7 Rental-Friendly Interior Design Hacks

Rental friendly interior design is important to me because I’m a huge believer in the power of interior design to make you happy. Too often we think that unless we own a home we can’t personalize our space, and I think that’s tragic. Everyone deserves to feel at home, so making a house a home in a rental feels much bigger than a simple penchant for style.

7 Rental Friendly Interior Design Hacks

Living Room Reveal with wildflower wallpaperRemovable Wallpaper

This is definitely not the easiest rental friendly interior design hack, so let’s get it out of the way first. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my love for wallpaper. There’s this archaic idea that wallpaper is a nightmare to deinstall, involving lots of steaming, stickiness, and scraping. Yuck. That used to be true, but now there are so many rental friendly wallpapers, so you can peel and stick to your heart’s content!

I’ve loved using Spoonflower wallpaper in my homes and offices, and you can find my favorite Spoonflower artists and designs here!

In my last apartment I really let my imagination run wild with wallpaper, and I loved how fresh and unique it made the space. Here are my tips and tricks for installing Spoonflower wallpaper (which I love!)

Brittany works on installing blue and white striped wallpaper with text that reads "how to install wallpaper yourself"Interior shot of a bedroom with blue and white striped wallpaper. There's a yellow headboard, green floral bedding, paper staghorn ferns, and wicker lamps.Brittany sits on bed in a room with pine-themed wallpaper. She's wearing a pink dress and holding a dark blue and green pillow, the bed is warm wood with a mustard duvet, and there's a wicker lamp in the corner. There's also a blue art print on the wall.

If you’re still looking for just the right wallpaper, check out this post I wrote about my other favorite places to buy it.

Upgrade Your Lighting

I can’t say enough how important good lighting is! Of course, lots of natural light is best, but it’s not always available. Don’t worry, though! There’s hope for you and it’s in the form of lamps!

A colorful lamp in a room with wildflower wallpaper and a LACMA exhibition posterJust like when I was in college, I still love adding light with lamps. You can always go to thrift stores and upgrade them with paint or new shades (or even make your own shades). I also put together some of my favorite lampshades on the market right now, so browse these!

On top of lamps, you can say “Let there be light” by upgrading your light fixtures. It might seem daunting, but it’s not too tricky and makes a huge difference. So many rentals are chock full of boob lights, and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t want reminders to #FreeTheNip every time I look up. 🤷🏼‍♀️ If you’re with me on this, consider this your permission to change out your light fixtures and get a new lease on life.

Check out this DIY light fixture you can make to add whimsy and color to your space.

DIY lampshade in bright colors and funky shapes

Find a Statement Piece

Furnishing your rental with statement furniture can really elevate the space. Once you’ve found a piece that you love, plan the colors and design around it for a cohesive, beautiful look. (For bonus points, spot the light fixture I upgraded this room with)

Brittany adjusts pillows on a beautiful green sofa in a light-filled room

Couches, and rugsare my favorite kinds of statement furniture to base a room off. A few years ago I got a life-changing green sofa and I’ll never stop recommending that people add emphasis with colorful furniture.

Couches

Rugs

Plan a Color Story For Each Space

One of my favorite rental friendly interior design hacks is to make and stick to a color palette. Especially when it’s a space that you don’t own and you can’t control everything about, it’s easy for a space to look makeshift and haphazardly thrown together. With a color palette, though, you can go from scattered and “meh” to really fabulous. It takes some creativity and restraint, but it makes a huge difference.

a room with pine-themed wallpaper. There are pillows in dark blue, pink, green, and black, the bed is warm wood with a mustard duvet, and there's a wicker lamp in the corner. There's also a blue art print on the wall.

You can see I designed this room with a yellow, forest green, and deep blue color palette, and that there are little accents of pink throughout. Especially because the wallpaper is busy, having a solid (no pun intended) color palette really makes the room work.

Plants, Plants, Plants!

Houseplants and fresh flowers are a renter’s best friends. They bring (literal) life into your space and also freshen your air. Just remember to water and fertilize them and give them the right amount of light!

Here are some houseplants that you can buy online!

Mirror, Mirror

I’m such a huge believer in mirrors that I even wrote a whole post about why they’re essential in decor. And I’m sticking to my guns here! They make a space feel bigger and lighter, act as a focal point, and they’re a convenient way to make sure we’re walking out the front door looking great. You can find lots of my very favorite mirrors on the market in this post, and also check out this lovely Rattan mirror DIY here!

DIY Rattan Sunburst Mirror

Add Art

Our print shop is chock full of incredible art that would seriously upgrade your home. I know I’ve loved having it in mine! Adding art to your rental friendly interior design plans is so easy, and my main tip is to use command strips. You and your security deposit will thank me later. 😉

Here’s a collection of some floral art prints to bring some everlasting blooms into your home, and you can also read about lots of the artists behind the Lars Print Shop here.

art prints by Julie Marabelle installed in a wallpapered roomAmanda Jane Jones holding up her prints from the Lars Print ShopDaffodil II print by Rachel SmithRental Living

I lived in a rental for years and years before we bought our house, and by the end of our time there we had made some significant upgrades. You can check out everything we did to that apartment here! Not everyone has the opportunity to do as much with a rental as we did, but I hope it inspires you to make your space your own.

I’d love to see what rental friendly interior design tips you have used! Show me your renting secrets at #LarsAtHome!

Tips and Tricks for Painting Chunky Colorful Stripes

With the stairway being a first impression, we had to make sure we were conveying a colorful and fun message to our visitors. One of our greatest sources of inspiration for this project was a candy shop–fun, colorful, and whimsical. I think we checked all 3 with these chunky stripes.  It was a toss up between green and blue, but I think the blue gives a nice fresh welcome and complements the pink floors quite nicely.

How to paint stripes on the walls

If you’ve ever tackled stripes before, you know they are no easy task. Here are some tips to make it easier!

  • Use Scotch® Blue Sharp Lines Painter’s Tape!
  • A laser level.  A laser level projects a temporary line of light on your wall while you mark it off with your tape.  No pencils or chalk needed.  And if you find a suction laser level, then you can easily do the project with just one person!  If not, another helper works just as well;). I did it after the kids went to bed with a podcast (or two ;)and honestly, got so sucked into the project that I kind of wish I had more stripes to paint.
  • Once we had the lines marked off, it was as easy as painting and peeling. A quick tip: peel your painters’ tape off at a 45 degree angle away from the paint. This prevents the tape from tearing.  Once you’ve removed the tape, it’s time to step back and enjoy your work.

How to paint stairs

Because we were also painting over stairs that were once covered in carpet we had a lot of prep before we could actually start painting.

  1. First we had to clean A LOT
  2. Then we had to take out all the staples from the carpet and putty over them
  3. Next we primed
  4. Then we used Scotch® Blue Tape to create clean lines against the ribbon of the staircase.
  5. Then we painted them with a high gloss white (easier for cleaning and we liked the shiny look!). One tip for even more durability is to get a patio paint. They didn’t have it in the color I wanted so I’m risking it with white. 
  6. Then we moved onto the walls

We loved how this project turned out. And even better, we’re not as embarrassed to invite visitors into our studio, ha!

This post is sponsored by Scotch® Painter’s Tape though all opinions are my own.

DIY Epoxy Garage

When we moved into our home, our garage definitely became a dumping ground for all our “I’ll get to it later” things.  Getting it in shape was the last thing on our mind as we prepped for baby and settled in.  I mean, I dreamed of an organized, comfortable garage, but it definitely wasn’t a priority, you know what I mean? We needed a working toilet and a kitchen faucet. However, as luck would have it,  Rust-Oleum reached out and asked if we’d be interested in using their products to create a DIY epoxy garage floor. Oooo, now that’s tempting!

Brittany lies down on the epoxy floor wearing a two-toned pink dress.

DIY Epoxy garage floor

So, we readjusted our “to-do” list and added epoxy garage floor to the top of the list. I’ve seen epoxied garages at friends’ houses, but after finding out the pricing to have professionals come do it, I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to spend my money on. (Well, we ended up doing it to our studio floors in pink here, but that’s a story for another day).  

Turns out, you can DIY it, which is always music to my ears (though I’m sure not to my team’s 😉 and today we’re going to share how it went. 

Here’s everything we used to do it:

 

Step 1: Storage 

First thing was to get all of our stuff out of the garage.  Because it was springtime in Utah, we decided to rent a storage pod to put our stuff in in case it rained. We were charged a fee to deliver it to our house, a fee for a month, and a fee to remove it. I want to say it was like $300 total or something like that, which was worth it for us because we didn’t want to live in our junk for that time. The whole process ended up taking longer than expected for a few reasons, which we’ll mention so I’m so glad we did it. 

Remember, the cost of having it done professionally is exponentially greater. I’m thinking like $3-7k depending on where you live.

Step 2: Clean the floor

Once everything was out, we could really see just how dirty our garage had gotten.  With pressure hoses, leaf blowers, and brooms we were able to get all the debris out.  Another once over with the pressure hose and we were golden.  (We used this one HERE)

Step 3: Degrease

 A broom scrubbing degreasing solution on a cement floor

When you DIY epoxy you need a clean surface, so the next step was to get the degreaser and scrub scrub scrub.  You have to let it sit on wet concrete and keep it wet.  A little bit of misting from the hose worked well.  A deck scrub brush was the best to really get any oil and grease stains out of the concrete.  Once it was all scrubbed, it was time to get the pressure hose out once again.  

 

Step 4: Rinse

After a thorough rinsing to make sure there were no more suds from the degreaser, it was time to let it dry. We used my old landlord’s (you know the one who is basically our dad now) fans (he’s a carpet cleaner) and it dried the garage quickly.  

Step 5: Prime

Grey primed cement floor. There's also a paint roller and tray full of primer.

Then it was time to prime.  The tricky part about the primer and epoxy in the next step is that we had to wait for the temperature to get higher. The product requires a temperature of 60 degrees or higher and it just happened to get cold that week so it delayed the whole process by a few days. Once it got warmer, we painted the stairs and all around the edges where the floor met the wall.  Next we filled it in.  Paint roller extenders will be your best friend for this part.  You can get your whole garage painted in less than an hour with the extenders.  

 

Step 6: Epoxy

Pouring epoxy into a paint tray.

Once we let that dry, it was time to paint the epoxy.  We had the choice between grey and tan and I chose tan, but later found out that everyone else had secretly voted for grey. Ha! When in doubt I’ll always go for the warmer color.

After carefully following the mixing instructions, we also hand painted the stairs and edges again before grabbing the paint rollers.  Once we did, however, we had to work in small squares (roughly 7’x7’).  While the paint was still wet, we sprinkled colored vinyl chips (included with the epoxy) all over before moving onto the next section, which gives it the appearance of terrazzo but honestly, is great for amateurs because it’s hard to get a great clean finish with epoxy.  Once the whole garage was done and dried, time to do the same thing with a top coat.  Edges, middle, dry, check. 

Step 7: Wait!

After 3 days, you’re good to move your car and heavy items back in.  Voila!

Brittany sits on her epoxied garage floor wearing a two-toned pink dress.

What we learned

The DIY epoxy garage floor turned out SO MUCH BETTER than I could have imagined and though I know it’s an unsexy project, it added a level of comfort and dare I say luxury to our space. I feel WAY more comfortable walking on it barefoot to grab a drink in our beverage fridge or taking out the stroller. 

Here’s the thing I will say–the process was LONG! Because of the drying times for water and the primer and epoxy along with the temperature dipping, what we thought would be a week turned into three. We had a pod full of lots of our stuff on our driveway for that time. It wasn’t comfortable, but that’s just how it goes! Do it when the weather is awesome and you’ll have a much better experience.

Brittany lying on the epoxied garage floor wearing a pink dress.

Ok, happy to address any questions you have! This is certainly DOABLE and it totally increased my confidence in tackling more home renovation projects, which, as I’ve mentioned, is not always my forte. I’m much more comfortable with paper flowers. 😉 

Check out our video explaining our process!

Our Office Makeover with Spoonflower

You’ve seen our house slowly coming together, but what about the teams’ office spaces?  Fun Pink floors? Check. But along with those fun pink floors? Boring white walls. We knew we wanted some more pattern and color down here so that’s when we started looking at wallpaper.  (Have you seen our studio mood board yet?)

This is what we were starting from:

Well, first when we moved in, the pink epoxy floors took a week to dry and cure so we had to work from the living room of our house. NOT ideal! Here’s a little glimpse. Poor guys.

Interior shot of a rom with office tables and chairs shoved in. There's clutter around and someone is sitting in a chair.

The foundation: Pink floors

Once the pink floors were in we could start moving everything down. A couple of months later though we added in baseboards and painted all the walls white. It became a nice white canvas.

The team added in some things we already had to make it feel better like the chandelier and floral rug that I got on sale from like 15 years ago. 

Shots of a basement space with pink floors and bare unfinished walls, then shots of the space with a plant, then with a rug, some simple furniture, and a brass light fixture. Some of the team is working in the background of the images.

Inspiration for the new office

This is what we sent over to Spoonflower to give the vibe of what we were going for:

A mood board featuring the floor color, an image of the office, some wallpaper samples, and images of other eclectic, colorful rooms and office spaces.

We ordered a few samples from various artists:

Five wallpaper samples in shades of green, gold, and yellow. There's an overall botanical theme.

From top left

Wallpapers we considered

  1. Holli Zollinger vines in rust. I love this print and wanted it to work but thought it didn’t go great with the pink floors.
  2. I LOVED this floral print of native Australian flowers but it was a bit too romantic for the vibe we were going for. By Das Brooklyn
  3. The lemons by Holli Zollinger were super on brand but it felt a little too contrasty.
  4. Loved the simplicity of the green pattern by Holli Zollinger (big Holly Z fans here!). I love green and pink together! 
  5. Vines in green by Holli Zollinger.
  6. You can see the rest of the patterns we debated over and still might use somewhere in our collection here. 

Once the samples arrived, we added them to the wall (they were peel and stick!) so we could think about them. We had a few factors to consider like the pink floors (everything must go with them!), scale, liveability (we didn’t want something so busy because Jane and Hailey work in there).

Two photos of the wallpaper samples stuck to the white office wall. In one you can see a bit of the doorframe and in the other you can see the top of a broom and some exposed light switches.

Foliage as a neutral

Our biggest limiting factor was, surprise surprise, our bubblegum pink floors. Who knew it would dictate so much of our design going forward, ha! 

We decided on the Green Vines. Anything with green foliage tends to act like a neutral since it’s in nature, yet it was also interesting, modern, and whimsical. A good vibe all around!

A sample image of Holly Zollinger's La Ville Vine Mint, which we used as our wallpaper in the office.

Coordinating trim colors

Next, the tricky part was figuring out what to paint the trims. I knew I wanted a few colors going on but when working with color, you have to be careful not to go overboard. I picked out a palette of a blue, yellow, green, and pink with a dash of tomato red, which you can see in these photos here:

Progress shots from testing out various paint colors. The green vined wallpaper is taped up with paint samples in pink, green, yellow, and blue around it.

I literally tried out dozens and dozens of different colors and got a few samples to try along with them. As you can see, I did it all at night (the bad lighting!) so we evaluated the next day. I decided to keep it to the same pink as the floors so that it would feel simple. 

Hailey got to work putting it up and she did a terrific job!

Hailey stands on a stepstool and installs the green vined wallpaper. She's wearing a striped t shirt and a tan skirt.

Removeable wallpaper

The best part about this wallpaper? It’s removable! And I know we’ve all had bad experiences with removable wallpaper, but this isn’t the case with Spoonflower’s. It’s sturdy enough to not stretch when pulled on and it’s quite simple to apply.

Interior shot of the finished office. The wallpaper is up, the doorframes are painted pink, there's a blue art print with colorful flowers on the wall, and yellow chairs are in the desks. It's vibrant, light-filled, and fun.

Interior shot of the finished office. You can see the wallpaper, the blue art print with colorful flowers, and the desk with an orange paper house and yellow chair, and you can also see a shelf installed in the closet that's filled with a rainbow of books.

Some of our application tips are shown below:

  1. line up 2 feet of the right edge first before working your way down. This prevents the piece from accidentally getting crooked. 
  2. 2 is better than 1! Grab a partner!
  3. Always measure, then cut a couple inches extra before putting on the wall. When you’ve got it all lined up, use an Xacto knife to cut off the excess.
  4. Don’t pull off the entire backing or you are sure to get into a sticky sticky situation. Unroll it as you go.

If you’re looking for more help installing your peel and stick wallpaper, this video that Spoonflower made goes through all the details. Check it out!

And there you have it! Some instant art and color in our offices, and we didn’t even need to call our wallpaper guy in!

Interior shot of the finished office. The wallpaper features prominently, as does the bookshelf with a rainbow of books and a poster from Craft the Rainbow.Shot of the finished office. On the left is the wallpaper and a corner of a desk with an orange paper house. Then theres a pink painted door frame, then a bookshelf full of rainbow books and objects.

Interior shot of the finished office. The wallpaper is prominent, and you also see the edge of a rainbow-filled bookshelf. Theres a desk with some office supplies and a yellow chair, and a poster from Craft the Rainbow. Interior shot of the finished office, featuring the wallpaper, a desk with a yellow chair, a laptop, and an orange paper house, a paper plant, and a blue poster featuring modern colorful flowers.

A brightly colored office. There's green floral wallpaper, a pink floor, a yellow chair, a white table, pink-painted doorframes, an orange paper house, a blue poster with colorful abstract flowers, and office supplies.A brightly colored office. There's green floral wallpaper, a pink floor, a yellow chair, a white table, an orange paper house, a blue poster with colorful abstract flowers, and office supplies.

As relieved as I am to finally get another room in my house done, it doesn’t compare to my team’s relief of not having to work in a white walled office anymore, phew! 

Thanks to our sponsor Spoonflower, for making this room happen! All opinions are my own.

Interior Design Trend: Favorite Spoonflower Artists

Wallpaper is one of my favorite interior design trends–though can we really call it a trend if it’s been around for so long? Either way, wallpaper is in and here to stay and I’m so glad because–COLOR and PATTERN! It opens up so many possibilities in a space, and it’s doable as a DIY.

You’ve probably seen me use Spoonflower wallpapers (and fabrics!) before, like in my old master bedroom makeover, this summery tablescape, a fabric-covered lampshade, and most recently this DIY duffel bag picnic blanket tote. And while I can’t say more now, keep your eyes peeled for some more Spoonflower fun coming up soon. 😉

Lamp customized with spoonflower fabric from Holli Zollinger against a wildflower covered wall.

Favorite Spoonflower Artists

I’ve made it super easy for you to get to these artists’ work–just click on their name or their artworks to be instantly transported to their shops!

Holli ZollingerHolli Zollinger fabrics on Spoonflower

I haven’t done the math but I’m thinking Holli might be the most prolific artist on Spoonflower. She has over 3700 designs and they’re all good! She has more of a boho flair intermixed with some more French-inspired styles. I think she’s open to customizing them too if you ever need it! I’ve used a number of her patterns like on this lamp. And stay tuned for our upcoming office makeover! You can see some of my favorite Holli designs in our collection here.

Helen P Designs

favorite spoonflower designers

I picked out a few Helen P Designs for our office makeover like this oranges above. I think it would also make a great dress!

Design by MLagsfavorite designers on Spoonflower

I’m in LOVE with these gorgeous moody florals from MLags!

Modern Colorist

If some of these look familiar from our DIY duffle bag picnic blanket tote, that’s because these are my sister’s designs!

My sister has done freelance pattern work and in-house pattern work for a number of companies and she’s so good. She’s put past patterns into her Spoonflower shop.

Mandy England

I thought this floral would be fun for a girl’s room or something!

Willow Lane Designs


Designs by Kelly Attenborough


Designs by Muhlenkott


Peacoquette

If you’re a big fan of William Morris, Peacoquette’s Spoonflower shop is the place to find William Morris-inspired wallpaper designs (and more). Also, I just noticed that she has over 4500 designs! She wins the contest!  William Morris inspired designs.
Das Brooklyn

 

Crumpets and Crabsticks

Designs by Kate Rhees


Ramarama


Melissa Hyatt Fabrics
Fern Leslie Studio


Forest and SeaAugust Croft


DomesticateDanika Herrick

We used Danika’s Citrus Grove Toile for our Mother’s Day tablescape last year so it’s a personal favorite. 

Lana Red Studio

Lana Red’s designs are geared toward fabric and home decor over wallpaper, but I couldn’t resist showing you her work anyway.

Katie Kortman

Katie is a friend of Lars. She even was a featured artist in Picture Hope Coloring Book. She makes the coolest clothes with her self-designed fabrics. You can take a look at them here on her Instagram.

Mia Maria

Mia has some awesome stripes and plaids that would be so fun for clothing and upholstery projects. They’ve got my mind racing!

Julia Schumacher

I LOVE her blues!

Lily Oake

Really dainty and feminine florals and perfect accent ginghams and stripes.

Atelier Dorina

Spoonflower collections

One of my favorite things to do with Spoonflower is to add all my favorite designs to my “favorites” folder. And then if I’m working on a specific project, I like to make a folder and all the patterns I’m considering for it in there. You can see some of my collections here:

Your Favorite Interior Design Trends

Are you a fellow pattern lover? Do you have a favorite interior design trend? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share your interior design photos with me on Instagram with #LarsAtHome.

Everything we’ve done to our house in one year

To remind you, we started out with a gutted house. Here’s how it looked when we closed on it:

Well, this is how the bathroom looked when we first looked at the house:

But because it took a week to put down our offer they had proceeded with gutting it and took out all the bathrooms:

Which cost us SO much money! We decided to put a basic bathroom in place to start so that we can take our time on a go forward basis.

First step: Flooring

The first thing we did when we moved in was put in flooring. Our friends at Stuga provided all the beautiful wood floors. We went with the warm Tivoli and I’m in love with it. I’ve received so many comments on it from neighbors dropping their heads in (ha! COVID!) You can read more about the process here. It’s easy to clean and looks so so good. beautiful wood floors from Stuga

The flooring brought an immediate warmth to the space acting as a great foundation to the vibe we are going for.

Second step: Bathrooms

Once the floors were in place we needed to get some bathrooms in ASAP. Once again, we wanted to get something basic in before committing to anything long term because I couldn’t fathom designing everything so quickly. I was pregnant at the time and time was lacking!

So we put in some white tile, some in a herringbone style and a classic basketweave in another. They look great and work well! You can read about the process here.

Main bathroom

We worked with a bathroom furniture company on a whole suite of items for the main bathroom so this is the first room that will actually be complete SOON (anytime now!) with the permanent design. I worked with my friend Meta Coleman on it and it’s looking SO GOOD. You can read more about the mood board and concepts here. It’s so hard to get contractors to work on small projects so it’s going as slow as molasses. I thought we’d be done before the baby was born…At this point now we have up wallpaper and are just awaiting a piece of art for the walls and mirrors up. It’s functional and beautiful. Here are some sneak peeks:

Step 3: Kitchen

Ok, the kitchen was challenging as you might guess. The idea was to think of something totally affordable that wasn’t Ikea since Ikea during COVID was SO backed up. Like months backed up. So, we got some of those unfinished cabinets from Home Depot with the intent to get something in fast so we could move in and then spend time on it later. At this point I couldn’t even get anyone to come help us put the cabinets in and counter so my brother in law graciously offered to do it for us. He can pretty much do anything! 

Thankfully, the house came with the dishwasher, oven, and fridge so we had something to start with.

Though it’s VERY basic, it works for now–I literally just left it unfinished! And we’re working on a more permanent design at the moment.

You can read more about the kitchen here.

Because it started to look like we were going to have our “temporary” kitchen longer than I anticipated, I decided to add a bit more to it. 

We painted the cabinets yellow. And I think I’m going to even add a bit more to it. Maybe some floating shelves above too. Just depends on how antsy I get!

My Office

My office is the first room to be “complete” in its phase 1 step. I have long term permanent plans for it, but this one feels the most exciting because it didn’t require much and looks good as is. I used items I already had and we had a sponsor we worked with on a couple of furniture pieces.rainbow calendar home officerainbow calendar blue futon

You can see the office post here. 

Felix’s Phase One Room

We worked with a kid’s furniture company on some amazing furniture for Felix so we hurried to dress up a room to show it off better. Though I love it as is, we are working on a more permanent design for it right now. You can read more about it here.

Interior shot of a green nursery. In the foreground is a white rocking chair with a few toys on it. In the background is a wooden dresser.on it and in the background is a wooden dresser.

Office Basement

Down in the basement, where we have put Lars, we put in a pink epoxy floor and it immediately set a fun and playful mood.

You can read more about it here. 

Here’s a recap of all the things we’ve worked on or are working on:

Read about our flooring here
Read about our kitchen here
Main Bathroom concept
Current Bathrooms
My office here
Garden mood boards here
Studio mood boards here
House announcement and before photos here
Exterior Inspiration here
Felix’s nursery
Pink epoxy floor in office basement

Ok, put it this way and I actually feel much better about things. This is A LOT especially with everything else going on. Calm down, Brittany!

Rooms we are actively working on and can you show you soon!

  • We’ve been doing a lot to our studio, which we moved down into the basement in November. We have one room that’s quite exciting and we’ll be sharing that in the next couple of weeks.
  • Sounds boring, but we’ve done something with the garage, which is also probably more exciting to me that it will be to you. Ha!
  • The main bathroom should be done any day as well as the closet. If anyone who knows how to install closets wants to come help that would be awesome 😉 our guy hurt his shoulder and is out.
  • We are actively working on a kitchen remodel.
  • Felix’s room has a plan that we just need to implement.

OK! I think that’s it for now. Would love to hear any questions you have!

This post is sponsored by Stuga. All opinions are my own!

Meet Brittany’s new rainbow office

The Before Photos

As you recall, we moved into our new home in September. The house had no floors, bathrooms, showers, etc. There’s a general lack of storage and design features so one by one we’ll be turning each room into a work of art. While I take my time contemplating how I want to design each room along with the custom built features I have in mind, I couldn’t wait to get my office “done” for now and it feels SO good.

Here are the before photos:

Pretty sad, right?!

  1. It starts with a plain white room.
  2. Started adding on the calendars
  3. added in the new Mr. Kate sofa and chair and replaced lighting fixture

rainbow calendar

My new rainbow office

It all started with this rainbow calendar. I bought it ages ago and intended to put it in my office in the old studio. I never got around to designing the space and there it sat in its box. FINALLY, I took it out a few weeks ago and thought it would look perfect along the wall and I was right. It was meant to be.rainbow calendar home office

The requirements

Now, the thing about my office is that it sits right next to the front door so I knew it would act like a reception area–a welcome space to the house, but also welcome to my company. As I’ve mentioned, in November we moved The House That Lars Built into the basement of our house. While it might seem like a downgrade (I’ve seen some of your comments 😉 it’s been the plan for a long time–it just took awhile to get to the point where we could do it because 1) we needed to buy a house and 2) we needed a house that was large enough to do it.books arranged by color

What I envisioned

I’ve loved having an outside office to go to–I get a lot down and I’m able to focus more. However, with COVID and a new baby, we wanted to keep things more insular. My company is an extension of my life, for better or for worse, and having something that I could invest time and money into and show how our projects fit into my lifestyle was something that felt more natural and authentic, rather than something that fit into a blank work space. Plus, putting money into fixing up our studio space turned into something I started to resent as it was something that was getting more love than my actual house. rainbow calendar blue futonblue tufted sofa

The Furniture

My office is also intended to act as a guest room so when DHP reached out with their new Mr. Kate collection I knew just what to do. If you recall, DHP has a lot of great clever futon selections. I say clever, because they’ve nailed the art of conserving space in their furniture. I selected the Mr. Kate teal Stella (it’s more of a beautiful robin’s egg blue!) velvet futon. The side arms pack up snuggly into the bottom of the futon (so snuggly that I had to write in to complain that they didn’t send me the arms! Nope, they were in there the whole time!). And when you extend the back down, the legs for the futon zip out of the back. So clever. It makes it easy to turn it into a bed and then back into the sofa.

I then selected the black and white Mr. Kate Effie accent chair because the room needed something to weigh it down a bit more than all the rainbow colors going on. I love it! The legs are also upholstered, which is a nice feature. The chair is great for both meetings AND nursing, because you bet I’m very much doing both. It comes in a mustard color too, which also would have been super pretty.blue velvet futon sofa

The quirks

While the studio is downstairs my office is on the main floor and we do a lot of shooting on the main floor so the office also serves as a photography space. I keep a lot of our backgrounds in here so we don’t have to lug them up and down the stairs all the time. Some of them are super heavy. It’s north facing so the lighting is super even and great for our videos, which we have been loving. home office renovation

Having a place to work that’s in order has already been so uplifting for my soul. It’s only been a few days so far, but we’ve been spending so much more time in here already because it feels so good! Jasper and I have been reading books on the sofa as well as playing on his own. I’ve been nursing Felix there too. I’ve never had such a functional, yet uplifting room and I’m reveling in it!

Mr. Kate Furniture Collection

Effie black and white upholstered accent chair
Stella Convertible Sofa

Other items in the office:

Ombre Rug, Chandelier, Rainbow calendar, hand desk lamp, purple and white pitcher from Pomelo, cardboard house boxes, 

This post was sponsored by DHP’s Mr. Kate. Thanks to our great partners who allow us to create beautiful content for you! 

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Mary’s new leather sofa
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We’re moving!

We’re 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 in 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 an incredible blend of playful, patterns, vintage, and color. 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 the 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!

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She Shed Craft Retreat
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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

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Introducing…the interior designer for our new house!

Finding our dream designer

It’s rare that your friend is ALSO your dream designer–it’s a serious dream come true. And Meta has always been on board to do it, even when we discussed my theoretical house one day years ago while we were living in a basement apartment. Knowing that she was just as excited about our new house as I was, was such a relief. Meta lives and breaths interior design. It’s truly her passion and calling.

Meta has been designing the home of Hannah Carpenter and I’m all about it! See more here. Photo by Hannah Carpenter.

FAQ

You may be asking WHY I’m working with another interior designer when I studied and practiced it. Simple! And other designers might be able to speak to this too–when you do something for yourself, it TAKES AGES. It’s so hard to design for yourself because I definitely suffer from decision fatigue. PLUS, I haven’t truly practiced it in many many years. I know what I like, but here’s the thing: Meta knows how to push you into new territory and she’s not afraid of risks. I’m not either, so I cannot wait for this ride!

Meta’s philosophy

And here’s the thing–I’m not talking just coping a picture you see on Pinterest and putting it into your house. That’s easy. The magic of Meta is that she takes you and whoever else lives in the house, and uses some sort of design alchemy to produce something new. It all of a sudden becomes an art. She has a number of projects that she’s working on behind the scenes and it’s been so interesting to see her process and her drive to do something new and refreshing. I couldn’t imagine doing this without her.

This is Meta’s beautiful home, which is a beautiful refuge for her and her family. Photo by Meta Coleman.

We haven’t begun the process yet. In fact, she has a thorough questionnaire that she’s having us fill out, and I think we’re going to turn it into a video, so stay tuned! So, we are truly in the beginning stages, but I have a few things in mind already and I know she does too so we’ll see how they align.

Progess of our house

Admittedly, we moved into our house prematurely, but we thought we’d get in with the basics and then move on up from there. So, as soon as the faucet and bathrooms were in, we were too! And now it’s little things like doors…door knobs…things that you don’t realize make a difference but truly do. We’re still a ways away from comfort levels, but all in good time I suppose.

I love this sweet bathroom she designed. Photo by Meta Coleman.

Finally designing the house!

As we continue to wait upon the small things, I’ve found myself sneaking in some “dream” moments, aka moments that get my excited for the next stage because heavens knows I haven’t entered back into that head space since the moment I laid eyes on this house years ago. We got a vanity for our main bedroom that I’m VERY excited about. It’s even better in person (and the quality is superb!) but I’ll be talking more about that later and with such a statement piece as that, it’s lead me down the rabbit hole of…you guessed it, WALLPAPERS! So, yes, you’ll be seeing a lot more soon.

I’ve spent much time in her home office here. Photo by Meta Coleman.

Another thing to note is that her style of designing a home is one that is more organic where we can find out how we live in the space and then enhance its use and function all combined with aesthetics. It’s not FAST fashion, errr: design, but a style that is intentional and thoughtful, which aligns perfectly with my beliefs too.

She worked on the home of our other dear friend, Eva Jorgensen and her husband Kirk. I LOVE this moody room! 

I can’t wait to share the full process with you. Like I mentioned, I don’t promise speed, but I don’t promise beautiful results and I know that will be the case because I have Meta on board. Stay tuned for more! And let me know if you have any questions along the way!

You can find Meta here:

Meta Coleman Portfolio
Meta Coleman Instagram
You can read more about Meta Coleman here in this interview

The House That Lars Bought: Our Kitchen Remodel Update!

(Yes, I’ve watched this over 100 times by now).

Come on! 

I do not exaggerate, this faucet has been a symbol of hope for me during these lock down months. Originally, we were going to install this faucet and Glass Rinser in the studio, but we put a lot of projects on hold.  When we bought the house in June I thought, “no big deal, we’ll put it in the new house”. I thought that would take 3 weeks. After delays of this and that, I continued dreaming of the new faucet. It became my literal golden beacon that was always just a bit out of reach. Well, three months later and it’s in! We literally just got it installed on Thursday just in time to move in!

We planned the kitchen to be a phase 1 renovation: installing inexpensive unfinished cabinets without the wall cabinets to make room for open shelving in the coming weeks. Add to that a butcher block countertop that is always in stock at the home improvement store–quick and easy. Lastly, we put two islands together from Ikea to provide a lot of countertop space and fill the elongated room well. The idea was to go for speed and economy so we could move in as quickly as possible.

However, something I don’t mess with is the jewelry of the kitchen, aka the faucet and sink. You don’t want to skimp on these items especially since they can be taken with you with each renovation. I had selected the Broderick™ Pull Down Kitchen Faucet with Touch2O® Technology in Champagne Bronze. I chose it because it feels a bit fancy but still with a touch of industrial so you get the sophistication without the fussiness.

I hadn’t anticipated how much I’d love the touch on touch off feature, which allows you to touch the spout or handle anywhere with just one tap, which is great for messy hands. Or great for say, someone like my two-year-old who he finds great entertainment in just touching it on and off and on and off on repeat (see video!)

Click here to watch!

Another bonus feature is the TempSense™ LED light changes color to alert you to the water’s temperature so, once again, if you’re washing your little one’s hands, you can know when it’s hot, cold, or juuuuust right. I mean, it’s only been 5 days, but I’m already seeing the perks.

We had picked out a gold sink to go with the faucet and I was hoping and praying that the two gold finishes would work and dum, du du dum….success! A gold stainless steel sink AND a faucet? I’m feeling all shades of Midas. But the real fancy moment comes to us in the shape of a glass rinser. What’s a glass rinser you ask? You know when you try and clean your water bottle and you just soak it for days? (anyone else or just me?) Well, a glass rinser shoots water up to give it a nice scrubbing. It’s dreamy. Plus this cover keeps it clean and sleek! And I can’t believe I have one. I’ve been finding it useful for Jasper’s bottles and jars where who knows what got into it.

Watch here!

Now, I haven’t made too many other decisions in the kitchen and I’d love your feedback on what to do. 

But first! I want to show you the process of how we got here, even though I’m completely aware that it’s not quite finished.

  1. This is the first day that we walked through the house. This is how we bought it! 
  2. As the previous owners were finishing up and getting out.
  3. Getting our flooring in (you can read about it here)
  4. The flooring is in! 
  5. Getting the cabinets in
  6. Then the sink
  7. And this is the stage we were at before the crowning jewel

Now, onto what we need to do. First, the unfinished cabinets. There are currently an endless amount of wood finishes going on and it’s rather distracting. I definitely want to paint the cabinets a color…but which one?

And I wasn’t going to do a back splash for now until we really figure out what permanent cabinets to put in, but I think I might feel a tad more calm if I feel like there’s some sort of water coverage going on on the walls. I’ve been talking to my friend, Meta, who is an amazing interior designer, and she’s really getting me into the idea of doing a cheap tile for now but maybe trying out something with a fun colored grout. I don’t know…could be fun!

As for upper shelving. Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of open shelving. To me it seems like a great option for people who love to spend a lot of time cleaning. And that is just not me at all. And then you have to worry about everything matching all the time. Feeling the need to be all Pinterest-worthy all the time, even for this blogger, is too much pressure! I need to be able to hide stuff you know?!

That leads me to the range. The previous owners had bought a 4’ range and fridge that they had never installed (they almost didn’t let us keep them, but I think they realized how difficult they are to move so they decided to let them go after all). And yes, they were a pain in the bum to install, but that’s a story for another time that involves Paul moving the 550 pound range on his own at midnight last week. Anywhoo, do we put up a vent or do we get something new and less commercial looking? So many questions that I’d love your feedback on.

I have to say, the one thing I’m super stoked about is the island made from two Ikea islands. I’m already LOVING the amount of space it provides as you can tell from the video with my adorable son 😉 

Lastly, I love the idea of not keeping the kitchen white, but what do we do instead? I know it needs to work with the color of the cabinets and tile, but I just don’t know what to do yet, and I haven’t given myself the time to do so yet because I was going insane just trying to get the scheduling under control let alone the aesthetics.

OK! I think that’s it for now, I’d LOVE your feedback! Let me know what you think about 1) the kitchen choices so far 2) what you would do next to finish it up. I’m all ears!!!

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