding all around makes the walls feel shorter with the vaulted ceilings being minimized by the horizontal line of the crown. 

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Yes, the cutest family ever lives here. This area is technically a part of the family room but feels almost more a part of the breakfast room. Just off the backdoor and between the family room and breakfast room, this space did not have much function. The kids have grown up a lot since this portrait, and while they're still small, they're not using a tiny table this small anymore. This space needed functionality and purpose. 

THE PLAN

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The plan started with electrical. We needed to get more light on the subject so I drew up a plan for the layout of the room and added can lights across the ceiling to distribute more even lighting. We kept the existing wiring for the ceiling fan and swapped the fan out for a really pretty light fixture. In the South, we need fans. They're not pretty but they're often very necessary. However, in this room, due to a very good HVAC system and a nice shady situation thanks to the porch, a fan was not needed so so we could ditch it in favor for something much more attractive!

You'll notice a few other pieces have changed in this floor plan, more on those later. 

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Next, we devised a plan to address those windows. This expert drawing above (ha!) shows the plan: to make the window feel like it was supposed to be that way with drapery. I determined that the layout of the space was actually the best layout to use in this case, so the sofa was to stay put. We selected this gorgeous fabric with some embroidery detail to span the space as both a valance and drapery panels on either side. Now, I know most of the time a valance is used, it's over the top of the panels and hardware but I really wanted that pretty hardware to show and to put the valance as flush against the wall as possible to minimize the look of that gap between the window and the wall. 

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My clients really like their existing rug, so we kept it and used it for the basis of the color scheme. The walls were yellow with white trim and a popcorn ceiling. To start, we selected a very soft neutral with a bit of pigment in it. It's not a great idea to paint a dark room too white--it will look sad and lonely and cold. SO we chose Sherwin Williams Conservative Gray. We used this color on nearly the entire first floor of the house to create a nice flow from room to room. The color has a little blue, a little green, and is a nice neutral backdrop that still holds its own. The painters took down the crown moulding, skimmed the ceiling, and painted the walls and ceiling Conservative Gray and WHAT A DIFFERENCE!

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Like I said earlier, you don't have to start from scratch. While we were making some big changes in this space, we did not replace and of the upholstered furniture! When you buy good quality pieces, they'll be an investment up front, but you'll have some serious quality that lasts you for years and years. If your tastes change, great--just re-cover it! And that is just what we did. Using the rug as inspiration for the color scheme and our new soft neutral walls, I selected a beautiful tan and cream stripe for the wingback chairs, an animal print for the ottoman in a hardwearing stain-resistant material, and some splashed of green on the pillows. Pretty trims tie it all together for a complete look. 

The sofa is a nice leather that was still in great shape. However, the cushions had taken a bit of a beating of the years and were looking a little sad and saggy. My awesome upholsterer came to the rescue and reformed the cushions with a nice foam interior that will stand up to lots more sitting and maybe even a little jumping! After that, the sofa looked as good as new. 

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Remember the little area with the tiny table? Well, to make it functional, I suggested we create a little mudroom. As you can see in this hyper realistic drawing ;) we did just that with a piece of custom made furniture. It has hooks for coats and hats, baskets to keep shoes in, and cubbies for homework and mail so that it can be hidden away and off the kitchen countertops. For comfort when taking shoes on and off, we added a cushion on top. 

AFTER

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Now we have a smoothed ceiling, more light throughout the room, new decorative light fixture, reupholstered ottoman and wingback chairs, all new pillows, new chair in corner, basket for blankets, new side tables, drapery, media cabinet fitted to the room size in a dark finish to balance the color of the sofa, restyled bookshelves, custom artwork over the mantel, moulding and large cabinetry removed, new hardware on the doors of built-in cabinet doors, and a very functional family space. 

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Our gorgeous custom piece for keeping shoes and coats and homework serves its purpose well and keeps things tidy and functional. The cushion is upholstered in the same material as the wingback chairs across the room to create some continuity. We actually had these baskets custom made to be stained in the same finish as the wood on top of the cubbies and fit perfectly into each cubby and I love them! It's so satisfying how perfect they are. 

As you can see, it is very possible to take what you have and make it work for you. Use a little imagination, be willing to make big changes, and be honest with yourself about what is working and what is not in your home. Is it too dark, too crowded, too hot, too cold, too loud? Whatever the issues are that are bothering you, use that to begin your redecorating and then let your favorite pieces inspire your look going forward. We loved all of the furniture my client already had, it just needed a fresh look. They love their rug, so it was the inspiration for the color scheme and just like that, we were on our way to creating a beautiful and well loved space that is the heart of the home for this sweet family and you can do the same with your home. 

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

Bocroom - Inspired Goods

Have you ever felt lost when trying to define your style and find a store that fits it? Do the trends of each season seem to overwhelm you and make you feel stuck? What you need is a place to shop that fits your personal style and not the trends, and a shop that can help you find those special pieces to bring it all together. You need to visit Bocroom in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Having inspired goods isn't the only thing that makes Bocroom special. Here's a little snippet of their mission: 

"Bocroom was born out of a desire to express creativity while making the world a better and more beautiful place in which to live. It has been an exploration of instinct and artistic passion combined with a singular vision to bring positivity to the planet."
Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Now that's a mission we can get behind! When buying products from Bocroom, you can be sure that your purchases are artisan made and responsibly crafted. Made with environmentally friendly practices and materials, and style driven rather than trend driven, each item at Bocroom is thoughtfully sourced for a unique boutique experience. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Owner and founder of Bocroom, Brittany Crooms spent years in jewelry design and sales, so she has an eye for detail and beauty. She opened Bocroom in 2014 and has remained dedicated to the mission of bringing artfully crafted, environmentally friendly products with soul to patrons of the shop. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

So go visit Bocroom and tell them we sent you! You won't be sorry you stopped in :)

New Orleans Show House

Last month, Christina had the privilege of traveling to beautiful New Orleans for the Southern Style Now Showhouse to shoot several rooms for some of our favorite designers who created gorgeous and unique spaces in this stunner of a Southern house. It's dripping with Southern charm before you even set foot in the front door. 

If you're a design lover, a showhouse visit is a must! Designers get a chance to really stretch and turn an already beautiful home into an awe inspiring pin-worthy experience. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

This room by Lisa Mende is a preppy, Palm Beach style wonderland! I mean, this ceiling!! What a fun space and a great way to really play with color, pattern, and drapery. I am loving the pattern play on those chairs in the foreground!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

While we're on the topic of bright, bold colors, take a look at this lovely dining room by William McClure.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

This bathroom by Laura Burelson! Gimme! That shower is everything. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Michel Boyd's spaces are also so very luxe and full of rich texture. This space in the Southern Style Now Showhouse is no different. Also, he once complimented my hair at an Atlanta Showhouse shoot, so I'm a fan ;)

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Ware M. Porter is timeless and classic. A little playful, a lot of soft, Southern textures. Check out that photo of the statue and the little boy--pretty much sums things up!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

I'm bookending this post with Palm Beach style and tons of color. That can only mean one thing...up next, Parker Kennedy! Their style is unmistakable, bold, colorful, and fun. Each space designed by Parker Kennedy has a feeling of history and family, a perfect fit for an old New Orleans home.

We hope you enjoyed this tour of only a small portion of the Southern Style Now Showhouse from New Orleans, LA. Are you feeling inspired? Which space is your favorite?

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!

 

We're In Love with Color and We Don't Care Who Knows It!

Whitewashed neutral interiors are everywhere you look on Pinterest and Instagram. They’re beautiful and calming, but what about color?! When did we forget about the beauty of a bold green wall, the elegance of a deep purple velvet sofa, or the energizing glow of a bright citrus table lamp? There’s a time and a place for a soft grey living room as well as a dining room that is covered in nearly the entire color wheel. Both are equally beautiful when they’re done well. Both are even more attainable with a knowledgeable designer to guide you through the process of using color in intentional ways to make your home look so very “you”!

I say we take a look at colorful designs and be inspired to be bold and go forth colorfully!

Let’s review what it looks like when color is done the right way. 

 

Photo by Christina Wedge for Parker Kennedy Living

Photo by Christina Wedge for Parker Kennedy Living

 

This ooh la la example of color done right is by the design duo Parker Kennedy Living. The colors they use in this bedroom have matching intensity with large spans of clean, fresh white to maintain the restful feeling. By using color blocking, pattern, and matching intensity, they use color in all the right ways!

Photo by Christina Wedge for Parker Kennedy Living

Photo by Christina Wedge for Parker Kennedy Living

This sunroom by Parker Kennedy Living works because the colors are balanced by the neutral upholstery and lamp shade. Stripes and patterns repeat the nice neutral throughout the space. Notice that even the gold is repeated to balance the metallic elements. It’s energizing, but not overwhelming.

Photo by Christina Wedge for Lindsey Hene Interiors

Photo by Christina Wedge for Lindsey Hene Interiors

Why does this room by designer Lindsey Hene work? She uses color as a neutral! This gorgeous pale blue/green sets the perfect backdrop for bright pops of color that are all secondary colors (green, purple, and orange). Repeating shades of orange in small doses throughout the room creates a nice rhythm.

Photos by Christina Wedge, Stying by Susie Roupe for B Interiors

Photos by Christina Wedge, Stying by Susie Roupe for B Interiors

Photo by Christina Wedge, Stying by Susie Roupe for B Interiors 

Photo by Christina Wedge, Stying by Susie Roupe for B Interiors 

Another way to incorporate bold bright colors is to follow a style that typically uses a lot of color such as traditional Moroccan or Indian design. These spaces by designer Beth Johnson do just that. She uses pops of bright color and pattern, all paying homage to the style of India where her client’s sister lives. 

Photo by Christina Wedge for Parker Kennedy Living

Photo by Christina Wedge for Parker Kennedy Living

I have nothing but complimentary things to say about the work of Parker Kennedy. Hehe…see what I did there? The above rooms utilize complementary colors with pattern and texture and beauty for dayyyyyys! I love the energy of this space. It exemplifies how to do complementary colors in varied intensities to create a rich, curated look.

Photo by Christina Wedge for Lindsey Hene Interiors

Photo by Christina Wedge for Lindsey Hene Interiors

You just can’t go wrong with the right kind of complementary colors. In this design by Lindsey Hene, deeper blues paired with brighter oranges on a canvas of cool grey make for a calming, dynamic space.

 

We encourage you to go for some color in your home! Try a dash of color in the places where it really counts—where you want energy and vibrance and attitude!

 




Casual Elegance in Roswell, GA

Among the sea of little boutiques for furniture and home decor, a few stand well above the rest in quality, service, and taste. This week, I attended a business education class with Michele Williams of The Scarlet Thread Consulting (if you own a business, you owe it to yourself to take this class!!!). The class was held in the designer resource center at Miko + Boone Home in Roswell, GA. 

 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Miko + Boone is a store that offers so much more! For homeowners, they have retail furnishings and full-service by-appointment interior design. For designers, they have a trade program along with an entire resource center downstairs with book after book of exquisite fabrics, rugs, wallpapers, and basically anything else designers wish they had all in one place. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

There aren't too many stores that I think "I'll have one of each, please!" upon walking in the door, but Miko + Boone Home is certainly one of them. The graceful, casual elegance that meets you at the door is the same you'll find in their friendly and knowledgeable staff. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

The space is so inviting! Come to shop the decor items and the furniture, and you'll feel right at home. Each piece is so thoughtfully selected, that every area of the store feels as if it could be a cozy room in a beautifully designed home. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

If you're looking for gifts, Miko + Boone has them! From beautiful, handcrafted cards, to place cards, to guest napkins, and more, they've got lovely pieces from local artists that are sure to please.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Speaking of local artists, Miko + Boone features artwork by local painters, including Britt Bass whose studio is two doors down. In fact, Owner and Principal Designer, Amy Ferrer just so happens to be Britt's mom! 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

So, if you're looking for high quality, high style home design products, stop by and shop local with Miko + Boone! If you're a designer, talk to one the their staff about their designer resource center downstairs. I can't wait to source some of these beautiful pieces for some lucky clients!

 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Woof! Woof! We have an announcement!

We are pawsitively thrilled to announce that we are partnering with PAWS Atlanta for a very special Ends In Style project, coming to you just in time for the holidays! 

Christina and I are both absolutely crazy about our dogs (some friends say I'm a crazy dog lady, but I prefer "dog enthusiast"). We are especially fond of rescue and shelter dogs. My sweet and perfect angel baby, Weezy (see? I'm not a crazy dog lady!) was adopted from a rescue society, STARS, just outside of Statesboro, GA and Christina adopted her sweet pup, Hershey from PAWS Atlanta.  Our pets have given us so much love and happiness over the years, so we wanted to do something to give back and to help those dogs and cats who haven't yet found their furever homes. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Hershey is pleased to help us announce that we are creating adorable paper goods featuring precious adoptable cats and dogs from PAWS Atlanta. All proceeds from the sale of these products will benefit PAWS Atlanta! Just in time for Christmas gifts, our cards and calendars will be for sale with the cutest little models you ever did see! This year, give your friends and family a gift that gives back! Add Ends In Style's cards and calendar to your wish list and know you're helping dogs and cats find homes this Christmas season!

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

So, look out for the adorable paper goods by Ends In Style coming soon to benefit PAWS Atlanta!

Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

As a photographer and a photo stylist, we are obviously pretty big fans of pictures. It's an art that is close to our hearts, and is one that can so clearly capture love, pain, joy, and the full breadth of human emotions and creations.

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Photos are such an important part of our culture. After all, when someone gets married, they have photos taken, when someone completes a work of art or design, they have it photographed for their portfolio. And when we see images of people in need or of historical events, we are moved and connected to the story. 

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

If you love photography like we do, you're in luck! Atlanta Celebrates Photography has hit the scene. Our city's heartbeat is our thriving art scene thanks to the Art Institute and SCAD, along with other colleges and universities drawing creative minds to Atlanta. In addition to the local art schools, Atlanta's culture draws people from near and far who are art enthusiasts or artists themselves. 

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Atlanta Celebrates Photography is happening throughout the city this month. You can find works of art, attend lectures, check out some films, and enjoy all that this festival has to offer no matter which area of the city you live in. Check out the festival guide here to find out where and when to be for all of the best of Photography in Atlanta. 


West Elm at Ponce City Market

We had such a fun day earlier this week visiting Ponce City Market! Not only did we visit Hop's Chicken for a tasty lunch, but we spent the morning shooting just a fraction of the beautiful spaces in West Elm!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge, Photo styled by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Photo styled by Susie Roupe

Just being in West Elm is inspirational. I love shopping with them because they have such a great mix of mid-century style (my FAVORITE!) with lots of color and texture! If you're looking for a dash of modernity in your home, West Elm is a great source for just that. From bedding to lighting, to dining and accessories, they have just about anything you could want to update your home. 

Photo by Christina Wedge, Photo styled by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Photo styled by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Photo styled by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Photo styled by Susie Roupe

While you're shopping, stop by the West Elm Market for coffee and pastries! There's even a great spot for sitting while you sip your coffee and pull together a plan for your next project. Also, shout out to their barista for graciously modeling for us! 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

The people of West Elm Ponce City Market actually made this light fixture from Coca Cola bottles--how very Atlanta!

Photo by Christina Wedge, Photo styled by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Photo styled by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Photo styled by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Photo styled by Susie Roupe

Couldn't you see yourself sitting at this desk and being productive all day? It's important to have a beautiful office space to get creative and be inspired as you work the day away! This is our kind of workspace!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

We are excited to share these gorgeous photos of the store with you and encourage you to stop by and shop with West Elm. Also, stayed tuned for the photos of the Style Workshop with Annette Joseph this weekend! Christina will be teaching some photography basics to help turn your styling photos up a notch while Annette gives tips and tricks for bettering your styling skills. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge, Photo styled by Susie Roupe

Photos by Christina Wedge, Photo styled by Susie Roupe

We love that West Elm puts roots down into the local community wherever they are. Check out the beauitul artwork below that is made by local artisans.  West Elm supports local makers and helps consumers to become connected with artists in their area. Prints by Britt Bass Taylor and cards by Yes Ma'am Paper Goods pictured below. 

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

A big thank you to West Elm for letting us shoot your beautiful store! We love every bit of it!

The Recipe for an Inviting Home

You know when you open the pages of a design magazine and find yourself face to face (or face to page, rather) with a home that is so thoughtfully curated and put together that you just want to walk right in? The vibe in a home like that feels collected and handed down, and yet somehow still cohesive. This is my very favorite type of design work! It's hard to achieve a look that appears like it's been 20 years in the making even if it only took a designer a matter of weeks to pull off.

This, friends, is why you hire a designer! It's easy enough to walk into a store and buy everything that goes together or that comes in a set, but to have a home that feels so inviting and warm, one that has been very thoughtfully crafted with pieces that may not even be in the same specific style but create that inviting appeal, that's something a designer can help you achieve with their expertise, time, and talents!

Today, I want us to take a tour together of a home by designer Mary Margaret Nevin of Nevin Interiors to illustrate the recipe for an inviting home.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Here are the ingredients you will need to make this recipe:

  • Texture
  • Pattern
  • Cohesive Color Palette (plus pops of others!)
  • Rhythm
  • Eclectic Mix of Styles
  • Something Funky
  • Something Playful
  • Something Serious
  • Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Bl...wait a minute, wrong recipe!
Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

This room has each of the ingredients needed for your recipe. The rug has a soft pattern, as do the pillows. There's a rhythm created by the warm straw tones in the side tables, rug, and upholstered pieces. Texture is found in the rug, side tables, window treatments and upholstery. The eclectic mix of furniture is the real hero in this room! Bringing in elements from different eras of design in an intentional way makes the room look like a worldly collection, lovingly gathered over the years. The design isn't obvious in its newness, but is obvious in its success.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

PATTERN! PATTERN! PATTERN!

RHYTHM! RHYTHM! RHYTHM!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Something fun and a pop of color are both represented in this painting. Artwork is a great way to bring in one or both of these ingredients AND support local artists. Original artwork cannot be beat and sets a much more personal and unique tone in a space.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Speaking of something fun, a light fixture isn't a piece that has to take itself too seriously. Lighting that is a little custom and funky gives this breakfast nook a little oomf! Who knows? Maybe oomf in a light fixture is just what we all need to wake up a little while eating breakfast.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

A well-appointed and thoughtfully put together home is possible! We suggest hiring a designer as it will save you time and money in the long run, and will leave you with a home you'll love for years and years to come!

Home Free Episode 4: Before and After

If you've been reading the blog for a while now, then you know that I (Susie) was featured on a reality show on FOX that filmed outside of Atlanta this summer.  

Each week, a team of hundreds of carpenters, laborers, designers, and experts in many other renovation related fields descended onto a home somewhere outside of Atlanta to begin a major renovation that would be completed in just five days along with the help of two teams of contestants competing to win a home! 

Week four was our last week on set, and though I know we could have gone much further and that we have the talent and drive to have continued for many weeks, we were dismayed to be eliminated. Victor and I are both extremely competitive, and me being a designer, and Victor being an engineer, I am very confident we had much more to offer! I was so proud of Victor who proved himself to be a creative and talented guy with leadership skills that inspired great teamwork. Thankfully, in the real world no one else can end one's journey.  We decide our own fate through hard work and a drive for success.  This is just what Victor and I will continue to do as we grow in our careers and show what we’re made of.

Many reality shows leave eliminated contestants heartbroken and viewers feeling sorry for them. On Home Free, things are different. Whenever contestants are eliminated, they are given the home they just completed. I can tell you it is the most confusing feeling to be so shocked and confused to have been eliminated and then be handed the keys to a newly renovated home. Talk about an emotional roller coaster! 

Here are the photos of the before and after of the house we won. It is in Stockbridge, GA, which is about an hour and a half from Atlanta. 

Exterior BEFORE

Exterior BEFORE

Exterior AFTER

Exterior AFTER

This house was supposedly a hoarder or squatter situation when we arrived, FILLED with junk outside and inside, smelly, and just filthy. During our drill down challenge this week, I could barely breathe! With allergies and asthma, inhaling dust and animal urine scent was ROUGH. Look at the transformation! Would you have ever guessed looking at this house that it started out in such a condition? The design and build teams, along with the landscape team did an outstanding job making this house into a Victorian beauty. 

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen AFTER

Kitchen AFTER

This kitchen was a total disaster before but is really beautiful now! I'm not really a Victorian style fan at all. I prefer clean lines and modern architecture, but the design team did a great job of making their spaces Victorian-inspired while still maintaining a modern twist that makes sense for a family in this day and age. 

Living Room BEFORE

Living Room BEFORE

Living Room AFTER

Living Room AFTER

I LOVE this light fixture and the media console! Very sleek and modern and a great contrast to the deep teal walls. This room is just off the kitchen and the deep tones are a great contrast to the pale wallpaper throughout the kitchen. 

Dining Room BEFORE

Dining Room BEFORE

Dining Room AFTER

Dining Room AFTER

I love the bar cart and the light fixtures in here! Another room that is a good mix of modern and ornate and lots of houseplants which I always appreciate! Also, the color of this dining room reminds me of the gorgeous blue green that I loved in episode three.

Master Bedroom BEFORE

Master Bedroom BEFORE

Master Bedroom AFTER

Master Bedroom AFTER

Master Bedroom Sitting Area

Master Bedroom Sitting Area

Our competition, the green team, was responsible for converting the master bedroom/bathroom/closet into a master suite. The design plan included removing the closet and absorbing one of the small bedrooms into the room to create a GIANT bathroom! Seriously, the bathroom is giganitc! The green team stuck with a much more traditional Victorian style in the bedroom. 

Master Bathroom AFTER

Master Bathroom AFTER

Didn't I tell you it was huge?! And what you can't see here is there is a glass shower and water closet, too! 

Kids Retreat BEFORE

Kids Retreat BEFORE

Kids Retreat AFTER

Kids Retreat AFTER

Kids Retreat AFTER

Kids Retreat AFTER

The kids retreat was our team's responsibility this week. In addition to designing this room and making a bed or fort, we each had to repurpose an item. Victor and I had books and we did two different projects. Unfortunately, only one of them made it to TV. We created a custom wall paper out of story books for the art area of the room and out of encyclopedia pages for the reading nook. In addition to that, I used a jig saw to cut books into letter shapes to create little sculptures spelling out words and put them on the bookshelves. 

This structure in the room was designed by Victor and me and built by our entire team. We wanted to create something ambitious that was Victorian in style. It's a bit of a challenge to make a space kid-friendly and also true to Victorian aesthetics which are ornate and decorative. So, we designed a little Victorian house/bed/fort! It has a queen sized bed on top with all sorts of fun, soft pillows and underneath is a FORT! A trunk door (Ben and Kasey's repurposed item were trunks) leads into a hidden fort with a chalkboard wall, a TV, bean bags, and even a little octagonal window with tiny curtains I made to match the fabric on our pillows and stool cover. 

Custom storybook wallpaper 

Custom storybook wallpaper 

Book sculpture made with a jigsaw

Book sculpture made with a jigsaw

Pretty little octagonal window with kid-sized curtains!

Pretty little octagonal window with kid-sized curtains!

Art section

Art section

Here is a view of the art section of the room. Kasey made an easel from a trunk and we recovered a piano stool with the same fabric used on the pillows and the fort curtains! I love the bright colors of this room and the twist on Victorian style that we achieved by mixing fun elements together and building a fort that looks like an ornate house but is appealing and safe for kids!

 

Reading nook

Reading nook

Here is a view of the reading nook, slightly rearranged. When we came back to look at the house a few weeks after our elimination, we met Dave Bohler, the lead of the build team, along with his wife and kids at the house. The kids LOVED our space and did a little rearranging and playing. They did not want to leave and had to be practically peeled out of the room. I consider that a SUCCESS! 

The reading nook features encyclopedia pages in the custom wallpaper. We sorted through many pages and made sure to use the most illustrated pages with specifically Victorian elements' descriptions. We even used a page featuring fish scale tiles like those we used on the playhouse!

Guest Room 1 BEFORE

Guest Room 1 BEFORE

Guest Room 1 AFTER

Guest Room 1 AFTER

Guest Room 2 BEFORE

Guest Room 2 BEFORE

Guest Room 2 AFTER

Guest Room 2 AFTER

Dreamy Tea Room

Dreamy Tea Room

Victor and I are so thankful for this opportunity to be on Home Free. We met so many wonderful people and made great friends. It's so much fun to design within the challenging constraints of the limited time and resources that we had and see that, espeically when we combine our talents and skills, we create beautiful work we can be proud of.  Being eliminated was very upsetting because I knew we were not done and could go further. I was not ready to stop and did not want to stop making these homes more beautiful along with our new friends. Even after we discovered that we had won a home, I still wanted to get back on that truck so that I could make the homes of each of our friends better and better and be a part of the transformations. 

Being on this show gave Victor and me the opportunity to test our relationship in a situation that hardly any couple gets to experience and see that we did not fight ONCE the entire time we were on the show. And lastly, walking away from this experience with the keys to a house is an asset that will put us in a great position to build our lives together and eventually renovate or build a modern style home in the city. And now we know we can do it without breaking the relationship! 

We are so thankful to the generous network and to the production company, to the design team and to the build team! I hope we will have an opportunity to work together again in the future. 

 

If you are interested in having interior design work done, contact Susie here!

Home Free: Episode Two Before & After

If you've been watching Home Free on Fox, then you know the gold team has been on top for two weeks in a row! We're all on that bus and heading to our third build challenge with a lot of beautiful spaces left for a deserving family behind us.

Each house that gets renovated on Home Free is totally remodeled from top to bottom, any water leaks or other big issues are repaired, and everything cosmetic you can imagine is addressed and well-dressed. 

Here are the images of the BEFORE/AFTER. The before is pretty rough, huh? This week's challenge was to convert this home from its current horrifying state to a beautiful cottage retreat. Since we were sequestered, I didn't have a camera, and therefore, only have images from FOX.com. There are many things I wish I could show you, but these will have to do for now!

House Exterior BEFORE

House Exterior BEFORE

House Exterior AFTER

House Exterior AFTER

Most of the exterior of the house, including the picket fence and walkway was the responsibility of the green team. They used reclaimed bricks on a walkway closer to the house, gravel down the middle walkway, Ricky, Heather, Ben and Kasey installed a picket fence, and Ore and Tiffany built shutters and planter boxes for the windows. 

Entry BEFORE

Entry BEFORE

Entry AFTER

Entry AFTER

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen AFTER

Kitchen AFTER

The living room and kitchen were also the duty of the green team. They chose a sort of Carolina Blue for the walls, Andi and Kate designed and installed a wallpaper based on a rubbing of a metal backsplash tile in their design kit, Ben and Kasey, built a coffee table with storage (top lifts up as pictured), Ricky and Heather installed a tile backsplash, and the whole green team furnished the space and styled it.

Master Bedroom BEFORE

Master Bedroom BEFORE

Master Bedroom AFTER

Master Bedroom AFTER

Our team (gold team) was also tasked with designing and hanging a wallpaper for one of our spaces. Lauren and Josh did a BEAUTIFUL job! The judges said the wallpaper is too modern but I think it's just right. The metallic detail on the quilt-inspired octagonal shapes is a nod to traditional cottage, but with a more updated, urban feel. The house is somewhat near Atlanta, after all, so urban inspiration is perfect. We picked out the furniture as a team, and Victor suggested we pick a deep blue trim to match the velvet chair and bench we selected. I picked a color that I thought most closely matched the image of the chair we had and I LOVE IT! The color is a great compliment to the deeper blue hues in the room and really amps up the drama of this cool and calming cottage master bedroom. 

Lauren and Josh styled this room while I was busy downstairs styling the media room. It's a really great thing to be on a team that trusts one another. We knew that even with our team divided into three spaces during the final stages, that we would come away with designs we were extremely proud of and that we could all stand behind.

Master Bath BEFORE

Master Bath BEFORE

Master Bath AFTER

Master Bath AFTER

Just look at that wallpaper and that velvet chair! LOVE!

Unfinished Basement BEFORE

Unfinished Basement BEFORE

Unfinished Basement AFTER

Unfinished Basement AFTER

The basement of this house had so much unused space! However, it was very damp and gross. A problem with a crack in the foundation meant a pretty big undertaking for the average homeowner. Thankfully, the Home Free Team brought in the experts and after Victor and I ground down the paint off of the cinder blocks, they showed us how to apply strips of carbon fiber supports that act like steel beams. The wall was reinforced with the carbon fiber, and a weeping system was installed to prevent any future water damage. The basement is now comfortable and dry! 

After we got the big problems resolved, we got to work on creating a media room. This room was a labor of love. Victor and I painted the mural of the trees you see in the background (would love a closer picture of that!). It's multi-layered. Victor loves science and fractal patterns. I love fractal patterns as well--but really just because of aesthetics. Together, we made this mural with layers of colors from lightest/least detailed in the background (think how the mist makes the woods look lighter in the distance), mid tones and medium detail in the middle, and darkest and most detailed colors in the foreground. I am in love with this mural. It took us a long time because the entire thing was freehanded, but it was totally worth it! 

I would love to have an image of the other side of this room, but I don't have that yet. What's just to the right in this shot is a 70 inch TV! It's absolutely massive and perfect for watching a movie. We chose a nice medium blue/gray for the walls and a slightly lighter shade of blue for the ceiling. In a media room, you want the walls to not bounce off too much light so that the movie watching experience is more like a theater. We didn't want to go too dark on the walls, however, since the space has no windows and would be very dark and feel smaller with darker walls. 

To the left of this image is a set of beautiful sconces with a mirrored back that reflected Edison bulbs really nicely and added to the movie theater feeling.  We selected a comfy sectional and brought in plenty of comfy pillows in grays, blues, and golden rod yellow to add a complimenting pop of color (which is also in the mural!). 

We wanted to use reclaimed and cottage materials as often as possible in our spaces. Josh had a great idea to make a handrail out of the discarded pieces of wood siding from the outside of the house. Victor and I sanded them down to be smooth to the touch and applied plenty of coats of furniture wax to bring out all of the beautiful, natural wood tones. I love how they turned out! 

Josh and Lauren made a game table out of an electrical spool and a light fixture out of reclaimed metal tubing (I think from duct work?) and rope. They used Edison bulbs here to compliment the ones on the wall sconces, and there were touches of rope throughout the room that the light fixture picked up on as well. My only regret about this area is that there were no rugs that fit the space--I recommend that Heather and Ricky find a nice 6 foot round rug for that area! :)

Garage BEFORE (I think they meant to post a photo of the other side of the basement, but this is clearly the garage--but you get the idea. It looked bad and wet and there were lots of cinder blocks and poles and electrical wires hanging down)

Garage BEFORE (I think they meant to post a photo of the other side of the basement, but this is clearly the garage--but you get the idea. It looked bad and wet and there were lots of cinder blocks and poles and electrical wires hanging down)

Finished Basement AFTER

Finished Basement AFTER

The basement had two large areas that were not being used before, so we utilized both. We actually found a discarded toilet and sink in good condition we wanted to use to add a bathroom to the other side of the stairs, but that wasn't possible in the timeframe, unfortunately. What we were able to do was make a huge gym!

Kathy used to be a fitness instructor so this was definitely in her wheelhouse. We deferred to her on what equipment we should get, how we should lay everything out, and if we needed ceiling fans (and duh, we did!). The ceiling was tricky in this space because of codes in Georgia that require ductwork to be fully accessible from the basement. We had to change our approach and as a group, we decided on a board and batten ceiling to make it look more cottage style (as cottage as a gym can look, anyway), and cut around the duct work. Kathy and Brian did a great job and even handled the styling on their own! I came by and moved like two things around, per Kathy's request--but she didn't need me, she had already done an amazing job! 

I would love to have an image of this room from the other angle as well. As a group, we all worked on a ladder from a reclaimed pile that holds gym towels, painted the darker blue of the theater room walls, and just slightly roughed up to look a little more weather-worn. We also built a table out of kitchen cabinet doors and reclaimed wood. MJ and the design team couldn't even believe it was built with found pieces! That was truly a piece of team work--everyone touched it at one point or the other to make a great stand for storage and to hold a mini-fridge for smoothies, bottled water, and protein shakes for post-workout refreshment. 

Guest Bath BEFORE

Guest Bath BEFORE

Guest Bath AFTER

Guest Bath AFTER

The spaces not designed by the contestants were designed by the amazing design team, The Design Hunters. They also supported all of us contestants, giving us design packets with all of our furniture choices, took orders for things we needed, and shopped for all of the styling pieces after getting an idea for what we needed in our spaces. I'm in awe of their composure! They worked many, many long hours with pure grace. Truly and incredible and talented team!

Office/Guest Bedroom BEFORE

Office/Guest Bedroom BEFORE

Office/Guest Bedroom AFTER

Office/Guest Bedroom AFTER

Guest Bedroom BEFORE

Guest Bedroom BEFORE

Guest Bedroom AFTER

Guest Bedroom AFTER

Deck BEFORE

Deck BEFORE

Deck AFTER

Deck AFTER

I think this house turned out beautifully! What do you think?

Be sure to tune in to Home Free on Fox, tomorrow night at 9/8c!

Home Free Episode 1: Before and After

I've announced this once before, but this summer, I took a little leave of absence from life and took advantage of a wonderful opportunity to be on FOX's new show, "Home Free" hosted by Mike Holmes.  Home Free is a competition renovation show featuring nine couples in the Atlanta area who don't currently own a home, but really want to!

Victor and I entered the casting process and were selected to be on the show, so with much thought and planning, we took the chance and joined the cast. You can read more about the competitors, watch clips, and see the schedule of programming on FOX.com

The competitors were broken into two teams and tackled different areas, and the amazing design and build teams took over the rest of the areas of the home, inside and out. 

My team on week one tackled the backyard area. The challenge was to create an "entertainer's yard", including fixing the pool, building and designing a structure, planning and executing some landscaping, and building projects out of reclaimed and found objects, and of course, all styling. The other team was tasked with the kitchen and living room area (open concept), redesigning the fireplace, and making projects out of reclaimed materials. 

Here are the photos of house 1, inside and out. 

Before: Exterior Front

Before: Exterior Front

After: Exterior Front

After: Exterior Front

Before: Living Room

Before: Living Room

After: Living Room

After: Living Room

Before: Kitchen

Before: Kitchen

After: Kitchen

After: Kitchen

Before: Kitchen Area

Before: Kitchen Area

After: Kitchen Area

After: Kitchen Area

Before: Bathroom

Before: Bathroom

After: Bathroom

After: Bathroom

Before: Enclosed Garage (turned to Master Bedroom)

Before: Enclosed Garage (turned to Master Bedroom)

After: Master Bedroom

After: Master Bedroom

Before: Guest Bedroom

Before: Guest Bedroom

After: Guest Bedroom

After: Guest Bedroom

Before: Backyard

Before: Backyard

After: Backyard

After: Backyard

Before: Pool Area

Before: Pool Area

After: Pool Area

After: Pool Area

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

We hope you've been watching Home Free on Wednesday night, FOX at 9pm/8c. Episode two aired last night. You can catch a rerun on Friday night or watch online at FOX.Com  or on Hulu on FOXNOW.