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!

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

Brittany’s Guest Room Renovation with Crate and Barrel

Wait…a room inspired by bath towels?

Oh, here they are. Look how happy I am because of them.

Exactly. That’s where this story begins. But to understand the story of our newly redone guest room, we first need to take a look at where the room started. As I’ve mentioned in the past, we live in a walk out apartment. At the time we first moved in we thought it had just two rooms. After a couple of years we discovered there was another bedroom and it was the best room in the whole place! It had served as our landlord’s storage room, but we soon found out that it was the biggest room that also received the most light. Not only that, but it had a bathroom with a bathtub, which is my favorite word in the winter time (I also consider bath tubs God’s gift to birthing mothers, but that’s a story for another day).

At the time I was working from home and after our discovery, our landlords generously offered it to us. I worked out of this room for a couple of years before moving into our Springville studio. The following year my brother moved in and lived with us for about a year and a half, and then Jasper was born and it kind of became this storage/guest room dumping ground. You know the kind of room I’m talking about, right? You’re horrified to actually let guests sleep there but you don’t really have any other choice? 

Yeah, that’s the one. SO, yes, back to the transformation….Crate and Barrel gave me the charge to redo our guest bedroom and I have a feeling they didn’t know what they were in for.  

Look at these before photos: 

I mean, it’s pretty standard rental: beige carpet, walls, outdated lighting. The three storage shelving units are our landlord’s and we’ve kept it for storage. It’s pretty handy, actually!

I’ve long admired Crate and Barrel’s company and how they originally started as admirers and importers of Scandinavian design (have you listened to the founder’s episode on How I Built This? It’s so good!) and how they basically transformed the home furnishings industry. I can get behind that. And they’ve remained true to their vision by providing well made, thoughtful design. 

We get enough guests that I know how I want them to feel, but I’ve never been able to provide that feeling until now. Ultimately, and even though we are in a basement apartment, I want them to feel welcome, cozy, and taken care of. Most of our guests come in from out of state and the country, thus, I want them to feel like they are getting a taste for Utah and all it has to offer. When I found this Pine wallpaper from Sandberg Wallpapers, I thought it was the perfect way to establish the alpine identity. It felt like an escape into somewhere majestic and cozy at the same time. Plus, it was one of the few that Paul and I could agree on 😉 

Bedroom furniture and linens

With the Pine wallpaper setting the mood for the room, I knew I wanted to complement it with warm wooden furniture. I chose the Linea II Natural Bed frame. It has clean lines and works perfectly with the wallpaper. Cabin fever, catch it! 

I paired it with the Dawson side table. I’ve never had a legit side table with a drawer in my bedroom before so I feel like this is a luxury.

To return to the beginning of our story, I knew I’d love something that would tie in the yellow of the striped towels and when I spotted the mustard yellow comforter, I knew that was it.  (This comforter now comes in three new colors for Spring!) It’s a beautiful contrast to the green of the wallpaper. I LOVED the look of the Lior sheet set. I’ve always loved hotel linens and this creates the same look but with a touch more decoration.

Bench

I loved the idea of having a place to set luggage and such, so the Tate King bench in Walnut was the answer!  

Rug

I wanted a rug to cover up the beige carpet because it bums me out, but I knew because of the wallpaper I couldn’t do something too intense. I went with the Azulejo neutral rug that has the perfect amount of pattern for this pattern-on-pattern lover, but is neutral enough not to collide with the wallpaper. And it’s a cut and loop pile so it works just great on carpet, which was one of my concerns. 

Dresser

A high priority for the room was a dresser. There are two small closets in the room, which we have to use because we don’t have enough closet space in the rest of the rooms, so we needed additional storage. I chose to go light with the dresser so that the room wouldn’t be too dark, so I chose the Gia Ash-7 drawer dresser, which fit perfectly under the window.

Desk

The same goes for the desk, which sits against the opposing wall. Paul will also be using the space as his office so he needed a work space that could contain all his equipment. I went with the Kendall Desk in cream and paired it with the gorgeous leather Lincoln Round office chair.

Lighting

I also was tickled to find a gorgeous table lamp, the Arenson, in a similar color way as the bedding. It’s uneven finish makes it feel so rich. Plus, it’s super sturdy and feels luxurious.

Artwork

Though I tried so hard to keep with the natural, woodsy vibe of the Pine wallpaper and accompanying wooden furniture, I couldn’t help but throw in some color. I just had to! I collected quite a few prints from our trip to Denmark last year to visit Paul’s family and the room was begging for it! The exhibition poster by Walton Ford added the much needed dose of unexpected whimsy I was going for in bright pinks and kingfishers, Paul’s favorite.

I needed to balance out the bold colors with another bold color, so I added in a print from my friend, Lisa Grue, a Danish illustrator, whose 20 Birds in a Tree print was perfect. It’s colorful touches like these that make me feel more at home. 

Other items of note: 

Crate and Barrel Guest room selections: 

Bed  | Bench  | Yellow comforterBed Linens | Yellow table lamp  | Side table | Dresser | Desk  | Office Chair | Rug 

The day we finished installing the room, Paul and I immediately decided that we couldn’t keep this to our guest room and we moved into the room that night. Ha! It’s larger than our real master bedroom and now, so much more comfortable. It feels like that hotel experience that I long for–you know…sturdy, clean and well-built. But don’t worry! When guests come, they will still be staying here and we’ll just trade rooms lucky ducks!).

Thank you to our brand sponsor, Crate and Barrel for working with us on this transformation. I’m a C&B lover for life! 

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!

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.

All the renovations we did to our rental

All the changes we’ve made to our rental

Admittedly, it’s not the tiniest of apartments. In fact, when we first moved in we thought it was ginormous, by Denmark standards. We moved here from Copenhagen 7 years ago and did leaps around with “all the space” we had. We started out renting 2 bedrooms and they had another bedroom in the basement, which they rented out to me after about a year for my home studio. It was the biggest room in the house so it was such a step up for me and Lars at the time.

In 2015 I got a studio space in the neighboring town (I should show you all the changes we did to that space, because that’s also a good one!) and then we had a baby in 2018 and things have become CRAMPED! And since COVID we’ve REALLY been feeling cramped in. It’s probably what motivated us to start looking in the first place. Anyone else experience this?

WHY change your rental?

A lot of people have asked us why we’ve done so much to our rental and sometimes I’ve wondered the same thing, but ultimately, it comes down to this: your environment affects your well-being and I was feeling the need to catch up our space to how I wanted to feel. We knew we wouldn’t move until we bought a house so we wanted to make it a home in the mean time. PLUS, our landlords, who own the house and live upstairs, have become our second parents so we haven’t considered anything a loss. We love the idea that we can improve the space for them.

Kitchen

  1. Here’s the timeline of the kitchen. We started out with the top left photo: oak cabinets, laminate flooring, laminate counters, stainless steel sink and faucet, fluorescent lighting. Everything was functional and nice but not our vibe.
  2. Next, our landlords surprised us by painting our cabinets white. Score!
  3. Then, we did a partnership with Pergo flooring and they replaced all of our flooring, besides the bedrooms, with their wood laminate flooring. We’ve loved them! It really improved the space.
  4. Next, we did a partnership with BEHR paint and we did the two toned painted cabinet trend–white on top and blue on bottom. We also changed out the hardware and our landlords replaced the appliances.

Details of my New Kitchen

Finally, we worked with Caesarstone to replace the laminate countertops with the quartz and we LOVE it so much!

Blinds.com

Living room

Our living room is basically our living and family room combined. It’s definitely where we spend the most time and it’s gone through a transformation for sure!

  1. Once again, we started with beige carpet.We initially replaced the lighting fixture with this gold one from Schoolhouse and that made an impact. We also replaced the vertical blinds with curtains.
  2. Next, we got a new green sofa and that changed the whole tone of the room. You can also see when we switched to the laminate flooring.
    Living Room Reveal
  3. Two years ago we updated the living room with this wildflower wallpaper and got a new sofa to go with it. This is the state we’re currently in
  4. You can see the furniture combos I was looking at for the living room here.
  5. Here’s our first iteration of the gallery to showcase our Frame TV, which we LOVE!!!!My new TV looks just like a painting!

Jasper’s bedroom

We used Jasper’s room as our office before he was born and didn’t touch it, clearly! So, we had a bit of work to do.

Baby boy nursery mural

You can see the transformation of his mural in this post when we worked with Behr paint.

And then the full nursery reveal here. We changed out the blinds (worked with Blinds.com), added furniture (care of Crate and Kids).

The only changes that have come to his nursery is the AMOUNT OF STUFF that we’ve somehow accumulated. We are bursting at the scenes here.

Master bedroom

The master bedroom was PITIFUL. I’m so sad looking at it.

And I’m still in love with the results. We did our partnership with Spoonflower and I used them from head to toe, well, from the wallpapers to the bedding to the matching curtains. I love this room! I think this is the one I’m most sad about leaving. I just love the vibe. You can see the full transformation here.

Guest bedroom

The last room that we did before we bought our house is our guest room with Crate and Barrel earlier this year before COVID.

The guest bedroom we added in an alpiney feeling and lots of accents of color and art. You can read about it here.

Ok, that’s it! Looking back, that’s 5 rooms we switched up, some larger than others. Some were just decorative like wallpaper and curtains, while others, like the kitchen, were more involved and more expensive like switching out appliances, countertops, sinks, etc. Would I do it again? For sure! Yes, they were mostly all for sponsorships so they were considered work and we were paid to do them, but even then, I definitely would suggest customizing your space in some way or manner even if you don’t plan on being there for very long. A happy space creates a happy space in your mind too and that’s soooo important!

I’d love to hear if you’ve done changes to your rental and what they are! Tell me more!

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 hardwood 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 hardwood 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 hardwood 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.

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!

The House That Lars Bought: Exterior inspiration

Colonial House Inspiration

Our house was built in 1991 or 1992 (all the records are different!) so clearly not a true Colonial (1700s-1800s). Plus, we’re in Utah so the colonial style is very much only inspiration. The House was designed very simply without too much adornment so there are a lot of directions it could go, but we plan on keeping it true to the style, but maybe just a bit more dressed up.

The first question is, where do we take it?

Here’s a reminder of what it looks like from a different angle. This was before we closed.

Inspiration #1

Because the shape is boxy and flat, a bit boring if you will, my first thought is to go all out à la Inspiration #1. We would do that by doing the following:

  • Add in dormer windows up top
  • Add some depth to the facade by adding in a portico and extending out the front door, rather than invert it
  • Widen the top middle window perhaps
  • Either paint the facade or lime wash it.
  • And, of course, LANDSCAPING, which gives me a goosebumps just thinking about it. But that’s a post for another day!
  • Adding in beautiful paned windows (ours need some help!)

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! 

If you liked this post you might also like
Mary’s new leather sofa
Designing a soulful kitchen with Eva Jorgensen
#WFH How to Design Your Perfect Home Office

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

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.

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!