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!

In The Mood: Hamilton Inspired Home Decor

How to fill your home with the feeling of Hamilton

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

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

Be inspired by Colonial Style

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

Hamilton inspired decor for your home’s exterior

Curate meaningful collections

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

Hamilton inspired decor for your living room

Fill your home with nostalgia

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

Hamilton inspired decor for your bedroom

Form a modern interpretation of the past

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

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

More Hamilton Inspired Home Decor

For your kitchen

For the bathroom

 

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

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

5 reasons mirrors are essential in decor

Get lit! Use mirrors to light up your life

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

Open up (your mind and your living room)

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

Is that a new window?

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

Make a mirror the focal point

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

Mirrors are simple to update when styles change

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

 

DIY Mirror

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

DIY rattan mirror

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

Is there such thing as a quick and cheap renovation?

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

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

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

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

This is what I had resolved to do:

You see where I’m going here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scallop Wave DIY Pinboard

Inspiration: the moodboard for my pinboard

The scallop/wave trend is hot hot hot right now. Slow undulating lines are visually really peaceful, but since it’s an unusual pattern, it holds your attention. Gustaf Westman is a furniture designer who builds beautiful mirrors that serve as inspiration for my DIY. If you want to buy his beautiful work, check out his page

Another source of inspo for this project comes from Matilda Goad. This self-described “scallop-loving designer” has a fantastic and playful sense of design and color, and her pieces have a certain je nes sais quoi that make a house feel like home. The images below are from here instagram here

My final mood-board item is this picture that I saw on @houseandgardenuk’s instagram. They featured a dreamy kitchen designed by Gabby Deeming and Ruth Sleightholme. I love the zigzag variation of scallops on the kitchen cabinets, and the gentle green is so appealing. 

My Plans

In my head I can visualize you, dear friend, scrolling through until you get to the pictures and instructions for my DIY. Stop scrolling – you made it! First things first, you need a bulletin board. Then, I decided how much of my board I want to cover with paint. Find the full steps below!

DIY bulletin board painted

How to make your own scallop wave pinboard

Instructions
– Measure the bulletin board & decide how thick you want your scalloped border to be.
– Use a ruler to draw guiding lines showing how far the border will extend, based on the thickness you chose. (Our board’s scalloped border was about 5 inches thick from the edge of the board).
– Measure the space left on the middle of the bulletin board between your guiding lines. Decide how many scallops you want on each side and then divide the length of the available space by the number of scallops. This will tell you how large each scallops should be.
– Use your ruler to measure and mark the desired length of your scallop onto a piece of card-stock paper. Once you have the length drawn, create the scallop shape and cut it out. This will be your stencil. (You could trace something round like a bowl or free hand this. Folding the card stock in half is a good way to check that the sides of your scallop are symmetrical.)
– Follow the guiding lines as you trace the scallop stencil across your bulletin board. This will keep your peaks even across the edges.
– Complete the look by rounding the corners into similar shapes, you can use the same stencil if there’s room or freehand it.
– Fill in the boarder with paint, 1-2 coats depending on the thickness of your paint.
-Let it dry and your DIY scallop wave pinboard is complete! Fill it with inspiration picks for the next project you want to tackle 😉

Scallop Wave DIY Pinboard

We would love to see what scalloped creations you come up with! Tag us on Instagram so we can see your works of art!

The House That Lars Bought: Garden inspiration and first update!

Home renovation update

Before we jump into gardening inspo, I wanted to start off with a little house renovation update. There was one wall in the basement that was…how do we say…naked when we closed. It looked like this.

Every contractor who saw it said that they had never seen anything like it. Frankly, it made me a little nervous hearing things like that.

Earthquake proof and everything proof foundation walls

TURNS OUT! The people who built it got in touch with me on Instagram and have provided a lot of insight. It’s so thrilling. They said that it’s called pollysteel–steel framing with styrofoam. It’s earthquake proof, termite proof, fire proof, and provides better insulation. VERY cool, right? I’m hoping to learn more about the house from them. They’ve already shared a few really touching stories.

I had some drywall experts come on over and they finished it up beautifully.

Ta dah!

Up, that’s the only update. Kind of boring, but I’m all about the baby steps right now.

Landscaping

Ok, now to garden inspiration…The landscaping is mostly super boring town right now. Only lawn but some beautiful sycamore trees. Sycamores remind me of my grandparents home in Los Angeles so I do feel like it’s coming full circle and I’m super stoked about them.

We’ll probably do some different entrance path at some point, again, low on the priority list.

Side yard

And here’s the side yard.

And the other side yard. It’s very slopey so I’ll need your input on what to do here to make it more interesting and garden-y.

Here’s a better view of the side yard . Just grass. And I know a lot of people LOVE grass squares, but honestly, they give me a major case of the snoozies. It’s kind of a swear word to me when someone says “oh, and there’s a big open lawn, you’ll love it”. The amount of flowers you could plant! (dear pun intended).

And how weird is this. Two times I’ve come to the house and the same deer has been in this exact spot munching away. I missed a couple of opportunities on Instastories for this pun and I can’t ruin it again so…it was a major case of deer-ja vu. Hardy har har.

Please diagnosis this tree

Bonus points to whoever can tell me what’s wrong with the side tree. Also, I think I have tryphobia because this picture gives me the chills up and down my spine.

The backyard

The back of the house is long and narrow. There’s a deck coming out from the kitchen with some fir trees. I believe, but need to verify the boundary lines. I was told it’s that telephone post to the right of the shed, which is not ours. I think there’s room to be creative here, but we’ll have to figure out what that is.

Ok, that’s what we have to work with. Now what do we do? This is the fun part…the dreaming! Every phase needs a dream because you need to feel excited about something, right?!

Side yard inspo

Here’s what I’m thinking: put that side green grass square to work by making a more formal symmetrical path with a beautiful gravel and hedges and flowers. These inspiration photos are to illustrate the idea of the paths and types of hedges.

You following?

A place for walking and exploring, beautiful flowers, foot paths, a place to sit and relax. A spot for manicured topiaries contrasted with more wild shrubs.

Front yard

I haven’t flushed out the front yard yet, but I know there’s one thing on the agenda and that’s hydrangeas. There’s ONE type of hyrdangea that grows here in Utah. All the others don’t survive the desert heat. My sister has a neighbor where they are thriving. See?

They only come in that one color and I don’t know the name yet, but they’re so lush. And this house is north facing, as it ours, so I’m feeling like it would be a good plan for the front of the house.

As for the backyard, I don’t have any idea yet…but I’m open to suggestions. Side yard too.

In the mean time, in my mind I’m sitting in the south of France in my side yard and I’m feeling PRETTY good.

Favorite gardeners to follow on Instagram

If you’re needing a big dose of garden inspiration, I ADORE following Danish garden expert, Claus Dalby on Instagram. He’s SO informative and his grounds are out.of.this.world. He gives constant live tours (“livesending” he calls it and he begins every video with “hallo hallo”. I live for it.) We might need to bring a little (a lot!) of Denmark into this project. It’s only right 😉

Also, Monty Don has gotten me through COVID so do yourselves a favor and go watch all of his documentaries ASAP.

Would love your input, especially about sloping side yard and back yard!

Inspiration photos found here, here, here, here, here, here