Original Melbourne Home Addition Exudes Positive Vibes, Balance

Kiah House, byAustin Maynard Architects, is an architecture extension to a weatherboard cottage in North Fitzroy, Melbourne. The project brief hinted towards creating an extension with plenty of positive vibes: a sanctuary for the couple living here, but also a place to entertain friends and family.

“The extension comprises of two separate pieces of architecture,” the architects explain. “The master bedroom haven—which sits beside the original house extending to the northern boundary—and the separate office poised above. The original Victorian-era house, built in 1927, has been respectfully restored and updated with a new kitchen and bathroom.”

The architects took inspiration from Japanese gardens and Buddhist retreats of Kyoto to create the homeowner’s desire for peace and balance. “At Kiah House, we were charged with the task of creating spaces, both private and shared, that spill out into the garden, and are yet adaptable enough to create solitude and privacy when needed.”

The master bedroom haven includes a dedicated Buddhist prayer space. It opens up to the garden and ponds via sliding, double-glazed glass panels, blurring the lines between indoors and out. The towering, lemon-scented gum tree is enclosed by a small deck area: a place for the owners to sit and meditate.”

Elevated above the original house and accessed via spiral staircase, the owner’s home office enjoys vantage views of the surroundings. The wall mural underneath the office window, envisioned by artist Seb Humphreys, depicts a gentle swirling of color, adding an original touch. Enjoy our pictorial tour, and leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Information provided by Austin Maynard Architects; photography courtesy of Tess Kelly.

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Growing Seedlings for My First Veggie Garden

How to start seeds indoors — growing tips on when to plant seeds, which kinds of vegetables can be started indoors, and what materials to use. If I can grow them, anyone can!

So, it finally happened: my time as a notorious plant killer might finally be at an end — because I finally started my first vegetable garden! I planted seeds, grew them in a little greenhouse, and am ready to transplant them outside.

Buying these seeds was as though I’m re-learning things I thought I knew about myself. I mean, me?? The person who once killed every plant she even glanced at, is now putting real dollars into the ground — and expecting to eat from that investment??

My former self is laughing in disbelief, I can promise you that.

Interrupting Disclosure Duck says: this post may contain affiliate links, where I might make a commission if you purchase products based on my recommendations (it does not change the purchase price). For more on how that works, check out my page here.

Why start an indoor greenhouse?

In all honesty, this project doesn’t really belong to me — the ownership kinda belongs to K. He has been asking me for more than a year to find a space in the backyard for a small vegetable garden, and I agreed to put one next to the soon-to-be-built shed (more updates on that coming soon, but there are a lot of photos to comb through!). As we planned, he ordered the seeds and we chose to start more than half of them indoors using a pre-made greenhouse kit.

The benefit of using one of these greenhouses is that it comes ready-built for proper seed germination. There is very little guesswork (scroll down for steps). And, for my first garden, it helped that we could get the seeds started earlier than waiting for the outdoor weather to cooperate. It was easier to monitor growth and really got me excited during the last few weeks of cold weather for spring!

When to start seeds indoors

Even though indoor seeds could be started well before it warmed up outside, I still had to time things just right. K has plenty of experience with home gardens, but if you don’t have an expert at your side like I did, the Farmer’s Almanac has a handy chart page based on your area that helps clear things up a lot!

Seeds to avoid starting indoors

If you clicked on that link above, you might have seen a few blank spots in the Indoor Seeds column. While the majority of the seeds I ordered can be started indoors (a variety of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs), there were a few left out of the greenhouse on purpose. We set aside the cucumbers*, onions, and carrots to be planted outdoors instead. As it turns out, there are a number of seeds you should look to plant directly outside and skip the indoor step:

beans, beets, carrots, corn, okra, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, turnips

(I put an asterisk * on the cucumbers since even though it’s okay to start as a seedling indoors, we chose to plant outdoors only.)

The whole thing is actually pretty cool

We bought one large greenhouse kit for all the veggies and a smaller one for herbs (thinking I would plant just a few at my kitchen window). Each contained a plastic tray, lid, and peat pellets that expand to hold seeds.

This next part is really fun: it comes to life simply by adding warm water (we used a measuring cup to add the amount specified on the packaging). You can see below how it looks before vs. after adding water.

Excuse the crappy nighttime carpet photos. I genuinely did not think this would be an interesting part to capture and realized that mistake a little too late!

The water is soaked up in mere seconds by the peat pellets. I did the dirty work of breaking open the top of each pod to expose more dirt, while K did the majority of the planting (mainly because he was a perfectionist who did not at all appreciate my artistic interpretation of making sure seeds were planted at the correct depth). Pssh, experts. Amirite?

Since I’ve had furniture kind of scattered all over the place thanks to the guest bedroom remodel, the old bench I had in the entryway was upstairs. It just so happened to be the perfect height to sit in the master bedroom hallway; right under the windowsill, where it could get lots of sun.

Seedling Growth!

It took such little time to see the first few sprouts — just a few days, I think. I practically blinked, and they began peeking through the soil.

first seed sprouting in seedling starter bed
He’s actually kinda cute, don’t you think?

Before long, they were everywhere!

I tried to take a few more shots each day as I found mew seedlings pop up. The peppers were the first to peek through, but the tomatoes quickly caught up. The dill and basil snuck in there when I wasn’t looking.

My plan was to wait until I started seeing more seedlings come in, then build new garden beds. (Finally, a task I know more about!) I procrastinated as long as I could so I could concentrate on other indoor projects.

Tomatoes, peppers, and dill — oh my!

When to transplant the seedlings

As you can see from the pictures, lots of the seedlings were growing like crazy. It was enough so that the roots were starting to peek out from the pellets on the sides and bottom.

So, if the rapid growth of their stems wasn’t enough of an indicator that I needed to hurry and build the new vegetable garden beds… those roots certainly were! I rushed through this build, but I will have details for you in a separate tutorial.

Want a video sneak peek? Here you go!

I still have to plant the outdoor seeds yet and build a separate trellis bed so the cucumbers don’t choke out the other plants, but I’ll be sharing that soon! I’ve got an idea for how I want that to look right next to this L-shaped bed. Hopefully constructing and finishing planting by this weekend.

Are any of you growing your own garden this year? Any other first-timers like me? What are you planting?

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Are You Making These 4 Bathroom Design Mistakes? We’re Here To Help

bathroom design mistakes

Are you making some of these common bathroom design mistakes? Image: J. Kurtz Design

Most of us aren’t professional interior designers, which is why it’s okay to make a few design mistakes from time to time (It’s the best way to learn, right?). However, you don’t have to live with your missteps forever. Often, with just a few small tweaks, those errors are easily fixed and your interiors feel more fabulous and functional than ever.

Here’s four of the most common bathroom design mistakes we see, as well as simple steps you can take to correct them. If you realize you’re guilty of one or two on the list, don’t worry—we’re here to help.

bathroom design mistakes

Use these tips to help solve these bathroom design mistakes once and for all. Image: Linda Sonders Design

1. Not layering lighting

Are you settling with simply the overhead lighting in your bathroom? If so, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Layered lighting is key to creating a truly functional room, and the bathroom is no exception. Layered lighting makes grooming routines, such as shaving or putting on makeup, a whole lot easier.

For those unsure of what a layered lighting arrangement might look like, here’s an example:

  • Ambient lighting: Your existing overhead lighting. Consider adding additional recessed lighting to brighten up any dark corners.
  • Accent lighting: An additional fixture around the mirror or vanity helps with grooming routines. If you frequently soak in the tub to relax, consider adding a fixture there as well; one that will let you dim the lights to create some ambiance.
  • Task lighting: Smaller, lit beauty mirrors can also help with grooming.

Make storage as convenient as possible. Image: Capital Closets

2. Making storage an afterthought

Like layered lighting, this mistake affects both form and function. A bathroom without enough storage to keep everything organized is all too common. Products get piled everywhere, making the room look messy and distracting from the design.

It’s time to get serious about storage. The first step is figuring out exactly what you need. Go through your routines with your bathroom as-is, and do your best to pinpoint where things begin to break down. Focus on any points where you find yourself getting frustrated with your current layout, or digging through unorganized drawers to find an item you need.

Next, go shopping for appropriate storage solutions with your problem areas in mind. Here’s the key: don’t just opt for the cheapest, utilitarian option. Instead, invest in a piece that will do double-duty by adding some aesthetic value, such as the wicker baskets shown above.


Make sure all your finishes match for a cohesive look. Image: Juxtaposed Interiors

3. Mismatching fixtures

Let’s face it: it’s pretty easy to mismatch fixtures. You may have re-done your bathroom piece-by-piece, only realizing over time that something didn’t quite add up in your design. Luckily, however, it’s also a fairly easy fix; one that can certainly be tackled in a weekend.

When dealing with fixtures, it’s important to remember that while the material you choose for your fixtures is key, the finish may be even more so. Two fixtures that are made of the same body material, yet host different finishes, won’t match. Consider the look you’re after before purchasing:

  • Polished: Polished finishes are the most modern looking, featuring smooth texture and high shine.
  • Brushed or satin: These finishes are the most common, offering more of a matte look.
  • Oiled: Some consider darker, oiled finishes to be a little old-fashioned, however, they work well with certain aesthetic styles like Tuscan or French Country design.

Incorporate décor to make your design feel finished. Image: Moen

4. Forgetting about décor

When dealing with a tight space, it may be tempting to forgo bathroom décor for the fear of creating clutter (see bathroom design mistake #2). However, we advise against following this urge. Décor items are often the details that can help make your design feel intentional, complete, and personal, rather than a strictly utilitarian space or an afterthought.

The reality is that you don’t need too much décor to pull off a cohesive look. Start by making sure all your textiles—such as towels and floor mats—match. Put a piece or two of wall art on display. Then, if you have any room, consider adding some greenery or candles to your vanity or another flat surface.

bathroom design mistakes

Use these tips to help solve these bathroom design mistakes once and for all. Image: Linda Sonders Design

Bathroom design mistakes happen to the best of us, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from your mistakes and make some changes for the better. Have you made any of these common bathroom design mistakes before? What are your favorite bathroom design fixes? Leave a comment and let us know!

The post Are You Making These 4 Bathroom Design Mistakes? We’re Here To Help appeared first on Freshome.com.



Dueling DIY: Installations and Seeing the Finish Line

My friend Charlotte and I are in a DIY battle to renovate our guest bedrooms. Catch the entire series here.

Hey hey, friends! Sorry about the delay — I know you expected this post yesterday. It’s been one of those “technology sometimes sucks” sorts of weeks, so I’m just going to jump right in and not dwell any further on crappy internet-related problems. It’s time for a Dueling DIY: Guest Room Gauntlet update, and vlog #3!

dueling diy - guest room gauntlet - sarah vs charlotteIf you need a recap, start here and check out the updates here and here. I created the Dueling DIY series because it gives me the motivation I need to stay focused on a house project that I might otherwise shove further down the to-do list (send to project limbo, basically). By challenging another blogger and committing to these bi-weekly updates (along with a vlog recap each month), I get a lot more done. The smack talk is also a lot of fun — especially when I get to make my challenger cry. This time around, I’m challenging Charlotte from At Charlotte’s House, who is also redoing a closet she’s saying is a guest room and pretending her projects are as badass as mine.

Dueling DIY: Guest Room Gauntlet

The biggest news first, shall we?

The Murphy bed


Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working almost nightly to get the bed completely built and install all the hardware.

I had to iron on the edge banding and trim it all down so that the unit is ready for paint (delaying all of that painting until more of the built-ins are completed; it’s a lot of painting).

Sidenote: I had to convince myself to buy this little edge trimmer tool. It was over $10, which just seemed like a needless splurge. But it saved me so much time! I went from “this is a huge waste of money” to “this thing is so handy” in one use. I’ve used edge banding on a few projects before, so I’m certain I’ll use it enough again to make it a worthwhile investment.

Sidenote to the sidenote: I totally loved the sound. Some people hate it like nails on a chalkboard, though. Just a fair warning!


When I say “installed,” I mean that the mattress is in place and the whole unit is bolted into the wall. The good news: all of the hard parts are DONE! The bad news: the springs are so tight that the whole thing almost squashed me!

The unit is made with a hardware kit, which includes installing a piston lift system to help keep the bed closed and allow the unit to spring back into place when not in use. But that same hardware is meant to be counter-balanced by a heavy mattress on the inside (skip the box spring, FYI). So when you’re installing, trying to keep the thing open is tough, since the unit is designed to be front- and top-heavy and wants to fall over (aka, prime squashing territory). It’s definitely a situation where I needed a helper, so I’m glad I wasn’t cocky enough to install it until K was home from work.

Together, we got the top header bolted to the studs (VERY important to secure this part, so we went with bolts instead of screws to make it more secure) and there it was: my new Murphy bed, installed!

Of course, there’s still more left to do: install some handles (notice how there isn’t a way to open the darn thing?? yeah… gotta fix that) and start building the cabinetry and shelving that will flank the sides of the bed and give the entire wall a clever, built-in look.

Since we went with the biggest news first, all the other little updates seem a little less impressive to me. So I’ll recap them all really quickly:

In case you missed it, there are new hanging planters along the window. Click here for that tutorial.

I sealed one of the paintings along the new picture ledges with art resin — such a cool project! You can find that recap and tutorial here.

Speaking of the picture ledges, I built a total of 4 but only wound up using 3. I took the 4th and placed it under the TV for a convenient way to store remotes. Now guests won’t have to wonder where they are.

And speaking of the window, I noticed that the conduit I’m using for the curtain rod is just shy of fitting properly into the DIY brackets I made. I want to add some decorative knobs (finials?) to each end, so that means extending the pole just a few inches. I’ll have a tutorial on this soon, but here’s a hint if you’ve ever wondered about gluing metal and wood:

Next plans

Having the Murphy bed mounted to the wall makes it very obvious that there is so much floor space in the room. That means a new focus on trying to optimize this space for all of the other possible uses: a secondary office for K (which means we’re on the hunt for a good dresser to turn into a desk), entertaining space (the speakers have to go somewhere, maybe add seating, etc.). It should make for an exciting next month for this series! I see the finish line in sight.

Vlog #3!

Don’t forget to head over to Charlotte’s blog to check out her progress as well. She says she’s almost finished with her room, but then again, she already said she was going to be finished by this update. So if you leave her a comment, make sure she knows that you know she’s a liar. And again, don’t let her fool you with those pillows and tchotchkes: she’s not done with her bed yet either, and that’s an attempt to hide her secret shame.

P.S. I can’t WAIT to make more progress on this built-in install!

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Crate & Kids: Crate & Barrel’s New Line For Little Ones is Awesome

Say hello to Crate & Kids! Crate & Barrel’s new line of kids’ furniture and accessories is fun, playful, and perfect for little ones.  Shop the adorable new collection now at www.crateandbarrel.com/kids, or find items in more than 40 Crate & Barrel stores beginning April 2018.

Crate & Kids includes furniture, accessories, toys, bedding—everything you need for a kid’s room or baby’s nursery. A full range of Crate & Barrel’s signature services—such as baby registry and complimentary design studio services—are available to help you create the perfect playroom, nursery or bedroom.

Here are some of our faves from the new Crate & Kids collection:

crate and kids midcentury

Palm Springs playhouse for a Mid-Century modern kind of five year old, $199.

Your little girl will love Pretty Pony Bedding, $14 and up.

A Paper Mache Unicorn Head, $49, adds a touch of whimsy.

Splash Whale baby bedding is oh-so-soft in 200-thread count cotton. Reversible quilt included. $24 and up.

Crate & Kids has everything you need to create an out of this world bedroom including a glow-in-the-dark Hanging Solar System, $25, and organic cotton Constellation Sheets, $69 and up.

Crate & Kids features fun, lightweight, easy-to-hang Paper Mache Wild Animals, $29 each.

Work with Crate & Barrel’s free design studio consultants to put together a modern nursery, like this one, in no time.

The Maze Bookcase, $399, comes in tall (shown) or wide—perfect for storing toys, books and all the stuff kids collect.

Crate & Barrel’s strength is its high-quality, custom upholstery. You’ll love the variety of modern rockers and gliders they offer, $499 and up, including the Milo Glider shown above, $1299.

The Jetaire Camper playhouse is inspired by a vintage Airstream—complete with an awning and curtains, $199.

Add a Campfire Set, $69 and a Log Seat, $59 to complete the setting.

Do you think Crate & Kids is as adorable as we do? Let us know in the comments!

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Goodbye, Ranch! America Has a New Favorite Home Style

The mid-century modern, single-story ranch home is no longer America’s favorite. According to a recent survey by real estate website Trulia, Millennials, who are buying their first homes, have tipped the scale in favor of the new winner: the craftsman bungalow. The craftsman came in first, at 43 percent, with the ranch home following at 41 percent and the colonial-style home at 36 percent.

As shown above, the ranch-style house is often spread out across one story. Mostly constructed during the Sixties and Seventies, many have a Mid-Century vibe to them. Image: Virtual Imaging

Craftsman bungalows range in size, but feature two or more stories, a porch, and plenty of curb appeal due to wooden siding details, ornate windows and doors, stonework, and rich landscaping. Image: The Bungalow Company

What’s interesting is the great architectural divide between younger and older Americans. More than half (52 percent) of surveyed Millennials, between the ages of 18 and 34, picked the craftsman-style home as their favorite, while 52 percent of participants aged 55 and up preferred the ranch style.

But coming across a craftsman bungalow isn’t so easy. According to Trulia’s data, “Colonial, ranch, Cape Cod, Victorian, and mid-century” homes make up most of America’s housing inventory, making the lovely craftsman house a commodity.

Craftsman bungalow style

Here are some beautiful examples of craftsman bungalows and what makes them unique. Some of the most popular elements include plenty of wood detail (especially in oak), hand-forged black iron hardware and lighting, and earthy color combinations.

Craftsman kitchens

An updated kitchen still keeps the traditional craftsman bungalow features, such as oak cabinets and floors. Image: Renewal Design + Build

Vintage details, such as a split Dutch door, rustic floors, a farmhouse sink and industrial elements, all work well with the craftsman style. Image: Max Houseplans

Although cabinetry is clean and simple, it features some detail, including glass panels and wood slat borders. Black hand-forged iron hardware puts the craftsman stamp on this kitchen. Image: Goforth Gill

Craftsman bungalow living rooms

An essential element in the craftsman style is the wood lattice detailing in windows and cabinet doors. Image: Kurmak Builders

Wood beams, built-in window seats and plenty of shelving makes the craftsman bungalow’s living room so inviting. Image: The Works

Craftsman homes often feature rooms that are partitioned with bookcases or columns instead of walls, allowing for intimacy yet plenty of light and flow. Image: Wysteria Design

The ornate fireplace is the central focal point of the living room, and often features tile or stone with wood. Image: Clites Architects

Craftsman exteriors and landscapes

The craftsman bungalow may arguably have the most curb appeal of all architectural styles. A clear path leads to the beautiful front door, flanked by a large porch or covered entry. Image: Moore Architects

Landscaping and trees play an important part in the style. Colors are often earthy and muted but complementary, with combinations like slate blue and olive green, or khaki and brick red. Image: Proyecto Build

A craftsman backyard featuring lots of stonework, wood siding and iron lighting and furniture. Image: Cornerstone Architects

What do you think about Trulia’s survey results? Are you a craftsman or ranch lover? Let us know in the comments!

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How to Seal Art with Resin & Get a High Gloss Finish • Ugly Duckling House

This post is part of a 3-part series for creating, sealing, and framing custom artwork. Catch part 1 — my painting tutorial — here. Today, I’m sealing my art with epoxy resin to get a clear, gallery-worthy finish that protects!

Hey, friends! Back at this DIY thing today with part 2 of my starry night mountain painting. If you missed part 1 where I showed you how to create easy custom art with acrylic paints (and get that fun starry sky look), jump to that tutorial here. For part 2, I’m sealing the entire piece with art-safe resin and sharing how to get a gorgeous, glossy finish! The whole point of this step is that it protects the art underneath from dust and grime, but I also love this step in the process because it uses FIRE.

I don’t want to jump into that without explaining the beginning first, so let’s start with the basics:

Why seal art with resin?

When it comes to art, most people are familiar with the concept of framing art with glass or plexiglass on top. And if you want to stick with what you know (snore), I suppose that’s fine. 😉 But, I like creating a lot of my own art. I’ve been hearing a lot about resin  projects from woodworkers and crafters, so I wanted to give it a try on one of my own pieces.

When I found out that there was one specially formulated to help seal and protect art, I knew this would be a perfect beginner’s project to introduce me to the world of epoxy resin. You know how that goes — find a new thing to play around with, do one, then about 100 more!

I was given this sample of product after attending a woodworking show a couple of weeks ago (thank you to Peter Brown!), but it’s the same kind of thing you’d find at the craft store (just in a smaller sample size). The product is self-leveling, non-yellowing, and non-toxic. It also happened to be one ounce over the amount I’d calculated for my project, so it seemed meant to be!

Materials needed:

contains affiliate links

  • plastic lining (garbage bags will probably work fine if you can’t find plastic around the home, but spin around in your house 3 times and I bet you’ll find plastic you’re not using!)
  • painter’s tape or masking tape

How to seal art with resin

Set out all supplies and make sure you have everything you need. Once you start mixing, there’s no going back, so prep, prep, prep!

Step 1: set up your project box

Line the cardboard box with plastic liner and place on a level surface. Tape the plastic to the sides so that it won’t move around during your project. Add paint pyramids to the middle to support the art as it cures.

Step 2: place art on paint pyramids

Check that the art piece is level (the resin is self-leveling, so you don’t want the piece leaning or pooling resin in one spot). Make sure there is adequate space to move around as you pour and that the box can close without coming into contact with the canvas as it cures.

Step 3: Mix, using a timer

If you aren’t sure how much resin you’ll need, here’s a handy calculator. Epoxy resin comes in two parts which have to be mixed together in a 1:1 ratio — for every ounce of one part, one ounce of the other is needed. I mixed a total of four ounces for my 10×10 canvas even though I calculated that I would only need 3. I was glad to have extra, since I was worried as I poured that it wouldn’t be enough!

Put on gloves and pour the contents into the same cup. Stir vigorously for 3 minutes. And by 3 minutes, I mean THREE. WHOLE. MINUTES. Undermixing can lead to funky results, so set a timer to make sure you are thorough and ready to pour (I used my cell phone). Don’t be surprised if it starts to feel a little warm (it’s a chemical reaction).

Step 4: Pour and spread

Everything mixed? Good! Take a deep breath, and go for it! Pour the entire contents on the surface and begin spreading things around.

Don’t freak out if it looks kind of blobby or full of air bubbles — you’ll fix that next. Also pay attention to the sides of your piece and spread it along there (you’ll probably see it start to drip in thicker areas). You have about 45 minutes total to mess with your piece before it starts to cure.

Step 5: Pop air bubbles for a high gloss finish

According to the instructions on the resin package, you can “blow” on the surface to get air bubbles out. But when I mixed, I got a LOT of bubbles, which you can see here.

I also half-suspect that if I’d attempted to just blow on the surface, I inevitably would have gotten a stray hair stuck in the goo. A micro torch was not only more effective, but more fun!

I lit the torch and ran it over the entire surface, checking the light at different angles to make sure I could see what was left.

I’m partnering with Bernzomatic on several projects this year, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to try out one of the items in the Torch Bearer’s kit that they sent. This little micro torch made quick work of getting every last bubble in the resin’s surface, leaving behind a smooth, glass-like finish. It was a lot of fun to witness and really upped the cool factor in this project. If you were hoping for my usual science-y tidbit, then what it’s doing is changing the viscosity of the resin; it frees the trapped air bubbles from their sticky little prisons and creates less resistance, allowing them to rise and pop. Fun, eh?

I didn’t really get perfect photos of the torch part with my camera (understandably, I was much more concerned with perfecting the finished result), so I’ll be posting a video to YouTube soon if you want to see some of that in action! Still, you can see a considerable difference between the photos above and the ones below — the brush strokes of the painting are all that’s left!

Sooooo satisfying… and look how vivid the colors appear after the resin went on!

Step 6: Cover and let cure

Fold the flaps of the cardboard box on top of the art piece. Be careful to avoid anything touching or resting on the interior of the box. Remove gloves and drape more plastic on top if needed (my box had a seam, so I thought it better safe than sorry). The box will protect the resin from dust and hair (coughcough dog hair) as the resin cures, which can be about 24 hours. I chose to do this project just as I was leaving town for a few days; plenty of cure time.

Step 7: Unwrap and enjoy!

Once I flew back home, I took out my new art piece and immediately placed it with other art on the picture ledges in the guest bedroom.

I also briefly placed it on a nail in the hallway to see how it might look when it’s hanging up. I think it still needs a frame before it can go on the wall permanently. The resin will protect my art for years to come and doesn’t require glass on top, so the frame is what I’ll be addressing in part 3 of this series. Be on the lookout for that soon!

What do you think of this epoxy resin idea? Have you ever used it yourself? I’ve seen art videos where people actually mix paints and all sorts of other materials into the resin and pour it onto a canvas or pour it into a mold, creating beautiful swirls of color. Perhaps I’ll have to try those ideas too!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Bernzomatic. As a Bernzomatic Torch Bearer, I was provided complimentary torches and was compensated for my time and efforts. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own. I am very picky about the brands I work with, and loved working on this project!

This post is part of a 3-part series where I'm sharing my full process of creating, sealing, and framing an acrylic art piece. Catch part 1 — my painting tutorial — here. And now, onto sealing this canvas with epoxy resin to get a clear, glossy finish that protects!

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy & effectiveness of the information displayed on this website, The Ugly Duckling House is for entertainment purposes only. All tutorials and demonstrations are not intended to be professional advice (nor substitute as such), and I make no guarantees as to the procedures and information here. Creating with my suggested methods, materials, and tools is under your own risk. Please ensure you are following proper guidelines with anything used, and seek professional advice if you don’t know how to do something! Read my complete disclosure here.

How to Design a Studio Apartment Layout that Works

studio apartment layout

Set up a studio apartment layout that works. Here’s how: Image: DEKORA Staging Inc

Designing a studio apartment layout presents its own set of unique challenges. On one hand, you’ll want to break up the space in a way that makes sense. On the other, there’s no reason for function to override aesthetics. The following design techniques help you achieve the best of both worlds. They’re our favorite tips for creating a space that truly works for you, no matter how small it may be.

color scheme

Keep the color scheme cohesive. Image: L’Essenziale Home Designs

Limit the color scheme

What does color scheme have to do with layout? It’s more important than you might think. Overly-complicated schemes have a tendency to make small apartments feel choppy or too busy.

Focus on choosing two or three colors and incorporating them throughout the entire apartment, rather than in just one particular section. This helps tie your entire studio together in a way that’s very easy for the eye to process. It also helps the overall design feel more cohesive.

As always, you should follow the 60-30-10 color rule. When working with such limited square footage, we highly suggest having your dominant shade (60%) be a neutral color, in order to open up the space as much as possible. Then, choose a middling shade (30%) for your secondary color and, finally, use pops of something bolder (10%) as your accent color.


Choose dividers that let in light. Image: Elayne Barre Photography

Divide wisely

When designing your studio, you need to divide your space up somehow. That said, not all dividers are created equal. Using too many, or the wrong type, leaves your space feeling choppy, or unnecessarily cut off from the rest of the room. Before you run out and buy dividers, it’s important to determine where, and how, you’re going to use them.

Classic room dividers work best in areas where you truly do need a little more privacy—consider them for the area around your bed. However, to avoid making your space feel too separated, opt for a divider that lets natural light shine through. Open shelving is an excellent option, as it provides the added benefit of additional storage.

Look into alternatives for the remainder of the apartment. A well-placed sofa or entertainment center separates the space without making your design feel segregated. If you choose either of these options, pick lower pieces you can see over — doing so brings a sense of depth to the room.

ground functional area

Make each functional area feel like a finished space of its own. Image: The Brooklyn Home Company

Define each functional area

One of the biggest mistakes we see with studio apartment decorating is the desire to make the space feel too utilitarian. This often occurs when people work with limited budgets, and hope to move into larger living arrangements in the future, causing them to neglect investing in their studio’s design.

Don’t do your design a disservice! Each section of your open concept layout serves a distinct purpose. Your goal should be making each section of your space feel like a room unto itself, even if there aren’t any walls or doors for separation.

It doesn’t take much to transform a design from “strictly functional” to “purposefully designed.” For example: something as simple as a few throw rugs really ground each area. Adding a few accessories—especially appropriate textiles and décor elements—creates a sense that the area has been fully finished.

visual height

Use visual height to make the space look larger. Image: Chris Nguyen, Analog|Dialog

Create visual height

When dealing with limited square footage, visual height is one of your best tools for making your space feel as large as possible. By purposefully drawing eyes upward, you ensure that everyone who sees your home is taking in the space as a whole, rather than just the tiny section at eye level, making your design look and feel more complete.

To make it happen, utilize anything that draws eyes toward the ceiling. Here’s a few examples and suggestions to get you started:

  • Invest in verticle shelving
  • Use a room divider
  • Invest in some sizable wall art
  • Hang a vertical mirror
  • Hang things from the wall to create vertical storage
  • Consider using a hanging light fixture as your statement piece
studio apartment layout

Use these tips to create a studio apartment layout that works. Image: R / G Photography

Due to square footage constraints, laying out a studio apartment requires different design techniques than a decorating a traditional home. However, with a little forethought, planning and inspiration, you can easily create a space that’s both functional and beautiful. If you need a little help figuring out your studio layout, keep these tips in mind. They’ll help you put together an apartment layout you’ll love.

Do you live in a studio apartment? If so, what tips do you have for making the space feel as functional as possible? Share them with us in the comments.

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