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.

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.

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.”

In the Mood For: Wes Anderson Inspired Design

Design tips from Wes Anderson’s films

I’ve decided to break down some major visual themes in Wes Anderson’s films because, well, they’re fun to notice, and they showcase how design choices can heighten an emotion or thought. Whether or not you vibe with Wes’ style, our tips below taken from his work apply to any sort of style you want to master. 

Right off the bat, Anderson introduces viewers to some new microcosm of a world. His films take place on very carefully designed sets with symmetry, prescribed color themes, costumes like you’d see in a play, and font collections for everything from the film’s title to words on a bus ad in the background (Futura and Archer are some of his favorite fonts that are easy to access). 

Choose a color pallete but don’t be afraid to deviate

This is a great method to mirror in your own home! Choose a color pallete and composition early (Wes likes Art Nouveau hues and right angles) but be willing to make rare deviations. This will help you emphasize important details, like a piece of decor you want to make stand out. 

how to decorate like wes anderson

Looks inspired by The Grand Budapest Hotel

how to decorate like wes anderson

Click here to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel

Use objects that symbolize something meaningful

Another stylistic tool employed in his films is called material synecdoche (yes I looked this up and still had to use spell check). This fancy term just means that Anderson uses a material object to stand as a symbol of something important. In Moonrise Kingdom, Suzy’s binoculars symbolize, well, Suzy, as well as her curiosity, her longing for something outside of her world, and her tendency for spying…

Looks inspired by Moonrise Kingdom
how to decorate like wes anderson

Click here to watch Moonrise Kingdom

Some friends of mine use this idea in their life and have a few objects that represent significant moments or ideas. For these friends, it’s all centered on the Dr. Seuss book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! It’s all about adventure, positivity, and how being different is brave. Choose an object or material that you feel drawn to that represents a theme in your life (like my friends’ book) and figure out how to incorporate it into your style! 

Whether it is polka dots or acorns, poppies or binoculars, choose something that feels like you and treat it like your design calling card. Sprinkle it into your home and your wardrobe, et voila! You have a trademark ~look.~

Looks inspired by The Darjeeling Limited

how to decorate like wes anderson

Click here to watch The Darjeeling Limited

Add handmade touches

One detail that we at Lars particularly love is the prevalence of handmade items in Wes Anderson movies! Most of the sets are handmade. (Aisle of Dogs is a crazy masterpiece) and the clothing is all designed and sewn for the characters like a costume in a play would be. 

Handwritten notes are everywhere in his films, even graffitied in the margins of textbooks in Rushmore. This kind of attention to detail helps him achieve this classically curated look, and a similar attention to detail in your life will create your own uniquely curated look.

Looks inspired by Rushmore

Click here to watch Rushmore

Don’t lose your own personal twist

Part of why we love Wes Anderson is of course, because of the people in his films. Yes, they’re funny, yes they’re well dressed, yes they’re witty. But what I like most is that the main characters are creative

In Rushmore, the main character Max is an aspiring playwright. In The Royal Tenenbaums, Margot wins a national writing grant in the ninth grade! Fantastic Mrs. Fox is a fabulous painter, and is shown in a number of scenes working on a really complicated landscape. 

Looks inspired by The Royal Tenenbaums

how to decorate like wes anderson

Click here to watch The Royal Tenenbaums

As a creative person, Wes puts these snippets of himself into these films and therein, I tend to find someone a bit like me. 

Wes Anderson Inspired Home Decor

Kid’s bedroom decor

 

Prints and Books

 

Kid’s classic toys

how to decorate like wes anderson

 

Wes Anderson Inspired Fashion

Women’s

 

Men’s

 

Kid’s

 

This post is part of our “In the Mood For” series, where we highlight the taste of famous people and characters we love. Click these links to be inspired by kindred spirits like Anne of Green Gables or Jo March, or to learn how to re-create the iconic styles of real life heroes Iris Apfel or Alexander Girard

Photo sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

 

Home Organization Tools and Tips for Spring Cleaning

We are in such an organizing mood right now, we arranged our favorite spring cleaning tools by room! Search for exactly what you need to make your home organization a million times easier.

Home office organization

There has never been a more vital time to update your home office. Click here to check out our tips on creating a home office that matches your personality and work style! And use these products below to turn your office into a space where the amazing ideas will just keep coming!

 

Our favorite organization tool

If you know anything about Lars, you know that we’re susceptible to piles of crafting supplies all over our studio! Creativity surely needs a little chaos! However, creativity needs structure as well, and that’s why we’re delighted to showcase our favorite organization product, our very own Dreambox from Create Room.

Perhaps you saw our earlier post about how much we love our Dreambox? We stuffed it full of craft supplies and it made our crafting a million times better, no exaggeration. That’s why we feel fully confident in recommending this product to you, to expedite your spring cleaning organization overhaul. You can fill it with crafting supplies, like we did, anything from paper and pens to sewing supplies!

Sale Alert

And the best news is, they’re having a sale RIGHT NOW! You can save over $600 on the Dreambox, including pre-built services and accessories. We smell a Mother’s Day gift! Click here and use code “LARSDREAMBOX600” for $200 off your Dreambox, $200 Pre-Built service (automatically applied and available in the DreamBox Design Studio), and Up to $212 off accessories (automatically applied and available in the DreamBox Design Studio.)

Honestly, there is no limit to what you can store in the Dreambox. It is the perfect tool to greater element of organization to your office, craft space, or homeschool stations. If anything, you should perhaps be planning for what you’ll fill all your freed-up space with after your spring cleaning! If you need more ideas, dig into our archives for decor-oriented crafts after you get organized!

Bedroom and bathroom organization

Your bedroom will become a calming sanctuary when clutter is out of site and out of mind.

Kid’s room organization

Your children will be begging to tidy their rooms with these fun new storage tools. At least, that’s the daydream, right?

Kitchen organization

The center of the home, and the biggest sign of the state of your mind. A tidy kitchen makes a world of difference!

Living room organization

With all family members at home more than ever before, add in some simple storage options to get everyone on board with a quick clean.