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.

Blueprints

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

Landscaping

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!

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!

Specs:

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

Details:

  • 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

Notes:

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!

Sources

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.

Lars’ Gardening Essentials

Lars favorite gardening essentials

Lars and Gardens

If you’ve been following along for a while now, you’ll know I love gardens. I mean, anything that’s compatible with flowers is a big yes for me. Years ago, I described my dream gardens in this post. It’s a great place to start if you need a little help deciding on what types of plants to fill your garden with.

Tips for Beginners (or anyone, really!)

Speaking of tips on growing a garden, if you need some, see this post on how to grow a garden even when you think you can’t. I wouldn’t consider myself a pro, but you can see what I did to the front yard garden of our little rental (serious nostalgia here! I love our new house, but that little rental will always have a special place in my heart. And the garden turned out so lovely)!

A display of geraniums in terracotta pots

Another post that can steer you in the right direction if you’re in need of a little garden inspiration is this post on how to plant a rainbow container garden. I go through plants of every color of the rainbow! It’s a lovely and easy way to add some color to your garden.

Oh, and if you need a few more gardening tips, as well as basic tools? See this post! It’s amazing how helpful a few basic tools can be in creating your dream garden. And speaking of tools and other essentials, you won’t want to miss this garden apron tutorial.

Other Garden Inspiration

Interested in our other garden content? You might want to check out this garden transformation we did with Troy Bilt! Honestly, the before photos are unrecognizable. Also see this post, where we compiled the inspiration for our new house! And last year, we did a roundup of planters and pots for you to peruse. And don’t forget our shop! Inspire yourself with floral and garden-centric art like this or this.

Lars’ Gardening Essentials

And for your convenience, here are some other Lars’ gardening essentials. From gloves to planters, you’ll be set for spring with a variety of tools. Whether you’ve got a pumpkin patch in your backyard, a few pots on your front porch, or some herbs on your windowsill, there’s something for every gardener (or wannabe) out there!

DIY Paper Heart Wreath

 

DIY Paper Heart Wreath

To me, Valentine’s Day demands decorations that are beautiful and easy to make at the same time. We’re all back from the holidays, which means we don’t have as much down time as the blessed Christmas break gave us. This DIY paper accordion wreath is the perfect solution! Made with custom gradients that fold into hearts, it’s straightforward to make and the result is a lovely wreath of accordion gradients to get you in the mood for love day. I know I get so tired of seeing all the shades of brown, so this wreath is a breath of fresh air. Gentle pinks to welcome me in after a long day? Yes please! If you’re like me, tired of looking at all that brown outside, try this adorable wreath for a change.

How to Make a DIY Paper Heart Wreath

Without further ado, here’s how to make your very own DIY paper heart wreath.

step photos

Prepping the Hearts

  1. First, print off three copies of the pdf of our paper heart gradient printable found here. You should end up with 45 pieces of paper, each with a different gradient on it.
  2. Next, cut out each gradient.
  3. Start with one of the flat edges of the gradient and fold a thin strip in along the flat edge, roughly 1/4 inch wide.
  4. Continue stacking the folds back and forth, making an accordion fold as you go.
  5. Keep going until you reach the other flat edge. You should now have a long, thin strip of paper about a 1/4 inch wide.
  6. Now, fold the stack in half.
  7. To complete your heart, hot glue the center together along the flat edge.
  8. When the glue is dry, pull the paper gently apart to reveal the heart shape.

Prepping Your Wire Wreath Form

  1. To prep the wreath form, cut a long, narrow strip of pale pink crepe paper (about an inch thick).
  2. Now, wrap the crepe paper around your wire wreath form, securing with hot glue as you go.
  3. Continue until the entire wire wreath form is covered in a layer of crepe paper. Add an extra layer if you’d like it to be a little thicker.

Assembling Your DIY Paper Heart Wreath

Now you’re ready to assemble your DIY paper heart wreath!

  1. Using your hot glue gun, place a dab of glue on each heart and press onto the crepe paper-covered wreath form.
  2. Continue until the wreath is completely covered and as full as you’d like. For our wreath, we ended up using only 35 of the 45 hearts, but if you’d like, you can always make it a bit more full and add in all the hearts. And you can always add a fancy ribbon, like we did.
  3. Voilà! You’re done with your beautiful DIY paper heart wreath!

accordion heart wreath

Styling Your Wreath

As you probably already know from past wreaths we’ve made, you don’t have to limit your wreath decorating to the front door. Yes, any door is a great place for a wreath, but it’s not your only option. Have a blank spot of wall handy? Fill in the gap with your heart wreath! Outdoor, indoor, against a window, in an area of the house that’s a little sparse on decorations, there are so many options.

We would love to see what you do with your beautiful DIY paper heart wreath!

More Inspiration

Loved this tutorial on how to make a DIY paper heart wreath? You’ll probably love our other Valentine’s Day content! You can craft to your heart’s content with these lovely DIY valentines. Speaking of valentines, check out this post and our shop for endless options of adorable printable valentines. Need a box to put your valentines in? Our DIY painted valentine box is a spectacular option that doubles as a tissue box when you’re done with valentines. Oh, and if you’re looking for gifts for that special someone, you’ll definitely want to check out our Valentine’s Day gift guides for men and women. And here are some great Valentine’s Day activities!

In The Mood For: Frida Kahlo Inspired Interior Design

Home Decor Inspired by Frida Kahlo

How to use decor like Frida would

Consider Color

Casa Azul is aptly named, as the exterior of the house is painted this fantastic cobalt blue. It’s the kind of blue that if you saw it and weren’t expecting it, you’d whip your head around for a second look and say something profound like, “that house is blue!” Or, perhaps the color puts you speechless! It certainly does that for me. Rather than use a ton of neutrals to ground one pop of color, Kahlo did the opposite in her home and it totally works! She employed blue, citron yellow, kelly green, and terracotta red liberally with just a pinch of neutrals thrown in. The neutrals that are used are all natural. One section of the house has greyish walls because the walls are made of volcanic rock and shells!

Image source

For more inspiration on decorating your home with the bright colors of Frida’s hometown, check out my trip to Mexico City here!

Embrace your surroundings

With the use of volcanic rock and seashells, Casa Azul perfectly illustrates how to bring the outside in. This creative yet ancient way of using natural resources works beautifully in juxtaposition to her wild colors and more modern stylings. If you live in a wooded area, use beautiful wood! Same goes for those of you who live in rocky areas or sandy areas or wherever areas! Get outside to get inspired. Another way Frida Kahlo brought the outside in is by adding house plants. She used plants all the time in her paintings, and had plenty to study in her home! Yes, the trick is old as time but never gets old. Bringing in natural elements to balance the color will help you nail Frida Kahlo inspired interior design.

Image source

Embracing one’s surroundings goes beyond the literal outside – you should try and bring a bit of your culture and community within your doors. Embracing culture is essential in a Frida Kahlo inspired home. Kahlo has tons of traditional Mexican tiles and Indigenous pottery throughout her house and it gives a sense of identity to both the woman who lived there and the space itself. Frida’s celebration of her heritage is a wonderful thing, but I know many people who feel like they don’t have a heritage to celebrate. That’s just silly! Do a little research on your family, your community, and any other places your family line has been. Then, use interior decorating to remind you of where you and your ancestors have been. That sort of thing is really grounding, and who doesn’t need that right now?? 

Persevere

So, I intentionally haven’t talked much about the messier parts of Kahlo’s life. She will probably haunt me for watering down her deeply complex life into interior design tips, but hey! We’re keeping her legacy going! Frida Kahlo experienced a lot of tragedy that included abuse, tragic accidents, chronic illness, mental health problems, and infidelity. At eighteen, she was seriously wounded in a bus accident and was laid up in the hospital for months unable to move her body. She knew that this accident would prevent her from studying medicine as she had planned, so she took to painting from her hospital bed. Her mother had a special easel made that she could use in bed, and a mirror was placed above her bed. There she painted a slew of self portraits, pictures of her visitors and view. 

In fact, this is one of Frida’s major life events that inspired one of the activities in our Great Artists! course. During week 1, the kids will have a chance to grab a mirror, climb into bed, and see what it feels like to draw a self-portrait exactly the way Frida Kahlo herself started. These kinds of activities are what make history come alive, and teach the children about the lives of artists like Frida in way appropriate for their age.

What Frida did about it

She took inventory of what she could do and what her literal setting allowed, and then did it. Kudos to Frida for transforming a space with limitations into a space where she could create! As an interior design nut, I just love that. In the midst of one of the toughest periods of her life, Frida Kahlo redefined herself as an artist. Rather than allowing herself to be defined by tragedy, she molded it into therapy, self expression, and a new career. 

Towards the end of her life, Kahlo was finally receiving widespread recognition for her innovative work. She was to have her first solo exhibition in 1953, but right before the opening night, Frida was put on bedrest for a chronic illness. Rather than miss her big moment, Frida Kahlo had an ambulance deliver her from Casa Azul to the museum on a stretcher. Once in the museum, she was moved to her own four-poster bed that was brought there earlier that day. Much to the surprise of everyone there, she laid in her own bed at her own exhibition opening. You’ve got to love a girl who just won’t quit, much less miss her own party. 

In your life & home

If you’re needing a little help translating all of this, check out our Great Artists! Course for kids that includes some wonderful crafts/projects cooked special for you by our Lars team. There you’ll find the perfect Frida Kahlo and Casa Azul inspired pieces to perk up your home. Also, we’ve scoured the internet and have found some wonderful pieces that look like something straight out of her paintings (and wardrobe!)

I hope that by reading about Frida and looking at photographs of her home and work, you feel inspired to play a little, especially if life is hard right now. She’d like that. Let your home be both the subject and object of your playing! (I believe that’s called interior design.)

Image source: 1 | 2

Fashion Inspired by Frida Kahlo

Accessories

This post is a part of our In the mood for series where we show you how to recreate interior design styles and fashion inspired by people we admire! Click any of the links below to check out the past posts in this series!

Anne of Green GablesEmma WoodhouseIris ApfelWes Andersonthe Royal FamilyLittle Women, Monet, Josef Albers, Alma Thomas, and Alexander Girard

 

Moodboard image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Pool Noodle Recliner: the Summer DIY You Didn’t Know You Needed

How to make your own pool noodle recliner

We made this DIY recliner for a comfy way to rest poolside all summer long. It is incredibly simple to make, but so fun to personalize! Now you won’t have to worry about the kids spilling melting popsicles on your nice outdoor chairs.

When completed, this recliner lays out flat. So you can enjoy a nap or work on your tan. Or bundle it up anyway you like to create the way you prefer to rest. Stack just a few of the noodles at the end and make yourself a bed for an outdoor movie! Or stack up a full back rest. So you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your favorite magazine – just like Jasper.

Supplies:

Pool noodles – We used 17

Parachute cord – 128 feet total. We used 2 alternating colors.

Instructions:

  1. Line up your pool noodles. You can use alternating colors, or 3 or more colors to create any pattern you like! See the best color options we found here!

2. Cut your cord into 16 ft lengths. Fold one of the 16 ft lengths of rope in half. Take the loop end & lay it under the noodles, then pull the two loose ends through the loop to secure it around the first noodle.

3. Lay the length of the secured rope under the noodles. Fold another 16 ft length of rope in half and lay it on top of the noodles, tying it to the secured loop on the first noodle.

4. Weave the noodles together by taking the top and bottom lengths of rope and weaving them above and below the noodles, through the loops made by each rope. (The top rope will go below the noodle & bottom rope will come above the noodle, they will intersect & the two strands of one rope will go between the two strands of the second).

5. Continue weaving in this way all the way to the end & secure all 4 ties to the final noodle with a loop or a knot.

6. Weave 4 rows of rope to secure the noodles, with two 16 ft lengths of rope used to make each row.

7. After each row is secure, prop the noodle chair up against a wall or bend it in half to create a stable back. Enjoy your new outdoor pool noodle recliner!

DIY pool noodle recliner

Check out our similar tutorials

Here are some other comfy seating tutorials from Lars days past. Including our rainbow floor pouf, DIY camp chairs to level up your GLAMPING game, and how to choose outdoor furniture.

Other summer staples

No pool? No problem! Check out our favorite pool floats here. And our full summer style guide here!

Celebrating Bastille Day

What’s Bastille Day?

Much like our Fourth of July, Bastille Day celebrates France’s independence every year on July 14th. The Bastille was a structure originally built to protect Paris from English attacks; later, it became a prison for wealthy citizens and spies. On July 14, 1789, revolutionaries swarmed the prison to take the gunpowder housed inside, signaling the beginning of the French Revolution. Today, France marks the occasion with a military parade, fireworks, and spending time with friends and family. Check out our roundup for our best Bastille Day inspiration!

Let them Eat Cake

The French are known for their bakeries: cream puffs, fresh bread, and macarons are a thing of beauty in a shop window or neatly lined up in a glass counter, so why not start with a cake. Best for a backyard party or picnic, a cake is a simple crowd-pleasing dessert—especially when it has a Parisenne topper. Designed by illustrator Jessie Kenelos Weiner, author of Paris in Stride, this will be a perfect addition to your Bastille festivities to make you feel like you’re in the heart of the city (and you can download it here for free)!

Need something to place your food on? I love these French placemats for my Bastille festivities. Figures like Marie Antoinette and Napoleon Bonaparte can guard the dessert table or be a great coloring craft for the kids. In this picture, I’ve paired it with a red gingham tablecloth and blue and red plates to match the French flag. 

French placemats sit on a festive table.

Fit for a King

Rather focus on your guests attire? How about these Bastille Day crowns that celebrate the city where it all took place? Featuring notable landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, kids and adults will not only look festive for the party, but also great in the pictures you’ll have to look back on. 

Lady Liberty Flower Crowns

While I love a good paper crown, if you’re looking for something less literal, may I suggest our red, white, and blue floral crowns. They’ll still mimic the colors of the french flag and will never be considered a fashion faux pas!

Bastille Day Decoration Inspo

Now you may be thinking how do I decorate for Bastille Day? There are two great things about this French holiday: 1. The American flag and the French flag share the same three colors and 2. Bastille Day comes after the Fourth of July. Taking these two things into account, it has never been easier to reuse decorations from one holiday to another! Or in this case, you can leave them up an extra couple weeks without feeling guilty. I’m looking at you, outdoor Christmas lights! 😉

This patriotic bunting can liven up your home’s exterior while this American flag weaving could easily be transformed to more accurately represent the french flag. 

4th of July balloon bunting on the old Lars Studio houseAmerican Flag Weaving

No matter how you choose to celebrate Bastille Day, I’d love to hear your plans in the comments, and if you decide to make any crafts, tag me with #Lars Parties!

DIY duffel bag picnic blanket tote

DIY duffel bag picnic blanket tote

I recently read Ray Bradbury’s book Dandelion Wine and I loved this quote: “Sandwich outdoors isn’t a sandwich anymore. Tastes different than indoors, notice? Got more spice. Tastes like mint and pinesap. Does wonders for the appetite.”

I truly buy into the idea that food tastes different outdoors! I think about the packed meals I would eat on hikes with my dad growing up, and somehow a plain old ham and cheese truly would taste far better when I was tired and outside. Use this DIY duffel bag picnic blanket tote on your next adventure. Hopefully you’ll get the delicious outdoor flavor without having to deal with attitude from reluctant adventurers. 😉

One of the perks of Spoonflower is the custom design features. My sister, Caitlin Watson Boyes, has some of her fabric designs on Spoonflower under her company called Funky Pretty, and she has designed some great stripes. I was immediately drawn to this stripe and thought I’d just go for it on both sides. BUT THEN I thought…let’s customize it! Caitlin is a textile and pattern designer and so I had her do something with our dad on it. We call it  Dad’s Head Through the Ages. Ha! I find it hysterical! And even funnier because I haven’t told him about it yet and he’ll be finding out as you are. You’re welcome, Dad!

The best part is the practicality of the blanket. We made it so that it’s SO easy to pack and unpack. The two straps allow you to fold it up like a duffle bag. So easy to carry around! AND, you can even place your plates and such in the blanket as you fold it and it will keep it nice and compact. Score!

Material List:

  • 2 yards each of 2 Spoonflower fabrics in lightweight cotton twill
  • Matching Thread
  • 6 yards coordinating bias tape (We used double folded)
  • 2 yards 60” wide batting
  • 1 yard of webbing
  • Scissors
  • Fabric Ruler
  • Cutting Mat
  • Sewing Machine
  1. Cut batting and your 2 fabrics all the same size (size of blanket you want)
  2. Put right sides out with batting in between
  3. Sew all three layers
  4. Open the bias tape, stick the blanket edge in, pinch closed and pin
  5. Continue around the perimeter of the blanket
  6. After pinning, Sew bias tape down
  7. Cut your webbing in 2 even lengths
  8. Pin and sew one strap to the center of the top edge of the blanket
  9. Fold your blanket into thirds with the strap as the center top
  10. Roll your blanket towards the strap
  11. Mark where your second strap needs to be
  12. Unroll and unfold
  13. Pin and sew the second length of webbing downTaDa(d) <see what I did there 😉

We’ve done a number of sponsored posts with Spoonflower now and I’m one of their biggest fans. If you’re looking for fabric, wallpaper, or even home decor centered around a particular theme (seasons, fathers, you name it!), Spoonflower is sure to have what you’re looking for. If you’re a designer, I encourage you to upload a pattern of your own! But if uploading a pattern with your father’s face on it isn’t really your thing, try building a collection of existing patterns on Spoonflower’s Marketplace (there are over 1 million!). Stay tuned for a post about some of my favorite Spoonflower artists!showing a picnic blanket that turns into a duffle bag

This post is sponsored by Spoonflower. All opinions are my own.

Check out our other posts for Spoonflower:

Mother’s Day Tablescape
DIY fabric lampshade
My bedroom makeover
How to install Spoonflower wallpaper

All You Need for A Midsummer Party

Even those of us not in Sweden can throw a Midsummer party to celebrate long days, the bounty of beauty in our gardens, and good food. Lucky for us, I have made lots of Midsummer-themed projects so we can have the Midsummer party of our dreams without dishing out for a plane ticket!

Midsummer Parties Past

women dressed in white dance around a DIY maypole in a green park with dappled light. A blonde woman in a white dress holds a small bouquet.

Years ago I celebrated Midsummer by dressing up and dancing around a maypole with my team, and it was truly magical. You can see more photos here.

women dressed in white dance around a DIY maypole in a green park with dappled light.

The next year I teamed up with my friend and designer extraordinaire Meta Coleman, Merrilee of Mer Mag, Sarah of Sarah Jane Studios, Melanie and Alma of Caravan Shoppe, and Eva of Sycamore Co to organize a huge Midsummer party. We called it A Midsummer Mingle and it was epic, if I do say so myself.

Women dressed in white descend stairs in a green space filled with dappled light.women dressed in white eat on a picnic blanket. In the background, a maypole stands in front of some pine trees. It's dusk.

You can find out more about it here, here and here. Wasn’t it beautiful?

Two women in white wearing floral crowns smile at the camera. It's night and the background is distantly lit with warm light. A woman in white wearing a white floral crown hangs up a picture on a clothesline

Now let me level with you. Both of those Midsummer parties were stunning and magical, and you might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed right about now. Take a deep breath. Remember that I had help on both projects, as should all party planners, and you don’t have to be a professional to throw a gorgeous Midsummer party. You can do it! No matter how low-key or extravagant you want your party to be, I have Midsummer tutorials and inspiration to knock your flower crown off.

Women in white wearing flower crowns hold hands and walk in a line in front of some pine trees.

Midsummer Projects

Maypole

Brittany is wearing white and dancing around a DIY maypole with her interns, who are also wearing white.

I made a maypole for the Midsummer Party with my interns, and I know what you’re thinking: “You made a maypole?!” It was a surprisingly simple DIY that I know you can make too.  Once you’ve made a maypole, you’ll have the backbone of your Midsummer celebrations taken care of for years to come! Again, find the tutorial here.

Flower Crowns

Flower crowns are a Midsummer staple, and Amy from Amy Anne Floral made these gorgeous and simple Midsummer Flower Crowns for the Midsummer Mingle.

Goldenrod flower crown from Midsummer Mingle. A woman in a white dress holds it against her side. waxflower and laurel flower crowns are stacked in a pile.

There’s also this Crepe Paper Flower Crown and this one, this Shamrock Flower Crown, these Lady Liberty-inspired Flower Crowns, this Printable Flower Crown, and this tutorial for a Flower Crown Inspired by Art History.

A little girl wears a paper flower crown and smells some little flowers.a floral crown on long, straight brown hairA little girl with brown hair wears a paper shamrock crown and a cream colored floral blouse. The background is bold colored wallpaper.Lady Liberty Flower CrownsA printable flower crown in purple, yellow, pink, white red, and blue being held up by two hands. A woman wearing a lavish flower crown of dahlias and berries and greenery looks at the camera. The background is sky blue.

Midsummer Decorations

You won’t want to skip out flowers for your Midsummer party. Use this tutorial to make gorgeous floral arrangements that you can place around in vases or hold as bouquets.

Pink florals from A Midsummer Mingle

This paper Summer Flower Garland would look lovely draping between the trees or wrapped around your may pole. Because it’s made of paper you can keep it for next year’s Midsummer party.

Summer Paper Flower Garland

Speaking of paper flowers, I’ve compiled lots and lots of paper flower tutorials in one place here. These would be great for arrangements, cake decorations, or to wear.

Paper parrot tulips in cream, yellow, and red.Paper peony bouquet held by a person in a striped dressIcelandic Paper PoppyPaper hydrangeas in a white vase against a floral orange backgroundThe Exquisite Book of Paper Flower Transformations

For a decoration that you’ll want to keep hanging after the season changes, make this Midsummer Dala Horse Mobile. It will remind you of your delightful Midsummer party and be a great conversation starter!

Close up of a colorful chandelier with a hanging Dala horse is i A colorful chandelier with a hanging Dala horse is i

Finishing Touches

No party is complete without music, and your Midsummer party is no exception. My friend Melissa Leavitt graciously agreed to make this Midsummer playlist, and I think you’ll love it.

Brittany and her friends smile at the camera. It's dark and in the background, there are warm lights.

If you serve cake (and when do we ever not want to serve cake!?) this Midsummer Pole Cake Topper is perfect for the occasion.

Midsummer Pole cake Topper Midsummer Pole cake Topper

Food

Look, you know that I don’t cook. Still, your Midsummer party will need food. Go traditional with pickled herring, boiled potatoes, grilled meat, and strawberries and cream for desert. For those who imbibe, Midsummer is also an opportunity to drink beer and schnapps, but as a non-drinker I’ve found that fizzy lemonade does the trick, too. Smaklig måltid (bon appetit in Swedish)!

strawberry-covered layer cakes on pastel cakestands at an outdoor party

Glad Midsommar!

I would love to see your Midsummer celebrations! Tag me in your photos with #MidsummerWithLars.

women dressed in white dance around a DIY maypole in a green park with dappled light. A graphic that says Midsummer celebration is at the top.

Lars Gardens: Planter and Pot Roundup

I have big dreams of landscaping my yard one day, but let’s be honest–it wasn’t going to happen in year one as a home owner. After all, there’s so much to do in the house that I couldn’t get myself to prioritize the outdoor space just yet. Instead, this year I’ve turned to my old standby of making a container garden on the porch, so I wanted to round up some statement planters to get you excited about planting flowers in your space!

Brittany steps out the door to a porch garden full of container plants in bright colors.

Even when I do get around to planning out and designing my whole garden, I’ll probably keep filling my porch with planters and pots because it looks so good and planting is such a great activity to do with kids. Whether you’re a homeowner or you’re renting in a small space, growing a garden in planters is an accessible way to cultivate joy in your space.

Lest you think that container gardening is a step-below gardening in the rest of the yard, look at my current gardening hero: Claus Dalby. Claus Dalby is a Danish gardener who’s going to be publishing a book soon, and I’m so excited to read it! He also is the king of container gardening. I love the way all the flowers look when they’re stacked together. Check out Claus Dalby’s instagram @ClausDalby

Sunset-colored container gardenPastel pink container garden.Purple container garden with lots of tulips. Orange container garden by Claus Dalby

Planter Roundup

A few years ago I shared some of my favorite places to buy planters in this post. They’re still excellent resources, but some of them are only in-person shops. Well, this year I’ve put together a big list of planters and pots that you can buy online. Now you can build your own collection of planters, whether live across the globe or across the street from me!

An exterior shot of a porch container garden with lots of flowers and sunlight.

Pre-potted plants

First up, pre-potted plants!  We partnered up with Plantquility to show you that anyone can (and should 😉 be a plant person, especially a houseplant person.  Plantquility’s pots come with fully grown healthy pre potted indoor plants.  Their site even showcases a comprehensive Care Guide for any of the plants you can purchase on their site. This means no guessing when it comes to your plant maintenance and care. 

Their pots come in nice, neutral colors so fit in with any room design. And with a premium and durable fiberglass material, these pots are sure to last! 

Here are some of our favorites:

pre-potted plants Tranquility

Colorful Planters

It wouldn’t be The House that Lars Built if I didn’t guide you to something colorful! There are colorful planters for every budget here.

Terracotta Planters

A display of geraniums in terracotta pots

Terracotta is a go-to for container gardening, and for good reason! Not only does it look beautiful, terracotta has a porous texture so it keeps plants from staying too wet. There’s nothing wrong with the standard terracotta pot look, but I found a few terracotta statement planters that are extra special.

Hanging Planters

Brittany holds baby Jasper up to a hanging flower pot full of pink flowers.

Hanging planters are a great way to get height and variety in your garden design. They look especially good with flowers or vines that spill over the sides. Once it gets too cold for plants to live outside, you can bring your hanging planters in and use them with your houseplants.

Unique-shaped Planters

Planters and pots come in so many unique shapes. From modern and sleek to abstract to even puppy shaped, there’s no reason not to incorporate some interesting shapes to your collection of planters and pots.

Patterned Planters

Planters with interesting patterns look great with ornamental grasses, greenery, and houseplants.

Textured Planters

 

If you’re looking to liven up your collection of planters without going all-out on the decorations and designs, interesting textures can hit the spot.

If you’re still looking for gardening inspiration, check out this post where I fantasize about my dream garden and this post where I show you how to plant a rainbow container garden.

Thanks for shopping through this planter roundup with me! Every time you buy something through one of my links I get a small commission, which helps me bring you more great projects and designs.

This post is sponsored by Tranquility though all opinions are mine.

DIY rainbow doormat inspired by my latest tv show binge

DIY rainbow doormat inspired by the new Peacock show Five Bedrooms

My latest tv show binge

I remember talking with my brother about the show maybe a year ago. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where the show has been out for a while now. It’s just about to premiere for viewers in the US and I’m so excited!! August 13th is going to be a binge day; it’s already calendared in. This show is seriously perfect for me and I’m assuming you too if you’re into a Friends meets HGTV interserction. It has everything I could possibly want! 

It’s technically a romantic comedy series, but the characters are all new homeowners. Mind you, these homeowners are a bit different from Paul and I. They are five perfect strangers who met at the singles table of a wedding!! One member of the quintet (tipsily) suggests that they co-invest in a home together, as the five singletons have more buying power than your average family. The house they buy is a fixer upper like mine, and I gotta tell you. It’s so refreshing to see someone do a remodel on TV who’s not a professional contractor/design duo *cough cough Chip and Joanna.* What I wouldn’t do to turn Paul into a contractor… 

Anyway! While I don’t exactly share the house with five randos, the remodel struggle is relatable!! The Five Bedrooms makeover was particularly tough due to unexpected shenanigans, and the fact that they’re trying to mesh five independent styles into one home. Melding mine and Paul’s respective design preferences is something that I find exciting, and this DIY doormat is one way I intend to do it! I love a good challenge. If only I’d been hired as the interior designer in the show. If you’re out there, Peacock producers, pick me for the next one! A girl can dream, right? 

Get crafty while you watch a new show!

Adding happy personal touches is one thing I’m doing to stay energized during the remodel stages of my own renovation. There’s a welcome mat that came with the door and it’s old and crumbling and honestly, so depressing. I’ve been wanting to change it ever since we moved in. Yes, I know it’s silly to make little decor items for a house I haven’t moved into yet. But, this is the kind of thing that I need to get excited about in order to proceed with the rest of the logistical nightmare that is home renovations. Excitement and creativity feed off each other, and I need something that keeps those juices flowing.

Cue my doormat plans. The DIY rainbow doormat of my dreams is a cute semi-circle made out of natural fibers. Nothing fancy needed! You can get a similar one at pretty much any store that sells homegoods. I’m going to paint 3-inch wide arched stripes in a color scheme that will go with the new house. It’ll be a little rainbow! Any excuse to show off a good color scheme is not something I’ll let pass me by. Which reminds me – don’t miss the premier of Five Bedrooms! It’s not the kind of show you want to miss. Here is the trailer!

Link to Trailer: here

DIY rainbow doormat inspired by the new Peacock show Five Bedrooms

How to make your DIY rainbow doormat

Materials:

Instructions: 

  1. Decide the shape of the rainbow you would like to paint on your mat. We used a 18 x 30 inch half circle braided doormat. 
  2. Pick a color palette!  We chose mustard yellow, orange-red, and blush pink.
  3. Draw the lines for the arches of the rainbow. We painted the innermost arch 7 inches tall and the middle and outer arch each 5 inches tall.
  4. In order to get clean lines, you will need to tape off every other color section. Tape off the innermost arch first.
  5. Get your brush full of paint (we used mustard yellow first) and dab into the small innermost arch. *If you choose a mat with a coarse texture like we did, you will need to dab firmly to make sure the paint saturates the rug fully*
  6. Once it dries, remove the tape. *Drying will vary, but can take up to 2 hours. It is important to make sure you allow enough time for the arches to dry so the paint will not pull up the already painted arches. When the painted sections have dried, you can tape off the other sections. Or you can use a hair dryer to make the process go faster.*
  7. Next, paint the middle arch by adding tape to the innermost arch you just painted and then add tape above it about 5 inches up to create your inner arch. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with your next color for the middle arch.
  8. Continue on your last arch by repeating steps 4-7.

The symbol of having one completed item in my new house is so important to me–it makes me feel like we can get through all the dust and scheduling and there is something bright at the end of the rainbow 😉 Can’t wait to see your rainbow doormat! Tag us with #LarsMakes so we can see them!

DIY rainbow doormat inspired by the new Peacock show Five Bedrooms

This post is sponsored by Peacock but all opinions are my own!