Granny’s Garden: Our new fabric and wallpaper collection

Granny’s Garden: Our new fabric and wallpaper collection

With spring breathing new life into us after what felt like an eternal winter, we thought this would be the perfect time to release our Granny’s Garden collection. Featuring a variety of roses, tulips, zinnias, and the happiest stripe design you ever did see, this collection is exactly what our souls needed to finally de-winterize.

As we designed Granny’s Garden, we knew we wanted to incorporate the floral, Laura Ashely-esque grandma-style that has recently been trending but with a fun modern twist. Throughout the design process, we found ourselves reminiscing on our own grandmas’ styles and letting their memory inspire the designs that became the Granny’s Garden collection.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and as we prepared this collection it was so fun to think about the incredible women that have helped shape us. We are reminded of them in so many of the beautiful things around us, especially flowers.

Why Spoonflower?

What we love about having our collections on Spoonflower is that we can do all sorts of fabric and wallpaper types. Gone are the days of having to choose between a pattern you love and the fabric you want. Each pattern is offered in a variety of fabrics, giving you the freedom to make exactly what you want.

You can also choose finished products like pillows, duvets, curtains, dining linens, and tablecloths. Spoonflower helps your creative vision come to life in exactly the way you want it to both look and feel, and we are so excited to have Granny’s Garden available for purchase on their platform!

On top of that, you can order just the amount of fabric you need so there’s no waste. We’ve been working with Spoonflower for years so it was really a no brainer!

The inspiration behind our granny collection

Granny’s Garden was inspired by the many amazing grannies of our Lars team. It’s funny isn’t it, how we come to attach the people we love to different items and places? As we were designing this collection, our team discovered we each had different flowers associated with our grandmothers.

Incorporating these flowers into the collection was such a special way for us to pay homage to the women who have helped shape us into the creators we are. Granny’s Garden is dedicated to Grandma Annie, Grandma Gloria, Grandma Nora, Grandma Twiss, and Grandma Dorothy and we made scarves in their remembrance. Keep reading to learn more about their individual stories and you’ll probably fall in love with these amazing women and designs as much as we have.

Grandma Annie’s Tulips

My grandma’s name is Annie. Both she and my grandpa always cherished their garden and spent hours working in it, even into their late 80s. Growing up, I loved going into my grandparents’ orchard to pick raspberries and peaches, see all the fun flowers, and lay in the tall grass. I remember when I was little my grandpa would get all of the cousins amped to attack the “invaders” of the garden (AKA the weeds). We would all grab our tools and go to battle to help Grandpa with his weeding!

They made our time cultivating flowers, fruits, and vegetables memorable and exciting. Grandma Annie would always have flowers from the garden on the table when we had dinner together and would consistently think of others before herself. I love how simple it is to add flowers to your kitchen decor, yet it feels so impactful. One of my favorite nights I remember spending with her and my grandpa, I brought over a bouquet of tulips and we chatted about how they had built their life together and the things they loved. My Grandma Annie passed away in 2022, so now flowers are a special way for me to remember her.

– Jenny, Brand Manager

Grandma ​​Gloria’s Zinnias

Roses are classic and romantic. French parrot tulips are elegant and striking. To build on this collection, I needed a happy, round flower with a lot of petals. I ended up choosing one of my favorites: the zinnia.

The collection’s oversized zinnias are named after my grandmother, Gloria. She recently passed away and in going through her things I happened upon a bunch of photos of her that I’ve never seen before. One of my favorites is a candid photo of her in her early 20s wearing a summer dress with the biggest, beaming smile. It’s the same smile you’d have if someone gave you an overflowing bouquet of bright, colorful flowers.

– Garet, Designer & Illustrator

Grandma Nora’s Mini Zinnies

This pattern is named after our photographer Jane’s grandmother. When I asked Jane which grandmother she wanted to name a floral pattern after she said, “I never knew my Japanese grandmother but I can’t wait to meet her one day. Her name was Noriko Kobiyashi, but I know she went by Nora for short. I hope to name my daughter after her one day.”

So in honor of Nora, I designed mini zinnias. I love how sweet and cheerful this pattern turned out! The way the zinnias are distributed and rotated in the pattern makes it feel like they are dancing. Honestly, it might be my favorite pattern of the bunch. With so many oversized florals, Nora’s mini zinnies really complete the collection.

– Garet & Jane, Photographer

Grandma Twiss’s Stripes

​​My Grandmother, Twiss Roper Nielson, was a gardener extraordinaire. She grew a bounty of vegetables for survival but flowers were her passion. Her acre-sized kitchen garden was filled with flowers and her petunias were so abundant they literally grew like weeds. They came back every year and she would have to dig up petunias to make room for the vegetables. You could smell the flowers in her yard nearly a block away! I won several flower show competitions as an elementary student with her exotic “Cockscomb” (Celosia).

– Kerry, Accountant

Grandma Dorothy’s Roses

My grandparents built their Los Angeles home in 1951. They developed a lovely garden with lush grass, a mossy area, and tons of flowers, of course. They were the most gracious hosts to weddings, showers, and tons of guests. Everyone who knew them called them angels on earth and I will support that statement. Flowers will always remind me of my them, and especially my grandmother. She had a sewing room off to the side of their house where she taught me how to sew. She collected fabrics from all over the world from her adventures and housed them in an overflowing cabinet. I dream about that cabinet!

– Brittany, Founder & Creative Director

Granny’s Garden: wallpapers and fabrics

These spring patterns are sure to blossom in any home, project (try this envelope pillow!), or garden and remind you of your happiest, floweriest memories. We hope you can use them to create something as bright, inviting, and timeless as the women who inspired them. As we leave winter hibernation and say hello to the land of warmth and sun (and flowers!), we’re excited to see all that you do with our Granny’s Garden! And remember, you reap what you sew!

We can’t wait to see what you come up with! Show us what you’re making with #LarsFabrics

Happy Mother’s Day and happy spring!


5 ways to bring your family history into your home

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.


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A post shared by Brittany Jepsen (@houselarsbuilt)



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A post shared by Brittany Jepsen (@houselarsbuilt)

I realized I haven’t shared it with you here.

Why 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.


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A post shared by Brittany Jepsen (@houselarsbuilt)

Of course, you don’t have to actually go to the country in order to be inspired by it. Look at books, videos, movies. There are more resources than ever to help you get familiar with your heritage.

You can read more about the fridge in this post about the kitchen.

2. Identify the people in your family tree

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!

You can read more about the staircase in this post here.

3. Work in the family heirlooms into your home

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:


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A post shared by Brittany Jepsen (@houselarsbuilt)

This coo-coo clock was also my grandparent’s that they got in Germany. It’s also on loan, but I will cherish it while I have it!


I know not everyone has the same style as their grandparent’s mementos and that’s fine! Work it in a place where it can be read as an heirloom and not necessarily the focus of your design.

You can see more of the kitchen renovation 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).

in with the old Brittany Jepsen room reveal

You can see more about Jasper’s bedroom here.

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!

You can read more about our drought tolerant cottage garden here.

Bringing your family history into your home

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! 

10 Crafts to celebrate Earth Day

10 Crafts to celebrate Earth Day

Eco-friendly Cardboard crafts for Earth Day

Some of my favorite crafts are those that either recycle old materials or can be recycled. It just feels better to be resourceful and get some mileage out of items that we tend to collect and throw away! Cardboard is one of my favorite mediums for this so here are some of my favorite cardboard projects. They would be great to do with kids too!

1. Cardboard Cactus Crafts for Earth Day

These cardboard cactus plants are a great way to celebrate Earth Day. All you do is cut out simple shapes from any size cardboard box and stick them in a pot. Great decor AND reusing stuff you already have! Here’s a link for the cardboard cactus tutorial.

2. Cardboard art sculpture craft

We had originally made a mobile as an art piece and then reused the pieces to create this geometric sculpture. It’s a great way to use smaller scraps of paper and cardboard while also turning it into something that you’d actually want to keep around on display.

3. Viking ship made from cardboard

Sure, I made this viking ship out of cardboard for my son for Halloween, BUT it would also be a great toy for every day. Just grab a couple of boxes from the bin and start cutting! The kids can even join in on painting it.

4. Decorative cardboard vases

DIY Painted Cardboard Vases

I was so inspired by that blue and white tablecloth that we made a number of blue and white vases out of cardboard to go with it. They would be fun for a dinner party or as a simple decoration in a vignette. OR, you can make these 2D flat vases, below, to also do the job.

2D Cardboard Vase

5. Egg Carton vases for Earth Day

While we’re on the subject of vases, here’s a great way to reuse egg cartons! I love the texture that the egg containers create. They’re super cool for a fresh, modern vibe.

6. Cardboard sun for Earth Day

make a cardboard sun with recycled materials

Jasper and I made this sun out of cardboard when he was 3 and we had a ball! It’s a great way to teach kids about earth day and get busy together!

7. Learn how to press flowers for Earth Day

Sunshine Spaces by Beci Orpin

A beautiful way to celebrate Mother Nature is to learn how to press flowers. This blog post shares 3 ways to press flowers. It’s a great hobby to learn!

8. Make your own beeswax lunch sack for Earth Day

DIY colorful lunch pails

Make something you can re-use over and over again. We made these cute color-blocked lunch sacks with beeswax pouches intended to use over plastic bags.

9. Eco-friendly Friendship bracelet rug for Earth Day

Turn fabric scraps into a friendship bracelet inspired rag rug. This was one of my earliest projects on the blog and one of my favorites to this day!

10. Celebrate nature for Earth Day with paper flowers

One way to celebrate Earth Day is to pay homage to the beauty that Mother Earth provides. Flowers are probably my favorite thing on earth. we have a host of paper flower tutorials that will bring the celebration indoors!

Paper hydrangeas

These gorgeous water-colored hydrangeas are made from coffee filters! Use what you have!

Paper pansies

Paper pansies in a distressed terracotta planter. They're placed on a stack of colorful books on a chair. In the background, you can see some red floral wallpaper and blue wainscoting.

These adorable paper pansies or johnny jump ups are too cute. Here’s how to make them!

If you’re really wanting to learn how to get into the flower spirit, we have a course on how to draw your favorite flowers. It would be a great way to celebrate! Sign up for the course here.

As we celebrate Earth Day, it’s important to remember that small actions can make a big impact. These 10 eco-friendly crafts demonstrate how we can repurpose and upcycle everyday items to create something beautiful while reducing waste. Whether it’s turning old cardboard into a home decoration or celebrating mother earth in flowers, we can show our love for the planet in creative ways. So let’s get crafting and make a difference one DIY project at a time! Remember, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan

Easter Crafts

Our Favorite Easter Crafts

We have so many Easter crafts that we’re just thrilled to share with you this year. Many of them are brand new, too! Need a new Easter Basket? We’re here for you. How about a fresh spring wreath? We’ve also got you covered in that department. Without further ado, here’s the list of our favorite Easter crafts!


I love a good wreath. And spring wreaths are some of my favorites! They’re a must have when talking about Easter crafts. This year we have a brand new Palm Leaf Wreath you’re sure to love. It’s delicate, colorful, and festive. Just the thing to celebrate Palm Sunday, Easter and spring all in one go! If you’re feeling more into eggs, try our ever popular Easter egg wreath, or this sweet Honeycomb Easter wreath. Both are lovely and sure to put a little spring in your step. Also, you can’t go wrong with a simple floral theme. This Daffodil Wreath is very appropriate for the season, as is this Lemon Wreath!

A floral Easter wreath hanging on a pink wall next to a white door. A wooden mushroom is also on the porch.

Easter Baskets

You can’t have Easter crafts without Easter baskets! And we have a brand new one for you to try this year. It’s our DIY Easter Basket, and the best part is that it doesn’t require any sewing. Another clever no-sew Easter basket is this Paper Easter basket. Just download, print, cut and assemble, it’s that easy! If you want to sew an adorable bag that doubles as an Easter basket and will be around for years to come, try this carrot shoulder bag! The bonus is it packs up easily and is equally cute.

If you’re looking for inspiration on what to fill your basket with, look no further than this Easter Basket choose your own adventure. We help guide you through the steps to picking your perfect Easter basket, along with everything to put inside it, like this Paper carrot treat box, carrot surprise balls, or this DIY stuffed bunny. You can also make some of these Danish Easter letters to tuck inside.

Easter Egg ideas

As it so happens, we have a lot of Easter crafts that have to do with eggs. Are you really that surprised? I mean, what’s Easter without at least one little nod to an egg or two. Just yesterday, we release the most lovely nesting Easter eggs! We love the little twist on original nesting dolls. Also try these Easter egg columns, which are a lovely way to decorate your home this Easter. Don’t forget about these Honeycomb Easter eggs, either! Make them into a wreath or decorate with the individual eggs. Either way they’re lovely!

Another fun variation on decorating Easter eggs are these dried flowers on Easter eggs, as well as our Pysanky Easter eggs (here’s the E-book of the Pysanky eggs, the profits of which will be donated to the Ukrainian relief effort). If you’re into more decorating, try our DIY pom pom Easter eggs! Or if you’re having a party, you’ll definitely want to take a look at our Easter egg name tags, Easter egg cupcake toppers, and Easter egg runner.

Felted Easter Eggs

New this year is a tutorial from Jessica Peterson all about felted Easter eggs. They’re a new classic! All the supplies are listed here

For Kids

If you have kids, you’ll love these Easter-themed toys, accessories, and activities. First stop: these fun bunny party hats. Having a new baby this spring? You won’t want to miss these adorable DIY Baby bonnets! Or these Easter bunny twist ties.

Need a craft to do with your kids to keep them busy and happy? You’ll love these Easter Egg coloring pages, the profits of which will be donated to the Ukrainian relief effort. Then there’s our DIY stuffed bunny, which is a sweet little Easter toy. Plop it in your child’s Easter basket and you’re all set!


Easter printables

A great way to get crafty is with some printables, and we’ve got some great ones!

These Easter egg coloring pages featuring pysanky are great for older kids.

Along with our chick and bunny paper dolls and matching color pages.

Paper crowns

One thing is for sure, if I had a little girl, I’d be making a paper crown floral crown.

And we’ve got a few to choose from! These pretty blue, red, pink, and white flower crowns.

This printable spring crown.A printable flower crown in purple, yellow, pink, white red, and blue being held up by two hands.

And another handmade paper flower crown perfect for spring.

Easter paper flowers

While we’re on the topic of paper flowers, these Easter lilies are a favorite of mine. I think I’m going to try and make them again this year.

Easter Egg Column People

A new favorite of mine are these adorable Easter column people. I think they’d make a great tablescape!

painted Easter egg columns perched on colorful books against a yellow and pink background.


Cake-inspired tiled studio kitchenette

Cake-inspired tiled studio kitchenette

When I was first thinking about tackling this small kitchenette in our basement, I knew I wanted something with lots of color (shocking, I know). Our team works out of this space and they didn’t have a proper way to prepare food so we were really just getting by for about a year and a half. I had plans but there were so many other priorities that it got pushed to the bottom.

This is the space on the day we first looked at the house:

The show sped up our renovation priorities. At the time, the angle of the show was supposed to feature the business of The House That Lars Built, which is why we did this room in the first place and why it was taken out.

You can see from these before photos that it’s really a part of the hallway but carved out in a u-shape. It was already set for plumbing with outlets for a fridge and an oven.

And this gorgeous lighting fixture. I mean, I really should have left it 😉 

We had a little mini fridge on the opposite wall, so basic needs were met, if not absolutely disheveled!

Inspiration for the cake-inspired kitchen

I immediately partnered with Fireclay Tile on the project. With their breath of colors and sizes, I knew there was a lot of synergy and freedom there to do whatever I wanted to do so my mind went wild.

Envisioning the kitchenette as a little whimsical retreat, I immediately thought of what you want to do in a kitchen–eat cake. And it just kind of went from there. I gathered images of frosting

And tried to figure out how to translate that into tile. I also wanted it to feel like a Parisian bistro like the image below, so some of the details would come through there. I’m going to be talking more about the process tomorrow so stay tuned for that.

Not to leave any confectionary out, I also wanted it to feel like a candy shop. My 5 year old son thanks me for that nearly every day.

Mosaic inspired tiled kitchen

Without further ado, here it is!


All those beautiful shades of sorbet in the best shapes from Fireclay. That circle one?! Too much! Again, stay tuned for the process post tomorrow.

I’ll be talking more about our cute retro fridge on Friday.

Matching tiled cake

My friends, Evelyn and Julia Bigelow made an adorable matching cake to go with the kitchen. Our shoot got postponed so many times that we didn’t dare eat the cake. Then it turned into a challenge to see how long we could keep the cake out. It was 6 months. Ha! I very much wish we could have taken a bite!

Banquette seating

The opposite wall of this kitchenette I had planned on doing a custom banquette seating. I’m really glad we didn’t spend the energy doing it after it was cut! But we did stage a little temporary seating area with a cute brass bistro seat.

If you remember, we did a tutorial for that matching vase.

Parisian Bistro Lighting

The Parisian bistro details came through with some of the hardware and lighting. I got these globe pendant with some floral detailing at the top from Mitzi. I also got two sconces to go on the opposite side of the wall, once we put in the custom banquette.

The bar faucet from Signature Hardware really sealed the deal for the Parisian bistro vibe.

Our pink dishware from Year and Day fit in perfectly.

DIY Scallop shelves

We set out to make some scallop shelves thinking we would have to do it all custom, BUT! I ended up finding this scallop trim on Etsy. We got DIY shelves from the hardware store, glued the two together and boom! We used these hardware brackets. Pat painted it high gloss white though I’m considering painting it another color. We’ll see!

Tulips from Sun Valley Farms

We had been given a ton of beautiful tulips for the photoshoot from Sun Valley Farms (an amazing collection!), but because we had to reschedule the shoot many times, the flowers weren’t fresh except these beautiful yellow tulips that remained. Bless you yellow tulips!


We used this white undermount sink from Signature Hardware and it works great!


Like the other kitchen, we haven’t installed the hardware yet. I really wanted to try out something fun and custom maybe out of ceramic, but I didn’t have time. I think we might put in some classic brass knobs and pulls.


Like our other kitchen, we used Cliq Studios for the kitchen cabinets. We used the Jensen style, which is more modern, in the silk color. With all the tile work and fun details I wanted to make sure that the cabinets felt cleaner.

We decided not to put an oven in the space because we didn’t think we would use it and thankfully, we haven’t needed it. Or a dishwasher for that matter. No hard core cooking down here!

Ok! That’s it! Our sweet little cake kitchen. Tell me what you think! And stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about the tile!

Drought tolerant cottage garden

Drought tolerant cottage garden

Understatement of the year, but you may have noticed by now how flowers play an important role in my life. I’ve always been drawn to them. I still can’t believe they are real! There are so many in so many colors and variations. Flowers also played a huge role in the story of our renovation for the show. We used flowers on the staircase and even included our birth month flowers. The rose was especially meaningful as it represents the birth flower of Patty Sessions, who we honored throughout the house.

Inspiration for the garden

I connected with Monrovia Plants, whose plants I’ve always admired when I’ve visited nurseries. They always have a beautiful selection of options. I shared my vision for what I wanted knowing that I couldn’t do a full garden makeover in the short amount of time that we had to shoot the show.

I’m really inspired by a number of garden styles and was looking to blend a few together. I listed Claus Dalby’s style

And knowing that I wanted to go in a drought-tolerant direction, I included Piet Oudolf as an inspiration because his style is more natural and I think drought tolerant plants typically take on this style of garden.

I also included Miranda Brooks’ lovely English style into the mix.

I’m hugely inspired by all three and wanted to see what Monrovia recommended.

Too much grass

When we bought our home the landscape was wall-to-wall grass and a tree here and there. While I cannot complain (we feel so lucky to have a home of our own), our dream yard includes flower gardens filled with color, raised beds for gardening, places to play and socialize.

But yards don’t come cheap. So, like most people, we’re approaching our yard renovations in phases. For this first phase, we wanted to add color and interest to our previously all-grass landscape and highlight the walkway to the front door. My one day plan is to go to town with more drought-tolerant landscaping.

Utah in a drought

Utah is the second driest state in America and is experiencing an unprecedented drought (though the amount of snow this year is encouraging–let’s hope for more!). With this first project–and all future yard renovation phases–we want to create a landscape that works for where we live while still adding curb appeal.

Drought tolerant plants

Because of this, we worked with Monrovia to select drought-tolerant plants. For nearly 100 years, Monrovia have been pioneers and craftsmen in the art of plants. Their company started in Southern California, another region with a limited water supply, and have expanded throughout the United States.

When considering our yard, I approached it like I would any room design: What color palette, textures and interests do we want?

Monrovia took my direction and supplied me with some beautiful recommendations for our zone here in Provo, Utah: 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a and 6b.

Shade loving drought tolerant plants

One of Monrovia’s experts gave me a list of shade loving drought tolerant plants to choose from based on the style I was going for. You can see the list of shade loving drought tolerant plants here. I focused the areas on our front, which is north facing so they’re mostly all shade flowers.

  • FloralBerry® Rosé St. John’s Wort
  • lilla smoke bush
  • Green Tower Boxwood (you will want some kind of evergreen structure in all the perennials)
  • Jurassic Stegosaurus Holly Fern
  • Any of the dark-leaved Heuchera – recommend Grande Amethyst or Black
  • Autumn Fern

Sun loving drought tolerant plants

But there are some parts that get some sun and they gave me this list to choose from. Here are some of the ones we chose:

  • Any Daylily that has Skye in the name.
  • Brakelights Red Yucca
  • FloralBerry St. Johns Wort – any of the colors (you will love these!)
  • Any lavender
  • Any Harlequin Penstemon
  • Any Grace N’ Grit Rose
  • Any Nitty Gritty Rose
  • Any color Giga Pincushion Flower
  • Any fountain grass
  • Any gaura

Planning where to plant

Not surprisingly by now, Pat is a wiz in the garden so I consulted with her on what to do. I love flowers and hope to go into gardening more, but admittedly, it is not that season for me in life. Thankfully, Pat knows her stuff. From the list she recommended some based on height and position and colors.

I wanted flowers planted along the pathway leading to the front door as well as the sides of the front door. Of course, there’s much more I want to do to it, but that’s all I could do for the time we had.

Staggered stepping stones

Pat had the great idea to stagger the lined stepping stones so it would provide more walkway and more interest. Such a good plan.

Installing the plants

Once the flowers arrived from Glover Nurseries here in Utah, it was go time! We had given ourselves plenty of time do install the garden, but immediately hit a hurdle (literally)–the rocks. We are near a canyon called Rock Canyon, and it’s completely accurate to the area. It was SO rocky! It took so much time to just dig the holes to plant them!

We got the necessary peat moss and soil to give the plants the greatest chance to thrive. We started digging holes and realized that this was going to take so much longer than we anticipated so we immediately needed to get help. Friends and neighbors came to lend a hand and I will be forever grateful.

We also had to work on the garden at the same time as the exterior because we were running up against the clock to the final shoot.

Here’s Kiersten and Evelyn who gave so much time to this–THANK YOU!

Cottage style drought tolerant plants

And this was a few weeks after planting.

The experts at Monrovia gave us flower recommendations for flowers that would bloom through every season and it was truly the biggest miracle. There was something blooming at each time.

I did choose a couple of hydrangeas that actually bloom in Utah’s dry climate because I love the look so much.

While I’d prefer a true English or Danish style garden, I felt like I had to do something about the amount of water used, hence the drought tolerant choices. It’s a little step for now, but hoping to take it throughout the garden.

I’m in LOVE with how it turned out and can’t wait to see it take shape once spring comes in a few weeks. Hoping that a lot of it survives with the crazy snowstorms we’ve been getting here.

Let me know what you think!

Painting our brick house white

Painting our brick house white

Admittedly, I knew that painting our brick house white could potentially be the most controversial part of our home renovation on the show. I get that it’s not always appropriate or desirable to paint over brick. But, our house was built in 1992 so it’s not historic, and the brick was not the most attractive. Forgive the blurry photo, but this is what it looked like.

Problematic brick

Because the brick wasn’t old, the brick manufacturers added in some texture that we affectionately call “worms”. I’m guessing it was some sort of nail that they put in to leave an indentation. It’s fine enough from a distance but not my favorite thing up close.

Farmhouse white

On top of that, white has become super trendy because of the Farmhouse trend. I wasn’t trying to go in that direction, but white is so classic. I mean, I definitely did look into a light pink or a Danish house yellow, but decided that unless a building is actually old, it’s really hard to make it feel authentic.


The people who owned our house after the original owners still live in our neighborhood and realized they still had the blueprints so they gave those to us while we were working on the show. It was interesting to see what things they left out from the original plans.

For example, they have a chimney on the plans, but they didn’t end up building a fireplace. We’re trying to decide if that’s something we want to add and for now, it’s not on our radar. Anyone have any thoughts about adding one in? Pros/cons?

Before photos

As a reminder, here’s what our house looked like when we bought it and how we fell in love with it.

I think I fell in love with the potential of it more than where it was at because it’s quite plain. Once I posted a picture of the facade on Instagram, the children of the original owners reached out and said that their parents had modeled it after a home in Nauvoo, Illinois, as you saw on the show.

Inspired by Nauvoo, Illinois

This explained SO much to me because there was nothing fancy about the homes in Nauvoo when the city was developed by the Latter-day Saint people in 1840. Most of the people had come from the East and they brought their style of home with them, the Federalist Revival. But they were starting from scratch and everything was built rather simply. This helped me understand why the facade is so flat without any dimension to it.

If I were to go to town on it, I’d be adding in a portico, some sort of emphasis on the windows, new windows, new fascia.

Before the show, I was desperate to add some personality. Some of you might recall when I painted the front door a sickly green. Bahahha. I still think this is the saddest thing I’ve ever done. 

And then quickly painted it before I started to vomit. I actually loved the look here.

Keim mineral paints

With so many projects for the show in a short amount of time (3 months) and without the proper help to get them done, I debated on whether we should do anything to the front. I knew it could really benefit from some sort of makeover  because it would be more impactful for the show, but at what cost?! Ultimately I decided to paint it because I thought it would be the least amount of work for the maximum amount of output.

Hahahhahaha! More about the “least amount of work” part soon.

I did a lot of research into what the best types of paints were for masonry. I wanted to go for an old world European limewash look. Finally I came across Keim mineral silicate paints. They are based in Germany, but have a presence here in the US and it looked like the best way to achieve the visual I was going for. It turns out that they are the inventor of mineral silicate paints more than 140 years ago!

House Inspiration

We had spent Christmas in Denmark and since I knew the show might happen I took pictures of everything that inspired me. Here were some of my favorites that helped us focus on the direction.

That classic symmetrical house is found everywhere along with that white plaster look.

In my dreams I’d be adding in a clay roof like that, but if we do something like that it would happen for awhile.

I also considered doing a new front door for the show but ran out of time.

Testing out the masonry paint

I painted a sample of Keim paint on the facade and did not love how the white emphasized the holes so much. The variation in the brick helped it blend in, but the white was going to make them stand out because of the shadows.

How to solve the hole problem

Paul was really pushing to fill in the holes to achieve a smooth look so Pat looked into a number of solutions and we ended up with this ready-mix concrete patch from Pro Select to fill in each and every hole.

Does that sound ambitious to you? I didn’t really know how ambitious it truly was going to be. Joke’s on me!

So Pat and Paul started filling in all the holes. Realizing that  this now set us back by a number of days (then turning into weeks), we needed all hands on deck. We called on neighbors, my team, anyone who could lend a hand.

There were many many late nights filling in those holes to get it done in time.

My brother in law Tanner loaned us these big lights which got us through the nights. Our neighbors loved us.

Once the holes were all filled in we had to sand it down because it was super lumpy. That took another few days.

We were running out of time before we needed to wrap up the filming of the show, but making slow progress.

Keim Bonding Primer

The people at Keim told me about their Minderal Bonding Primer, which turned out to be the hero of the project. It is a silicate mineral based primer designed to prepare exterior new and previously painted masonry surfaces and glossy or tough to paint surfaces for painting with mineral paints. It provides tenacious adhesion and is ideal when multiple types of surfaces and textures are present. It also provides added adhesion when renovating or coating sound acrylic and silicone resin-based coatings. It can be used on new and previously painted brick, stone, stucco and concrete fiber cement siding.

The stuff is thick and has a grit to it that added the texture that I was hoping to achieve like the classic Danish homes.

I think the holes would have softened with just the primer itself without filling in all the holes, but I don’t think they would have gone away so I was still glad that we did that.

Keim’s Mineral masonry paint

After the primer, we used Keim’s Mineral Masonry Paint. It is a low-maintenance, pure potassium silicate paint that delivers extreme durability, color stability and a beautiful mineral matte flat finish. It penetrates deep within and onto the masonry surface for permanent adhesion, literally becoming part of it.

The mineral microporous surface breathes and lets moisture from the masonry surface freely escape so it will never blister or peel. It never traps moisture in your walls. The high pH (alkaline) surface is naturally mold and mildew resistant, toxin-free, and environmentally friendly.  Keim, the inventor of mineral silicate paints more than 140 years ago, first formulated Mineral Masonry Paint in the 1960’s.

Now, because the filling of the holes pushed us back by about two weeks, we no longer had time to do the rest of the house…hahahaha! After the show wrapped up, we had to get back to life and took a break. The break was too long because by the time we got to it, the weather froze and you can’t work on it under 50 degrees. So at this point, the facade looks great and the rest of the house is half way patched up.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, helped out :).

Painting our brick house white

Ok! Here’s how it turned out! brick house painted white


One thing to note–it also looks SO much better because while we were filling in the holes and painting, we were also landscaping the house, which turned out to be a huge deal too. I’ll be sharing more about that next week.

Beautiful address numbers

My friends at Drop Cap Studio graciously provided me with some beautiful brass numbers for the house. We chose the Trafalgar in brass. I adore the “No.” added before it. I think it adds a little something extra 🙂

Ok! That is it for now. When the weather warms up, I’ll be doing a video tutorial of how we painted the house so stay tuned for that. Also stay tuned for the drought tolerant landscaping we did to the entry and sides!

Let me know if you have any questions!

Becoming Danika Herrick

Becoming Danika Herrick

My company is Danika Herrick, Inc., I’m a Surface Pattern Designer located north of Boston, MA and I create and design fabric and wallpaper.

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, business person, educator, etc.?

Designer seems to be the “umbrella” that covers everything I do.  I’ve worn a lot of hats from Interior Designer, Decorative Artist, to Surface Pattern Designer.  I am always “designing” something!

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now?

I grew up in a little town called Highland Mills, NY.  It was about an hour north of NYC.

My parents always encouraged my sisters and I to be creative. This was during the 70’s and 80’s- so we would use whatever resources we had and put on neighborhood plays, had fashion shows (our entire line was made from Shop-Rite paper bags, staples and tape) and had plenty of entrepreneurial endeavors like selling grapevine wreaths and painted rocks to the neighbors.  I think our neighbors hid when we would come knocking!

Our house was always under construction, and my love of  DIY stemmed from this. My Mom would come up with the design and My Dad would build it. In 1st grade I asked my teacher if I could go home because my Dad was digging a foundation and I would much rather be doing that.

We also took lots of art classes.  To this day I am so grateful my Mom encouraged us to do this because it really helped to build my confidence. It also fostered my love of learning.  When I find myself stuck or not knowing how to do something I will seek out answers on Google or Skillshare.

Oh, one more thing that shaped me was that my parents would drag us to antique stores, flea markets, and the family trips were more Colonial Williamsburg than Disneyland.  While we weren’t thrilled as kids they definitely made an impression.  I find my patterns have a nod to the past and timeless design, and all the years of staring at shelves and shelves of Flo-blue plates and ginger jars can be seen in my work. Thanks Mom and Dad!

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

A Nun! I went through a phase when I was about 3 or 4. I would dress up in rosary beads and shrouds of lace doilies.  My Mom had a bag of big of vintage crocheted table runners she bought at a yard sale and I would wrap myself in them and make my own habit.  She was a great sport, and I went everywhere dressed in my elaborate headdresses and beads for a while.

What is your educational background and how has it shaped or changed your current career?

So despite having a really creative childhood and always taking art classes, I went to college for Biology.  I loved AP Bio in highschool and thought “I’m good at this.  Maybe this is what I am supposed to do”.  Fast forward to the end of my sophomore year. I had lasted one day as a Biology major. The long 5 hour labs killed it for me. I bounced from Communications to Psychology, and finally took a required elective art class. It felt natural.  I was plugged into my creative side, but also terrified!  How was I going to make a career out of this?  The stereotype of being a starving artist haunted me. I called my Mom in tears one day, afraid of failing and that I had no idea what I was doing.  All my friends seemed to know what they wanted to do.  She was so supportive and calmly told me that I have always been creative and what works for one person isn’t going to work for me. If I was passionate about something, I needed to pursue it.

Have you ever made a big career switch? If so, what prompted that? Are there aspects of a prior career that you incorporate into what you do now?

My career feels like a long road full of forks… I have had several career changes but they felt really fluid and natural. One would lead me to the next.  My first job was working as a Decorative Artist in New York.  I got to work on so many beautiful spaces and I really became bitten by the world of interiors.  I wanted to do more than just paint the walls and floors, and I went back to school in Boston to study Interior Design.

While in school I had a few internships with fabric companies and fell in love with patterns- but it would be a while until that seed would sprout.  I worked as an Interior Designer for two decades and during that time I met so many inspiring people and had lots of little side projects from blogging and starting a fretwork company.  I discovered Spoonflower while I was blogging and was instantly smitten.  I had always wanted to create a fabric collection, and here was this platform that allowed me to design, print and sell my own patterns.

I had to brush up on my Photoshop skills and learn how to put my artwork into seamless repeats, but I would spend all my free time from 2011-2014 doing this.  I began creating collections and designs were selling.  I slowly added more and more designs and it suddenly became my full time business. I retired from interior Design in 2012 and gave it my full attention.

How do you make social connections in the creative realm?

I have made so many great friends through Instagram and Zoom.  I am an introverted-extrovert, and very content to be alone and work, but when I find like minded creatives I am so excited! Quite often I will be DM-ing with someone and it will lead to a Zoom chat with drinks.

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic last year?

I work from home and have slowly taken over several rooms in our house.  I have a main office on the first floor where I do my painting and computer editing, and I took over half of our guest room as a studio space where I store all my art and sewing supplies. Designing patterns requires testing out scale and color, so the surfaces of our home are my constantly changing canvas. 

Describe some habits that keep you motivated and productive. How do you climb out of a creative slump?

Do one thing and do it well.  I have a highly distracted ADD brain, and I love to multitask and do ALL the things, but it’s usually at my own demise. I would always find myself with so many unfinished projects and just feeling overwhelmed as many creatives do.  I looked at my strengths and weaknesses and realized I was great at hyperfocusing on things I enjoyed. I did a little experiment and decided I would just focus on fabric design for a month.  I drew, took classes, expanded my website- and almost immediately I saw so much growth!  I also felt less chaotic.  I realized that while I was good at doing several things at once, I was great at doing just one.  To this day, I really try to map out that one thing I want to accomplish- and if I get in a slump I take a class and learn something new. That almost always triggers new ideas.

What is a typical day like for you?

Monday- Friday are all business and then I try to go off the grid Saturday and Sunday. The weekends are when I am my most creative because there are less distractions- it’s when I paint and create the artwork fo my designs.

My average day starts with a pot of coffee and getting my emails and custom design requests organized and prioritized. I am a paper list maker so I like to plan my day and cross things off as I go.  Once I get through that I will Photoshop and work on digitizing my artwork.  Working from home is great, and I love what I do, but I can easily get lost in it.  Quite often I sit down with my coffee and suddenly I’m like “how is it already dinner time?”

What is one skill you wished you learned when you were younger?

Delegating and time management. I am just the worst, but I am trying!

Nobody likes to talk about it, but can you share any advice regarding financing your business?

Grow slowly and organically if you can.  I hate debt and try to avoid taking loans or racking up my credit card if it’s not absolutely necessary.  As I’ve grown and made extra money I reinvest in myself.  Start with what you need, you will always have wants (for me its art supplies and better computers or software)- just don’t put yourself into debt if you don’t need to.  I set yearly financial goals for myself and when I hit them and have the extra money, I treat myself to that “want” as a reward.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?

My goals include collaborations with a few of my favorite designers as well as creating a resort wear collection.  Besides feeling like I work 24/7, I also have a husband, 2 teenage sons and a dog.  My goal is to get better with my time management and be able to spend more quality time with them.  Both boys are both really creative. The older one produces music and has had songs on Billboard and the younger one is an amazing artist/ entrepreneur so I am really excited to see what the future holds for them and the paths they take!

You can see read about Danika Herrick

On her website
On Instagram
On Spoonflower

How to make an alcove bed

How to make an alcove bed

I wanted this bed to happen so much, but when I encountered person after person backing out due to timelines I was willing to go to plan b or plan c or even plan z. THANKFULLY, Handy Nanny Pat came to the rescue and said her magical words “to every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the job and *snap* the job’s a game”. Wait…that’s not it… “I can figure it out.” There, that’s more like it.

SO, I asked Pat if she’d be willing to share how she did it and she agreed. Before we get to how to make it, I wanted to share more insight into the design process.

Designing an alcove bed

I shared some inspo yesterday about what I was going for. I wanted a look that would feel Scandinavian, but knowing our time contraints I knew we would be able to go all out on it. That said, I didn’t necessarily want to. I wanted it to feel modern too. Here was my initial sketch:

An alcove bed with custom seating under the two windows in the corner.

I went through various details to arrive at the final including some with drawers, fancy decorative edges, some more in the scallop/wave direction, which I think would be so so fun still

I also played around with what the decorative detail would look like based on Northern  European antique beds (kind of like Knosen Antique’s amazing sleigh bed collection). At one point I had even bought a sleigh bed for Jasper from Nee Nee Twig and it was so so gorgeous. Had I not found anyone to create the bed for me, I probably would have kept going in this direction.

Eventually, I settled on this simple shape based on this inspiration on the right:

I figured I could bring in patterns to liven it up. And this shape was totally doable for Pat. Ha! Or maybe I should let her answer that.

Speaking of, let’s have her answer that! Pat, how do we make the bed?!

How we built the alcove bed by Handy Nanny Pat

Brittany had several photos of alcove beds to draw inspiration from as seen above. Once we decided on a basic design, we chose to make it a full (standard double) size. We envisioned snuggle time with the family for now, and more room for Jasper, the soon to be Nordic giant, as he grows. We also wanted to include a bookshelf inside the alcove.

  1. The basic framework of 2×4’s is attached to the studs in the walls, and the rafters in the ceiling, for stability. We also reinforced the interior joints with these brackets from Home Depot.
  2. From the dimensions of a full size mattress (75”x54”), we added twelve inches to the length, for the bookshelf, as we determined the size. The actual platform for the mattress has an extra couple of inches around it to accommodate bedding and make changing sheets easier.
  3. We knew we wanted to add the substantial step to the entrance of the alcove, so that determined the height of the platform. Our step is approx 12” high, and the mattress top is about 20” high. The mattress platform is about three inches lower than the main opening, so that the bedding tucks in out of site. Brittany’s idea to add a playful window to the end of the alcove turned out fantastic. The kids utilize it in so many ways. Daydreaming, climbing, hanging toys out of it, puppet shows, the whole bit. Plus, it added another side to add curtains to, making the interior view looking out quite the showstopper.
  4. We used this  ¾” plywood from Home Depot for the outside of the alcove and the platform for the bed.
  5. For the trim at the bottom of the entrance and top of the window, we used a jigsaw to cut out the shape that Brittany designed on the faceplates, and then glued another two ¾” plywood pieces of the same shape to back them. They’re a substantial 2 1/4” thick. As you can see from the progress photos, there is wood filler in the cracks, and we took care to sand them nice and smooth, and round out the edges. We added a bit of definition trim to the exterior, and crown molding to the top of the frame. Also, beadboard to the interior ceiling and end walls, for added appeal. The supports for the shelf were bought at Lowes. You can find them here.
  6. Building the step was fun. It’s built like a Mack Truck, and is not going anywhere, anytime soon. The frame is built from 2×4’s and covered with the same ¾” plywood. You’d be surprised how much it weighs! The boys are up and down it a dozen times a day, as expected.
  7. A bit about finishing work. It took a full week to do the trim, add the interior beadboard, and sand smooth the whole bed. The end result is a piece of furniture that will not only stand the test of time, but has a great base for whatever future paint options may be coming its way. It’s important to do a base coat of oil based primer when you’re working with raw wood. This keeps the tannins from seeping through and discoloring the paint. We used this one here.
  8. We used foam rollers for the paint, to keep the finish smooth. Our final coat of paint is California Hills by Benjamin Moore.
  9. We used standard curtain rods on the inside as the last part of the construction.
  10. The wallpaper mural inside is truly a magical touch. The whole room became the stuff of childhood dreams once it was installed.
  11. Bedding and curtains from Spoonflower finished the transformation, making this corner of the room an inspirational place of comfort.

It’s worth mentioning, again, that all of this was done on timelines to meet shooting schedules of the production company for In With The Old. I laugh when I think about the late night painting and early morning wallpaper hanging we did, just for the show! Nothing like a deadline to keep the pace moving right along.

Would I do it all over again? One Hundred times yes. Even though my initial guess was about two weeks to make it, and it turned out to be five weeks, a house full of sawdust and some late nights! 

Thank you, Pat, for sharing your wisdom with us. I’m waiting for your own show to come out ;).

Carved flower balusters

Carved flower balusters

If you haven’t read about the Scandinavian folk-inspired staircase yet, I recommend you starting there first before digging into this post so you can see how everything came together.

Ok, now that you’ve read up 😉 I want to tell you all about the magic of these carved flower balusters.

It started when I was trying to think of something unique I could do for the balusters. I mean, if you could do ANYTHING to reflect your personality in your home, what would YOU do?! It opens up a new world, no?!

Since I wanted to bring in a lot of Scandinavian folk-inspired elements, I looked for a lot of flat sawn baluster inspiration and there’s a lot of goodies out there.

Baluster shape inspiration

Flat sawn balusters are just like how they sound–they are wood cut with a saw in a fun shape. They were oftentimes used for porches during the Victorian times, but were also found in Scandinavia, which is where I drew my inspiration. Here’s a few that I considered.

I started to narrow in on the above shapes, specifically the middle one. I liked the natural wood and how it would tone done the rest of the patterns and colors that I planned on using around the house (still TBD!).

Finding the right shape

Let me start out by saying that getting the right shape was not as simple as I was hoping. I did it old school by drawing it then coming up with a mock up in paper then cardboard.

And I didn’t love it. It was way too “hippy” and not in the 60s way, but more in a woman’s figure way?

Carrie on the team then put it into Illustrator and worked it out based on the sketch I made so it was much more acccurate–thank you Carrie!

Then we printed it off as an engineer print at Staples and brought that into Tanner’s, my brother in law, workshop where we cut out the shape. You can see all of this on the show. He was so so so helpful.

You can read all about this process of cutting out the shapes on this post, but suffice it to say, it was a much bigger process than we all expected. Tanner brought in Quinn Peterson, to help him cut them out and soon things were rolling.

So pretty all laid out.

This got me super excited.

Decorative balusters

As for the actual decorative carving on the balusters, I recalled some previous inspiration from one of my favorite artist/illustrators, Nathalie L’été. She designed these gorgeous wood chairs in the middle below and I think someone else carved them for her. They’ve been on my inspiration board for years. I wanted to figure out how I could combine the idea of a carved flower into a baluster.

It hit me when my friend, Jill DeHaan posted the image on the right on her Instagram. She was the perfect person to bring on this project! She’s all the best things wrapped into one– an incredible designer, illustrator, artist, and wood carver. She’s got talent oozing out of her pores.

I broached the idea and I think she must have sensed my enthusiasm because she was on board from the get go. I sent her the inspiration above with some sketches I had made.

And then she came back with her own with plenty of options, which you can see here. Notice the top design and bottom designs that I got to pick from.

I decided to go with the three dots at the top and this for the bottom:

But they were all so good and hard to choose from. What would you have done?!

Birth month flowers

As you saw in the show, I chose flowers based on our birth months and their symbols because I wanted to tie in something personal.

  • snowdrop for January for Jasper
  • marigold for October for Paul
  • June for me and Patty Sessions, my ancestor who we dedicated the house and show to
  • Narcissus for December for Felix
  • Poppy because I liked it 😉
  • Tulip because I liked it 🙂

Staining the wood

When I received the balusters in person, I realized that the carved ones were going to be much thicker than the plain ones we were also using. I got nervous that they would really stand out so I had a local carver, Jessica Adams, come in and take down some of the thickness of it.

Jessica also stained them for me. She used a method of setting them by the fire so they would soak in the feed and wax and they came out very dark.

In fact, so dark that I got nervous about how they would play with the wood of the stairs. I talk more about that in this post.

However, I found out that over time they really lighten up. In fact, right now they are so light that it kind of seems like they weren’t stained at all. I’m considering trying out a different technique or maybe doing another onto them.

Staining them a color?

Jill recently shared on her Instagram how she stained another project in a bright red and this really got my wheel turning. Could you imagine?! I’d have to hold off on making this decision until I thought through the rest of the space, but you better believe that it’s on my mind.

Newel post

Before I share the final photos I want to share a bit about the newel post. The newel post is the post at the bottom of the stairs that is oftentimes more stately than the rest. Based on my inspiration, I was more attracted to something simple. Tanner and Quinn once again pulled through and made it happen. In hind sight, I may have taken the width to something a bit smaller, but I still love it!

I love the slight indentation on the sides which creates a slightly less boxy feel.

Floral carved balusters

Ok! Here are the final photos. I could share them for days, and I just might 😉

Well, there you go! Every single detail you could ever ask for (probably more ;). Jill did such an amazing job as did Tanner and Quinn. It was the biggest labor of love and I am so grateful for everyone who contributed to it. It’s really so remarkable. I can’t wait to finish off all the other spaces so they can really shine like they were meant to!

Let me know what you think! 

A Scandinavian-folk inspired staircase


A Scandinavian-folk inspired staircase

As I’ve mentioned, when we moved into our home there was an existing staircase and banister, but we had to remove it when we put in the wood floors. It was all for the best though because I was hoping to replace it at some point. In the mean time, no banister + two toddlers could be a recipe for disaster. Once Felix started to crawl my nerves were a mess and I was anxious to get something in there but also hesitant to make any rash decisions not knowing the direction of any of the adjoining rooms.

Here’s what the staircase looked like long before we ever owned it. I captured this one through the window when we were dreaming of buying it.

Here’s what the staircase looked like once we put in the floors

For the upper staircase, I got so desperate for personality in the early days that I used some leftover red paint from something and went to town. It was the completely wrong sheen and everything, but at least it had something going on. Please notice the missing baluster in the middle and think about the heads that fit perfectly inside.

Here are some shots of the video we filmed of the day Zak and Tanner took out the banister.


And this is what we were left with for a month or two. YIKES! 

The plan

The show gave me the impetus to put something in faster than I was anticipating so I just went for whatever I wanted to do and let the consequences follow. Here was the plan:

  • Install a flat sawn baluster on the top and down the stairs
  • Jill DeHaan to carve 6 of them to go down the stairs
  • Tanner and Quinn to cut the shapes and install the banister
  • Install wallpaper on the two walls

Install flat sawn balusters

I showed the idea to the guy who knows how to make anything happen, my brother in law Tanner Boyes. Tanner is talented at pretty much everything but right now he is working on designing and making his own car and restoring vintage Porsches called Specter at his studio, Specter Design. As luck would have it, he has installed staircases before and he graciously offered to do this for me. And much like all projects I put out into the universe, it was a much bigger project than any of us were anticipating.


Here’s what I started with for inspiration. I wanted a rather simple shape along with a newel post at the bottom that felt super simple. It felt super folk at the same time.

Selecting the wood

Thankfully, Pat’s husband made guitars and owned a guitar shop so she knew her wood species. Together we went up to Salt Lake to figure out what type of wood we would need to use. Here’s Pat in “figure it out” mode.

And Felix came with us on multiple trips. I’m trying to think why I had to go there so many times, but it became a once a week trip for a few weeks as I sent Jill a sample so she could see if she could carve into it or something went wrong with the others. We went with an alder, something soft enough to carve but sturdy enough for a banister. I didn’t mind if there were knots in it as I thought it kind of added to the look.

Folk-inspired balusters

I’m going to do a separate post about the creation of the balusters tomorrow because there were a lot of great details that I want you to know about. But I’ll give a brief summary here.

I brought in a design and Tanner made a template to cut them out. Here it is taking shape. Pun intended!

After working out the shape back and forth, we landed on these cut balusters.

Carved balusters

Then I got the carved ones back from Jill DeHaan and they were out of this world dreamy. I mean, look at these. Jessica Adams oiled them for me and all of a sudden I realized how much wood was going on in the house–the floors, the balusters. For me, it was too much.

I felt like we needed to break up the wood of the balusters with the wood of the floors so I added in another project: paint the stairs.

Painting the wood stairs

Pat once again put on her Handy Nanny cape and came to the rescue by priming the stairs. The Stuga wood had a finish on it so they had to be lightly sanded before they were primed.

I know I keep on mentioning how fast the decision making had to be, but I can’t underscore it enough. Especially since time was running out and I had added in additional steps like the painting of the stairs which tacked on a few days.

Selecting the color

For the color, I needed something that would go with the wallpaper I chose (actually I can’t remember which came first). I looked to the wooden sign that my mom had hung at her French country furniture store in the 80s and 90s. It was called En Provence and it was on Pacific Coast Highway in Corona del Mar. It was the loveliest shop of all time. 

My uncle made and painted the furniture like he had this sign and I wanted to mimic the same color so off to Ace Hardware once again for paint samples once again, a weekly adventure.

And Pat got to painting the stairs the green. I think its the one on the bottom left.

And then she added in the wallpaper, which she was really getting good at.

Scandinavian inspired wallpaper

I looked at a lot of wallpaper options and decided to lean into the floral motif. I found this beautiful floral wallpaper inspired by Swedish artist, Carl Larsson from Sandberg Wallpaper out of Sweden. I’ve been a huge fan of Carl Larsson since I was a girl and it definitely felt like a full circle moment. They have a great collection of wallpapers inspired by his home.

Next, it was time to install the balusters, which was rather tricky. Quinn Peterson is another guy who just knows how to do it all and came to help out Tanner. I don’t know what sorcery they used, but they figured out how to install the balusters

The newel posts where in and it was really starting to feel sturdy. 

You can see that the carved balusters were stained first so the coloring is off.

My sister, Caitlin, and Tanner stained all the balusters and it was starting to look more consistent.

Antique stair runner

We added on an antique runner from this Etsy seller in Vermont named The Textile Trunk. She had this one that had lots of reds in it. It wasn’t long enough for both sets of stairs so we just put it on the first flight and I love what it added to the look.


Next came the styling. I’ll be honest,  I had so many other things going on, that I was rather hands off. Pat graciously brought in a lot of her own furniture to try it out, which is where that blue table comes from. I wanted to dig into the Carl Larsson vibe and decided to bring in geraniums onto the table.

Jill absolutely nailed it with the wood carvings.

And thanks to Pat who brought in her rocking chair! Ha! She really saved the day in so many ways.

And my parents loaned me all of their artwork so I’d have something up on the walls. I wish I could keep them! They’re so beautiful. They are all by my uncle, Dean Bradshaw.

OK! That’s it for now. Again, I’ll be talking more about the balusters tomorrow. Stay tuned!

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Before and afters of our home renovation

Before and afters of our home renovation

There’s so much to say about the experience of doing a TV show not to mention the experiencing of renovating and the natural conflicts of each. I’ll get to all of that eventually, BUT, we are going to start with the specific rooms we worked on and some basic info about each one along with all the before and afters of our home renovation.

Like I mentioned, I’ll be addressing each room in greater depth in subsequent posts along with our experience of working on the show. I’ll also get into more detail about some of the themes we talk about on the show. If you have anything you’d like me to address, please let me know! I’m doing a Q and A on Instagram tomorrow so if you have specific questions, find me there!


  • Built in 1992
  • 4550 sq foot
  • Federalist Revival home
  • 8 bedrooms/5 bathrooms
  • .25 acres (I think? Ha! Can’t remember)


  • We filmed from February 2022 – July 2022
  • We moved in September of 2020

Brittany and Paul’s Checklist:

  1. Exterior. Improve the exterior with a Scandinavian-inspired plaster-effect to cover the brick and new landscaping
  2. Kitchen. Take our phase 1 kitchen to the next level by honoring Paul’s Scandinavian background and my family history
  3. Bedroom. Make a cozy Scandinavian folk-inspired bedroom for Jasper, my 4 year old son
  4. Staircase. Add a nod to my family history and our Scandinavian roots with a new staircase
  5. Kitchenette. Create a whimsical kitchenette to our studio in the basement

The exterior

First up, the exterior. It was actually the last thing we worked on and possibly the most intensive, although that is very debatable depending on who you ask. To be honest, I wasn’t sure we were going to do anything at all to it because it was too much for my overwhelmed brain to handle with so many other big things going on (and that’s including running a business and two kids). Here’s what we started with:

Before and afters of the exterior renovation

Door makeover

In the fall of 2021 we gave the front door a little makeover (you can see the full post here–it didn’t go according to plan ;/), which you can see here (still my favorite fall display to date!).

The exterior plan

The house is stately but plain and I’d like it to be more true to the historical style of a Federalist Revival home although we are still considering taking it in a more Danish or English direction–still haven’t decided. In my dream world and budget, I would be doing SO much more to the exterior including raising the pitch of the roof along with a new roof, adding dormer windows, replacing the windows, adding in a portico, new lighting, a new garage door, a beautiful garden, but we had to go with what we had time and budget for, which was the following:

  1. Paint the facade
  2. Switch out the address numbers
  3. Add in some more landscaping to the front and walkway
  4. Expand the width of the walkway
  5. New mailbox

After photos of the exterior of our house

Ta da! Of course, these photos represent so much more than a simple ta-da, but a ta-da will have to do for now until I go into more detail about it.

Landscaping for our drought conditions

Utah is a desert climate and we’re in a huge drought so I chose a landscaping plan that was more drought tolerant than what we currently have. The house had existing grass and the existing sycamore trees and some fir and apple trees in the back. While we’d eventually like to move away from grass because it requires so much water (SO MUCH WATER!!!), we had to work with it for now until we can do more with it at some point. We worked with Monrovia on the new plan and they were wonderful! I’ll get to what we did and how we came up with our plan in a follow-up post about our garden (you can read this post for now!)

brick house painted white

Painting our red brick white

I’m going to guess that painting our brick house might be controversial choice. As you might see in your own city, it is super trendy right now to go white because of the Farmhouse trend though it is not why we chose it. I certainly think there can be beauty in red brick, but our red/yellow brick was 90s, not historic, and had funny “worms” in them as –a funny added texture probably made with nails or something. The colors weren’t great (but maybe they photograph ok?). We really wanted to take it in a more old Danish or even old English direction.

We found this great German company that has a US presence called Keim. They make mineral silicate paint that is meant for masonry. We also used their amazing primer that has a rough texture to it that gives a very authentic European feel. I’m in LOVE with it. Again, I’ll do a follow-up post about it along with a tutorial. I’ve already received many people asking about the product who see it in person.

The Kitchen

Ok! Onto the kitchen, which you can read about it more detail here. I had already begun a direction on the kitchen before we agreed to do the show so I decided to keep on going with it even though I knew there could be problems with the supply chain (spoiler: there was!).

Here’s what the kitchen was like when we first moved into the house. The kitchen is everything past the doors on the left and right side.

Before photos of the kitchen

before and after kitchen

If it wasn’t obvious: there was no kitchen. FUN!!!!!! (sarcasm).

Phase 1 kitchen

We put in a VERY basic kitchen when we moved in so we could take our time on the design afterwards. The previous owners had left a refrigerator and oven range in the garage so we had our basic needs met there. We put in unfinished wood lower cabinets from Home Depot and two Ikea islands together and voila! Ha! You can read more about this phase 1 kitchen here. I didn’t ever bother finishing it up because I was hoping to get to Phase 2 pretty quickly.

At one point we painted the cabinets to add a little bit more interest.

Brittany is wearing a blue dress and holding a baby. She's standing in front of a yellow

But as you can see, we didn’t even finish!

The Kitchen Plan

I wanted our kitchen to have an old world quality to it–like it was original to an old European kitchen, but also have color and a nod to our Scandinavian heritage. Here’s what we set out to do to achieve that:

  1. Replace the cabinets
  2. New appliances
  3. New lighting
  4. More storage
  5. Make it a gathering place

After photos of our Kitchen

Here it is!

We worked with Cliq Studios on the cabinets. I wanted it to feel like a it was working kitchen in a stately manor so we planned on utilizing the whole room by placing cabinets on each wall. We took advantage of the window wall by placing a floor to ceiling pantry, a bench, and some desk top drawers. I love how it feels like it uses the full space completely while also maintaining sufficient room for passing into the next rooms, which are the laundry and pantry and access to the garage.

With another budget and time, I would want to switch the whole kitchen layout around by placing the sink by the window, but I wasn’t ready to spend the additional money so we worked with the existing layout.

Custom work table by Beck and Cap

Do you see that amazing work table/kitchen island? Oh, it’s a beauty! We worked with Janna and Tanner of Beck and Cap on it and it’s unbelievable. It’s completely custom and they are a dream to work with. They even surprised us with that wood carving on the end as a nod to our Scandinavian heritage! More details about that soon along with an interview with this powerhouse duo.

Bringing in antique items

My friend, Meta Coleman is an amazing interior designer and friend (you can read more about her here and here). I consulted with her on our kitchen and she found some old pieces for us to use in our kitchen like this plate rack, which I think ties in that Old World quality we were going for.

We worked with Signature Hardware on the beautiful polished brass faucet, clay farmhouse sink, and hardware and I love them all! I’ll be talking more about it all soon!

We also worked with Forte on a panel-ready dishwasher. I thought the price point is great for panel-ready and it works great!

Kitchen refrigerator to look like an old cabinet

Meta also gave me the idea to transform a panel-ready fridge into an old Scandinavian wedding cabinet. And you’ll never guess who built it…OUR NANNY! Pat becomes Handy Nanny on the show and saves the day multiple times. She built this by herself–she’s incredible. I’ll be talking a lot about her!

Wood kitchen hood

I was looking for a ready made hood and I found a great company that ONLY does hoods called Hoodsly. They just happened to have the perfect size hood for our space in stock, which was so so helpful. I love the sloped shape and how it tones down the wallpaper. I think we might be doing a glow-up to it soon so stay tuned!

Kitchen tile/wallpaper

The kitchen wallpaper/tile situation was a major situation. It went through various plans, but ultimately I had to go with something that I could get done in the short amount of time that we had. I originally wanted a custom tile, but that turned into a lot of money AND time and plus the sample came back not as expected.

I ended up finding an antique tile I loved from Portugal. Jane took a picture of it and Garet turned it into a wallpaper on Spoonflower. It’s got a sheen on it which makes it easy to clean up as a backsplash.

Marble Countertops

However, before the tile/wallpaper was settled on, I had already chosen the veiny marble countertops. I don’t like the way the two work together, but there was no time to change either of them so here they are with plans for a different blacksplash.

Vintage lighting

Meta is a big proponent of vintage lighting for its uniqueness and patina. She directed us to these beautiful French opaline fixtures, which are dainty and gorgeous. I got mine from here, but you have to check back to see what she has in stock.

Antique Looking Kitchen Appliances

We had a great 48″ oven range before our renovation, but I knew we didn’t need something so big and commercial. Instead, I wanted something that would feel and look antique. We worked with Ilve on a duel oven range. The Graphite Matte was in stock so that’s the one we went with in order to make sure we got it in time. But even though we did it out of necessity, I still would have chosen it (a la Claude Monet’s oven range!). It’s a beauty with all those brass details and we love how it works.

before and after kitchen


You will probably notice some things ostensibly missing like hardware on the cabinets and that’s because I’m planning on changing a few things and I didn’t want to drill holes into the cabinets before I knew what handles I was going to use. More soon!

In another budget and time, I would want to switch the whole kitchen around completely by placing the sink by the window, but I wasn’t ready to spend that so we worked with the existing layout.

If you want to read more about the kitchen, you can read about it here.

Jasper’s Bedroom

Moving onto Jasper’s bedroom. It’s so funny because as I type I’m remembering all the drama for each room and it’s giving me a bit of PTSD…Thankfully now I only remember the end results!

This is what Jasper’s room looked like when we moved in. Much like the rest of the rooms, right? Nothing in it!

Before photos of Jasper’s Bedroom

A game of Musical Chairs

The secret is that Jasper’s room was actually in the room next door but because of where the closet door was situated, the bed we had in mind wouldn’t fit so we had to switch rooms with Paul’s office. A few months prior, we had made him this upholstered circus-inspired bed, which I still love, but you can see it was completely white. 

Paul’s office on the other hand, had already acted as Felix’s nursery so it was painted green. This is the room that we were moving Jasper’s bedroom into.

Jasper’s bedroom plan

  • Switch Paul’s office and Jasper’s bedroom
  • Build a built-in Scandinavian-inspired bed
  • Wallpaper the room and paint
  • Replace lighting

After photos of Jasper’s Bedroom

Honestly, this is my favorite room in the house right now. I nap in it 100% of the time when I can and will continue to do so. It’s THE coziest place in the whole world. We may start renting it out ;).

Wanna hear another secret? Handy Nanny Pat strikes again on the bed! Now, mind you, I was actively seeking people out to make these custom projects for me, but there was a labor shortage in construction (not sure if there still is because I have taken a LONG break from all home projects) and I couldn’t find anyone in the time frame that I needed. Pat took a look at it and said “I can do it”. Ha! Honestly, I didn’t even doubt it even though she hadn’t made anything like it before.

in with the old Brittany Jepsen room reveal

Custom built-in niche bed

It turned out to be a more intense project than we were both anticipating (6 weeks!) but she completely NAILED it! She even created that adorable puppet-theater style side window along with the custom details because she is from another planet–unreal. in with the old Brittany Jepsen room reveal

Built in bedroom furniture

I found a wood bench on Facebook Marketplace that we painted the same color so it felt like it was built-in too. We added on a pad with this fabric from Spoonflower. It was perfect for the maritime theme that we settled on.

in with the old Brittany Jepsen room reveal

I found this drawer at an antique warehouse in Salt Lake City and I love how beautiful that wood if not a little bit weird with the adornment.

Wallpaper and fabrics

We worked with Spoonflower on ALL the wallpaper and fabrics in Jasper’s room and I’m in love with it all! The wallpaper is by Danika Herrick, who was kind enough to put her star design into a new color for me (that’s one good bonus to Spoonflower–a lot of artists will take on custom work!). in with the old Brittany Jepsen room reveal

Custom curtains for the bed

I wanted the bed to have a Swedish quality and a big gingham brought some whimsy and fulfilled the job. Meta had introduced me to a similar woven but it was going to cost me thousands of dollars. I ended up finding a very similar color and size on Spoonflower, hallelujah so Carrie on our team DIY’d some curtains.

I also found some sheets and a duvet cover in a similar color in a small stripe on Spoonflower, which I thought was nice, though I’m considering switching everything out for the same large yellow plaid.

in with the old Brittany Jepsen room reveal

Mural in a built-in Bed

NOW, let’s talk about that mural, huh? This was Paul’s idea! He thought it would be cool to add one in and I’m so glad he thought of it. I knew exactly where to turn to–Rebel Walls. They are a Swedish company that has a ton of kind of wild wallpapers and murals. I found this one called Safe Haven, which was perfect and added in a deepness to it. I love that it took it in a maritime direction. More about that soon!

before and after child's bedroom

The staircase

Before we ever bought our house, we dreamed about owning it. We would walk by it on walks and I’d dream about what I’d do to it. After awhile I realized that it was vacant so I snapped some pictures from the window. This is what the staircase looked like before we bought it.

And this is what it looked like once we bought it. 

Removing the banister

The banister was removed once we replaced the flooring but I didn’t know what direction I was taking the rest of the house at the time so I didn’t immediately put one in. I knew it was a big hazard for my 2 year old, but somehow, thankfully, we never had a problem with it. Once Felix started crawling we had to act FAST and it coincided with the timing of the show.

We had worked with Stuga on all the wood floors, which you can read about here. We have loved them!

The Staircase Plan

  • Add in a banister
  • Add some Scandinavian folk personality!

After photos of the staircase

Add this to my list of projects that I make as complicated as possible. Ha! But I LOVE the heart that went into it. You can see it all on the show, but it really was a labor of love with so many people involved.

flat saw banister

Flat Sawn Balusters

I went with traditional flat sawn balusters. The problem was, to my knowledge, you can’t just buy them anywhere, at least not in the shape I wanted. So, my generous and talented brother-in-law, Tanner Boyes of Specter Design, took on the project. He worked with his good friend Quinn Peterson, who is also very handy and talented. Together they cut out all the shapes and made the newel posts. I’ll talk more about this process in a follow-up post.

But I wanted something a bit more to go with the shape. Cue Jill DeHaan, an amazing artist and illustrator. I noticed some of the wood carvings she was doing on her Instagram  and I knew it was the perfect way to add more meaning and depth into our home. I LOVE how they turned out. Again, more about that soon! There’s a lot to tell!

flat saw banister

The office kitchenette

The kitchenette in the basement for my office was one room that didn’t make it into the edit. Actually, we filmed a whole storyline about my team and some projects we were working on that didn’t make it into the edit, which I’m disappointed about, but I’ll tell you anyway!

Besides putting epoxy on the floors and dressing up one room with wallpaper, we hadn’t done too much to the office in the basement. I was getting antsy to make the space totally Lars. I started with the kitchenette because everyone really needed a place to put their food.

Before photos of the kitchenette of our home renovation

Here are some of the before photos of the kitchenette. It’s a three walled space about 8′ wide that you pass by like a hallway into the main crafting room.

Please notice the lovely lighting 😉

The kitchenette plan

  • Add in a kitchenette–sink, fridge, counter, no dishwasher needed
  • Add in shelves to store our props
  • Add in a backsplash
  • Add in seating
  • Replace lighting

After photos of the office kitchenette

colorful tile

Modern kitchen cabinets

I LOVE how the kitchenette turned out! I was inspired by a retro frosted layered cake with piped icing but in a more modern, playful way. Once again, we worked with Cliq Studios on the cabinets in a more modern silhouette. I didn’t add in hardware because I was hoping to create our own hardware, but I couldn’t get it done in time ;).

fireclay tile

Frosting-inspired tile

We worked with Fireclay Tile to create the frosting-inspired tiled backsplash and added in some frosting/scalloped shelves to complete the look. My friends Julia and Evelyn Bigelow made the matching cake–are you kidding me/! So cute!

colorful tile

Kitchen accessories

We worked with Signature Hardware on the brass bar faucet, which I adore, along with the sink.

Sitting area

We didn’t get time for the custom bench that I was hoping to put on the opposite wall so we added in some chairs and table for the time being, but I’m hoping to do it soon!

colorful tile

Before and Afters of our home renovation

OK! That’s all the before and afters of our our home renovation. Like I mentioned, I’ll be sharing more detailed posts of each room so hopefully that will answer some questions, but in the meantime, feel free to leave your questions in the comments section. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!


Exterior: Masonry Primer and paint from Keim-USA, address numbers from Drop Cap Studio, all landscaping from Monrovia

Kitchen: Cliq Studios for cabinets, Tile wallpaper from our wallpaper shop, Ilve USA oven range in graphite and brass, Hood from Hoodsly, Dishwasher by Forte, Fridge by Fisher Paykel, bench cushion fabric from Spoonflower, calacatta viola countertops, sconces from Shiny Things London, Work table by Beck and Cap, Faucet from Signature Hardware, sink from Signature Hardware, fridge hardware from Signature Hardware

Jasper’s Bedroom: Star wallpaper from Spoonflower, Blue Paint, Yellow Paint is Benjamin Moore, bed duvet and sheets from Spoonflower, Yellow check curtains from Spoonflower, Mattress, bench fabric from Spoonflower, Mural wallpaper from Rebel Walls, Citra rug from Dash and Albert

Staircase: Floral wallpaper from Sandberg Wallpaper, staircase runner from Textile Trunk, paint by Benjamin Moore

Kitchenette: Cliq Studios for cabinets, faucet and sink from Signature Hardware, tile from Fireclay Tile, Scallop trim, crown moulding, pink dishes from Year and Day

Other spaces of the other spaces

You can read about the kitchen here
You can read more about our antique-inspired oven range here
Read more about the kitchen hood here

In With the Old is on Magnolia Network available to stream on Discovery+ or HBO Max.