Monthly Archives: April 2018

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:

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  • 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.

divide

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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