My New Living Room Reveal

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Living Room RevealThe time has finally come to give you a glimpse inside my new living room! This has been a long time coming and I couldn’t be more pleased with the end result. I find myself walking into the room to make sure it’s real. And it is! And I LOVE IT SO MUCH!

Living Room RevealI was able to put so much more of myself into this room and I think it makes a world of difference in the overall feeling. With the help of a lovely wallpaper, a few new pieces of furniture, and our new Wood Shutters in Off White from Blinds.com, it looks like a different house! Take a look at all the changes we’ve made!

Take a look at all the components! 

DIY Matisse-inspired cut out rug

DIY Matisse-inspired cut out rug
I’m thrilled to have contributor Meta Coleman share a fantastic DIY Matisse-inspired cut out rug using FLOR tiles. Enjoy!

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to see an exhibit of Henri Matisse’s cut-outs at the Tate Modern Museum.  It was one of the most inspiring exhibits that I have been to in many years.  The exhibit showcased Matisse’s large scale cut-outs, the range of his painted color papers, and even some of his colored glass cut-outs.  I’ve seen Henri Matisse’s cut-outs before in text books and magazines, but to see it in person was such a different, dramatic, perhaps even life altering experience for me.  Everything was inspiring:  the shapes, the colors, the compositions.  I loved it all.  Since that exhibit I have wanted to make something inspired by his cut-outs, but I didn’t know exactly how or what I should do.

Modernized Day of the Dead Ofrenda

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Day of the Dead OfrendaHave you ever heard of Day of the Dead Ofrendas? If you’ve seen the movie Coco, you probably get the gist. Ofrenda means ‘offering’ in Spanish and is a display set up to remember and honor your ancestors. The ofrenda consists of several components including photos of past loved ones, candles, fruits and sweets, flowers, papel picado, and more. It serves as a chance to welcome those ancestors who have passed back into your home and heart. Not to mention it creates the most beautiful display overflowing with flowers and foliage! We’re creating a modern-day take on the Ofrenda with foraged greenery, one that you can easily recreate and keep up all month long! This is my ideal kind of holiday decor, not to mention the sentimentality of it is so special!

Day of the Dead OfrendaRecently, Paul and I completed our 23andMe DNA tests, something I’ve been wanting to do for ages, and we are now anxiously awaiting our reports. With the Halloween season upon us, what better way to celebrate and learn more about my family history than with my very own ofrenda! This display is the perfect way to decorate for the season, but also a wonderful chance to learn more about yourself and your heritage. Win win!

See how easy the 23andMe service process is, discover more about your ancestry and get inspired to create your own Ofrenda

Becoming interview: French Papercut Artist Julie Marabelle

French papercut artist Julie Marabelle

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, business person etc.? 

I guess all of the above. 

My background is in visual art and stage design. Over the years my work has evolved towards a mix of illustration, painting, craft and design. 

I started my career in London as a stage and costume designer for the theatre. I have been working with lots of different media from making small scale models in the conception of a stage design to orchestrating large sets with carpenters. 

For over 10 years, I have been running my own business Famille Summerbelle where I design a line of illustrated products for the home. I love the creative diversity involved in my work, from paper cutting illustrated maps, researching and sketching, to handling the production, styling, shooting and editing the images of a new product and finally bringing it to market. 

Who helped you “become” who you are? 

It’s a combination of how I was brought up, my life experiences, and inspirational people I have worked with along the way. Most of all though, I would say that my family has shaped me most. 

I have inherited the creative side of my mother. As a child, if I liked a piece of clothing that I saw in a shop my mum would say “you can make it yourself, it’s so much better!” So we would go to buy fabric and then design and create it together. 

My parents were doers, very hands on, always renovating homes, and many creative side projects. 

I am the second of five children and I am very close to my siblings. Family means so much to me and how I have developed creatively. As kids we were very resourceful and independent. There were too many of us to have the full attention of our parents! Also I wouldn’t be doing what I do today without my three children. Famille Summerbelle started as we started our own family. Making art with my children is what I enjoy most. It’s a constant work in progress. 

collage art with kids

What more would you like to “become”? 

So much more, I don’t think that ever finishes. I like to see it as a lifelong journey! There are so many skills I would like to improve and new things to learn. 

Becoming better at painting, learning new languages, being better organized, more patient, better at running a business, those are all goals of mine. 

I am often juggling too many balls at once! I have three children that are still young so my days seem often too short for all the things I would like to do on the side of running my business. 

Where did you study, and what did you study? 

I’ve always been lucky enough to be educated in a creative environment. All my primary years were spent in a Waldorf school so thinking creatively and using my hands to make things was very much part of my upbringing. 

I studied Visual Arts in Paris at l’Ecole Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d’Art. In my graduation year I saw a play by Robert Lepage ‘The Far Side of the Moon’ that blew me away. I then wanted to become a stage designer, so I moved to London to study a BA in Stage and Costume design at Central Saint Martins. My time there was amazing. Being in London was incredibly stimulating creatively. I was seeing the best art exhibitions, fringe to West Ends plays and Operas to underground art installations. While studying I was assisting set designers like Es Devlin, who had a big impact on me. I loved my life in London so much that I ended up staying for 10 years. 

Was it an easy decision to begin working as an artist? 

Yes, it was an easy decision. I was working straight after I graduated designing for the stage in various theatres in London. Also I worked on many TV commercials and film sets which was very exciting. 

How did you get started doing art/design? 

I always loved drawing and I knew from an early age that I wanted to do something related to art and design. As a teenager I would take the train to Paris every Saturday to take life drawing classes. We would go to the Rodin or Louvre museums to draw sculptures and study the masters. I was passionate about art in general. Studying in art school gave me a solid base in art in general, to think creatively and solve problems. However it doesn’t really prepare you for being a professional artist and working with clients. This is something I have had to learn along the way. 

Famille Summerbelle papercut art prints in the Lars Print Shop

When did you discover your love for art/design? 

As I mentioned above, I had a very creative education. We would study music, dance, sculpture, painting, calligraphy, wood work as much as the other more classical subjects. This is where I realized that art was a great way for me to express myself freely. 

Were you scared when you first started looking for jobs? How did you overcome this? 

Of course! I was dreading contacting people and selling myself. I still do. This is not something you learn in art school. I learned it while assisting art directors and set designers. Also by making errors and asking for help. You get more confident as you gain experience. 

What’s your dream job? 

Bit boring as an answer but honestly it’s my current job. I’m very happy with it and as much as I challenge myself I can never come up with something I could imagine more fulfilling. 

What are you most proud of in your career? 

As a general point I would say that I am most proud to have created and maintained a developing business over the last 12 years while having lived in four different countries and juggling the chaos of having three children. 

If there is one project that I am most proud of, it’s difficult, but perhaps I would say the collaboration that I did with Issey Miyake and my world map papercut. I have a really deep affection for Japan, visiting many times and working with great Japanese partners. To see my designs in Issey Miyake boutiques across the world was something really special, somehow cementing my relationship with this country and culture. 

Papercut world map by Julie Summerbelle

How did your childhood influence what you have become?

As kids we would spend our summers in the South of France with our cousins in the small village where our grandparents lived. As long as we were back for lunches and dinners we had a lot of freedom to run errands on our bikes in the village, build cabins in the woods, dress up and organise a new show every evening for the grown-ups. This family bond with my siblings and my cousins is still very strong. None of us would miss our annual summer trip to see each other. It is so fun now to watch our kids following in our footsteps. 

Did you feel pressured in any way to pursue a certain career path? 

Not by anyone else but me. From an early age I knew that I wanted to do something in the creative field. We were lucky to have open minded and supportive parents who encouraged us to be independent and pursue our dreams. I knew I had to work hard to get to where I wanted to be but as it was something I was passionate about I was always putting in the hours. I quickly realized that I wanted to be my own boss and create the work instead of waiting that it would come up to me. 

Did you have anyone along the way that was instrumental in the trajectory of your life? 

My husband Simon always supported me in my career choices and he played a big role in the making of Famille Summerbelle. He helped me turn my creativity into a real business. Famille Summerbelle has been and remains a family affair! 

What’s your work space like? 

Since we moved to Germany 2 years ago, I work from home. We are lucky to live in a beautiful house from the early 19th century with very high ceilings and big windows. My studio is located on the first floor in a large room with a balcony. I have the sun pouring in all day which is a blessing – I couldn’t work without natural light!

I have three desks in my studio: two along a wall, one for my computer work, another higher table for packing the orders and a third very long table in the middle of the room where I draw, paint and do all my paper cutting. Hanging on this long and high wall are colourful cutouts, postcards, paper samples and paintings that I am working on. On the other side of the two desks, I have all the Famille Summerbelle stock with my prints, paper cuts, trays, wallpaper and so on. 

Papercut art studio and home office of Julie Summerbelle

What’s a piece of advice that you’ve carried with you and who is it from? 

I can never remember or attribute quotes or specific advice. Somehow everything I have absorbed, all the advice I have received, manifests in a few key thoughts: I strive to be present, be open to changes, trust my feelings, stay focussed, stay true to myself and enjoy the process. Whether in my personal or professional life. 

What does your dream retirement look like? 

I don’t feel that I ever want to retire, I will keep on making things for as long as I can! I would love to have a big studio in the South of France so I can paint all day with the windows open with a view of a blue sky and the smell of the eucalyptus trees. Of course I would have a big kitchen table for long family lunches! 

Floral papercut art prints

What artists/designers/creatives do you look up to? 

Makoto Kagoshima, Ulla Johnson, Jonas Wood, David Hockney, Picasso, Matisse, Es Devlin, Sanna Hannukka, Erin O’Keefe, Anna Kovesces, Ilse Crawford, Hella Jongerius, Mizuki Goto, Alexander Girard, Ellsworth Kelly, Miroslav Šašek, Sempé. 

You were one of the first artists I ever followed on social media. How has social media influenced your work? 

Oh thank you and it is reciprocal! Lars was one of the first blogs I read that inspired me to start my own creative business and my blog back in 2008. 

Living abroad, I am delighted to be part of this creative online community and to interact with people interested in my work. Of course, as an artist with an online shop, being on social media is essential. I love Pinterest and Instagram to discover the work of talented designers, artists and photographers that I could never have found elsewhere. It is an amazing tool for all creatives but which also has its limits.

Personally I am much more creative and efficient in my work when I am not connected. My inspiration comes from my daily experiences, my travels, my books and especially my imagination. 

Who is your work intended for? 

Honestly I would say that I first make everything for me and for my family home. I made the House Boxes for my kids bedroom and my studio as I wanted a fun box to store away all of our small objects and toys. The first city map I made was of London, a city I love and where I lived for 10 years. I designed it as we were returning from our long world travels settling in France. It was designed as first for us as a souvenir of our time there. I make and test all my products in our home first and of course I always just hope that other people will be inspired by what I make and would want to have it in their home as well! 

Colorful home boxes by Famille Summerbelle

What’s inspiring you lately? 

Most things Japanese! I am currently designing a map of Tokyo after just launching a map of Berlin. For the 11th anniversary of Famille Summerbelle, I did an exhibition of my work  in Tokyo last year at the Galerie Doux Dimanche and while I was there I made lots of sketches and took photos of the different places I wanted to feature in my paper cut map. It makes me so happy to dive back into my research. I still have lots of drawings to make before I will start cutting the map. 

Whimsical store front window art

What did you want to be when you were young versus when it was time to decide what to actually do? 

I tried fencing, ballet and the violin. None for more than a few weeks! Boring as it perhaps sounds I have always loved drawing. It’s still my favourite hobby even when it’s my work and income.

Where to find Julie’s work

Her collection in our print shop!
On Instagram
On Pinterest

They ship worldwide from www.famillesummerbelle.com

Portfolio site: www.juliemarabelle.com

Photos by A.Lecuyer and Julie Marabelle

This girl: IV

Black and white gloriousness.

Girl  |  Foyer  |  Office space 

Floor treatment inspiration

My new studio space has wonderful wood flooring. Two rooms are a beautiful herringbone pattern and the other is plain vertical planking. I’m ACHING to paint on some black and white diamonds like this party scene on the plain planking and then keep the integrity of the herringbone with a wonderful stain. What do you think? Have you ever done either? Any tips?

Party scene 
Herringbone

Miami prints by Jane Merritt

Miami City art prints

Like the other prints in the Lars Print shop, each design can come however you’d like–as a download where you can print it off yourself or as a print in the mail in a variety of sizes or it can come framed and/or matted. Here we put three together and I think they work perfectly together, no? All that Art Deco glory–so good! 

You can find the prints in our Lars Print Shop!

And you can find our art lovers guide to Miami here!

You can see Jane’s work here.

Rainbow Envelope Organization System for our new stationery suite

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Rainbow Envelope Organization System

This post was in partnership with MOO. All opinions and designs are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow Lars to continue creating original content!

I will be the first to admit that I’m not the tidiest or organized person out there. It’s something I have to work hard at! However, I love when everything has a place and I know exactly where to go to find it. There is a special satisfaction that comes from tidiness, of that I’m sure. Our new business cards and stationery printed by MOO were just the inspiration I needed to get my life in order, that is, a small corner of my life.

Rainbow business cards with moo.com

As you might recall, I’m a huge fan of MOO. We worked with them last year to create some new packaging for our business cards and other stationery elements and I can’t recommend them enough. Due to the growth of our company, we were in need of some new business cards for the upcoming year. Lars has some really exciting and fun projects coming up in the next few months and we wanted to incorporate that imagery into our new business cards. So a rainbow assortment was the natural way to go! We are thrilled with how they turned out! They have a new line of cotton business cards made from recycled t-shirts (yes! t-shirts) making them entirely tree-free. And you know what? They’re beautiful. The cards and stationery inspired us to create a rainbow envelope organization system to keep all the odds and ends of my life in check. This is the ultimate command station that would be perfect for a home or work office. The wonderful thing is, all you need is a pegboard and some paper envelopes. I can already feel the stress melting away.

Check out the how-to after the jump!

Color blocked thread Wreath

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For the last few months, the entire Lars team has had a somewhat unorthodox love affair. Don’t worry, it’s nothing too saucy, just that we’ve been enamored (one might even say obsessed) with…would you like to guess? Lampshades and lighting fixtures! I know, I know, we’re the biggest nerds on earth, but who cares? We can’t help it; we see them, we like them, we want them, and then, of course, we make them. We’ve been on an absolute lamp overload as of late and especially the work of Ana Kras, so we decided to mix things up just a little bit with our next project. We have yet to fall out of love with the plate and cup light fixtures we made a while back, so we decided to turn our latest obsession, these threaded lampshades, into this amazing door wreath!

If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll realize that this project combines two Lars hallmarks; color, and wreaths. We combined the two, because we absolutely cannot think of anything we would love more than this vibrant door wreath. Can’t think of anything more inviting to welcome your loved ones into your home!

Two art prints for coronavirus relief charities

Art for Coronavirus Charities

First off, we are thrilled to introduce a new artist to Lars Print Shop, Erin Jang. Remember when we interviewed her last year? Big fans! Erin Jang is the graphic designer and illustrator behind the creative studio, The Indigo Bunting. Her clients include The New York Times, Apple, Bon Appétit, Urban Outfitters, and Chronicle Books. Her books include You, Me, We! (A 2-in-1 activity book set for parents and kids to fill in together available here) and the craft book, Make & Give. She lives in New York City with her husband and two young boys.Art for coronavirus

I’ve loved following Erin as she shares a daily activity to do with your children during social distancing. She’s always so good at showing how to do things with your children. And guess what? This art print is no exception! Here’s what she had to say about the print:

I created a version of this print many years ago, part of an effort to raise money for charity. I was a new mother at the time, and I wanted to make something that would help give me encouragement and ground me.

Years later, I am revisiting these virtues, and this print, with the help of my now 8-year-old son (his handwriting is on the right side of the print). We are sheltering in place here in our small apartment in the middle of NYC, with our two boys, and I feel the heaviness of all that is happening in our city, in the world. Our city is turned upside down, and there is so much deep loss in every way. These virtues appear basic, but they are so hard to live out, especially in times like this. But I am seeing how much I need to return to these small, simple things — to hold on to them, to relearn them myself, to teach them to my boys, to try to practice them together in small measures (and fail, then start anew the next day). Now more than ever, these small, good things matter, and they help us rebuild.

If you’d like to help in a small way, the proceeds of every purchase of this print will be donated to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund which helps provide relief and support to health care workers, local small businesses, displaced hourly workers including immigrant workers, families, youth and other vulnerable New Yorkers.

Art for coronavirus

The print comes in white OR black. You can find them here.

You can follow more of Erin’s work at @theindigobunting. 

Amanda Jane Jones Art for Charity

You should be familiar with Amanda Jane Jones by now (we’ve been talking about her for months!) Her collection of prints is inspired by her children’s book, Yum, Yummy, Yuck. There’s the banana, apple, cherries, pear, ice cream, and booger (ha!). You can see the full collection here. They are AMAZING as oversized prints. I love what she did here:

Amanda is giving the profits from her collection all to No Kid Hungry. As the coronavirus crisis bars kids from the school meals they depend on, everyday people, celebrities, corporations and others are stepping up to ensure these kids can eat. They are using donations large and small, from individuals just like us, to support kids who are struggling.

Amanda is also providing wonderful resources for children this time. You can follow her at @amandajanejones

We are thrilled to share Amanda and Erin’s quest to support these charities by purchasing their art. You can shop the collections here

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!

DIY Celtic Knot Pillow

DIY Celtic Knot Pillow Tutorial

You can find the Celtic Pillow instructions in our e-book here.

If you don’t feel up to sewing, though, you’ll want to check out a few of our favorite pillow picks from our roundup! There, we’ll walk you through selecting the perfect pillow accent for any room design. We are ALL about keeping as many cozy, pretty pillows on hand as we can!

Shop the look:

Mustard futon  |  Blue and green artwork by Abby Clawson Low  |  Teal Tea set 

Be sure to tag us with #Luckylars so we can see your celtic pillows!