5 Feng Shui Home Decor Tips for A Peaceful, Prosperous Space

The recent celebration of Chinese New Year ushered in the Year of the Dog. The dog is an animal known for it’s loyalty, faithfulness and, especially, it’s ability to remain perfectly happy and content spending time at home with it’s family. In the spirit of Chinese New Year, here are some ancient Chinese feng shui home tips to help you remain happy and content at home by creating a perfectly peaceful and prosperous space.

What is feng shui?

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art. The words literally mean “wind water,” which are associated with good luck, and good health. Most people will say that a home that has been “feng shui’d” feels more peaceful and harmonious.

To increase the amount of good vibes in your home, follow these five easy feng shui home decor tips for a lucky, prosperous Year of the Dog.

1. Declutter your home

feng shui home decor tips

When decluttering your home, a good rule of thumb is to minimize the amount of objects that collect dust. Image: Oishi Architect

The single most important objective in creating feng shui is allowing for the flow of good energy, or chi, throughout your home. Chi brings good health, wealth and luck.

Decluttering must be thorough—simply hiding your stuff won’t cut it. Items under the furniture, overloaded bookcases and closets, and outdated or broken items all affect chi flow. It’s time to clear out closets, the space under the bed and all cabinets and shelves. Keep only the items you love—or ones that have special meaning—and discard or donate the old and unused.

2. Get air and light flowing throughout

feng shui home ideas

Lots of windows let natural light shine in, and retractable doors circulate air. Image: Klopf Architecture

To ensure the constant flow of good energy throughout the home, wind (air) and light must move as well. You’ve decluttered your home in step one, making it easier for energy to flow. Now open the windows to increase air flow. Maximize light movement by keeping all glass, mirrors and windows clean. Have a dark corner or space that needs a little brightening? Add a lamp to illuminate the spot, or place a mirror to reflect light from a different spot.

3. Add plants

feng shui home tips

A live plant attracts good chi energy in this contemporary feng shui kitchen. Image: 82 Design

Air flow is important in feng shui, but the air must be pure. Plants filter the air, creating a healthier, cleaner environment. Plants also attract vibrant chi energy due to their life force. As long as the plants are kept healthy, you’re attracting good energy.

Some plants are better for feng shui than others. In fact, some plants, like cactus, are considered bad feng shui, because they lack the need for water (water is like wealth), or they’re spiky and “unfriendly.”

Here’s a list of some of the best (and luckiest) plants you can invite into your space. Most of these plants are low-maintenance, and do very well indoors:

  • Lucky Bamboo
  • Peace Lily
  • Ficus
  • Rubber Plant
  • English Ivy
  • Palm
  • Boston Fern
  • Philodendron
  • Spider Plant

4. Add more of your favorite colors to activate the energy associated with them

feng shui home colors

The use of color plays an important role in feng shui. Images: Shambhallah Institute and Natalia Apezetxea

Colors play a very important role in feng shui; add them through wall art, decorative objects or paint.

Here’s a general list of what each color activates:

  • Red: luck and wealth
  • Orange: happiness and fun
  • Yellow: mental stimulation, power
  • Green: peace, balance, healing
  • Blue: calmness, communication, spirtuality
  • Purple: wealth, high spirituality
  • White: cleansing and purity
  • Black: power, especially when paired with red
  • Brown: nurturing

5. Go for Yin and Yang

feng shui home design

Yin and Yang elements shown in this living room include black and white accents and boxy furniture paired with rounded edge items. Image: Maurizio Giovannoni

Feng shui followers believe that everything is composed of two opposing but connected forces: Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine). It’s the balance of forces such as dark and light, or night and day; one cannot exist without the other. When decorating, create balance by applying this concept to your home.

These are just the basics of feng shui; there’s much more to the art and science, including directions, numbers, elements and more. Getting started with these 5 tips should be a good start; you should feel the difference in your space in no time!

Adding some feng shui to your home? Leave a comment, and let us know how it goes!

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Get Ready for your Close-up With 2018’s Best Bathroom Vanities

Bathroom design—and bathroom vanities—have come a long way in recent years, particularly, as a result of the increased furnishing options available to the public, as well as the many available avenues for customizing a look to suit individual homeowners’ styles.

The previous norm was that spec homes, or newly built homes, were fitted with a standard look, size and style of bathroom furnishings. Traditional, white vanities with raised doors and chrome hardware were all too common. Now, thanks online stores such as Wayfair and Overstock, consumers have the ability to choose from a much wider range of bathroom furnishings and styles.

There are several factors to consider when choosing a bathroom vanity, with style and price being two of the most important.

A rustic, organic look can be achieved with the Morriston vanity from Lowe’s. Photo courtesy of

A rustic look conveys an adventurous, outdoorsy spirit. Bathroom vanities of this style can be found at one of the most accessible big box stores. Featuring barn-door hardware, Lowe’s 60-inch Morriston Distressed Java Undermount Double Sink Bathroom Vanity with Engineered Stone Top (shown above) presents a modern look, with just the right amount of rustic, for those who want to bring a more organic, earthy look to their bathroom, at an affordable price point of under $700.

To continue the look, an oil-rubbed bronze faucet is a good match. It sends a message that nothing in the room is particularly fussy or fancy, while still coming off as polished and tasteful. Many retailers are happy to offer suggestions as to what to pair with larger purchases. The bronze faucet was an automatic suggestion for this particular vanity.

Many larger retailers, including those without brick and mortar stores, offer a large selection of styles, covering all ends of the design spectrum. Wayfair.comoffers many bathroom vanities for those who crave contemporary pieces, or those who prefer more classic styling. Some of the vanities include matching mirrors, such as the Birch Lane 42-inch single bathroom room vanity with marble top, under mount sink and 42-inch mirror. For close to $1000, this set instantly updates a bathroom with a clean, cohesive look. In addition to excellent value, also sweetens the deal with free in-home delivery.

For a more traditional look, consider the Birch Lane cabinet and mirror from Photo courtesy of

On the opposite end of the design spectrum, also offers a sleek, dark gray bathroom vanity that’s modern in every aspect. The Tenafly 60-inch Double Wall Mount Modern Bathroom Vanity Set by Wade Logan appears to float on the wall, without traditional feet or legs. Hardware is minimal and discreet, enhancing the modern aesthetic. Instead of a rustic-looking stone top, acrylic sinks provide a seamless look. Also priced under $1000, it definitely speaks to those who appreciate clean, contemporary style. This particular collection also has singular vanity pieces to accommodate smaller spaces.

Another website that has an abundance of bathroom vanities to choose from is Organized by color, price point, style, sizes, types, materials, product features and brands, this website has something for most budgets and tastes. Prices for bathroom vanities here are listed in the $800 to the $2500 price range.

For those who like to both display and hide toiletries, the Belvedere Vanity allows for both options. Photo courtesy of

The Belvedere Bath 48-inch Freestanding Modern Veneer Bathroom Vanity with Stone Top is an attractive, free-standing piece that appeals to those who don’t need to hide all of their toiletries. With two drawers, this vanity also has a deep open shelf that would be ideal for displaying expensive or attractive bottles of soaps, shampoos and lotions. It would also be a good place to stack hand towels and small and interesting accessories, such as vases. This vanity comes in at under $1000, with free delivery. Its contemporary feel can also be attributed to its dark gray color and sleek seamless sink and top. Packaged with single handle chrome faucets, this vanity is perfect for those who want to stay on point with design trends and want to show others they have the room and ability to display personal accessories.

The name All Modern conjures up designs that are not for consumers who prefer classical designs. The website has a large inventory of unique and interesting bathroom vanities that will allow those with a specific style to choose a piece of furniture that will represent their own personal statement. The Pinova 40-inch single bathroom vanity with mirror for example, represents mid century-inspired style, with this wall-mount vanity set, paired with a multi-colored wood design and glossy glass top. Just under $800, this vanity is an affordable way to make a strong fashion statement in a room that isn’t often used for that purpose. The Pinova received several positive reviews, many of which describe how positively others respond to it. In other words, this vanity tends to be a big hit with consumers.

Get the hotel look and feel with the Apothecary unit from Pottery Barn. Photo courtesy of

Known for its similarity to a quality hotel look, Pottery Barn has several options for bathroom vanities including an apothecary sink, single or double, that look like it is right out of an upscale boutique hotel in New York City. Combining the vintage charm of a classic open-framework console with the benefit of modern fittings, the Apothecary Single Sink console from Pottery Barn is more about style than anything else and is not necessarily a strong example of utilizing space to its best advantage. This particular aesthetic does not come cheap, however, with the unit coming in just under $2000. One of the more helpful aspects of shopping with Pottery Barn is that it offers accessories, hardware and lighting to match this unit and continue the look.

Whether you are doing an entire bathroom renovation or just want to replace a vanity, both online and retail stores have a plethora of options and styles to choose from. Prices can vary greatly, but good deals can certainly be found with some research and comparative shopping. Modernist or traditionalist, there is a bathroom vanity to suite your style and design aesthetic.

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DIY Carved Wood Wall Art

I’m in love with my newest piece of wall art, and making it was a lot easier than it looks! Check out this power carved wood wall art and tell me where you think it should go.

Hey, friends!

I’ve got a little bit of picture overload for you today. It’s honestly due to a number of factors:

  • I loved the way my project turned out
  • I loved that I didn’t have to put on makeup to be in these photos because my face is covered up
  • Even though my face is covered up, I look like a badass in these photos
  • This project looks harder to do than it actually is
  • This is part of a blog/YouTube hop called the #WoodArtChallenge

Don’t know about the Wood Art Challenge yet? Well, in a nutshell, around 30+ of us DIYers/makers (bloggers, Youtubers, Instagrammers, etc.) are all teaming up to present you guys with a single hive mind creative challenge: make a piece of wall art that is SQUARE and made out of WOOD.

Thassit. That’s the challenge. And that means with so many ways to interpret that, there are LOTS of DIY ideas in store for you guys today! Just look to the bottom of this post for others who are participating.

As many of you guys know (unless you’re new here because of the hop thing, in which case hi, stay awhile, we get weird around here… in a good way), I would call myself a woodworking “beginner”. Even though I’ve got plenty of house fixing shenanigans under my belt, there’s a whole other world of power tool fun that I am just now starting to learn more about. And that’s how I found myself using an angle grinder to make a block of wood look like fabric.

Or twisted metal? Or maybe just crumpled paper? I still can’t put my finger on precisely what I think it resembles most, but it definitely doesn’t look like anything I’ve created out of wood before!

It was actually inspired by an artist I follow on Instagram, . My attempt was, of course, pretty small and quick compared to his giant, awe-inducing carved sculpture (which takes anywhere from a few weeks to a couple months to complete). Seriously guys — you’re missing out if you haven’t seen his stuff yet!

The best part of it is, my DIY version doesn’t use a lot of tools to accomplish; the tools you would need to purchase are well within a normal DIY budget too, so this makes it a great beginner’s woodworking project!

What you’ll need:

  • 1x8x8 poplar board (if you choose another hardwood, keep in mind that hardwood species carve  differently, or so I’ve read)
  • lots of sandpaper: extra coarse (around 40 grit), coarse (60-80 grit), medium (100-150 grit), fine (220 grit), extra fine (400 grit)… a lot of this you’ll probably already have, and you can also buy finishing discs for your 4 1/2″ angle grinder if you wish, but you will likely have to hand sand a little
  • wood stain
  • sealer

DIY Power Carved Wall Art

1. Cut pieces to size

Cut down the 1×8 poplar into 6 roughly-equal pieces (it’s ok if it’s slightly off). Line them up the way you would like to establish the block you’ll carve into. Be mindful of the layers below; you’ll carve through parts of the top boards to expose lower layers.

Cover your work surface with cling wrap and tape the ends with painter’s tape (to prevent you from gluing your wood block to your work table).

For my version, I had two scrap pieces that had been Kreg Jig’d together for another project I forgot about ages ago. Since these pieces formed a 90-degree angle, they were perfect for using as temporary clamp pieces in the next step.

2. Glue and clamp the entire block together

I glued 2 stacks of 3 pieces each of the poplar, side by side. This sounds confusing, but it’s not. Just make two equal stacks of your poplar pieces and glue them in order. Be sure to cover the layers in between and the side where the two stacks touch with an ample amount of glue.

If you have or make clamp helpers like I did, put painter’s tape on any sides that will touch the glue… just in case.

With the glue still wet, clamp the ever-loving crap out of the wood block so that it will dry as one solid piece. Be sure to clamp the sides together and the layers (clamp vertically and horizontally).

3. Cut to square and sketch your carving

Since the top and bottom ends of the block aren’t perfectly square, now is the time to cut the excess off so you have a truly square block. Sorry, them’s the rules.

I used the back of my block to sketch out a few lines of where I thought “folds” of my make-believe wood fabric would be, along with giving the carving disc a few test runs to make sure I had a good handle on it.

4. Start carving!

With my carbide blade attached, I went to town on my wood block. Gently, at first, then more aggressive.

It made surprisingly quick work of the wood, and I began to learn how to control the curve and carve of the disc to get the shape I wanted.

This part was the quickest and most fun! It really only took an hour or two to carve the bulk of what I wanted. When I felt I had a better handle on how to get the shape, I went in again for a second pass to get things smoother.

5. Sand.

Ugh. This part. No fun. But I highly recommend getting a 40-grit sanding disc to attach to the angle grinder as well. This made getting those first big chunks sanded away to a smoother result. I tried again with the 80-grit one, but it left lots of bumps and I regretted it.

(For those who might suggest the Arbortech Turbo Plane to avoid/reduce all the sanding — I do know of the tool. I think it would be awesome to try one and haven’t yet tried it myself. But for a beginner’s project, it doesn’t make sense to recommend a blade that costly. Usually budget is a reason for DIYing and/or part of the roadblock for why someone might not try to DIY, so I’m not going to recommend it here. For professional woodworkers or those who intend on churning out multiple carved pieces, that would be worth giving a try though.)

After trying a few other battery- and corded- assisting tools to sand down the remainder, I had to resort to good ol’ fashioned sandpaper for the rest. I hated this part because I was already tired from carving.

7. Stain and seal.

At first, I was really tempted to go with a bold color, like blue or green, since the grain reminded me of a topographical map. I picked out a brown stain instead, because I was worried that the few lines where I used wood glue to connect pieces would not take stain and/or detract from the rest of the piece. I’m sure with more glue-up practice and better clamps, I could see fewer lines from the glue. Either way, I still loved the result!

8. Hang and admire your work.

After way too much dry time (it rained for two days and things just would. not. dry.), I got fed up and finally hung my piece using some of my favorite hangers (they allow the art to sit flush on the wall). I love it!

For now, it’s hanging in the entryway, but I may move it at some point.

What do you think? What color would you have picked? Would you have put a frame around it? I considered so many possibilities on this one, that the options are still pretty tempting. I’d love to hear your ideas.

P.S. If you’re wondering what those pictures taped to my garage wall are all about, check that out here. K is a real prankster.

Don’t forget, this is a WOOD ART CHALLENGE and a number of other folks are participating, so go check them out!

1) Reality Daydream / 2) 100 Things 2 Do / 3) House Becoming Home / 4) Anika’s DIY Life / 5) My Repurposed Life / 6) 3×3 Custom / 7) One Project Closer / 8) Merrypad / 9) Chatfield Court / 10) Create & Babble / 11) Hazel & Gold / 12) Jen Woodhouse / 13) Sawdust 2 Stitches / 14) Wood Work Life / 15) Remodelaholic / 16)  Evan & Katelyn / 17) Jaime Costigio / 18)  Pneumatic Addict / 19)  Bower Power / 20) Lazy Guy DIY / 21) My Love 2 Create / 22) Addicted 2 DIY / 23) Her ToolBelt / 24) Shades of Blue / 25) Ugly Duckling House / 26) The DIY Village / 27) DIY Huntress / 28) Mr Fix It DIY

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DIY Carved Wood Wall Art


16 Attic Design Ideas to Take Your Space Way Beyond Storage

attic design ideas

Use these attic design ideas to inspire your next remodel. Image: Stephen E. Kowalski

Is your attic currently only being used for storage? If so, you’re not alone. Too many of us are guilty of taking older or rarely used items and burying them up in the attic, never to be thought of again. Unfortunately, though, while this organizational method may be common, it’s causing us to miss out on a great opportunity to create something special.

In fact, your attic may have more potential than any unused space in your home. When remodeled correctly, it can be transformed into anything you can dream up, from a much-needed home office to a full-on studio space that’s perfect for hosting longer-term guests.

Looking for a little inspiration? Check out the innovative attic design ideas below.

Build a sleek and functional home office

throw rug

Ground your desk space with a throw rug. Image: MANDARINA STUDIO interior design


Don’t be afraid to make your attic office multi-functional. Image: Mali Azima Photography

multiple office

Think about creating an office for multiple people. Image: Signature Properties of Illinois, LTD

architectural details

Take advantage of architectural details, such as window seats. Image: The Works


Create an office with an industrial vibe. Image: WALK INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN

Create a laid-back playroom or teen hangout space


Let your child express their personality through the décor. Image: Wright Building Company

study space

How about a fun teen space, complete with study area? Image: Sutro Architects


Provide plenty of seating. Image: Mille Couleurs London

bold color

Consider a bold color scheme for your playroom. Image: Munro Products

Give the kids (or grandkids) a bedroom of their own


Textiles make an attic bedroom feel cozier. Image: Dyanne Wilson Photography

combined bedroom playroom

You may want to build a combined bedroom and playroom, all in one. Image: Beinfield Architecture PC


In a guest room, put function first. Image: Graham Architects

Go big with a studio or in-law suite


If you have the space, give the studio a kitchenette. Image: Jonathan Raith Inc.

seating area

A separate seating area gives your space extra functionality. Image: Modern Yankee Builders

sky lights

Adding skylights makes your studio feel light and bright. Image: GRT Group

color scheme

A consistent color scheme keeps the space feeling cohesive. Image: A Perfect Placement

What do you think of these attic design ideas? Could you see yourself incorporating one into the layout of your home? Share your inspiration with us in the comments below.

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The Front Porch: Before the “After”

Another makeover goal for this spring and summer? Sprucing up my small front porch.

Spring in the South: pollen, with a slight chance of rain.

Another guarantee: I’m suddenly reminded how much work I still need to do in order to finish my front porch.

My front porch: small, but mighty in potential

Many of you who have followed along have already seen quite a few changes to my front porch area. But even though this is an area I make improvements to year over year, I never seem to finish enough to be satisfied. I suppose that’s the nature of home renovation in general, but I’d really like to make this area more welcoming.

At one point, it was scary and falling apart:

front porch before - humble beginnings circa 2011
humble beginnings

Nowadays, it’s much more cleaned up, but I still think it could use a lot more sprucing:

blue front door with red mums - fall house tour
from the 2017 Fall House Tour  (this is a closeup for a reason!)

Also? Designing is difficult because it’s tiny. I see inspiration everywhere for small front porches, but they’re either too large (an actual, proper porch), or too small (mainly a front door with steps that evenly fan out from the door). I can’t find enough examples of my in-between space to know what might work. It’s a little too narrow to put a full-size bench, and too large just to decorate the door. Also, it’s imbalanced, since the door sort of divides the slab with a third/quarter on the left and two-thirds/three-quarters on the right.

With all of the backyard changes I’m planning, it kind of makes sense to have my front door area on my mind, in a topsy-turvy sort of way. When I finish the backyard projects this spring, I’ll be anxious to invite people over (since that’s clearly a thing I’m doing more often now too). And that means my front door could stand to be far more welcoming than it is.

Previous front porch projects

Basically, paint can do quite a lot! But it can’t do everything.

The new front porch “before”

Every now and then, I like to pretend as if I’m a professional DIY blogger and share an in-depth look at the “before” before I begin. It makes for a great opportunity for you guys to chime in with thoughts I might not have thought of myself. Plus, proper documentation of how embarrassingly crap something looks now makes the “after” that much more impressive.

Fair warning: I deliberately chose not to clean up or sugarcoat this area; you can see the pollen and my lazy behavior in all its glory.

So, even though there are quite a few improvements made already, there’s still enough left to do to make this a starting point and worth discussing. Here are the ideas I have so far:

Simple cleaning and paint

Tracking dirt around is kind of a given with DIY, but even if my house was as pristine as could be, Mother Nature simply prefers to keep things dirty. And buggy. And weathered. Which is how even though I’ve painted the porch area before (except finishing the ceiling, coughcough), it could use some touch ups. And finishing that ceiling, after all.

Railing replacement

When I first painted the railing, it needed a lot of caulking first. I knew it might be temporary, and the carpenter bees have continued to stake a new claim on these railings. So, it may finally be time to replace them instead of repair. It doesn’t hurt that my DIY confidence has grown considerably in these last few years, so I feel much better prepared to handle a task like this than I did when I first painted this.

Boost the stonework?

Not entirely sure if this is a good idea or not, but I saw a product in the store that promises to bring out the color in the stone work and seals it. I still haven’t done enough research yet but I like the idea of making the stone really pop.

A small bench

Since the plants in front of the porch block it from the street, it doesn’t make sense to me to have a bench facing out. Instead, I imagine it would be more friendly for the bench to face a guest as they approach the front door.


I like the contrast the cream trim adds to the siding, but this area could still be punched up quite a bit with more color. New plants, maybe some artwork… perhaps even a small outdoor runner on the ground in front of the bench.

Upgrade the ceiling

You may have noticed one of the ugliest parts of the front porch is that the ceiling is only partially painted. In my defense, it’s only partly my fault. The ceiling was already hideous and has a rough plywood texture. So, I thought I’d update it with an old school “haint blue” color, popular with Southern homes (and well, I live in Atlanta…).

It still looked horrible as I painted (and sucked up way more paint than I anticipated). That terrible paint job was kind of defeating, especially when sacrificing my aching shoulders to get the job done. When I ran out of paint, I ran out of motivation to keep going. So, I think I’m going to skip on to plan 2: installing a new layer with painted beadboard plywood.


Every good front porch has beautiful flowers to make it look more welcoming. And I want me summa that, pronto. I want planters and flowering shrubs and trailing vines. Short of that, just things that don’t look dead and brown and covered in spring pollen. (Confession: I already have new planters and new plants waiting to be shared, so that post and video are coming very soon!).

But even after that new post, I still have ambitions for more planter spots — next to the new bench, maybe a large fern, etc. Oh, and beautiful hanging planters that aren’t just the plastic things that come with the hanging plant when you buy them on clearance.

New house numbers

My mail guy is terrible; he mixes up our mail all the time. And even worse? I’m not even sure if I instead have a mailwoman now, because every week when I see a mail carrier dropping off the mail, it’s a different person. So, who is filling in for whom? As a result, my neighbors and I are often trading off the mail to get it to the right mailbox.

And that led to some self-reflection: even though I have numbers on my mailbox, and next to the front door, do I contribute to the confusion in any way? Could there be ways to make my house numbers even more visible — increase the contrast? So, I bought some new house numbers that stand out more. Now, I have a plan to mount them in a way that is sure to get noticed by even the most confused Uber Eats driver.

What else?

Feel free to let it fly: what else should I do to upgrade this porch a little? I have no intentions of changing the footprint of the porch itself (there’s always the “change literally everything about this porch by rebuilding it and pour new concrete” guy, so I’ll nip that in the bud right away). But if you have some decorative ideas that I haven’t listed here, I’d welcome the input! And if you’re still going stir-crazy with winter, please know that I’m sending lots of warm-weather vibes your way. Happy Monday, and happy spring!

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The Front Porch: Before the “After”


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?

The post Growing Seedlings for My First Veggie Garden appeared first on Ugly Duckling House.


Growing Seedlings for My First Veggie Garden


Denver Loft Exudes Fashionable, Eclectic Vibe

This eclectic Denver loft showcases a casual scheme, with high-end furniture, fixtures and finishes.Playful decorative items make the apartment come alive.

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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



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!

The post Dueling DIY: Installations and Seeing the Finish Line appeared first on Ugly Duckling House.


Dueling DIY: Installations and Seeing the Finish Line