Design Hack: Bathrooms for Teens

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I did it myself as a kid, every year I wanted to re-do my room. For me, that was the first sign I wanted to become a designer, but for most it is the growing character and evolving taste of impressionable teens and pre-teens. This often leaves parents feeling frustrated as they just re-painted their room, or bought a new bed spread, new drapes, etc. We have all learned the hard way that a key to success in kids spaces is VERSATILITY.

There a few places though that the term versatility doesn’t apply. One of them being Bathrooms… tile, wallpaper, plumbing, oh my… all so permanent. This is why it is important that you feel confident that the bathroom design and palette reflects the culture of your family. Whether it be more sophisticated or young and playful. The key to getting the most out of your space is to make sure it matches you and your life style.

I have broken down design for teens into three palettes to match your family’s character. Check them out below and some Inso images for each!

Bold + Playful:

Photo Courtesy of Lonny Magazine

Photo Courtesy of Lonny Magazine

Source unknown. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Source unknown. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Photo Courtesy of Jungalow

Photo Courtesy of Jungalow

Photo Courtesy of Anna Glover

Photo Courtesy of Anna Glover

Clean + Monochromatic

Photo Courtesy of Drummonds

Photo Courtesy of Drummonds

Photo Courtesy of Christopher Elliot Design

Photo Courtesy of Christopher Elliot Design

Photo Courtesy of Cozy Stylish Chic

Photo Courtesy of Cozy Stylish Chic

Bright + Cheery

Photo Courtesy of Old Brand New

Photo Courtesy of Old Brand New

Designer Unknown.

Designer Unknown.

Photo Courtesy of Pull Design Studios

Photo Courtesy of Pull Design Studios

Top 5 Curtain Hanging Mistakes

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Alright peeps - here is a sensitive topic… Drapes. Some people think that they have a hard and fast rule for drapes and that is not always the case. LESS is not always more and MORE is not always more.. as a general guide line to hanging drapes there are a few mistakes people commonly make. We have curated our list of the Top 5 mistakes

Too Low

Hanging curtains too low from ceiling causes the room to compress. Instantly, the ceiling feels lower, and your space will feel small. Hanging them high to the ceiling tricks your eye into thinking the space is taller, making it feel open and airy.

Too Short

Cutting the drapes short to match the length of the window makes the whole room feel like its floating - in a very bad way. It feels unfinished, like you were on a budget and could only afford 1/2 the fabric you need. Even if you are on a budget, get a fabric in your price range, and do it right. Your space will prove to you its worth it.

Not Enough

Wimpy fabric will feel thin an cheap on a big window. Getting a drapery grade, heavier, and thicker fabric will pay off and make the room feel more luxurious. Even if you don’t want black out curtains, you just want something light and airy, make sure to buy enough extra fabric to gather on each end of the window. You pay for what you get in drapes people!

Too Much

Now don’t get me wrong, I am ALL for vintage. Design trends cycle through like your laundry.. One second its light and airy 80’s summer style, then the next its moody 90’s winter grunge. Drapes are not cheap Forever 21 T-shirts though… You buy them RIGHT once, and keep them forever. That being said, stay away from trendy patterns... No pattern what 70’s mod patterns come back in, don’t do it. Stick with something simple, modern, and clean. Versatility is key.

Arched Window

This is what I meant by no hard and fast rule. Arched windows are so tricky dependent on their size, location on the wall, and quantity. Don’t be discouraged though, there are more than one solution. The first option is to remove those ugly drapery knobs and hang a simple, modern, rod high to the ceiling as previously mentioned. Option 2 is to have custom roman shades made to fill the arch and drape below on the lower, rectangle portion of the window. I am not a fan of that option though as most arched windows have beautiful trim features you don’t want to cover up. Option 3 is no curtains at all. For some people, that may be a deal breaker, but I think it is important to decide when you need privacy and when you don’t.

BlogGraphic_HangingDrapery5.jpg

Winter Blues Solved: 15 Low-Light House Plants

Author: Sydney Piwowar

It is officially Winter and in the Mid-West, we get to know something called the January Blues. Yep... thats the time right after the holidays, when there is nothing else to get you through the grey skies. This year, I refuse to let them get to me though. My trick to keeping positive is to surround myself with Green. It proven that people who expose themselves to more plants and trees are happier.

  1. Snake Plant

Snake plants thrive on neglect and are considered “unkillable”. They don’t mind low light and they only need to be watered once every couple of weeks.

Photo Courtesy Lonny Magazine

Photo Courtesy Lonny Magazine

2. Spider Plant

Spider plants actually prefer you keep them away from direct sunlight. They are also pet friendly and sprout with babies you can re-plant.

Photo Courtesy of Instagram @jungle_in_the_desert

Photo Courtesy of Instagram @jungle_in_the_desert

3. ZZ Plant

Even if your a serial plant killer, you’ll do just fine with a ZZ plant. It hails from Eastern Africa and it is conditioned to survive months of low light and drought.

photo courtesy of Flowers for Everyone

photo courtesy of Flowers for Everyone

4. Monstera Deliciosa

You’ve probably seen these all over trendy instagram pages. Monstera Deliciosa loves basking in gentle sunlight - keeping it 5-10 feet away from a bright window is key.

Photo Courtesy of Pure Wow . com

Photo Courtesy of Pure Wow . com

5. Peace Lilly

If you’d prefer a plant with flowers, peace lillies are for you! They thrive in shade, indirect light, and even windowless rooms. You’ll know if your peace lilly is getting too much light because they’ll show brown streaks.

Photo Courtesy of Domino

Photo Courtesy of Domino

6. Moss Terrarium

Terrariums hit the trends a few years ago and you can easily DIY one at home. With a little moss and rocks, they will survive on little to no sunlight. It does need moisture though and some indirect light to live at its brightest green. Place it near a window where it can receive a bit of reflected light.

Photo Courtesy of One Kings Lane

Photo Courtesy of One Kings Lane

7. Dracaena Reflexa

There are lots of types of dracaena, but reflexa is the most common. It is also the best choice for a dark room. They can survive in low to medium light, but are their boldest, yellow in indirect sun. However, too much will make them brown so don’t let them sunbathe all day.

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

8. Nerve Plant

Yes it is PINK! Be careful though and keep them out of direct exposure or their leaves will start to brown. They do need constant moisture, so don’t skimp on the watering. Another plus about this one is that they are non-toxic for pets!

Photo Courtesy of A Magic Mess

Photo Courtesy of A Magic Mess

9. Cast Iron Plant

Cast iron plants are native to the forest floors of japan and Taiwan so they are used to very little light. As a matter of fact, direct sunlight will burn their leaves so keep them close to north facing windows or away from windows in general. Best of all, it is another pet friendly plant.

Photo Courtesy of Buzz Feed

Photo Courtesy of Buzz Feed

10. Lucky Bamboo

Dracaena Sanderiana, aka “lucky bamboo”, is not only cool for its shape, but also because it survives in low to moderate light conditions. Just don’t put them in direct sunlight, which will burn their leaves.

Photo Courtesy of Eastern Leaf

Photo Courtesy of Eastern Leaf

11. Birds Nest Fern

Filtered or indirect sunlight will do them well. East or north facing windows are ideal. Avoid exposing to direct light to prevent burn marks.

Photo Courtesy of Stacey Risenmay

Photo Courtesy of Stacey Risenmay

12. Chinese Evergreen

The pattern on these leaves are amazing. This one needs a bit more light than the rest, desiring low to bright indirect sunlight. they’re part of a family with 20 different species, but the general rule with all of them is that the darker their leaves and stalks are, the lower light they can handle.

Photo Courtesy of Balcony Garden Web

Photo Courtesy of Balcony Garden Web

13. Pothos

Pothos won’t complain if you only have moderate indoor light. It can also tolerate fluorescent lighting which makes it great for your office.

Photo Courtesy of Design Addict Mom

Photo Courtesy of Design Addict Mom

14. Prayer Plant

The name of this plant stems from the fact that prayer plants leaves lay flat during the day and then fold upward at night. Another cool point about them is that they are safe for pets and dimmer rooms.

Photo Courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

Photo Courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

15. Philodendron

This one is super easy for beginner plant parents as it does well in low to medium light and wont freak out if you forget to water it from time to time. The cascading leaves look beautiful on a high shelf or a hanging basket.

Photo Courtesy of Pure Wow

Photo Courtesy of Pure Wow

See our pinterest board for more house plant ideas HERE!

The Truth about Inset vs. Overlay Cabinets

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Inset Cabinets

Inset doors are set into the frame and provide a custom and smooth overall appearance. The doors, drawers, and frame all sit flush when closed.

Inset cabinets are priced quite a bit higher than overlay cabinets, and they do require hardware (or a push system) because you can’t simply open them with your fingers.

Pros: Custom and high end look and cleaner lines. Hinges can be visible or hidden.

Cons: Higher cost. Gaps can be obvious in places. Can be less storage space because the doors are inset.

Full Overlay Cabinets

Full Overlay cabinets offer a similar appearance to that of inset doors but with a lower price tag (yes, please!). The doors and drawers completely cover the cabinet face, providing a flat cabinet front similar to inset cabinets.

This is the way to go if you want a higher-end look but your budget doesn’t allow for inset cabinets.

Pros: Less expensive than inset. Gapping between frame and door (or drawer) is not obvious.

Cons: N/A

Partial Overlay Cabinets

Partial overlay cabinets are the most common and least expensive option. If you have a tight budget, this is the route you want to go! These offer more of a traditional look and do not require hardware because there is finger space between cabinet doors. The door sits on the cabinet face, leaving a gap of about 1” between the doors. 

Pros: Least expensive option.

Cons: Doesn’t look as high-end.

Common Art Hanging Mistakes

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Art is crucial in making a house feel like a home, and good art is not cheap! Nothing ruins your perfectly good piece of art quite like bad nail placement. We have curated the top 3 mistakes that people make when hanging art and are going to share simple solutions.

Hanging Too High 

You have most likely hung your art too high, leaving it to float away from the furniture underneath. To tie the pieces together (and make your room more visually harmonious), shoot for roughly five inches of space between the bottom of your art and the top of your furniture.

Small Art in Large Spaces

Scale is the key to maintaining a harmonious relationship between the walls and furniture. Using a frame that is too small tricks the eye into thinking that is is smaller than it actually is. An easy trick to make it feel proportional is to reset it in a larger frame or to get a larger piece for the space all together. The general guide you should have when approaching art is to chose pieces that are about two-thirds of the length of the furniture.

Grouping Too Far Apart

BlogGraphic_ArtMistakes3.jpg

Separating your art is like separating fighting kids to their time-out corners… Its awkward for all of us. Whether you’re hanging twin paintings or simply grouping pieces, everything should act as one. Make sure that they are close, separating frames no more than 3 inches apart.

5 Steps to Tasteful Family Photo Wall

Author: Sydney Piwowar

We all love our families (mostly) and its hard to tastefully show them off. Oversized canvas oil paintings hung over the fireplace aren’t style anymore... At the same time though, I do not think it is fair to cut all evidence of family in a home… it is after all what makes a house, a home. We were asked in a recent install how to do this successfully. Well, I am here to share with you all my secret: framed prints with oversized mattes. Yes, simple and understated. What makes this method unique is the color quality of the image and the placement of it. Here are the 5 steps to ensure your framed prints turn out perfect:

Curate Your Photos

Go through the old hard drive because you want to plan out your photos ahead of time. The photos don’t all have to contain the same colors or people - feel free to change it up. This is where you get to show off your family’s unique characteristics.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest. Designer Unknown.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest. Designer Unknown.

Print With HIGH Quality

The most common mistake that people make is framing pixelated photos. Make sure that you are printing high quality images and don’t be afraid to send them somewhere nice to print - don’t cheap out on this because you will get what you pay for. Something else to consider is if you want to print in color or black and white. For someone who wants to print in color, going to a good printer with high quality color is important.

Photo courtesy of Chris Loves Julia

Photo courtesy of Chris Loves Julia

Find Frames

Frames can be sourced from anywhere. Whether they are custom or ordered online from Ikea, you will notice a large gap in cost. The most influential decision you make will be upon the frame’s finish. This color and texture will be framing the image, literally and figuratively, in a way it is possible to influence your perception. For example, if your image has LOTS of texture and color, choosing a frame that does as well may only distract form the richness of the image. It would be better to chose a simple frame that allows all attention to be focused on the specialness of your image. The second factor to consider is if you want a more unified or eclectic gallery. For a more unified approach, I would consider finding a store that sells the same profile in several sizes as you may need for your collection. For those that want a more mix-and-matched approach, I suggest shopping resale shops, garage sales, and local boutiques for an interesting combination.

Photo courtesy of designmom.com

Photo courtesy of designmom.com

Find Matte

There are several colors and finishes to matte. I prefer a stark white matte as it gives a certain freshness. Be careful though as they come in several shades of off-white, ivory, and cream - especially if you are trying to match to previously framed images.

Photo Courtesy of Yellow Brick Home

Photo Courtesy of Yellow Brick Home

Hang Art

It is hard to generalize for every one when it depends on the size of the frame and the space… My best tip is to map out the wall with painters tape first though to ensure you are happy with your placement - you don’t want to see a dozen holes in the wall from where you moved hung them previously. Some key areas I think it is more peaceful to hang family photos include: hallways, stairways, bedrooms, bathrooms, and basements. Try to stay away from the large print over the living room fireplace - its tacky.

Photo courtesy of Studio McGee

Photo courtesy of Studio McGee

For more tips on how to frame family portraits, see my pinterest board HERE!