We’re moving!

Moving Studios!

In our house looking we intentionally looked at houses where we could potentially put Lars in the basement. It’s very common here in Utah to have a basement and to put renters in the basement. A majority of our neighborhood does that. In fact, our previous apartment was one such arrangement. So when our dream house showed the potential to be for sale (it wasn’t for sale when I knocked on the door!), the large basement was definitely a plus. With three floors at about 1500 square feet each-ish, it would have been WAY too large for just the three almost four of us.

Here’s how the basement was when we first looked at it and basically still is now:

And yes, doors still haven’t gone up! You probably can’t tell with all the blockades, but there is about 1500 square feet, 3 bedrooms, one larger work room and a storage room along with two bathrooms. One bathroom, in fact, that gave us a sewage flood when we first moved in. How welcoming. I’d share a pic but I don’t want to make you barf. We finally got new walls done there (they had to take them out because the poop hit all the walls) and now we’re working on the flooring.

Pros and Cons to working from home

Of course there are pros and cons to having your work place in your house, but overall, I am STOKED! Especially since I’ll be with a newborn soon and wouldn’t be able to get to the studio much. Our current studio, we were all commuting from the same city to about 20 minutes away, which is fine, but it didn’t make any sense.

Plus, this blog is such a part of my personal life and it was oftentimes SO tricky to work between the two. Sometimes we’d need to shoot at my house and sometimes here at the studio. Being in the same spot will alleviate so much confusion.

Another plus is that all my materials are here at the studio and so I was finding that I wasn’t making anything in my spare time because it was so much planning and execution to bring what I needed home. I’m so stoked to have it all in one place.

I’ve worked from home in the past but that’s when I didn’t really have a designated space for it so it was ALWAYS a mess. Now, the mess will hopefully be contained!

Flooring for our basement

Speaking of flooring, I’ve looked into all types of flooring options for basement apartments that are prone to flooding. We know the sewage flood we had was not the only flood this house has had–we’re hoping it’s the last though. With that in mind, we are wanting a flooring that is waterproof and/or easy to maintain in case of water damage.

We looked at LVP, waterproof tiles, painting concrete, and epoxy. I had looked into epoxy when we first moved in because my friend, Eva, has it on her concrete floors and it’s amazing (you can see it here). It came out this wonderfully shiny texture that I LOVE! But her guy quoted me a crazy high price and I was determined to find something else. THEN, I got a hold of another guy who was MUCH less expensive. He comes on Saturday so I can’t comment on his services yet. We’ll see.

What color should we paint our floor? 

That leaves the question…what COLOR do we do for the epoxy?! And that’s the beauty of it. You can pretty much customize your epoxy to ANY color you’d like. Most epoxy installers do garage floors and that typically means any variation of grey, but I shared a couple of images with him and he said he could do it. I asked him about MINT/SAGE:

And about a blush pink:

So…what would YOU do???

Green OR Pink?

You’ll have to wait and see what we chose!

Investing into a rental

As for the rest of the basement studio, the idea of it being in my permanent house is SUCH a relief and bonus for many reasons. One, I’m realizing that I have a REALLY hard time with permanence. For example, I had a hard time investing time and money both studios I’ve rented. I know that your environment plays a crucial role in the overall vibe and well-being, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get behind fixing our current one. We painted a couple of rooms white because we needed them for shooting and changed out some lighting fixtures, but besides that, not much.

SO, I’m excited to DIG in and get the vibe for our studio that it finally deserves! And I’m wanting to go CRAZY on it. LOTS of color and experimenting. I’m talking color on floors and maybe carpeting up the staircase. Maybe something fun with walls and definitely furniture!

Inspiration for the new studio

You can see the inspiration for the new studio up in the first two photos, but I’ll expound here.

I LOVE this restaurant in Moscow by Studio Shoo. I think it’s incredible blend of playful, patterns, vintage, and colorful. Check out more of the restaurant here. It’s so good! Love the green drinking fountain. Could you imagine?!

2LG Studio in London is another major inspiration source. They have SO MUCH FUN with their interiors. I love the way they use pattern and color together while adding unexpected details here and there.

This one, below, is a study in careful placement of color for big impact. That staircase is just paint! It’s the studio of @ZilverblauW in The Netherlands. You should check out her account. It’s so good!

And lastly, this one. I found it here, but don’t know who the designer is. Anyone know? Such a great palette and play on shapes and color.

With these inspiration images in mind, here’s what I have in mind:

  • COLOR everywhere in unexpected places
  • Clever use of paint to create frames and shapes
  • Mix of vintage and new
  • Functional but also aesthetically pleasing
  • A place to shoot and video easily
  • An inspirational place to work

Some places will have to be WAY more functional, like the stock room and storage room, but that means we can really play wit the playful rooms.

Anywhoo, I and we are SO excited about this move. The lame thing is that it’s RIGHT in the middle of our busiest time of the year so we’re going a bit nuts. That sounds par for course this year, no? Wish us luck!

And let me know what flooring you’d choose. Would love to hear why!

If you liked this post, you might also like:

She Shed Craft Retreat
One Room Challenge at our old studio
One Room Challenge at Mary’s house

The House That Lars Bought: Designing our Main Bathroom

Designing our Main Bathroom

First things first–something as private as a bathroom wouldn’t have necessarily been my first priority in a house that still lacks door knobs and baseboards and straight up organization. BUT we don’t have a functioning sink in our bathroom nor adequate storage and I’m about to lose my mind.  For fear of appearing overly dramatic, that combined with the amount of trips to the bathroom I take (thanks little guy in my belly) and a CRAZY pregnancy brain (or is this forever?!) means that I cannot find ANYTHING! I used to have three hair brushes. Ask me when the last time I brushed my hair was. I can’t find anything! So, I’m imagining that with a nicely cared for bathroom, I’ll be able to find things again?

Where we are starting

Another reason to start with our bathroom is that I’ve been working with Signature Hardware who provided us with a beautiful vanity and some accessories, which means we are on a tighter deadline than we would if we weren’t partnering. Now, this is both good and stressful, right? Getting a room fully designed? Dreamy! But doing it while (hopefully!) moving studios, getting ready for the holidays (our biggest time of the year) and all while before baby comes by the end of the year.

Anywhoo, when I first started working with Signature Hardware, I had NO design in place. I picked out a vanity nonetheless because I had a time crunch. It’s this beautiful green one called the Olsen Console in Hunter green and white oak

I figured we’d make a plan somehow after that decision. It’s not usually how I like to start things, but deadlines are deadlines!

Wallpaper samples 

So, Meta came with what I had and went to work. She brought a ton of wallpaper samples over so we could get a feel for what this vanity needed to be paired with. Some of the ones we were looking at:

I shared some of the options on Stories and you gave such a wide variety of responses! Meta and I share a love of Josef Frank so those were obvious add ins, and then add in some florals and botanicals and I was having a tough time deciding! What would you have done?!

Then we narrowed it down to the winner, which is a Josef Frank classic, Eldblomman, in red. It’s a splurge for sure BUT since we didn’t need too much (that’s the beauty of bathrooms!) and we will be doing a wainscoting below then I kind of justified it…for my Christmas gift-ha!

After making that decision (turns out–a good portion of interior design is just making decisions), Meta came up with this mood board:

Main Bathroom Mood Board 

She included lighting options from Hudson Valley Lighting, who I am also working with, mirrors, artwork, wainscoting, rug, etc. Take a lookie:

And the color palette at the top and bottom? So dreamy!

And she created a very quick mock up to get the gist of the wallpaper and fabric together.

Isn’t it amazing?!

DIY Wainscoting

So, the plan is to do the wallpaper on the top 2/3rds (remember the rule of thirds!), then a DIY wainscoting that involves circle and diamond cut outs. I just ordered some unfinished wood and square pieces that we will apply to the wall and cannot wait to get moving on those! I’ll be sharing how to do that at some point so stay tuned.

Artwork

Paul LOVES Japan so Meta had the idea of including some beautiful Japanese block print art. I still haven’t decided myself what to do there–might need to try something new out.

Mirrors

The mirrors I’m particularly excited for. She did the coolest mirror treatment in her own bathroom at her house and she’s giving us the leftovers to do the same technique. She had bought some yellow glass and surrounded the mirror with it. We might try an unusual organic shaped design to go with the wallpaper or maybe something more uniform. Paul’s on the fence about it (read: doesn’t like the idea) but I’m ALL for trying things out. Any thoughts there?

Accessories

Like I mentioned in this post, I had bought those yellow and white striped towels because I loved them so much and they JUST SO HAPPEN to work marvelously with this design doncha think?

Towel and robe hook accessories

I had ordered a number of beautiful, vintage-inspired brass bathroom accessories from Signature Hardware that work so well with this design.

Flooring

Lastly, the rug. We haven’t gotten to that stage yet, but we have some ideas–just need to place the order. What would you do here? We installed the Stuga Tivoli throughout the whole house, which meant that we are covered for flooring. It also meant that creating a custom floor was out of the picture. Could have been fun to do some sort of checkerboard flooring, no?! But, a rug will do the same thing.

Window Treatments

You can see from this picture, that the room actually gets some lovely South-facing lighting thanks to the window here in the bathroom as well in the adjoining closet (think of the selfie pics?!?!?!?! Ha–kidding…kind of). Once again, Meta brought over some samples and we picked out a Soane and will turn it into a roman blind. For the closet, we’re still working on picking out something, but we’re thinking it’s going to be some sort of green floral. If you have any leads on one–I’m all ears!

Paint colors

We’ll be painting the wainscoting a beautiful blue along with the trims. And then I’ll talk about the closet below.

Main Closet

We’re also including the closet into the design. The plan is to go with an all over peach/blush everywhere. I remember learning that Jackie O painted her bathrooms a peach color because it reflected well on her skin and I’ve been wanting to do something along those lines too. This was a perfect place to do so! We’ll probably do the trims in this beautiful green color. See how all the colors work together?!?!?

We’ll also be doing the toilet room, which consists of the toilet and shower. It’s small and narrow and probably won’t be very interesting to see…but who knows?! Maybe we’ll try and make it interesting.

Ok! That’s it for now! Would love to hear your thoughts!

If you’re interested in more Interiors posts, here are some of my favorites!

Our new hardwood flooring
All the renovations we did to our rental
Affordable rugs under $1000

The House That Lars Bought: Interview with Paul and Brittany

Working with Meta

Meta and I met when I first moved here almost 8 years ago. We were basically wearing the same type of dress and crown braids and it was like looking at a mirror. Over the years, we’ve bonded over our shared love of design. Somehow our styles are super similar. But whereas I focus on Lars with all the crafts and such (even though I studied and practiced interior design in the past), she is OBSESSED with interiors and spends every waking hour thinking about it. I’ve never seen anyone so passionate about it.

Here we are in the Bahamas where we were teaching some styling classes on a cruise ship. Ha! Just typing that makes me LOLZ.

Why are we working with a designer?

This is precisely why we’re working with her. She knows the current designers, processes, local artisans and contractors, trends, classics, lingo, vocabulary, history. It really is the perfect marriage.

Before we get started designing, like her other clients, she sent us her questionnaire and here’s how it went:

I can’t wait to share more with you this week. We’ve already got our eyes on the first room. Stay tuned!

You can learn more about Meta Coleman:

@MetaColeman_ on Instagram
Meta Coleman Portfolio

If you liked this, you might also like:

Affordable Rugs Under $1000
Introducing our new house
Our new floors

The House That Lars Bought: Bathroom tile is in!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Floor & Decor. All opinions are 100% mine.

Floor & Decor

In addition to all the projects we’ve been doing here on Lars, Paul and I have been getting our new house in order. We’ve been busy to say the least. We bought the house with literally nothing inside. The previous owners had torn everything out on their way to renovating it to sell. We stopped them mid-reno and bought it which means we had A LOT of work to do to get it into move-in conditions. Mind you, that’s coming from two people who are not very…how do we say…handy.

THANKFULLY, we partnered up with Floor & Decor to give us the kick in the pants we needed to get something in speedy and something within our budget.

Bathroom Tile

Our goal was to get something in ASAP so we could move in ASAP. We bought the house in June and ended up moving in mid September. It was a slightly longer timeline than we were hoping for, but turns out, there’s quite the construction boom right now and getting contractors in has been tough! Anyone else renovating and experiencing the same thing?

Requirements for our Bathroom Flooring

I looked far and wide for bathroom flooring options with the following requirements: 1) couldn’t have a long lead time 2) had to be within our smaller budget 3) had to be nice and functional. I went back and forth on what to do and in my google searching I organically came across Floor & Decor. Turns out, they have stores across the country, one probably by you! I took many trips to go visit them in person (it’s nice to see everything not just online, you know?!) to get a sense of what I wanted.

What I was Looking for in a Tiled Bathroom

At first, I was really into the idea of doing a black and white checkerboard bathroom because I LOVE the look and feel of it. But after lots of feeling it out, I decided to do something less contrasty so I could take my time in designing out each bathroom and not have to feel married to the one look.

What We Went With

After another trip, I decided to go with a classic white–glossy white herringbone ceramic tile in two of the bathrooms upstairs and a white and grey basketweave in the main floor bathroom. They are both classic yet contemporary enough to feel modern yet historical.

Always in Stock!

Both had a lot in stock (and seemed to be a popular choice!) so when I realized that I had measured the rooms wrong (math is not my strong suit!) when the tile guys were installing it, I drove straight to the store and bought more on the spot. So handy! For 3 bathrooms, I spent I think about $300 in product, which I was pretty stoked about!

Sealing the Tile

Once the tile was installed, my beloved former landlord, Richard of 1900 North Carpet and Tile Cleaning, came over and sealed the tile, which adds another layer of protection to the surface, which gets a lot of water and dirt, as you might imagine coming from a toddler. He’s the best in the business and I will recommend him day in and day out.

Anywho, I had such a great experience with Floor & Decor that I really am glad to talk about them. It’s such a great resource! The quick timeline allowed us to get into our house and start enjoying our time together. I mean, look how much fun bathtime is?! Ha! And I’m LOVING how much light this bathroom gets.

This post is sponsored by Floor & Decor. Thank you to our sponsors who allow us to make beautiful, original content!

Our new hardwood flooring and how to care for it

Which Stuga floor did we go with?

Which selection did we go with? I showed you ten options in the last post (remember these?) and…drumroll please….The winner is….
TIVOLIThey name all their flooring after Scandinavian inspired names or features and Tivoli, the famous charming amusement mark in the middle of Copenhagen, was the site of our first date, so it was only appropriate 😉 AND it’s our anniversary today so this flooring selection is really bringing us full circle I guess!
Mind you, Tivoli was not in your top 7 choices–ha! The top choices from you were Mead and Lucia. Here were the options again (you can see them here) BUT I love something on the warmer side and I wanted something a bit thinner without too much grain and Tivoli was the clear choice in person.
HOWEVER, when I received it, I opened up one box and the one I happened to open was SUPER grainy and a bit green:
I.got.nervous.
And then Paul calmly opened up the next box and then the next and turns out? Each one is super different! One may be more red, the other less grainy, the next more yellow and it’s kind of this mix and when you put it all together it is LOVELY. The depth of all the colors and textures makes it super interesting without being distracting. I LOVE MY FLOORS.

Making it into the house

Anywoo, just getting the shipment of flooring in was the biggest deal to me that I recorded the whole thing. And it came with its own share of drama. Our house is perched on an incline so no big trucks can get up there, and if they did, there’s no room for them to turn around and come back since it’s a cul-de-sac. SO, I called Paul in a panic and he came with a good friend of ours and helped the guy unload each crate and then transport each box up to the house. Thankfully, I’m pregnant, so I have a great excuse to not pitch in 😉

Here’s how the process worked, but I’ll be sharing more about the installation process in the next blog post.

What did we do to the stairs ?

And then they came back the next week and put the stairs in with the specially made Stuga stair nosings. We went with the square nosings, which is much more modern than I’ll be going with the rest of the house but I think it freshens up the house quite a bit and I’m here for it! I LOVE where it’s going. We still need to finish the top half (not seen) and add in banisters, but in the mean time, it’s so beautiful! Jasper, don’t come near here!

How to care for our Stuga floors

As you can imagine with this type of project, we have a ton of foot traffic from contractors of all kinds and their footprints are not what we would call gentle so this flooring is probably going through more now than hopefully it will ever again. BUT, I do love what Stuga says to maintain it.
Their first piece of advice is to treat your flooring like the Scandinavians do by taking off your shoes. I know this is common practice in a lot of homes throughout the world and frankly, though I lived in Denmark for awhile, I still don’t adopt it BUT you better believe we will be! And fun fact: a lot of Danes, probably others too, typically leave a basket by the door with extra slippers you can put on. Hyggligt!
We also don’t have window coverings at this point–only plastic from the previous owners who were about to paint, so I’m terrified of the sun’s exposure on the wood. It does patina over time and I’m looking forward to that, but I don’t want to accelerate it you know? I’ll be getting something up soon!

Other than that, I ordered the floor care kit and it comes with everything I need to take care of it. Pretty much it’s what you might expect light water. They also say that you can sand the floor down twice and that’s pretty much only if you want to restain the wood. So we are good for a long time!

And because we need to add in something adorable, here’s a little before and after of Jasper on the floor.

Ok! I’d love to hear your thoughts on our flooring selection. I know it’s not what most of you chose, but can you see it now?
ALSO curious if you’re like the Scandinavians and take off your shoes at the door?

This post is sponsored by Stuga but all opinions are my own.

In The Mood: Hamilton Inspired Home Decor

How to fill your home with the feeling of Hamilton

If you are unfamiliar with Hamilton, you’ve got to remedy that. Allow this piece to be your introduction into the hit musical. It chronicles the life of Alexander Hamilton who was one of the Founding Fathers of the USA. He was born in the West Indies as an illegitimate child, and his parents died before he reached adulthood. Through hard work, sacrifice, and a fair bit of schmoozing, Alexander made his way to New York and befriended Revolutionaries, forever tying his fate with that of the Fledgling United States. Since the play is based on history, spoilers aren’t really a thing… Just to pique your interest, there is a love triangle, rumors, and even a gun duel. Spoiler: it ends in death. Oh and there’s rap. It’s definitely worth the watch. 

Below you will find our tips on how you fill your home with inspiration from this hit musical!

Be inspired by Colonial Style

Before writing this piece, I actually looked up pictures of Alexander Hamilton’s home. It’s  called The Grange and still stands in New York City though it is much changed. It is totally symmetrical with matching piazza patios, stately lines, mouldings, and mantles. As a result, it has an incredibly airy feel. Neoclassical design deeply influence the Colonial Era. That last bit is super important, as it is what separates Hamilton-inspired design from the Farmhouse look. Alexander Hamilton would shudder if someone were to suggest his architectural choices had anything to do with farming.

Hamilton inspired decor for your home’s exterior

Curate meaningful collections

The easiest way to incorporate this kind of design into your space is through careful collection. It might not be realistic to build ionic columns throughout your whole house or rebuild it to be symmetrical. But, you can collect pieces inspired by the Neoclassical Era. Handmade wooden furniture, ornate trinkets, classic colors, statuettes, gold or brass fixtures, and elaborately patterned textiles all have their place in a Hamilton home. I recommend you search high and low. Buy some pieces new from fancy stores, but also enjoy the hunt in antique shops and the exhilaration of winning an eBay or Facebook marketplace bid. If you can curate a collection of similar items, like antique candlesticks, lanterns, or porcelain dish-ware, those pieces will shine together and become showstoppers.

Hamilton inspired decor for your living room

Fill your home with nostalgia

Part of why the musical is so popular is because it plays on America’s own heritage while reinterpreting it. Alexander Hamilton personified the American Dream. He came from hardship but made it through. He also made mistakes and was complicit in the evils of his time. Despite these contradictions, he tried to set up a nation that would build a better future. People respond to that kind of thing. We’re all complicated. As you curate a Hamilton inspired home, think about your personal history. How can you incorporate that into your home? Paintings that remind you of your favorite places, old books you loved long ago, and photographs of days gone by are all great pieces that will make your space yours. Don’t fret  about it all becoming too complex or not cohesive. You are the unifying theme

Hamilton inspired decor for your bedroom

Form a modern interpretation of the past

If you’re worried about this style complimenting modern ones, don’t be!! The contradictions of Alexander Hamilton and within the play are what inspires good design. The play is a contemporary take on Colonial themes. Your interpretation of Hamilton-design will also be a contemporary take. Design inspired by the musical is bound to be lively, yet stately. That combination really excites me. Colonial America is the setting, but the music is totally inspired by contemporary hip hop and rap. Translating all of this into a visual style requires a keen and selective eye. You got this. Be willing to do a little mixing-and-matching as you incorporate Hamilton into your modern home! 

One of our past interns, Jess Whittaker, illustrated these Hamilton inspired prints we love! This is a fun way to add some Hamilton inspiration into your home without needing to embrace full on colonial style. You can find them here in her shop! You can read more about Jess here and find some of her whimsical work in our shop as well!

More Hamilton Inspired Home Decor

For your kitchen

For the bathroom

 

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, and Alexander Girard

5 reasons mirrors are essential in decor

Get lit! Use mirrors to light up your life

Aside from the practical use of mirrors (checking oneself out), mirrors have another excellent purpose – they bounce light beautifully. You can make even the darkest corners, nooks and crannies more luminous by adding a mirror. You probably don’t have the ability to knock out an exterior wall of your house and add a million windows, but you can put a million mirrors in your house. I absolutely love seeing a wall covered in mirrors – it’s been popular since the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, and I don’t think it will ever go out. Pick matching, simple mirrors for a minimal look that maximizes your space. If you like the more eclectic look, mix and match ornate mirrors.

Open up (your mind and your living room)

I kinda spoiled this tip in the previous section, but one magical thing about mirrors is their ability to make a space feel larger. In an old house I lived in, we had a gigantic mirror at the top of the stairs. It always tricked guests into thinking there was another wing of the house! Mind you, this house was no manor – it was a pretty basic tract home. Simple tricks like adding a big mirror can make you feel like you’ve built that add-on you’ve been dreaming about. This made a big difference in my small office makeover.

Is that a new window?

Up next is a real trick. I feel like a click bait ad saying that. But this one is pretty genius I think! Have you ever seen a mirror with panes on it like a window? I spied this one on Pinterest and I totally thought it was a window. Brainblast – place a big mirror where you want a window! If you can find one that is similar in size and shape to an actual window in your house, place the mirror next to the window. Boom. extra window. I’m a genius. 

Make a mirror the focal point

Mirrors are beautiful on their own. Ones with beautiful frames or funky shapes and detailing truly look like art and should be treated as such!! I am in love with the idea of a mirror as a focal piece, hung on a mantelpiece or in an art niche. I want this mirror from Anthropologie (sorry to be predictable but they are just so good) hung over an end table in my entryway. If you’re needing some styling inspo, check out this picture I found.

Mirrors are simple to update when styles change

Last but not least are my favorite mirror trends. There are a few trends that I keep seeing and truthfully can’t get enough of! One mirror staple over the last few years has been the circle mirror. The shape is simple enough to not be distracting and it gives the eye a break from hard angles. If you’re tired of too many hard angles, check out this scallop mirror from Gustaf Westman that I adore. I even made my own scallop wave pinboard inspired by that mirror and Matilda Goad! Other trends I love are organically shaped mirrors, ornate antiquey ones, and of course, mirrors with color and pattern. The images below are just a few of my favorites for sale right now! 

 

DIY Mirror

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about all you makers. If you prefer a handmade touch to make your decor unlike any others, check out this DIY rattan mirror!

DIY rattan mirror

Where to make important investments in your cheap renovation (hint: flooring!)

Is there such thing as a quick and cheap renovation?

Here’s the thing–when we were first planning our “quick and cheap” renovation, I was literally going to put the ugliest, cheapest carpet on the market EVERYWHERE in the house. I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to get invested in it. I wanted to take the decision making out of everything and go cheap and quick. I spotted some carpet scraps at ReStore and was ready to move forward. End of discussion.

And, though I run a DIY blog, my husband and I are not, how do we say, “handy” people. I mean, like I can nail things into a wall and screw in lightbulbs and such and Paul is really good (talented even) at lifting heavy objects, but ummm, we are definitely not getting a show on HGTV anytime soon. I’m more of a lightweight in the home improvement arena. And Paul is good at cooking.

But…we were going to attempt to do it ourselves. Ugh. I cringe just thinking about it! I don’t know how to put carpet in. But they make it look SO easy on YouTube!

And THEN, you realize ok, if we’re spending even just a “little” bit on ugly carpeting, well, that’s $—- on something when it could be applied to something nice and then it avalanches from there. PLUS, it’s such a waste in general to put in stuff you’ll just be taking out.

This is what I had resolved to do:

You see where I’m going here.

So then we decide, well, maybe flooring is the one spot we should invest in since it’s really the foundation for the whole house. And it’s so bare now and would have to do a lot of work to rip it back up again…

I went on the hunt for some beautiful flooring and came across Stuga and I was smitten. And maybe you can see why: Stuga works directly with Scandinavia’s most innovative manufacturers to curate a selection of sustainably harvested, crafted, and engineered floors that you can easily browse, sample, and buy online.

So, first they roped me in with their Scandinavian angle. Having lived in Denmark for the first few years of our marriage with my Danish husband, this was big a bonus because I know that Scandinavia does floors excellently. They are hardwood fanatics. PLUS, they believed in sustainability long before it became a buzzword and designed their products to preserve forests. They also removed all solvents and toxic glues found in other engineered floors. Plus, they’re beautiful!

I first spotted them over at Chris Loves Julia and I LOVE how it turned out. So beautiful! I especially loved the treatment to the stairs. So I requested a number of samples:

Lighting is always the curse that comes with seeing examples of flooring online, well, in person too for that matter. Here’s what we are considering and I’d LOVE your feedback on which one you would choose. I’ll be walking you through it over on Instastories too.

A few things to note about our preferences: I tend to gravitate towards warmer tones. And though I love wide plank, I feel like our traditional home needs to be slightly more narrow.

Perhaps I’m going too much into the little details. I know most people like a good before and after, and we’ll get there at some point, but because this is such a big project for us and there is so much $$$$ and time and investment on the line, we are going into the nitty gritty. You can tell me when it gets boring, capeesh?

This post is sponsored by Stuga but all opinions are my own.

The House That Lars BOUGHT!

We bought a house!

We were right in the middle of shut down and working from home and GOING CRAZY when we decided to look! Our small apartment was/is bursting at the seams and rather than make space we decided we just needed to explore all our options. It was the only natural thing to do 😉 The unfortunate thing is that we LOVE renting. Ha! We’ve had landlords who have become family and it’s honestly pretty sad to move.

Some friends of ours were also looking and they found an awesome house at an awesome price and that gave us some hope. So we put it out into the Instagram universe…and the universe delivered! A reader pointed us to a house that had gone on the market that day and it was cute and adorable and at good price IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. We RACED that day to get pre-qualified and our realtor for that house, Aaron Oldham, was so kind to make it happen. Well, sadly, we couldn’t compete with a cash offer. That happened a couple more times.

We did a ton of digging around and found out that there were/are going to be a ton of houses going on the market in our neighborhood in the next few months and immediately we thought of our dream home. Maybe that one would be one of them?

Yup! It was! We had been walking by this house for years and commenting on how we’d love it one day. It’s on a cute, quaint street that’s hidden and so quiet. I also knew that it was being renovated (I’m super snoopy ;). One day I mustered up the courage to knock on the door and find out what was going on. There was a worker who was doing the window mouldings who let me walk through the house. And then the realtor, who was also in charge of the renovations, came in and said that the owner would sell it to us AS IS.

It was shocking!

Because of the state of the house, it’s treated differently by loan officers so it took us a little while to figure out how to make it happen. With some creative problem solving and miracles, it happened! We closed last week.

And now, the circus begins! We have to QUICKLY put in flooring, bathrooms, kitchen and some other things to move in ASAP and then we will take our time after that.

Ready for a tour?

Kitchen

Here’s a view of the kitchen. Phase 1 of the renovation consists of finding used kitchen cabinets (already found on Facebook Marketplace!) and put them in. We’re not necessarily going for beauty in this first phase.

As you can see, there’s absolutely nothing. However, we do have a fridge and range in the garage waiting to be put in so we have something at least.

This is the other side of the doors from the family room. That entry leads you into the living room.

Living Spaces

And here you can see the staircase up to the third floor. There are 3 levels, the bottom level being a finished basement. In my dreams, and this was part of our original search, we were looking for something where we could put Lars in the basement. And I’m pretty sure it’s a go! Just gotta figure out some stuff there.

Ok, the basement. I’m not going to show you every room because they all pretty much look the same. You can see it’s the basement because of the concrete. There are three bedrooms down there along with a living space and two bathrooms.

And this section is for the kitchen.

Basement

I WISH the bathrooms still looked like this, however, during the week that we were trying to figure out funding, the owners proceeded with the renovations and removed all the bathrooms completely, so in the mean time, we have to put something quick and cheap in. I’m open to your suggestions!

Bedrooms

I’m not going to show you all the bathrooms because you will seriously not know the difference between them. They’re very much all in the same state right now!

This is the one room in the house with flooring, but it will need to come out once we figure out what we’re going to put in there. It’s the laundry room slash pantry.

The process to buying this house was probably one of the most complicated ways we could have done it and there were many miracles along the way and a lot of people helping us out to make it happen.

Legal help

Though I have many people I could thank publicly, I HAVE to give a huge thank you to my attorney, Sara Pendleton of Tailored Legal Services. She’s been our Lars attorney for the last many years and she’s also acted as a broker on a number of houses. She stepped in to offer us advice and guidance along the way so I felt secure and comfortable so we didn’t have to use a real estate agent, which cut down on costs on both sides. In the past she has acted as a broker for people buying houses and then gives a check directly back to you. On a separate note, as a creative business working with a ton of contracts, she’s the best! If you’re looking for someone for your small business, I’d HIGHLY recommend her. She’s saved me and my business many many times. Plus, her background is in the courtroom and she can fight so well and hard for you. But at the same time is so kind and professional. Email me for her contact if you’d like.

The future house

It’s rare to find any sort of colonial/Georgian house in this area. We were ready to accept a mid century into our lives. Mid century doesn’t speak to my soul so we are really floored that this one worked out. As you can see, it’s pretty bare and rather boring right now, but we have grand plans in mind for it and I cannot wait to show you the inspiration of what we intend to do with it. One day. 🙂

In the mean time, we have a TON of work to do to get it liveable so we can move in, HOPEFULLY in the next month or two.

If you have any tips on cheap and fast Phase 1 solutions for flooring, kitchens, bathrooms…I’m ALL ears! We gotta get a move on!

Give it all to me!

New artwork from Artist Chaunté Vaughn

New work in the Lars Print Shop from Chaunté Vaughn 

Click here to see the full collection!

Chaunté has the unique ability to capture beauty in the mundane. She focuses on the everyday, even decayed or traditionally non-beautiful subjects, but through her use of lighting and composition transforms them into stunning works of art.

Her color series in the collection highlights items from the grocery store and stuff that should be in the trash, but with the magical touch of stylist Kate Stein, they take on a new life where color is celebrated and lighting transforms them into an elegant still life.

Yellow Mustard” is our featured art print for our book club, Yellow by Michael Pastoureau. It’s a celebration of all things yellow–the color of happiness and optimism made even more so through the comical smiley face.

“This collection of photos is an oddball selection of exercises I’ve done thru the last few years. It’s one of my favorite things to be able to uplift someones home with art I’ve made. I’m so happy these might make it to you someday!”
– Chaunté Vaughn

Interview with Chaunté Vaughn

What do you consider yourself?

I consider myself a photographer. I like to do other creative things, but photography is how I earn a living.

How did you get started in your field doing what you do?

I started by taking pictures of my sisters when we were kids. I loved styling them and playing “photoshoot”. It feels like I’m still doing the same thing all these years later.

What did you study? Did you go to school specifically for what you do?

I originally studied painting and graphic design. I moved into photography because it was a faster medium.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My ability to repeatedly carry 50 lbs of photo gear up and down multiple flights of stairs.

What’s your work space like?

I shoot in different kinds of places all the time. Anywhere from big beautiful studios, to cramped offices, to muddy stormy beaches. It’s different every time.

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in a creative field?

Have fun and be nice. Draw or write what you think about, no matter what your medium is.

What’s coming up for you this year?

2020 has been really hard for everyone. Hopefully we can come out of it with a new and better perspective. 

How has the current situation affected your work flow. Any pivots?

I’ve started shooting more from home. The crew is much smaller:)

 

Where do you live? How does that influence your work?

I live in Brooklyn NY. Luckily, being here provides me with tons of inspiration. The creatives here are excellent, and there is no shortage of galleries to visit and see it all.

What does your dream retirement look like?

A beach, a lime drink, and a cabana boy:)

What artists/designers/creatives do you look up to? Both historical or present

Not many- because I’m 5 foot 10:)

How has social media influenced your work?

It’s made me hate squares.

What’s inspiring you lately?

I recently watched documentaries on Andrew Wyeth, Franca Sozzani, and Slim Aarons. I love hearing their stories and looking at what makes their work special. Also, I saw a retrospective for Agnes Denes a few months ago, her work resonated with me and reminded me that all artists touch the divine when they create.

 

Where else you can find Chaunté’s work

At chauntevaughn.com and on Instagram here

And click here to find the perfect print to brighten your walls.

In the Mood For: Wes Anderson Inspired Design

Design tips from Wes Anderson’s films

I’ve decided to break down some major visual themes in Wes Anderson’s films because, well, they’re fun to notice, and they showcase how design choices can heighten an emotion or thought. Whether or not you vibe with Wes’ style, our tips below taken from his work apply to any sort of style you want to master. 

Right off the bat, Anderson introduces viewers to some new microcosm of a world. His films take place on very carefully designed sets with symmetry, prescribed color themes, costumes like you’d see in a play, and font collections for everything from the film’s title to words on a bus ad in the background (Futura and Archer are some of his favorite fonts that are easy to access). 

Choose a color pallete but don’t be afraid to deviate

This is a great method to mirror in your own home! Choose a color pallete and composition early (Wes likes Art Nouveau hues and right angles) but be willing to make rare deviations. This will help you emphasize important details, like a piece of decor you want to make stand out. 

how to decorate like wes anderson

Looks inspired by The Grand Budapest Hotel

how to decorate like wes anderson

Click here to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel

Use objects that symbolize something meaningful

Another stylistic tool employed in his films is called material synecdoche (yes I looked this up and still had to use spell check). This fancy term just means that Anderson uses a material object to stand as a symbol of something important. In Moonrise Kingdom, Suzy’s binoculars symbolize, well, Suzy, as well as her curiosity, her longing for something outside of her world, and her tendency for spying…

Looks inspired by Moonrise Kingdom
how to decorate like wes anderson

Click here to watch Moonrise Kingdom

Some friends of mine use this idea in their life and have a few objects that represent significant moments or ideas. For these friends, it’s all centered on the Dr. Seuss book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! It’s all about adventure, positivity, and how being different is brave. Choose an object or material that you feel drawn to that represents a theme in your life (like my friends’ book) and figure out how to incorporate it into your style! 

Whether it is polka dots or acorns, poppies or binoculars, choose something that feels like you and treat it like your design calling card. Sprinkle it into your home and your wardrobe, et voila! You have a trademark ~look.~

Looks inspired by The Darjeeling Limited

how to decorate like wes anderson

Click here to watch The Darjeeling Limited

Add handmade touches

One detail that we at Lars particularly love is the prevalence of handmade items in Wes Anderson movies! Most of the sets are handmade. (Aisle of Dogs is a crazy masterpiece) and the clothing is all designed and sewn for the characters like a costume in a play would be. 

Handwritten notes are everywhere in his films, even graffitied in the margins of textbooks in Rushmore. This kind of attention to detail helps him achieve this classically curated look, and a similar attention to detail in your life will create your own uniquely curated look.

Looks inspired by Rushmore

Click here to watch Rushmore

Don’t lose your own personal twist

Part of why we love Wes Anderson is of course, because of the people in his films. Yes, they’re funny, yes they’re well dressed, yes they’re witty. But what I like most is that the main characters are creative

In Rushmore, the main character Max is an aspiring playwright. In The Royal Tenenbaums, Margot wins a national writing grant in the ninth grade! Fantastic Mrs. Fox is a fabulous painter, and is shown in a number of scenes working on a really complicated landscape. 

Looks inspired by The Royal Tenenbaums

how to decorate like wes anderson

Click here to watch The Royal Tenenbaums

As a creative person, Wes puts these snippets of himself into these films and therein, I tend to find someone a bit like me. 

Wes Anderson Inspired Home Decor

Kid’s bedroom decor

 

Prints and Books

 

Kid’s classic toys

how to decorate like wes anderson

 

Wes Anderson Inspired Fashion

Women’s

 

Men’s

 

Kid’s

 

This post is part of our “In the Mood For” series, where we highlight the taste of famous people and characters we love. Click these links to be inspired by kindred spirits like Anne of Green Gables or Jo March, or to learn how to re-create the iconic styles of real life heroes Iris Apfel or Alexander Girard

Photo sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

 

Home Organization Tools and Tips for Spring Cleaning

We are in such an organizing mood right now, we arranged our favorite spring cleaning tools by room! Search for exactly what you need to make your home organization a million times easier.

Home office organization

There has never been a more vital time to update your home office. Click here to check out our tips on creating a home office that matches your personality and work style! And use these products below to turn your office into a space where the amazing ideas will just keep coming!

 

Our favorite organization tool

If you know anything about Lars, you know that we’re susceptible to piles of crafting supplies all over our studio! Creativity surely needs a little chaos! However, creativity needs structure as well, and that’s why we’re delighted to showcase our favorite organization product, our very own Dreambox from Create Room.

Perhaps you saw our earlier post about how much we love our Dreambox? We stuffed it full of craft supplies and it made our crafting a million times better, no exaggeration. That’s why we feel fully confident in recommending this product to you, to expedite your spring cleaning organization overhaul. You can fill it with crafting supplies, like we did, anything from paper and pens to sewing supplies!

Sale Alert

And the best news is, they’re having a sale RIGHT NOW! You can save over $600 on the Dreambox, including pre-built services and accessories. We smell a Mother’s Day gift! Click here and use code “LARSDREAMBOX600” for $200 off your Dreambox, $200 Pre-Built service (automatically applied and available in the DreamBox Design Studio), and Up to $212 off accessories (automatically applied and available in the DreamBox Design Studio.)

Honestly, there is no limit to what you can store in the Dreambox. It is the perfect tool to greater element of organization to your office, craft space, or homeschool stations. If anything, you should perhaps be planning for what you’ll fill all your freed-up space with after your spring cleaning! If you need more ideas, dig into our archives for decor-oriented crafts after you get organized!

Bedroom and bathroom organization

Your bedroom will become a calming sanctuary when clutter is out of site and out of mind.

Kid’s room organization

Your children will be begging to tidy their rooms with these fun new storage tools. At least, that’s the daydream, right?

Kitchen organization

The center of the home, and the biggest sign of the state of your mind. A tidy kitchen makes a world of difference!

Living room organization

With all family members at home more than ever before, add in some simple storage options to get everyone on board with a quick clean.