Finding the perfect pink with Valspar

As you know (remember?), I’ve been struggling to personalize my basement apartment so that it feels like home. And not just any home, but OUR home. Because that’s the trick–making something feel like yours.
Painting the walls is something I’ve been wanting to do for ages, but as small a step as it may seem, it’s been quite a huge step for me. I’ve never ever painted any room I’ve ever lived in. I’ve never lived in a place long enough or felt like it was worth the time or money.
But finally, we made the decision to remain in our apartment for the time we’re here in Utah (we’re here for at least 2 more years). And being so indecisive has helped me feel like investing time, money, and thought into our home will make me feel like we have our own little spot in the universe. I knew immediately that I wanted white walls because I needed to work with a clean slate. But then the whimsical side of me wanted some way to express myself through color, so I’ve been searching for the perfect shade of pink for my house for months. I wanted a peachy/blush pink that wasn’t too in your face. I wanted it liveable yet identifiable pink. I partnered up with Valspar Paint to find the perfect shade. With 3,000 colors to choose from, Valspar had more than enough options. I found the perfect shade in Snow Pa, and as you can see from the video below, I got a little pink happy. This video was SO fun to make. I get happy just watching it! 
Valspar has this new line of paint called Valspar Reserve that is both a paint and a primer. With time being of the essence with our busy schedules, any time saving device is welcome so the primer/paint combo is essential. And it only takes one coat! Score! This is now a requirement for every paint project I do and the quality was so great. Valspar Reserve is also extremely durable and stain + scrub resistant so  knew it would stand up to any wear and tear and last for a long time.
I went through a long battle in deciding on the right shade. I thought about going darker but ultimately realized that this basement apartment needed light. Loads of it! Valspar Snow Pa was strong yet light enough to feel airy and spacious. 
I’m still working on decorating it and styling it, but for now I got a few bookshelves up and am slowly adding to it. The rest of the space needs a lot of help in the furniture department so it will be awhile before I show you that.
And are you ready for this? Some before shots. Ha! I tried out various shades to get this Snow Pa. And notice how my house acts as a prop house. 
Gorgeous pink/peach, no?! 
For me this little project has been a huge victory. Paint is such a small spec on the home renovation spectrum but it makes a huge impact in the way you feel and how you connect with your space. This little basement apartment of ours is feeling more and ore home the more we customize it.
Thank you Valspar Paint for helping us connect with our home!

This post is sponsored by Valspar Paint. Valspar Reserve is available exclusively at Lowe’s. Find the location nearest you. Thank you to our sponsors who make this blog possible. 

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!

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

Brittany’s Guest Room Renovation with Crate and Barrel

Wait…a room inspired by bath towels?

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

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

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

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

Look at these before photos: 

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

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

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

Bedroom furniture and linens

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

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

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

Bench

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

Rug

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

Dresser

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

Desk

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

Lighting

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

Artwork

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

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

Other items of note: 

Crate and Barrel Guest room selections: 

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

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

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

Our apartment in Apt, France

On Monday I talked about our arrival to Provence, Apt more specifically. The trip was just my mom and me and we had been talking about a trip to Provence for ages. You see, once upon a time Mom had a shop in Corona del Mar, CA called “En Provence” where she sold beautiful French country furniture (made by my uncle!) and gifts. But between you and me, she had never been! She’d get comments all the time, “yup, this feels just like it” and she would just smile and nod, “merci.” Most likely because of this, I grew up a French country disciple and devoured anything Provence-related like Peter Mayle’s Year in Provence. You can imagine, this was a bit of a dream come true for us.
Knowing that Mom was coming to visit us in Denmark we just knew we had to go south for a bit and make it a reality. Then the question arose, WHERE to stay? I asked you dear Lars readers for suggestion and you were SO helpful. Thank you! If you want to go there yourself, read some of their suggestions here. I was tipped off by a friend of mine that Katy Elliot, whose blog I’ve adored for many blog years had stayed in Provence and after seeing her post about her stay in Bonnieux I KNEW that that had to be us. The apartment is owned by an architect/designer couple in Maine who also have properties and an antiques shop in New England called Marston House and other properties in Southern France. We didn’t stay in the Bonnieux location, but their 2 bedroom apartment in Apt, the town right next door. The pictures of the apartment showed a really beautiful, simple interior in neutral colors with a mix of antiques and new pieces. They later told me that they completely renovated it themselves including the statement staircase done by local craftsmen (go local!). I loved their whole vibe and their love for the area so I was sold. 
Read more about our experience below.

Like I said, the apartment is a mix of antiques and new pieces including the linens, which included personalized monograms from previous owners. I loved these touches, like on the window curtains.
This is the bedroom that I stayed in, above, and I didn’t get a great photo of my mom’s room which was the bigger of the two.
The apartment overlooked this quaint courtyard, which we could have used, but ended up leaving early in the morning and returning after sundown each day, so we gawked from afar.
If you want to stay here, or at any of their rentals, I would HIGHLY recommend it. Their taste helps transform your experience. I wouldn’t say that Apt was my favorite town that we stayed in. There was a tinge of grittiness that I didn’t prefer, but when you’re in Provence you end up renting a car and seeing all the towns anyway so you may not spend so much time in your place. It was a great home base for us.
Marston House rentals website here. I’ll be posting more about the markets in the area and our day trips. Guys, this trip blew my mind and I can’t wait to show it to you.
All photos but two taken by me. The two are from the Marston House website

In the Mood For: Monet inspired Interior Design

First, a special announcement!

I’m writing about Monet for a few reasons – the first you know, the second is kind of a secret…  This summer we are launching an online summer camp to teach kids all about some master artists, including Monet! It will include daily projects (with videos!) to help kids dive deep into new mediums, art styles, and the lives of great artists of myriad colors, genders, and time periods. Stay tuned for more details!!! Sign up for our newsletter here for early access and a huge discount on this course when it is released! Now onto tips for interior design inspired by Monet:

1 – It’s all about lighting. 

Much of Monet’s passion as a painter was driven by a desire to capture light! He would paint the same scene over and over again at different times of day to capture the shadow play and different colors created. Within the walls of your home, you are somewhat limited with regard to natural light. When choosing a place to live, consider how natural light will affect your space! Select fun curtains or shutters (tres French) and outfit the windows accordingly. 

Monet inspired interior design

You may not be able to control the sun, but a lovely invention called electricity does give you the ability to control light! It is amazing how a simple lamp or light shade can transform any space. An old apartment of mine felt dingy and small. The walls were a funny yellowish color that I thought was terrible, but I couldn’t change it! Eventually I got a floor lamp with a bright, white light. Suddenly, I realized the color wasn’t as bad as it had looked before. With just a lightbulb, I achieved the same effect a can of paint would have had. While lighting might not be the first thing you think of when you hear “interior design,” it should be when the phrase is followed by “inspired by Monet.”