Becoming: Lynne Millar from the Lars Print Shop

Our Interview with Lynne Millar

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger versus what you do now?

When I was little I wanted to be a CIA agent. I really liked the idea of wearing sunglasses all the time and taking on different names. (The one I really hoped I’d get assigned was “Samantha”) Now that I’ve watched several seasons of Homeland I’m realizing that career would have been a terrible fit for me.

What sparked your interest in painting? How and when did you decide that you wanted to become a painter?

When I wasn’t forcing my little sisters to call me Samantha, I spent a lot of time drawing, painting and writing stories. My family lived right outside of Washington DC and my parents were so great about taking us to museums all the time, so art has always felt like an important part of the world to me. In college I was intimidated by the idea of being graded on my art – it felt too personal and scary to me – so I majored in Art History instead. It was a great choice. I loved every one of my classes, and having those years to marinate the stories of artists has given me so much to draw from and mainly, aspire to.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path? Did you ever feel pressured to pursue a certain profession?

When I graduated from college I really thought I was going to pursue a graduate degree in Art History and hoped to eventually work in a museum. I ended up getting married and while my husband was in medical school I had a variety of random jobs – I worked at the medical school in a couple of different labs, I worked as a Montessori preschool teacher, and I took a lot of night classes at San Francisco’s Academy of Art.

I wanted to paint, more than anything, but lacked the confidence to take my dreams seriously, and also lacked an understanding of how I could build a sustainable career in art. When my husband started his residency we started our family, which kept me very busy. Years later, our youngest started preschool and I finally had reliable blocks of uninterrupted time that I committed to spend painting. I studied and practiced and threw myself into whatever classes I could take, and through instagram I met and became close with a group of artists who are a constant source of inspiration and mentorship.

Social media has really made it an option to be an artist on one’s own terms – you can define if you want to sell directly over instagram, work with print shops, develop gallery relationships, focus on shows… there is so much blessed flexibility in how you can shape and focus a painting career. And it’s been so invaluable to have good friends who are doing all of those things in different ways.

Now that you live in Central California, does its lifestyle and culture influence your work?

Having grown up on the east coast, settling in the Central Valley of California was a big aesthetic change for me. It took me some time to open my eyes to the beauty in the flatter, arid landscape. But now I’m happy to report that I love the big skies, the clusters of trees, and the beautiful gentle roll of the golden hills. Our town happens to have lots of fields where ranchers graze their sheep and cows, which I love seeing as we drive around doing our errands.

What is your favorite part of painting (i.e. conceptualizing, actually putting the brush to canvas, finalizing, etc.)?

Did you ever read Emily of New Moon, by LM Montgomery? The heroine Emily is a writer and when she’s hit by inspiration, she experiences something she calls “the flash,” where she is overcome by a wild desire to capture the essence of whatever powerful thing she’s just experienced. I think this is my favorite part of painting and I’ve learned that it’s something that you can cultivate in yourself: developing a sensitivity to the things in the world that you want to consume and express – or even just notice. My “flash” moments are never as dramatic as Emily’s but they make my life richer and happier, and it’s something that I’m actively working on all the time – cultivating a keen sense of notice and delight. This is the first and favorite part of being an artist for me.

What is a typical day like for you?

Since March, like many of you, 3 of my 4 kids have been home with me every day. Every Single Day. ALL THE TIME. I feel really lucky that they are a bit older (10, 13, 17 – my oldest is 19 and he’s flown the coop) so they have been able to be fairly independent in managing their distance learning and I’m theoretically able to work in my studio. (Bless you who are doing distance learning with younger kids!!) That being said, it’s a challenge to get into creative flow with the stopping and starting that’s part of living in a pandemic household – I find that I need to do many a surprise-check on my 10 year old to make sure she’s doing her school and not just playing minecraft. Before the pandemic, I had a pretty consistent routine of sending the kids off to school in the morning then painting from at least 10-2, but now it’s definitely a lot more loosey-goosey. I feel that I should be honest and acknowledge that some days, my studio has been a bit of a refuge. I’m so grateful that I have a space where I can go hide!

What is your workspace like? Has it changed since the pandemic?

We have a loft upstairs that I use for my studio. It has good light and room for me to store my unwieldy collection of art supplies and books and my easels and still life set-ups but to my point in the previous question, there is also a half-wall that divides the studio from the rest of the upstairs hallway. On the other side of the wall (the one inside my studio), we have tucked a sofa and I’ve discovered that if I lie down completely flat on the sofa, NO ONE CAN SEE ME!

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you?

I think the best art advice I’ve ever gotten was from my friend Vince: he’s a lot older than me and when I first started painting seriously, he told me that you learn way more from your crappy paintings than from the ones that work out. That’s been a lodestone for me for sure, because I make a lot of crappy paintings! And I think the advice has broader application as well – recognizing and fixing mistakes of all kinds is the work of a life.

What advice would you give to someone who dreams of pursuing a career in a creative field?

My advice is to be flexible and proactive. And to not be shy about reaching out to other creatives to ask questions and create networks. Also, be prepared to work really really hard! When you are your own boss, nothing happens unless you just put your head down and do it/figure it out. Think of setbacks as opportunities to learn new skills and evaluate what skill you might need to learn to avoid that same setback in the future.

I have found that having a career in a creative field requires a very random collection of skills outside the actual skill of creating the art/product: navigating social media, building websites, understanding taxes, learning photo editing software, packaging & shipping, marketing, etc. Try and approach it all with glee, appreciating the many surprising things you find yourself capable of doing!

What artists and creatives do you look up to? Both historical and present.

Oh so many! Helene Schjerfbeck, Kathleen Speranza, Louise Balaam, Brian Kershisnik, Leslie Duke, Julia Hawkins, Maria Oakey Dewing, Cecilia Beaux, John Singer Sargent, Manet. Casically I admire all artists who strive to find their voice.

What has been inspiring you lately?

This summer and early fall was so hot and a bit miserable with the persistent smoke from the terribly tragic wildfires. With the cooler weather, the roses in our valley have begun to take off again. I must say that I find it to be incredibly poignant to see what nature offers up to us even as we are all in the midst of so much turmoil. It’s such a lesson in patience and hope.

How has COVID 19 affected your work and aspirations? Are there additional personal or professional interests you’d like to explore?

I know I’m not alone in feeling a bit like some tape has been ripped off of my soul in 2020. This year has been a time of profound re-orientation for me. I’ve realized how much suffering there is in the world that I’d had the dubious privilege of generally not paying attention to. I’ve been training to teach art classes at the correctional center in our county. During that training, I’ve plunging into the topic of restorative justice and the positive role that the arts can play in the healing of individuals. Doing that has opened a whole new realm of thinking for me. I have so much to learn and I’m really looking forward to this new experience.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?

I hope to come out of this year having become softer, more empathetic, more perceptive.

Where to find Lynne Millar

Shop her art collection in our Print Shop here.

Follow her on instagram!

 

This post is a part of our Becoming Series, where we interview creative women we admire. Click here to explore more interviews from this series!

We’re moving!

Moving Studios!

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

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

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

Pros and Cons to working from home

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

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

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

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

Flooring for our basement

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

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

What color should we paint our floor? 

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

And about a blush pink:

So…what would YOU do???

Green OR Pink?

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

Investing into a rental

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

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

Inspiration for the new studio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

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Introducing Lynne Millar to The Lars Print Shop

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Without further ado, we’d like to introduce Lynne Millar.

This fine art collection is perfect for your library, kitchen, sitting room, or your home office (something most of us currently have, whether we planned it or not!) I’m a huge advocate of making your space as beautiful as it can be, especially right now. Since we’re spending so much time at home, hanging some art on the walls brings a special quality you can’t find in a bland waiting room or doctor’s office (we’re trying to make you forget about going out…is it working?)

Fine Art Prints by Lynne Millar

I am very excited to be offering such high quality art in such an affordable way. That was always been the goal of our Print Shop! This collection can be ordered framed in a variety of sizes and materials. Or you can download a print yourself for just $20 to get printed and display however you like! These options make filling your home with quality, conversation-starting art can finally feel do-able.

Fine Art Prints New to Our Shop

Lynne’s paintings offer a window into beautiful landscapes that we’d love to escape to: green rolling hills, trailing pink clouds, and calm pastoral scenes. An artist from California, Lynne also enjoys painting gorgeous still lifes, a few of which we’ve shared in our print collection!

Cotswold Hills Print

Using layered brush strokes and ethereal colors, Lynne created this lovely snapshot of the Cotswold Hills. This one would be a dream in a library with a green velvet couch!

Fine Art Prints by Lynne Millar

Click here to see this print.

Gladiolas Print

One of two floral still lifes in this collection, the strokes used to create the gladiola petals almost look like wings! We think this one would dress up a bathroom or vanity nicely.

Click here to see this print.

Rose Fall Print

Gentle purples and pinks cascade against a dark background, creating much-needed contrast for your nursery, bedroom, or living room. This print would be gorgeous next to a dark wood bookshelf or above a stained sideboard!

Click here to see this print.

Stone Fruit Print

Citrus fruits are one of the best parts of winter, and you can embrace them all year long with this still life graced by nimble birds.

Click here to see this print.

Anemones Print

This one might be our favorite still life. The simple design would add sophistication and a subtle pop of color to any room. 

Fine Art Prints by Lynne Millar

Click here to see this print.

Shop Lynne Millar’s full collection in our Print Shop here! You can also find our full selection of fine art prints here.

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

In the Mood For: Alma Thomas

Who Was Alma Thomas?

Alma Thomas didn’t start out as a full-time painter. First, she was a schoolteacher in Washington D.C., where her career spanned 38 years. After her retirement, she began to paint seriously, quickly establishing herself as a member of the Washington Color Field School. This art movement, taking place in the 1950s-1970s, was often compared to the abstract expressionist movement.

Image source here

The Washington Color Field School was marked by monochromatic strokes, colorful stripes, and broad washes of color on canvas. Other unconventional methods artists used at this time included “soak staining,” a technique where the painter would pour thinned-out paint onto canvas and let it sit without using any brushstrokes.

Alma Thomas considered retirement after her years of teaching, mostly due to arthritis. However, when Howard University offered to produce an exhibition of her work, she decided to produce something unlike her previous paintings. She was inspired by the light coming through her window and filtering through the flowers in her yard. If that’s not poetic, I don’t know what is.

Alma Thomas reached acclaim in her 80s with her Earth paintings, characterized by concentric circles painted in bright watercolor strokes. The beautiful colors bursting from a white background produced a dreamy, mosaic-like effect.

Image source here.

Home Decor Inspired by Alma Thomas

Alma employed abstract, geometric shapes in her work, and one of her favorite shapes were circles. And circles are very on-trend right now! You’ll also notice the use of colorful stripes, color-blocked polygons, and gem-like shapes that will add personality to any space. Though Alma Thomas’ color palette leaned towards bright hues, her work isn’t just for children’s spaces. Don’t be afraid to use pops of color (or colors!) to make any room more inviting.

In fact, the Obama family even had one of Alma Thomas’ paintings hanging in the white house during their time there (you can see it here)! I love the cobalt blue painting they chose below. You don’t have to choose decor or art filled with the full rainbow, sometimes one bold shade is the perfect way to anchor the room’s feel and color scheme.

 

Besides bold color, do not forget to consider shape when designing your space. Both the negative space between furniture, and the shape of the pieces themselves. They are nuanced, but round edges versus square ones can be the difference between a country chic couch and a mid-century modern. Train your eye to pay attention to the details. Pair a boxy couch with a round coffee table. An oval mirror above a squared off console. Or for a look with an even bigger Alma-Stamp-of-approval, look for statement pieces with more organic edges.

Fashion Inspired by Alma Thomas

Alma’s love of bold shapes and color didn’t end with her art, she wore them wherever she went! Every artist in our Great Artists! kid’s course comes with paper dolls, and Alma’s outfits are some of the most fun to mix and match.

Neutrals are all the rage right now. However, color is making a much-needed comeback to lift us out of the gloom of 2020! The great thing about Alma Thomas inspired style is that you can still wear your beloved neutrals while taking advantage of the beautiful colors Alma was inspired by. If you’re scared of color, start with accent pieces, like hair clips or masks (who would have thought masks would become an accessory?!)

 

Image source here.

Learn About More Great Artists!

Alma Thomas is a part of our Great Artists! Course, which we are offering now for just $99. It’s a six-week long course, but once you purchase it, it’s yours forever (a big plus for those of us who recently became homeschoolers overnight!) Now is the perfect time to introduce your children to some wonderful artists whose work still influences the world around us today.

And for artists inspiration more on your level, check out our posts about home decor inspired by Monet and Frida Kahlo, who are part of our kid’s course as well!

 

 

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

Anne of Green GablesEmma WoodhouseIris ApfelWes Andersonthe Royal FamilyLittle WomenMonet, Frida Kahlo, and Alexander Girard

Our new hardwood flooring and how to care for it

Which Stuga floor did we go with?

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

Making it into the house

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

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

What did we do to the stairs ?

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

How to care for our Stuga floors

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

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

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

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

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

In The Mood For: Frida Kahlo Inspired Interior Design

Home Decor Inspired by Frida Kahlo

How to use decor like Frida would

Consider Color

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

Image source

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

Embrace your surroundings

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

Image source

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

Persevere

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

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

What Frida did about it

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

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

In your life & home

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

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

Image source: 1 | 2

Fashion Inspired by Frida Kahlo

 

Accessories

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

Anne of Green GablesEmma WoodhouseIris ApfelWes Andersonthe Royal FamilyLittle Women, Monet, and Alexander Girard

 

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

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!

Affordable Rugs Under $1000

Go bold or go home

You know we love statement pieces, like upholstered headboards, graphic art prints, or throw pillows galore. And a great rug is probably the best place to start when planning a new interior makeover. Rugs instantly cozy up a room, make it feel complete, and sets the tone ALL without taking up any extra space! It’s the dream decor piece! But due to their price tag we get how easy it is to put a new rug last on your list of priorities. However, hear us out – A rug can truly make your room, and leaving it out can be a big interior design faux pas. Plus, splurging a little on a rug can allow you to tone down the other purchases without sacrificing your end goal – a thoughtful, specific, and well-curated space. That is truly the power a good rug has! Why? Because a statement rug instantly conveys what look you are going for (vintage, boho, minimal?), sets the main color scheme, and makes everything look more finished. Trust us, don’t skip the rug. And if we still haven’t convinced you, you’ll find even more ways to use a rug to complete the look below!

Of course if you are in a creative mood, we have some DIY rug options for you. Like this Matisse inspired cut out rug above! Or for something even simpler try this DIY “friendship bracelet” inspired rug that will keep your hands busy during your next Netflix binge.

But if you’re more in the mood for some online shopping, we feel you! Explore the links below to find the afforable rug of your dreams.

DIY Beaded Chandelier

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The Inspiration

You’ve probably seen this amazing bead chandelier before, as it has made its way around the internet (others found here and here and here). I love how relaxed and elegant it feels – that’s a difficult but essential pairing. The layers of cascading beads have such a graceful look, but the natural wood keeps it fresh and easy to incorporate into any setting. And the tiers remind me of the scallop trend that is super hot right now! So often I see pieces I love but have a hard time imaging in my space. This one though fits right in! I think it could look good in any space.

A Penny Saved…

Is a penny earned! This Pottery Barn Hack for a DIY Beaded Chandelier will save you so much money. While I love the original chandelier, the $800 price tag would present a big dent in the monthly budget. In times like these, I don’t exactly want to spend that much on anything nonessential. Save where you can so you can splurge where you can, right? You don’t have to splurge to have nice things, but you do have to be willing to try new things.

You CAN Do-It-Yourself

Since I just had to have this piece, I automatically started to think of how we could replicate this beauty. With a box of wooden beads, a handful of embroidery hoops, and a season of Friends (yes, this one’s a bit time-consuming folks), I got just what we wanted! This DIY Beaded Chandelier could easily pass for the original. If you’re feeling particularly creative, you could even play around with different colored beads. While I didn’t actually put a lightbulb in mine, you could easily find a cheap hanging lightbulb like this one and place the your DIY beaded chandelier over it. Let your imagination run wild! We’ve taken care of the rest with our DIY instructions.

If you’ve got pennies to pinch and time to spare, this is the project for you! Total cost of supplies, $170. Score! See here how to make it.

Learn how to get the DIY below!