Well, the first Living By Design virtual showhouse has officially launched! This is a unique opportunity to tour the Living By Design showhouse completely virtually, from the comfort of your couch. I love that on the tour, you can actively click on links to the elements of each room and get inspiration for your own home. And is it any surprise that I designed the craft room? So I’m particularly excited about that. All you have to do to access the tour is visit this link and peruse the rooms to your heart’s content.
The Craft Room
Be sure to check out that craft room! There are a lot of elements in there that I’m particularly jazzed about, like the wallpaper, art, and that amazing crafting island. Minted was my go-to for the art, and I have to say they made the decision-process difficult. So many lovely options that complimented the space so well! And those dreamy velvet curtains? You have Calico to thank for those.
But what really had me excited was all that amazing storage and furniture, thanks to California Closets! You know how important craft room storage is to me. I mean, it’s essential to have a functional space that’s easy to keep organized when you’re an avid crafter. I love how it all came together for the craft room!
Architecture and 3D Visualization
I can’t talk about the craft room without giving a nod to the amazing architecture by Brandon Architects. It’s always more enjoyable to design a space when the architecture really lends itself to the design. And since this is a fully virtual experience, I should also mention the impeccable 3D visualization by YouSee.
I’d like to also give a special shout out to all of the tour’s sponsors: California Closets,Carrier,Minted, andMonrovia. It goes without saying that this Living by Design virtual showhouse tour wouldn’t have been possible without them.
Also, thanks to Martha Stewart Living, the showhouse national media partner. And we can’t forget the amazing producer/production team Embello.
Thank you so much for the birthday wishes! You guys are the best. After working yesterday we headed out to Roskilde to attend the Royal Danish Ballet’s summer series. Coincidentally, our first date was this exact event three years ago so it was very apropos. Roskilde is Paul’s favorite town so we spent some time exploring the city including the cathedral, churches, harbor, and charming streets. If you ever get to Denmark, Copenhagen is great, but the smaller towns are more walkable and cozy.
Like the other prints in the Lars Print shop, each design can come however you’d like–as a download where you can print it off yourself or as a print in the mail in a variety of sizes or it can come framed and/or matted. Here we put three together and I think they work perfectly together, no? All that Art Deco glory–so good!
From illustrations to photography to quotes, the Lars print shop has wall decor for every style! If you’re looking for some bold pieces to accompany your Miami prints on a gallery wall, you can find plenty of patterns and bright colors in the Lars shop prints! Or, if you’re going for a more subtle, pastel wall, you can browse through some of the illustrations to match the Miami art prints.
We even have a couple of art prints for Coronavirus relief charities. You get beautiful pieces of art AND help out communities during the pandemic. It’s a win-win.
If you love these Miami prints but aren’t sure how to start your gallery wall, we’ve got you covered! Learn how to make a gallery wall here, and let the decorating begin!
The city really took off after the 1940s when the Golden Age actors of Hollywood wanted a retreat from the growing sprawl of Los Angeles. With all of that wealth coming to town, architects came along with it. William Krisel and John Porter Clark and Arthur Frey and Jack Meiselman and so many more created masterpieces and tract houses alike in this town. While you and I probably can’t commission the architecture gods to build us new homes, we can take cues from their style! It’s also a very real possibility to snag one of the homes for yourself if you’re in the market.
The look of Palm Springs is one of openness and ease, minimalism with playful twists. With the pervasive sun and expansive sky, most of the homes in the area are painted white but you’ll be hard pressed to find a neutral-colored door. Pastels and neons reign! Hooray! There is this random house that isn’t one of the rat pack mansions or anything, but it has become famous because of #thatpinkdoor. A few cans of paint is all it takes for you to bring this Palm Springs styling tip home with ya!
Don’t Forget to Look Up
If you go visit Palm Springs, odds are you’ll be so busy looking at all of the fabulous architecture that you might not notice the sky. Who am I kidding – it’s huge and bluer than you’ve ever seen it before. You can’t miss it. The architects who polished this corner of desert into a gem certainly didn’t! It’s almost as if they designed with the sky as the centerpiece. Check out this picture from my good friend Frank’s house. Architect E. Stewart Williams wasn’t messing around – he was showcasing the skies. My favorite Palm Springs houses have windows that are higher than I’m used to seeing. They also have cantilevered sections and skylights. This stunning photograph of the Sunnylands Estate, AKA “Camp David of the West” shows how important the sky is to the design of the property. By the way, Obama and Xi Jinping hung out here a few years back. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me!
Okay, thanks for humoring me while I ranted about the sky for a bit. A huge part of the appeal of Palm Springs is its ease. I just look at pictures and feel relaxed. The design is simple to understand; it’s all about straight lines and symmetry. I love this photo of a room at Twin Palms – the sunburnt orange color is definitely an homage to the earth tones outside. I love that color as a headboard! The symmetry of the room is so precise and uncomplicated that it looks good from every angle. Imagine having a wall of matching prints of identical size behind you for zoom calls! The exteriors of Desert Modernist homes tend to have breeze block and hardy plants that are almost impossible to kill. What’s not to love about that?
If you’re looking to add some freshness to your space, try channeling the vibe of Palm Springs! Its simple color scheme, sky-inspired design, and linear geometry create such a feeling of comfort and relaxation. That’s exactly what I want right now!!
I’ve been lucky to see what I consider some of the most beautiful places in the world. However, rarely has a place made such an impression as Provence. I’ve been having dreams about it. It’s a place that I would love to return to again and again and again. Which means that I need to get rich and buy a villa there, bien sur. When my mom came to visit me in Copenhagen in September we took a side trip (after MUCH drama including missing our flight–my fault–and thinking we could compensate by driving–nope!) to the south of France. I’ve talked about parts of the trip here, here, and here. Gordes was one of the most beautiful towns we visited. It felt more like a museum town in that it was quite pristine and glowing as the town is built of limestone. I wouldn’t say that you need to stay here if you’re visiting unless you use your holidays to lounge, swim, and walk around. My mom and I just loved soaking in all the architecture and as she said, her favorite part was looking at all the building materials. Nerd alert! But, alas, it WAS the best part. Look at the lovely shades of shutter colors! I mean, come on!
Some of the photos might seem a bit repetitive, but it’s because the details were so lovely. There are complicated details in the ironwork on the windows and handrails. Some I just took pictures of because I wanted to remember details for my future villa. You know.
I must also mention the kindness of the people. The French in the South of France are kind, warm, and open. That, combined with the sun was the perfect escape from cold Denmark.
I love what this person did. The town attracts loads of tourists and I’m sure they made braids on their doors to keep peeping toms like me out of their house.
A functioning water fountain! Yes, I stopped on the side of the road to quickly get this shot.
Leading into the town of Gordes is the Lavender Museum or Le Musee de la Lavande. Provence is the lavender capital and sadly we missed it all by a month or two. BIG SAD FACE. So we had to hit the lavender museum. I’d say it’s worth it if you like factory tours and such, like Mama and me. It shows the processes of how they make it and the history. We found it quite fascinating. At the end they lead you to a boutique where you can find all sorts of lavender products including an ointment that helps alleviate aches and pains. Sign me up!
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a trip without pictures of doors and windows.
Complete with bistro lights. Sigh.
Here are the iron-work details. See what I mean?!
Oh, and just a laundry rack. Covered with IVY!
Too much for me.
Have you ever been to Provence? What were your favorite places? In other words, where should I buy my villa?
I’m finally finishing off the Gunillaberg trip (see part one of the entrance, and two of the interiors). If you’re just joining in, my mom visited us in Copenhagen last September and we took a day trip to the summer home of floral artist/sculptor, Tage Andersen, in Sweden. The palace is the former home of the first Swedish representative to America and Mr. Andersen has turned it into his home and playground. It’s open to the public as an indoor/outdoor museum. He’s just opened up a brand new orangerie and I’m dying to go back to see it. Today I’m showing the more remote parts of the property: the gazebo, bathroom, cafe, and reflecting pool. Now, pick your chin from off the ground and let’s do this.
This gazebo is where Liesel and Rolph should have chosen for their 16 going on 17 number. Isn’t it subtly gorgeous with the monochromatic painting along the frieze? This is the site of my next paper flower workshop…I wish.
The pathway leading up to the palace and a close-up of the handmade twig table inside the gazebo. Plus, a little lake. You know.
This might be one of the most magical elements of the whole property: the reflecting pool and topiaries. This is when I really wish I knew how to take a photo. I saw a much better version on pinterest awhile back and can’t seem to find it again. Rats.
Now, this is what I would DIE to see. Mr. Andersen planted 1,000 lilies (as described in the sign, below) on the outskirts of his property. Can you imagine? I die. Sadly, we visited in September so, no lilies to be seen, only a funky monkey wanna be that’s super crazy. Here’s somebody’s photo of the 1000 lilies in bloom
Before the trip, I talked to Monz, Mr. Andersen’s assistant, in the Copenhagen studio, and he told me to watch out for the bathroom. Why, you ask? Because THIS is it:
Covered in hay.
The cafe is a tent-like structure…
…complete with a bird cage. I DIE.
Guys! Are you dying here with me? I mean, have you seen such beauty? Come on! In my dreams, I’m back again exploring the new orangerie and soaking in the wildflowers.
ALSO, did you know that there’s a tradition in Sweden for May Day that all the girls collect wildflowers, put them under their pillow, and then they supposedly dream about their husband? CRAZY! Swedes, is this for real? I read it somewhere on the web. Someone please confirm!
EDIT: My lovely Scandnavian commenters have told me that it’s for Midsummer, NOT May Day. But glad to see it’s confirmed. Thank you!
The road to our bathroom remodel was long and winding, and part of that is because Paul and I have such different sensibilities when it comes to style and design! If he had his way, we’d live in a sleek warehouse with Brutalistic concrete floors. Ha! So you can imagine that we had lots of negotiations and conversations during our ideation faze, which ultimately led to “do whatever you want”. I will, thank you very much 😉
I get by with a lot of help from my friend, Meta Coleman
I would be sadly remiss if I didn’t start out by singing the praises of my friend and designer, Meta Coleman. Meta is a rockstar designer who’s work is like actual magic. I’m convinced that she knows everything there is to know about interior design because she eats, drinks, and breathes it, and I’m the luckiest to be able to work with her and be her friend. Having Meta at the helm of this bathroom remodel made everything possible. Read more about Meta being my dream designer!
Meta’s process begins with really getting to know the people who live in the space she’s designing, which is part of what makes her work so immaculate. You can see this part of Meta’s designing process through this video of Paul and me talking about our history and design preferences. I really respect how thorough of a designer Meta is, because even though she already knew me and knew my style, she checked in to get really clear on my vision.
Then, with my style clearly in mind, Meta brought in so much magic! I was astounded by the way that she totally understood my taste, then surprised and stretched me through her design. All I can say is that I’m super lucky to be close friends with such an amazing interior designer! I highly recommend it.
It’s also thanks to Meta’s incredible interior design that our bathroom was featured in Domino Magazine, which is such a fun honor. Get to know Meta a little bit better through her Becoming interview, check out her website, and definitely follow her on Instagram @MetaColeman_ to keep up with her work.
Our Big Bathroom Remodel
Like I mentioned, our bathroom started out rough. It was a total bare-bones cavern! I mean, look at this:
With Meta’s help, we came up with a mood board that both Paul and I loved. As you’ll see, the final design departed just a bit from the mood board while still very much holding on to the essential spirit of Meta’s original design.
I’m a big believer in starting out with a great mood board. It makes everything so much easier and provides an invaluable frame of reference for later, when you’re in the middle of building your design and feel stuck. Check out this tutorial on making mood boards!
The very first step was to install flooring, and we fell in love with this amazing wood floor from Stuga Studio. The color we chose is called Tivoli, and it’s perfect–warm but not too yellow. It’s such lovely, high-quality wood, and it has so much personality. We installed it throughout pretty much the whole house, and instantly felt so relieved about our plans to totally update a blank slate fixer-upper. Check out this post to read more about the flooring.
Early on in the design process, I got this gorgeous vanity from Signature Hardware. I knew that I wanted an accent piece of furniture, but I didn’t have an overarching design planned out yet, so it was a tricky choice. Still, I had a deadline, so I went for a strong color that also serves as a neutral–the Olsen vanity in a deep emerald green. The green vanity informed lots of the remaining design choices for the bathroom remodel.
I’m so glad I went with the green! I’m a strong believer that green can count as a neutral color in design, and this bathroom is a strong example of that: it grounds the rest of the colors, which is what neutrals do best.
As you can see, I put the vanity to use long before things were finished or ready. Just keeping it real!
So beautiful, right?? I love the intricate floral designs and I think that cabinets make such perfect heirlooms (sturdy and useful? Check and check), so I decided to paint my wooden hutch with flowers. Stay tuned to learn more about that process in a future post!
Signature Hardware also has beautiful towel racks and wall hooks, which are so important for a bathroom remodel. I installed the Vintage Towel Bar and the Vintage Towel Ring in brushed gold, and they land at the perfect intersection between simple and refined.
Apart from all the technical things (like flooring, plumbing, and electricity), the custom DIY wainscoting was a big part of the remodel. Meta presented the concept to me after seeing a photo of it on a door frame in Paris. She directed me to how to make it happen and then I was off to figure it out. I bought square and circular wooden cutouts, painted them in a soft, light, blue, and attached them to wall’s bottom third. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, the workmen we hired to paint and install trim didn’t think so. Haha! You should have seen their faces when I explained my plan! Thankfully they warmed up to the idea.
The wallpaper came next, and at that point things started getting really exciting. It turns out that having finished walls makes a huge difference! Ha! At this point we started shooting some projects in the bathroom. Some of our eagle-eyed readers may have caught onto a few bathroom remodel teasers in the backgrounds of some past projects. For example, you can see some wallpaper and wainscoting behind these paper pansies.
I also couldn’t resist shooting these paper hollyhocks between the sinks, so you can see the countertop, wallpaper, and some of the mirrors in this picture.
After we got all the main pieces installed, it was time to style the bathroom. Meta Coleman came back to lend a hand, and I truly love the way she put my bathroom together.
The mirrors are custom made by Meta, and I love the way the two-tone glass reflects such warm, glowing light around the room. She used this two toned mirror technique on her own bathroom and generously gave me the remains. We tried a few different shapes included a wavy design and a flower, but ultimately, I wanted to keep it a simple oval.
Meta also custom made my curtains using Soane fabric. I love the mustard color, and the fabric’s pattern reminds me so much of Matisse’s paper cutouts.
Our Full Bathroom Remodel Reveal
Whew! So many things came together for this bathroom remodel, and it was seriously so much work. I’m so grateful for Meta’s help all along the way! I truly couldn’t have done it without her.
I have a closet attached to my bathroom, and I updated that, too! I’ve included a few sneak peeks in this post, but you can stay tuned to see more of it soon. 😉
5 ways to bring your family history into your home
If you don’t follow along on Instagram, I shared about how I got to attend Roots Tech conference in March after I had spent some time talking about how our family heritage influenced the design of our home here on the blog, which was then featured here and here. I’ve been hearing some requests about how to do it in your own home so I’m sharing 5 ways to bring your family history into your home.
Let’s start with the why. Now, of course you don’t have to bring your family heritage into your home in order to love and honor your family. You don’t even have to do anything big. For me, my grandparent’s home was so crucial to my aesthetic development that I have always hearkened back to it and wished to bring it in.
My grandparents built their home in Los Angeles in 1951 and were known for their hospitality and hosted showers, weddings, out of town visitors. My grandmother had a small sewing room behind the laundry room with a cabinet full of fabrics that she had collected from all around the world. She taught me to sew all sorts of things. That room was magic.
The kitchen was French-inspired. It had hand-painted tile with delicate flourishes and little toile scenes. It was placed on the counters, on the kitchen hood along with beautiful accessories. The family room had a high cup rack around the ceiling of the room where mugs were displayed. It was covered in a beautiful wood treatment. All around the house was furniture and paintings that my artist uncle had designed and painted.
By hearkening back to this time, I feel like I am able to capture my grandparent’s essence. Like they still live on through me. They were the loveliest.
I know we do always know those who came before us or have great relationships with them, and I’ll get to that, but they do inform who we are and finding a way to honor it can get us in touch with our soul.
1. Look back to your family history origins
If you don’t have a specific idea of how to bring your family heritage into your home, look back to where you came from. Here in the States we all came from somewhere else and so there’s quite a bit to look to.
Growing up, I was told stories about my Irish and Danish ancestry and grew up really interested in learning more about it. And in school, I always selected Denmark if given the choice, for a country project. Denmark always made its way into the stories I wrote. I was fascinated! So learning about the aesthetic history of the country was something that I was always interested in and it happened to align with what I naturally gravitated to.
On a trip to Denmark to visit Paul’s family, I snuck away to the National Museum of Denmark and stumbled across this cabinet below middle. I loved it so much that I used it as the inspiration for our fridge in the kitchen. You can see how I used all three traditional Danish wedding cabinets to inform it.
A large storyline in our episode of In With the Old was my ancestor, Patty Sessions, a Mormon midwife who delivered babies along the plains as they came over to Utah in the 1840s. I grew up on stories about her and learned to love her for her grit, business acumen, and strength. Being able to talk about her on the show was very special and we found ways to honor her throughout the house.
The staircase is one place where we honored her. I was inspired by traditional flat sawn balusters in Scandinavia, then had my friend, Jill DeHaan carve our flowers onto a few of them. We used the birth flowers of our family members along with the birth flower of Patty Sessions on them. Hers was the rose (June) so we featured it here on the balusters and on fabrics throughout the house.
Learn about them, find things out about them, make them your own!
We don’t always get to inherit the things that we were really hoping for or the things that matter most to us. In fact, when my grandmother died, I inherited her globe. I LOVE the globe, but there were so many other things that reminded me of her and that I was really hoping to have. Slowly, family members have been giving us some things that didn’t fit into their own homes and I’ve been treasuring them.
One of them is this painting of my grandparent’s house. It’s actually my mom’s that she received as a wedding present and it’s just on loan, but I placed it in the kitchen where I think about my grandparent’s every single day. It’s a beautiful memento. You can see it better here:
4. Blend in your heritage with your personal tastes
Jasper’s bed was inspired by traditional Scandinavian built-in alcove beds, but I didn’t want it to read too historical. I wanted it to be slightly modern so we removed some of the decoration and left a few details here and there. We added in that mural and wanted it to shine.
We also painted in yellow as an homage to the traditional color of Danish homes, but also one of my favorite colors and the color that I use for Jasper. (I’ve more or less assigned the boys an unofficial color).
5. Create what you don’t have with your family history
I know it can be hard to secure items of importance like family heirlooms. In that case, create what you don’t have. My great grandmother’s favorite flowers were fuchsias so I always make sure to have at least one pot of fuchsias in the garden. And without fail, I think of her every time I walk by. It can be simple and cheap!
Weaving in your family heritage into the design of your home can seem daunting, but with a bit of research it can be simple to add in some mementos of those who have based on before us. I LOVE having these reminders because it fills my soul. I actually feel things inside of me stirring.
I’d love to hear if you’ve done anything special to bring your family heritage in. Tell me in the comments!
Emma did a fantastic job of staying true to Jane Austen’s time in fresh color scheme we have never seen before in the world of Lizzie Bennet and Elinor Dashwood. Drawing inspiration from this film does not mean your home needs to be transported back to the Regency era. Explore the links below for classic pieces that will fit into your modern home.
Anthropologie has really embraced an Emma inspired look for spring. This mirror is literally called The Emma Mirror! Update your walls with dreamy wallpapers that level up your room without being too bold and distracting. If the Emma movie taught us anything, it’s that your home should be soft supporting act for your bold fashion choices and drama-filled life. Right?!
Choose flowing flower motifs in every material possible, like this carved wood shelf and this brass curtain tieback. This will keep your interior design interesting and multi-dimensional.
Decor inspired by specific scenes
Making a shade like duck egg blue, mint green, or yellow the main tone in your home will help balance the floral patterns. Add in accents of wood and brass to ground your cotton-candy colored cloud of decor. For every two feminine touches, add a masculine one. That is the recipe for a Regency inspired home your family will want to pass down through generations. (Even if someone has to marry the Mr. Collins to keep it in the family.)
Don’t let the soft pastels of this movie convince you that Emma Woodhouse’s next move will be a sweet one. Just like Jane Austen’s witty writing, the film never fails to through in a dash of Mustard yellow or orange to remind us of Emma’s true colors.
If your family isn’t on board with redecorating your entire home, or it’s feeling a little too Austenland, give yourself one room. And make it pink!
Plan a Jane Austen Movie Marathon
Our other favorite Jane Austen films to fill your social distancing time:
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