Designer

Spotlight On: Paige Minear

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

If you follow design in Atlanta at all, you've probably already heard of Paige Minear. She writes the design blog, "the pink clutch" which is a great read and you should definitely subscribe now! Paige has a style that cannot be denied in all of her work. It's colorful, vibrant, bold, and inspiring! We have the joy of taking a peek into the perfect reflection of Paige's design style--her own home! And we're bringing you with us! 

Join us as we turn the spotlight on Paige Minear! 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Define your personal design style and perspective.

I am most definitely a preppy chic girl.  Most everything I am drawn to in fashion leans toward traditional with an edge.  It is the same in my style for our home. Very classic and preppy with an edge.  Lots of color with texture and pattern. 
Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Which of your career milestones make you most proud?

The past year has been out of control.  My brand has tripled and the opportunities that have been offered to me blow me away.  Being an invited participant in the One Room Challenge was the biggest opportunity so far and definitely the one I am most proud of. Growing my Instagram following has really been exciting.  I love my followers and their incredible support!
Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

How did you become a design blogger and where did you learn your skills?

My passion and background is fashion.  For me I see our home as an outfit needing to be put together.  You start with a piece that inspires you and you grow from there.  In our dining room it was the pink walls and an antique table that my in laws received as a wedding present.  The table provided the traditional and the pink the edge and it just grew.  I don't think it is hard to transition from fashion to design, it just seemed to be an easy transition.  I have been blogging since 2007 and love the creative outlet it provides.  I get to write about all the things that inspire me. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What's your secret for running a business and maintaining your personal life?

I have learned in the last six months to pick and chose projects.  I say no a lot and I am good with that. Saying no also allows me to pick the right projects and opportunities for me.   I can't do everything and when the day is done I have to be true to me.  My family always comes first and that gives me the greatest comfort and joy. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What's your guilty pleasure?

My love language is quality time.  Any time given to me by those I love fills my soul.  All my best friends know that I love their time and of course a fabulous meal! 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What's your favorite destination?

New York and Palm Beach.  I think I was meant to live in both.  I could have an apartment in the city and a home in Palm Beach.  It might be the perfect combination! 
Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Leave a comment below and tell us which of Paige's rooms we've featured is your favorite! Like what you see? Follow Paige Minear on Facebook, Instagram, and her blog!

We hope you enjoyed this spotlight as much as we did! 

Spotlight On: Gretchen Wagner of Thrive or Dye

Every so often, you run across someone who is so warmly genuine, kind, and positive that you can almost feel it before you even speak to them. That's the case with our spotlight today, Gretchen Wagner

I met Gretchen one night this summer when Victor and I went to Decatur to meet our friends Josh and Lauren from Home Free. They were celebrating a friend's birthday, so we joined them and had a blast! The birthday girl was Gretchen. She was so sweet and inviting, even though we were crashing her birthday party. As we chatted, I learned that Gretchen has a beautiful line of hand dyed goods cleverly called Thrive or Dye. It turns out, she already knew about Ends In Style because she knows Christina! Such a small, wonderful world sometimes.

We are so happy to introduce you to Gretchen Wagner if you don't already know her. She's a great lady and we're thrilled to turn the spotlight on her and her beautiful work today! She has an enormous amount of talent that inspires us. After reading this, I feel sure you'll want one of every single thing she makes!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

"I may be a one woman army when it comes to putting the pieces together, but it's the late nights drinking wine with friends while they help me put on the finishing touches where the magic really happens. I take pride in that the work is all produced locally and by me. Maybe I'm a quality control freak but I like knowing that every piece I ship has been through my hands. Since I produce on a smaller scale, I put a little part of me into every piece and that's what is most important."

- Gretchen Wagner

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

How did you get your start?

I graduated from SCAD with a BFA in Fibers and immediately moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee. With a less than "state of the art" studio I started out painting watercolors which eventually led me back to working in a dye lab with textiles. After a few years of building Thrive as a brand, I made the decision to take some time away from dyeing and sewing to recharge myself creatively. So, I exchanged my thread snippers for my paintbrush and here I am. Exploring and having the most amazing time reconnecting with myself and my art. That's always been my passion.

Photo by Christina Wedge 

Photo by Christina Wedge 

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

This is a difficult question to answer, but what most people don't realize is that I actually work a full time day job for a radical company, Interface (www.interface.com). I spend my days working on their Creative and Marketing teams and at night I work on all this (waves hands) in my home studio. I've learned what it means to run a good and honest business, how to stay true to myself all the while staying creative and passionate about what I do. Interface is an integral part in supporting this vision of mine and the people are pretty great too.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite/most successful way to advertise?

I guess I rely mostly on social media, and by social media I mean Instagram. To me it's the only way to be. Everything about it screams visual overload and there are endless ways to connect with likeminded creatives. Of course I post my final "styled" shots but my favorite things to share are the works in progress where I can reveal something about my process or studio life. To me, running a small business is all about being transparent and showing your true self and what better way to communicate that than through pictures?

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

I spent so much time trying to scale and grow my business only to realize that one of my favorite things is how small it is, how I get to call all the shots and how I get to say yes and no whenever I want to. If I want to laze around all weekend and do nothing but eat french fries and watch Netflix, I can. I can't even tell you how many times I've been swept up in the speed of all this only to realize that it's my foot on the accelerator. I'd like to go back and teach myself that lesson a little earlier. Life and art is so much better when you can take breaks to be with the people you love instead of feeling lonely in your studio.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite stress reliever?

Watching "Clueless", dark chocolate with raspberries, hot water with lemon and rummaging through my old sketchbooks (I save everything!).

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite destination?

I'm fortunate in that I get to travel a lot for my day job, but I'd have to say my favorite place to travel is Savannah. I take a few trips every year and try to take at least one solo voyage. Maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it's not, but it's the place where whenever I go back it feels like coming home. It's the best place to spend a weekend sleeping in, drinking coffee and biking to your next sketchbook stop.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

If you're even half as in love with Gretchen's work as I am, check out her website at thriveordye.com and her etsy shop! You've got Christmas gifts to buy and you're sure to find amazing things for everyone on your list with Gretchen! Shop small, shop local, and shop Thrive or Dye!  




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!

 




A Room With A Hue

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

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

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

BEFORE

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

AFTER

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

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

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

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

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

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

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

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

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

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

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

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

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

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

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

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

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

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

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

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

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

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

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

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

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

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!

What to Wear in September

Tranistional weather can be a tricky thing in Georgia. We don't really have much of a spring or fall, so when you see the cute fall outfits in the back-to-school ads, do you think to yourself like I do "that outfit MIGHT work in November...but not September!"? How do you dress comfortably here in the South when the weather is still hot, but autumn is just around the corner? What do you reach for when you want to dress seasonally appropriate but also be comfortable and weather appropriate as well? 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Our recommendation? Start lengthening your sleeves OR hemlines, but not both at once. Also, wear very light fabrics like chambray that lend themselves to layering throughtout the fall but have breezy nature to the material you can enjoy wearing while the weather is still muggy and hot. 

Links below for where to buy similar items

Links below for where to buy similar items

We are loving gold accessories for September. The warmth of the metal is great for the upcoming fall season. Bring in a dash of suede into the mix in either your shoes or a handbag. A great way to lighten up the heavier fall material is to get some transitional sandals like these. These sandals are a favorite! Suede with a peep toe and laser cut details with a little more coverage than many other sandals, make these shoes perfect for the "in between" seasons. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

A color that is very "in" for the fall is MUSTARD! YAY! As a redhead, I love all of the colors that are in during the crisp autumn months. Most everyone who has any pigment at all to their skin (you're so, so lucky if you are tan, by the way!) may not be as wild about the more muted harvest-inspired shades. If you are afraid of mustard tones washing you out, go for shoes or a nice skirt, or maybe even some bold pants for a fun way to mix this hot shade into your wardrobe! 

PS. Want to feel pretty? Hire Christina Wedge to take your portraits for your website or just for fun! You are guaranteed to feel like hot stuff!

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 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

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!

Not All Rooms Can Pull Off White

This post, "Biggest Design Mistakes: Painting a Small/Dark Room WHITE" is reblogged from Emily Henderson from her beautiful and constantly inspirational site. I came across it today as I had just sent over a design plan for a client that included white walls. YIKES! Thankfully, I'm certain white will work in this space so disaster averted. But, if you are in doubt, this article is very helpful and includes some of my favorite Benjamin Moore paints as alternatives when a room cannot go white. 

Without further ado, here's the post from Style by Emily Henderson!

 

I like a good, bright white room, sure, but it’s not for everyone. It’s like how some people can pull off really wild, crazy disheveled, sun-blown hair, and look cool while others look like they just finished the walk of shame, in 1987 – it really depends on all the other styling elements.

But there is this misconception flying out there, seemingly promoted by people exactly like me, that painting all rooms white will make them feel bigger, brighter and just generally more beautiful. For some it does, but if the room has very little natural light then it just looks DEAD. Flat. So boring. In photographs we can make any room look really bright, like the sun is just flooding them with light, (and we do) but it’s often VERY much not the case. White paint thrives in really bright rooms (like my living room and bedroom) but without that light bouncing around it, nothing happens.

Keep reading to see what neutral colors you should paint your dark rooms …It was hard to find white rooms online that weren’t clearly shot cheated to look brighter, but we found a few, relatively depressing/flat ones:

Those rooms would have looked WILDLY more alive and inviting if they were painted a medium tone – a neutral that has some pigment in it. Stick to white in rooms like these, below, that have a lot of sun light, otherwise, folk, you gotta consider a neutral color.

I’ve had to break the news to clients so many times – white is just not right for you and your room. It’s like breaking the news that the kitty they rescued from the pound belongs to another family. They show me their pin board with blown out white rooms, airy curtains flapping in the breeze, sunlight pouring in (and us California designer/bloggers are not helping the situation), with the look of eager hope on their faces. But their walls are heavy, their windows are small, and they face south … with an awning. Their room will never look like that and moreover will look just so sad if we don’t add some sort of tone to the walls to help give it some dimension, depth and texture. It’s disappointment followed by ‘so what do we do now??;

A neutral paint color is the answer.

But first, how do you know if you room has enough natural light to be painted white? Ask yourself – do you need to turn on lights during the day in that room? If so, then consider a neutral/medium toned color. I’m in my family room/kitchen right now (its 7am) and I have to turn on lights but around 10am the sun comes around and it gets bright in here and then in the afternoon its pretty bright, often where we have to close the shade. So don’t judge it by just one time of day (and obviously not at night, duh). But if your room never gets enough light to read without a lamp, then white isn’t for you or it. Move along. You’ll be happier you went with a gray or taupe or blue.

I’m not saying paint it a dark color. If it’s a smaller sized room then yes, be careful, a darker paint color will make it feel smaller (and cozier) so generally unless you want a small cozy room I’m suggesting a medium toned neutral. Not dark, just not white. If you are wondering if the rule applies to bright rooms – not being dark, it doesn’t. Bright rooms can pull off any color – light, medium or black, its dark rooms that are trickier and just can’t go WHITE.

So here are some neutral tones that I have found work really well in darker rooms – colors that have some movement in them to help move and bounce the light around  – so it actually looks like it does something.

Before you go ordering gallons of those paint colors PLEASE sample them on your wall. I’ve used November Rain now 3 times and it’s always been beautiful, but your particular room and light might pull the brown out of it whereas my old living room pulled the blue out it. At this point I’ve painted hundreds of rooms, with a 75% success rate, and i’m a designer. So please swatch them on paper or directly on the walls and yes MULTIPLE walls because light reflects color around differently on different walls. Then watch it for 24 hours to make sure that you like how it is both in the morning and in the evening.

Unless you don’t have the patience to do that, like me 1/2 the time, and you are willing to waste time/money by just going balls out and painting the room, to then be like well, whoops… that looks kinda green … 

Those neutrals above are just an off-the-top-of-my-head collection, so if you have a favorite neutral please leave in the comments so the world can be full of appropriately painted toned walls, and the myth that ‘every wall should be white’ can be finally dispelled.

White walls = good if lots of natural light and bad if not.

See design mistake #1 (the generic sofa) and #2 (the too small rug).


This article is original content from Style By Emily Henderson. It is reblogged here on Ends In Style for our readers. 

Spotlight On: Gina Sims

If you read our blog regularly, you know we love to put the spotlight on movers and shakers, especially those in creative industries. Highlighting people whose talent is immense and evident is a joy for us, but more than that we want to put the spotlight on those whose personalities are vibrant and kind, and those who work with integrity and grace. 

Today, we're highlighting just that sort of person. Designer, Gina Sims of Gina Sims Designs.

Let's get to know Gina!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

How did you get your start?  

Growing up, we had a home that had beautiful custom draperies on every window. We didn't have a lot of money BUT, my mother had an impeccable eye for design, was resourceful, and learned how to sew. My grandmother, like my mother, took tremendous pride in her home and saved her meager means to buy the highest quality she could afford. Our home wasn’t the biggest but it was beautiful, and it was where everyone wanted to be. This is certainly where my appreciation of interior design came from! I'm sure it's a generational thing. I look at design as a puzzle. There are reasons and tricks to why and how things work and putting those to play with the client's taste and personal story is incredibly inspiring. I love my job!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Was there 1 job or contact that set the course of your career?

I had been designing homes on the side of my daytime gig for several years before a friend, one Christina Wedge, said to start a blog. I had suffered from perfection paralysis for far too long. She told me not to worry about it being perfect or even concerned if anyone reads it. She said to just get my goodness out there! That really was the first step of anything. I hired her to take beautiful pictures and once I had something to show prospective clients, good things started happening! She's a good one, that Christina. :)

Note from Ends In Style: (PS. We did not even pressure her to say this! haha)
 
Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite/most successful way to advertise?

I am a member of a business networking group in Virginia Highlands called BNI. It's been a good referral source - we call each other our sales team! As far as social media goes, I like to advertise in places that I enjoy spending my time - places where I get to see what others are up to and places where I am inspired. For me that's Instagram and Facebook. I am most successful with these avenues because it's fun and it does not seem so arduous a task. There are certainly a myriad of other places I need to be (or currently am but seriously need to work on!) but there are only so many hours in a day. Amen?

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

If there were 1 thing you could change about your career, what would it be?

Is there anything I'd change? I wish I'd started earlier! 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite stress reliever? 

I have to say, I really look forward to cooking dinner at night. It comes after homework help (not a fan) and right before wrangling kids into bed (quite stressful), so a moment where I can step away from everything that went on in the day and focus on how to make this stew more delicious is somehow really wonderful to me. And sometimes we just call Papa Johns. Cause, you know, the yellow peppers and garlic butter. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite destination?

There is this wonderful place called Antigua, Guatemala that charmed me years ago and has since been close to my heart. It's a beautiful, Spanish-colonial town nestled beside twin volcano peaks in the central part of the country. We were there during Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the town lit up with thousands of people coming to see dozens and dozens of handcrafted "rugs" - flowers laid in amazing patterns on the cobblestone streets of the city - where centuries old hand-carved wooden "floats" were carried on the backs of citizens in a rhythmic motion, depicting the Passion of Christ. It was breathtaking. The colors! The textures! The history! The food! If you get a chance, go! And take me! Vamanos!

Comfortable, Peaceful Interiors: How to Achieve the Mood

I've told Christina this many times, but the way she captures the light in a room makes me want to nap in all of them. Perfectly lit dining room? Perfect place for a nap! However, the napability (I'm pretty sure that's a real word) of a room is not just about the capturing of soft, serene light, but is a result of the designer's careful selection of colors, textures, and patterns to weave together the perfect room. 

napability: nap-uh-bill-uh-tee - the quality of being a comfortable, beautiful, space that causes one to feel at home and at ease when in the room

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Let's take these spaces by designer Jennifer Schoenberger Christina shot earlier this year. They're just stunning. The use of patterns and colors throughout the connected spaces tie them together and make the home feel like one continuous, harmonious space but with a few distinct characteristics in each room to keep them interesting on their own as well.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

First, let's look at the fabrics. You'll see the colors on the fabrics echoed all throughout the spaces and a variety of textures layered on top of one another all over. Layering textures creates such a rich, inviting setting. When freshening up your own place, don't be afraid to mix patterns to achieve this warm textured appearance. Here's a handy guide for pattern mixing

Photo via Christina Wedge

Photo via Christina Wedge

Jennifer got these beautiful lamp bases from Scott Antique Market which I adore! I love mercury glass and Scott Antique Market. It is a wonderful place to go if you enjoy the hunt. This brings me to another design element to consider. Metallics. Every room has a little, but making a statement with a metallic goes a long way. Aren't these lamps beautiful?!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Neutrals become more than a backdrop when they are also a bold pattern. See how beautifully one room transitions into the next above? The neutrals ground the room with pops of color moving your eyes through the space. I love an unexpected bright color splash like the painting and stool.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

This may be my favorite part of Jennifer's spaces. The light blue in the backs of the cabinets is so lovely and the touches of tomato red are so charming amidst the calm neutrals with the bold patterned wall.  

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

This stenciled wall has me considering a nap in a bathroom, too. So beautiful and serene! A bathroom is a great place to do an impactful wall that may be a bit more labor-intensive since generally you will not have super large walls to cover. 

Thanks to Jennifer Schoenberger for sharing her beautiful work with us!