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Susan Currie Coffee Bar

How to Make a Home Coffee Bar

We’ve seen a significant uptick in clients’ requests for a home coffee bar, so we have put together a few of our favorite ways to create a grab-n-go coffee that will make you feel like you’re at your favorite coffee shop, instead of at home!

A fresh cup of coffee never goes out of style — but cluttered cabinets full of K-Cups and unopened coffee bags certainly do. These work-ready coffee bar ideas will help you streamline your morning routine, ultimately taking the chaos out of your daily caffeine boost. 

Step One: Pick A Space

Our first step is straightforward: carve out space in your home (think empty kitchen cabinets, accessible countertops, or mobile bar carts) and fill it with everything you need to make a coffee shop-worthy drink. Work with what you’ve already got by transforming a slim cabinet into a makeshift coffee station. You can also clear out an old cabinet and load it with labeled organizers and baskets. If you prefer making your morning brew with a pourover and French press, then a mobile coffee cart is your best bet, especially because you don’t have to worry about keeping it near an outlet. 

Step Two: Add Coffee Maker & Mugs 

Making a cup of coffee now requires minimal effort, and many of us feel free to indulge in our favorite hot beverage throughout the day, as opposed to just in the morning. Keurigs have become a kitchen staple, but we also have clients that adore their home espresso machines. Stash all the basics, including your favorite travel mugs for grab-and-go days. We like to keep 8-12 simple white coffee mugs at our station. You can often find these very inexpensively at your local Crate & Barrel. We are big fans of these mugs from Burke Decor, which have a stylish modern twist on your basic white mug. You’ll want enough mugs in the coffee bar area for guests, too, rather than digging out mismatched mugs from other kitchen cabinets. 

If you have limited counter space or drawers, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a coffee station in your kitchen. Instead, take advantage of vertical space! Hanging shelves of different shapes and sizes on the wall to house mugs, coffee spoons, and other accessories.

Step Three: Decorate

Make sure your coffee station aligns with the rest of your home’s aesthetic by incorporating coordinating geometric prints, faux greenery, and chic canisters. Cover any imperfections with baskets, jars, and an assortment of monochromatic mugs. Avoid a cluttered look by keeping everything — coffee maker, sugar bowl, creamer, and mugs — in the same color. You can then add in unique accent pieces to add a little personality. Your DIY coffee bar can be a great accent piece in homes of all styles, including farmhouse and modern interiors. 

Susan Currie Designs

Pro Tip: If you’re inclined toward a midday or nighttime pick-me-up, opt for a bar cart that you can roll from one room to the next, or even take outdoors when the weather permits. That way, nothing will get in between you and your true love: coffee. 

We’d love to know if you add a coffee bar space to your home. Curious about how we can help you update your home to be more functional? Email us at susan@susancurriedesigns.com

Susan Currie Designs

How to Create the Perfect Living Room

Creating the Ideal Living Room 

Building and designing your perfect living room can be challenging, so we’ve pulled together our top tips to help you create your dream space! Whether you’re developing your home with an architect for the first time or are updating a room that has been well loved and lived in for years, we’ll walk you through everything to keep in mind as you put together your living room.

Once you’ve read all the practical advice, be sure to check out our kitchen design tips for a total kitchen-to-living room refresh!

HOW TO ARRANGE THE FURNITURE

Determining the layout is the first step in designing the living room. We’ve found that most of our clients want to arrange their furniture around the TV. Whether you have a small space or a large room with a lot of flexibility for furniture placement, the TV ends up being the focal point. 

We suggest creating ‘purposeful zones’ for the living room. This way, you have some areas for activities other than watching TV, to keep the living room from turning into ‘the TV room.’ Feel free to include a sofa or sectional for the TV watchers, especially if you want to have separate areas for other activities. We’ve found that armchairs, poofs, and other seating options will inevitably be dragged to face the TV, so plan ahead by setting up a couch and coffee table in advance. 

If there are readers in your household, we recommend including a designated reading nook with armchairs. And now that so many of us are working from home, we’ve started including specific workspaces in our clients’ living rooms. We love to utilize space-efficient options like fold-out desks that can be tucked away when not in use, but creating a whole corner for your home office is a great option if space allows.  

Top tip: If you don’t know where to start with your living room layout, use a painter’s tape measure to size up the room. From there, you can sketch out a floor plan and draw a few different ways your furniture could be arranged. If you’re still trying to figure out how to balance between TV vs. no TV, we recommend The Frame TV from Samsung. It looks like a gorgeous piece of art when not in use and comes with a library of over 1,200 pieces of artwork from world-renowned institutions. It instantly becomes a TV when you want it to, and then can be switched back to displaying art when you’re done. 

ADDING YOUR PERSONAL STYLE TO YOUR LIVING ROOM DESIGN

Once you’ve planned your furniture placement, you can move on to the fun stuff – choosing the style of your living room! This is a room you will spend a lot of your time and should be a mixture of your personal style and the comfort level you desire. A formal living room can be a great option, but if this will be the room to kick off your shoes and enjoy a glass of wine each night, we recommend prioritizing comfort over formality. 

Your living room design style may be somewhat dictated by your property’s age, your home’s inherent architectural features, or the style of the rest of your home. However, the space needs to fit your lifestyle, too! In other words, if you have a house full of kids, decorating a living room with ornate antiques might not be practical. A modern living room might be more fitting. 

At Susan Currie Design, we love to experiment with pops of color. Living rooms can be a great place to do this, because you can tie in elements from across your home. Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Doing so will create a less constructed, more relaxed feel, and, after all, it’s the room you unwind in at night, so it should be a true expression of your taste. That said, we love a gorgeous neutral space as well. If you opt for a neutral palette, you have a great opportunity to play with different textures in similar colors. A variety of textures helps create a soothing space without it becoming boring.

CHOOSING A COLOR SCHEME 

We touched on this a bit in the previous paragraph, but before you start purchasing items for your living room, decide on the color scheme you’re going to use. Think about the room’s size and the height of the ceiling when you are making this decision. These tips may be Interior Design 101, but use lighter colors for smaller living rooms to create the illusion of more space and darker colors for larger rooms – especially on ceilings – to create a more intimate, cozy vibe.

If you are lucky enough to have a larger living room, you can be more adventurous with color. Try experimenting with a darker decorating palette, add a striking feature wall, or get creative with wallpaper or a bold paint color.

Bear in mind that the natural light your living room receives should affect your color choice. North- and east-facing rooms tend to get cooler, less radiant light, so warmer shades of all colors, including anything from white to blue to grey, will make them feel more welcoming. South- and west-facing rooms usually get lots of sunlight, so you may want to choose cooler colors to keep them feeling restful. Avoid using dark fabrics if they will be in direct sunlight, as they may get hot and/or fade in the sun. 

FLOORING FOR YOUR LIVING ROOM

The living room floor can be a high-traffic area. Be ready for dirt, water damage, spills, and other stains. If you’re going with a light-colored carpet, make sure it’s a durable fabric that’s easy to clean. All white, monochromatic looks are possible with kids, but the magic is all in the fabrics you choose. We recommend wool and nylon rugs and carpets. Or, if you’re willing to try a pattern, rugs with bold prints can excellent choices for spaces prone to spills. A pattern can disguise minor mishaps because there’s so much more happening on the floor!

If you have hardwood flooring, consider adding a coating to protect the wood, or opt for an area rug. Natural floor covering materials, such as sisal or jute, are another option that looks great on a hardwood floor and can add a layer of protection from scuffs and scratches.

If you’re an apartment dweller, it’s a good idea to add a thick rug pad beneath your living room rug. This adds an extra level of noise protection between you and your downstairs neighbor, as well as a little extra cushion when you’re walking around barefoot. Pet owners might want to consider a carpet that will disguise pet hair (and maybe a robotic vacuum, too!). 

HOW TO CHOOSE FURNITURE

Selecting your furniture can be one of the most challenging steps when designing a living room, but since you’ve already decided on a color scheme and measured your space, determining what works should be considerably more manageable! Furniture will probably be the most expensive aspect of your living room redesign, so be picky about what you need. Start with the basics and assess what furniture your living room really can’t do without – and how you might make it more versatile with hidden storage, for example. 

Also, think about how durable each piece needs to be and what’s worth investing in – soft furnishings get the most wear, so get the highest quality you can within your budget or opt for removable slipcovers that can be thrown in the washing machine. 

Be sure to choose furniture that will stand the test of time, not just in terms of physical durability but stylistically, too. Don’t go with shapes, colors, or patterns that will become dated or that you will tire of too quickly. 

WINDOW DRESSINGS TO ACCENT THE ROOM

Window dressings are important – they offer a feeling of comfort, privacy, light control, insulation, and, if chosen well, can pull your whole room together. 

What you choose will primarily come down to your taste and budget. If you want to add a touch of luxury to the living room, shutters or roman shades beneath lined curtains are a great combination. In a contemporary living room, shutters are an easy-to-coordinate option with plenty of curb appeal. Plus, if you’re on a tight budget, adjustable shade options are a much more affordable option than custom. 

BRING THE OUTSIDE IN 

Plants and flowers to brighten up any space. A few of our favorites for new plant owners are Snake Plant, Monstera Deliciosa, ZZ Plant, Rubber Tree, and Pothos. These are easy to take care of and have also been shown to filter out nasty chemicals in the air, like benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene! You will breathe easier with these potted pals in your home! 

We’d love to help you design your ideal living room space. Email us at susan@susancurriedesign.com with any questions, comments, or tips you think we should share! 

Susan Currie Designs - Modern Kitchen Remodel

7 Design Tips to Plan the Perfect Kitchen

We’ve all been spending so much more time at home these days. One of the benefits of that extra time at home is the opportunity to focus on updating and renovating your most-used spaces. We think of the kitchen as the heart of the home at Susan Currie Design, and have put together a few tips and tricks to help you update your kitchen in a cost-friendly way! 

Susan Currie Designs - 7 Design Tips to Plan the Perfect Kitchen

Function is probably the most important aspect to think about when planning a new kitchen. It’s also very important to consider your family’s specific needs for the space. These days the kitchen is about more than just cooking; it is the heart of the home. We work, watch TV, read the mail, chat with the kids after school, help them with homework, chat with our partner, hang out with friends, sip on a glass (or two) of wine after a long day. Or you may have a whole other list of things you want to do in your kitchen, which is why it’s so important to narrow down exactly how you envision using this space, so that you can make it work for your family.  

As you plan, here are a few points to consider: 

  • How much use does your kitchen get? Is your everyday kitchen a busy place, where everyone hangs out? Or do you prefer it tucked away, only to be used when necessary, to warm up leftovers or wash out your empty wine glasses?
  • Besides cooking, what other daily activities do you like to do in the kitchen? If you have kids, do they work on homework while you are prepping dinner? Do you look up new recipes on Pinterest or food blogs while sipping your morning coffee? Do you like to catch up on the latest Bravo shows while baking cookies? You may want to consider adding a dedicated space for a small desk, TV, or dropzone. 
  • Do you like to entertain? If you often find yourself hosting friends for wine and cheese or an afternoon cup of coffee, you may want to think about adding a beverage center that houses a wine fridge, wine glasses, or a coffee bar. 
  • How much seating do you need? Most kitchens these days are eat-in kitchens with an area for a breakfast table, but if you like to entertain or want a more casual place to chat with your kids over an afternoon snack, you may want to consider adding additional seating around an island or peninsula.
  • What’s your cooking style? Are you an aspiring Ina Garten, or are you more inclined towards take out? Consider what appliances will best suit your needs. But, depending on your plans, you might also want to keep in mind what your kitchen renovation will do to the resale value of your home. Homes in expensive neighborhoods may call for professional level appliances. So, even if you aren’t a serious cook, it can be important to consider how the look and function of appliances can help with resale value. Peruse the internet for recently sold homes to see what’s selling best in your area.
  • How do you handle cleaning up? Every kitchen must accommodate easy clean-up. For those of us whose kitchens are used for everything from constant snacking (and the crumbs that come with!) to homework and science projects, having the right equipment to handle clean up is essential. Consider dishwashers’ unique features, and check the sound rating, too. If you have an open floor plan, you don’t want the dishwasher or garbage disposal to drown out movie night or disrupt a work call. 
  • How does the kitchen design flow with the rest of the home? It’s essential to consider your kitchen’s flow with the rest of the house. Your kitchen should blend effortlessly with the rest of your space. It can be really beneficial to bring in a professional to choose the right countertops, backsplash, and finishes to create a harmonious and inviting kitchen.

Kitchens and bathrooms are our specialties at Susan Currie Design, and we take each family’s different needs, as well as their style preferences, into consideration when designing their space. We love to take an area that will be used by the whole family and tailor it to become a client’s dream kitchen.

For more info or to schedule a consultation, email us at susan@susancurriedesign.com or call 504-862-5800.

A Guide to Shelf Styling

While we don’t believe there are steadfast rules to interior design, there are certainly guidelines and “recipes” that work for us. One of the subjects that we follow some loose guidelines is decorating open shelving… A gorgeous bookcase or set of custom shelves can do so much for a space – not to mention all of the great storage options they offer!

SusanCurrie_Condo-9943 (2)

But – adding fabulous shelves to your space is only part of the equation. The most important part for us is styling those shelves so they look and function perfectly. Here are a few guidelines from Susan Currie Design on how to smartly style those shelves:

via House Beautiful

via House Beautiful

Add more than just books! Including accessories, art and sculptural elements help break up the heaviness of those big blocks of books and adds dimension and interest.

via Room for Tuesday

via Room for Tuesday

Include storage solutions! This could be anything from a large, textural basket to a laquered box or even a tray. Place items you’d like to have out of sight in these – newspapers, magazines, bits and bobs; you can store anything on your shelves!

via Forever Cottage

via Forever Cottage

Shelves offer a wonderful opportunity for your to showcase favorite pieces of artwork and family photos! And the best thing about curating your shelves with art is that it’s super easy to switch things out and give your shelves a whole new look.

by Susan Currie Design

by Susan Currie Design

Our last shelf styling tidbit we’d like to share is actually not something you put on the shelves… Lighting. You want to showcase your fabulously designed shelves with appropriately placed lighting. Be it built-in lights, sconces, library/art lighting or even pot lights pointing toward your shelving units, all of these are great options to really highlight what your shelves show off!

If you’d like to speak about shelving – and styling options – for your own home, reach out to our team; we’d love an opportunity to share how some stylish new shelves can work for you!

How to Decorate with Mirrors

Mirrors are an essential tool in just about every designer’s toolkit. They’re not just for use in bathrooms any more… Here at Susan Currie Design, we incorporate mirrors into so many elements of our designs, some which may come as a surprize to you.

Susan Currie Jeannette living-4

Photo by: Sara Essex Bradley | Design by: Susan Currie Design

We love using mirrors as tabletops! The offer a bright and reflective surface, ideal for showcasing a fantastic work of art or increasing the amount of light a tabletop lamp can put off.

Susan Currie Jeannette dining

Photo by: Sara Essex Bradley | Design by: Susan Currie Design

We love propping mirrors up as opposed to hanging them and using them to create layers of framed art. This provides additional dimension and interest to a space.

 

Photo by: Susan Currie Design Styling by: Travis & Company ADAC

Photo by: Susan Currie Design
Styling by: Travis & Company | ADAC

Mirrored furnishings are another smart way to use reflective surfaces. They’re a wonderful neutral furnishing option and add sparkle and pizzaz.

There you have it, done the right way, mirrors are a brilliant way to add some brilliance into your home!

Hues of Blue

Our team was recently walking through ADAC (Atlanta Decorative Arts Center) and as we explored many of the stunning designer showrooms one trend kept repeating itself – the use of the color blue.

Nina Campbell by Osborne and Little for Ainsworth-Noah

Nina Campbell by Osborne and Little for Ainsworth-Noah

While blue has never gone out of style, we’re certainly seeing a resurgence of this royal hue and we couldn’t be happier about it!

William Yeoward by D. Guild for Ainsworth-Noah

William Yeoward by D. Guild for Ainsworth-Noah

So, take note of this trend that’s currently on spotlight…

By Susan Currie Design

By Susan Currie Design

And if you’d like some help introducing blue into your space, reach out to our team today!

Workspace

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Chairs

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Bedroom

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Sun Room

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