Everything we’ve done to our house in one year

To remind you, we started out with a gutted house. Here’s how it looked when we closed on it:

Well, this is how the bathroom looked when we first looked at the house:

But because it took a week to put down our offer they had proceeded with gutting it and took out all the bathrooms:

Which cost us SO much money! We decided to put a basic bathroom in place to start so that we can take our time on a go forward basis.

First step: Flooring

The first thing we did when we moved in was put in flooring. Our friends at Stuga provided all the beautiful wood floors. We went with the warm Tivoli and I’m in love with it. I’ve received so many comments on it from neighbors dropping their heads in (ha! COVID!) You can read more about the process here. It’s easy to clean and looks so so good. beautiful wood floors from Stuga

The flooring brought an immediate warmth to the space acting as a great foundation to the vibe we are going for.

Second step: Bathrooms

Once the floors were in place we needed to get some bathrooms in ASAP. Once again, we wanted to get something basic in before committing to anything long term because I couldn’t fathom designing everything so quickly. I was pregnant at the time and time was lacking!

So we put in some white tile, some in a herringbone style and a classic basketweave in another. They look great and work well! You can read about the process here.

Main bathroom

We worked with a bathroom furniture company on a whole suite of items for the main bathroom so this is the first room that will actually be complete SOON (anytime now!) with the permanent design. I worked with my friend Meta Coleman on it and it’s looking SO GOOD. You can read more about the mood board and concepts here. It’s so hard to get contractors to work on small projects so it’s going as slow as molasses. I thought we’d be done before the baby was born…At this point now we have up wallpaper and are just awaiting a piece of art for the walls and mirrors up. It’s functional and beautiful. Here are some sneak peeks:

Step 3: Kitchen

Ok, the kitchen was challenging as you might guess. The idea was to think of something totally affordable that wasn’t Ikea since Ikea during COVID was SO backed up. Like months backed up. So, we got some of those unfinished cabinets from Home Depot with the intent to get something in fast so we could move in and then spend time on it later. At this point I couldn’t even get anyone to come help us put the cabinets in and counter so my brother in law graciously offered to do it for us. He can pretty much do anything! 

Thankfully, the house came with the dishwasher, oven, and fridge so we had something to start with.

Though it’s VERY basic, it works for now–I literally just left it unfinished! And we’re working on a more permanent design at the moment.

You can read more about the kitchen here.

Because it started to look like we were going to have our “temporary” kitchen longer than I anticipated, I decided to add a bit more to it. 

We painted the cabinets yellow. And I think I’m going to even add a bit more to it. Maybe some floating shelves above too. Just depends on how antsy I get!

My Office

My office is the first room to be “complete” in its phase 1 step. I have long term permanent plans for it, but this one feels the most exciting because it didn’t require much and looks good as is. I used items I already had and we had a sponsor we worked with on a couple of furniture pieces.rainbow calendar home officerainbow calendar blue futon

You can see the office post here. 

Felix’s Phase One Room

We worked with a kid’s furniture company on some amazing furniture for Felix so we hurried to dress up a room to show it off better. Though I love it as is, we are working on a more permanent design for it right now. You can read more about it here.

Interior shot of a green nursery. In the foreground is a white rocking chair with a few toys on it. In the background is a wooden dresser.on it and in the background is a wooden dresser.

Office Basement

Down in the basement, where we have put Lars, we put in a pink epoxy floor and it immediately set a fun and playful mood.

You can read more about it here. 

Here’s a recap of all the things we’ve worked on or are working on:

Read about our flooring here
Read about our kitchen here
Main Bathroom concept
Current Bathrooms
My office here
Garden mood boards here
Studio mood boards here
House announcement and before photos here
Exterior Inspiration here
Felix’s nursery
Pink epoxy floor in office basement

Ok, put it this way and I actually feel much better about things. This is A LOT especially with everything else going on. Calm down, Brittany!

Rooms we are actively working on and can you show you soon!

  • We’ve been doing a lot to our studio, which we moved down into the basement in November. We have one room that’s quite exciting and we’ll be sharing that in the next couple of weeks.
  • Sounds boring, but we’ve done something with the garage, which is also probably more exciting to me that it will be to you. Ha!
  • The main bathroom should be done any day as well as the closet. If anyone who knows how to install closets wants to come help that would be awesome 😉 our guy hurt his shoulder and is out.
  • We are actively working on a kitchen remodel.
  • Felix’s room has a plan that we just need to implement.

OK! I think that’s it for now. Would love to hear any questions you have!

This post is sponsored by Stuga. All opinions are my own!

Our favorite Gee’s Bend Quilts

I’m excited to share the Gee’s Bend Quilts with you because it’s old news that I’m obsessed with quilted things and the rich heritage related to quilting. You’ve seen my quilted coat fascination (on more than one occasion), the coat that I enlisted Romy of Sew Like Romy to make for me last year, the quilted eye mask that I made from some of the extra pieces, and you’ve found out about the big feelings people have about repurposing quilts. I even quilted a patchwork bandana and scrunchie this spring. I know, I know, we get it! Lars loves quilts!

Gee’s Bend History

Gee’s Bend is a small, Black community surrounded by the Alabama River where families have been passing down a quilting tradition since their enslaved foremothers, who lived on the local Pettway Plantation. repurposed whatever material they had access to into colorful quilts. At different points in history the Gee’s Bend quilters have used deadstock corduroy and discarded work clothes in their work.

Gee’s Bend quilts have gained a reputation for being some of the most vibrant, artistically boundary-bending quilts in the American art tradition. They remind me of some of the best Modernist paintings in that the Gee’s Bend quilts are full of color, geometry, and an acknowledgement of the human hand.

 

Even though the Gee’s Bend quilts are now acknowledged as a vital part of American art history, many of the quilters aren’t consistently paid their worth. When I realized that you can buy Gee’s Bend Quilts directly from the artists on Etsy I knew I had to share! So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite Gee’s Bend quilts and quiltmakers!

Quiltmakers

You can read about lots of the individual quiltmakers here. I love reading up on each artist’s story and seeing the ways that their families have passed on quilting traditions. For example, here’s a quilt by Amelia Bennett, who used to quilt with her neighbors and passed her legacy on to her daughter Sally Bennett Jones.

A multicolored quilt made of concentric squares and rectangles.
Amelia Bennet, Housetop 12-Block Variation, photo by Stephen Pitkin

Many of the living Gee’s Bend artists have work available on Etsy. I’ve linked to each individual artist’s shop, so click on their names for more!

Sharon Williams

Katie Mae

Doris Pettway Moseley

Doris Pettway Hackets

Caster Pettway

Lou Ida

Emma Pettway

Claudia Pettway Charley

Stella Mae

Delia

Mary Margaret Pettway

Kristin Pettway

Loretta Pettway Bennett

I love the ingenuity of these Gee’s Bend quilted masks!

I would love to hear about your favorite artists, especially Black artists whose work you’re loving! Let me know in the comments!

And if you’re interested in supporting women makers around the world like those of Gee’s Bend, consider donating to Nest.

Lars Shop Highlight: Floral Art Prints

Last month we did a post about spring cleaning and switching out your art prints, and I shared some art from the Lars print shop. This May, though, I’m focusing on flowers (even more than I do year round! Ha!) so I wanted to show you my curated collection of floral art prints.

Whether you’re looking for a sophisticated, subdued artwork or a playful print there’s something that’s sure to catch your attention in the floral art print shop!

Playful

These prints are charming for children (or children-at-heart)! Ayang Cempaka’s whimsical fairytale-themed prints are colorful and fun, and they are lovely reminders of some favorite stories. Thumbelina’s meadow scene is particularly fitting for Spring, don’t you think?

Four illustrations from fairytales hung above a child's kitchen toy set.

Normandie Luscher’s prints are also inspired by favorite stories. If you’re a reader, these prints are a great way to decorate your space with reminders of your favorite books. You’ll be transported to lovely Avonlea when you look up at Anne’s Way of Delight!

An art print of girls inside and outside a brick building covered with vines and surrounded by trees and flowers. Next to the print are wooden toys shaped like trees and a rainbow. A print of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables walking through a corridor of blossoms against a pink background with real blossoms in front.

Another floral art print that celebrates Spring and promotes literacy is Josefina Schargorodsky’s Reading In the Woods illustration. This artwork would be perfect for a kid’s room or next to the bookshelf.

A print of a girl reading in a garden surrounded by trees, grass, and flowers against a golden background.

Painterly

Decorating with a painterly floral art print is a way to introduce some serenity and style into your space. Helen Dealtry’s Secret Garden print feels like a mysterious portal into another, greener world–just like in the book!

A print of flowers in a green secret garden tunnel hangs on the wall in front of a plant and some craft supplies

Lynne Millar’s paintings are not to be missed! The way she treats shadow and light is dramatic in the same way that a really well-planned garden can be, so you can bring the outdoors in with her prints. Check out this interview of Lynne here!

In interior shot of a pink couch with cushions, a table with a plant, a modern lamp, and artwork on the walls. One of the works is Lynne Millar's Rose painting.

Julie Marabelle of Famille Summerbelle makes glorious paper cut art by painting on paper and then cutting intricate floral designs into them. We have several of her works in our floral art print shop and they would look so lovely in any space!

Field of Colored Flowers Papercut By Julie Marabelle is framed and perched on top of a stack of books next to a yellow bed and a blue and white striped wallpapered wall.

A framed paper-cut floral print on a spruce-themed wallpapered wall by a yellow bed and a blue lamp

These dainty prints by Monica Dorazewski and Yas Imamura will bring whimsy into your home. They would be perfect in a space that needs a breath of light, fresh air, and feminine energy.

Seven Flowers Print by Yas Imamura

Adriana Picker also makes gorgeous, bright, botanical prints. Find her dahlia print here, her tulip print here, her cosmos print here, and her rose print (not pictured) here. You can also read this interview from Adriana Picker and find out more about the artist.

Three pink floral art prints on a white mantle next to a potted plant and a green candlestick

Graphic

Would you describe your style as bold and bright? Some of these more graphic floral art prints might just be calling your name.

Lisa Congdon’s style would look great in a super modern space–I love the idea of kids coming into a living room or kitchen to do homework with “Openness is Essential to Creativity” hanging on the wall next to them. How inspiring, right? Danielle Kroll’s Clementine print would also be so cute in a kitchen.

Openness is Essential To Creativity print by Lisa Congdon among plants and books Clementine Print by Danielle Kroll

For floral art prints in bold colors with less geometric designs, I think that Alli Stocco’s Flamenco Flamingos are a great fit. I also love the Mae West quote written on the print: “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” Such great words to live by!

Rosie Harbottle’s Iris Apfel print brings bright, bold energy into a space. When I see this print I feel inspired to be daring like Iris, and I think all of us could use some of that oomph in our lives.

Flamenco Flamingos by Alli StoccoIris Apfel print by Rosie Harbottle against a sage wall surrounded by stationary and paper plants.

If you’re like me and you can’t get enough of flowers, check out this roundup of floral interior decor–it would all look great with a print from our shop.

What do you look for when choosing art for your home? I would love to see how you decorate with floral art prints, so tag us with #LarsAtHome to share!

In the Mood For: The Queen’s Gambit

Home Decor inspired by Queen’s Gambit

To recreate the different moods presented in The Queen’s Gambit, we divided our home decor inspirations into three categories. Explore the links below for our favorite home decor inspired by Queen’s Gambit!

Pastels and Plaids: Beth’s Adolescent Life in Kentucky

When Beth enters her adoptive parents’ home, her monochromatic life suddenly turns into a burst of patterns and colors. Her adoptive mother’s penchant for florals and pastels wrap each room from floor to ceiling. Beth walks through the entryway and looks into the living room framed within teal curtains. A backdrop of two different wallpapers–one floral and one plaid, both in pastels–are set on pastel-colored carpet. She enters her bedroom that parallels the living room, but everything is pink. Floral bedsheets and floral curtains on a canopied bed almost camouflage themselves within the surrounding pink and plaid wallpaper. As Beth transitions into suburban life, florals and pastels whirl around her innocence and adolescence.

Checkers and Bold Patterns: Beth’s Competition Life around the Country and World

Checkers and plaid are dominant patterns in the show for their obvious representations of chess. When Beth begins to delve into the world of competitions, we see her surroundings gradually change from pastels and florals to earthy tones and geometric shapes. The hotel room in Las Vegas uses sage-green, diamond-patterned wallpaper and a bedspread patterned in mint and brown shells. In Mexico City, the competition takes place in a lobby-like setting where a giant mosaic window seeps light through colorful quadrilateral shapes. We see Beth rising in fame and confidence as her surroundings display more defined shapes. Just like each hotel in the show had it’s own distinct color scheme and vibe, you can treat each room in your home this way for home decor inspired by Queen’s Gambit.

Midcentury Modern: Beth’s Independent Life in Kentucky

*Spoiler alert!* After Beth’s adoptive mother’s sudden death and her major loss in Paris, Beth finds herself alone in her Kentucky home. She buys the house from her adoptive father and finds herself motivated for change. We see her creating her own style as she literally takes down her past. Abstract art and geometric shapes replace landscape and animal paintings. Kitschy, yet beloved, items that used to embellish the rooms are boxed. She then fills the home with new furniture that is interestingly in the same dark teal color but in mid-century modern designs. The scene where she tears down the teal curtains finalizes the closing of her previous chapter. While keeping similar color tones of her adoptive mother’s decor, Beth’s choices symbolize her past shaping her newfound stability and self-assurance through her use of geometric shapes and richer hues.

Clothing inspired by Queen’s Gambit

Of course our urge to makeover everything in Queen’s Gambit style does not stop at our decor – it’s impacting our wardrobes as well! Fortunately for us, retro nods to the 50s and 60s are not off trend right now. In fact, most of the items below are totally current! Cue the cat eye sunglasses and cardigans.

 

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 some past posts from this series!

Wes Anderson, Jane Austen’s Emma, Hamilton

Resilient and Low Maintenance Wood Flooring

For our long time readers, do you remember our flooring we installed in our old apartment? You can see that Resilient Flooring from Pergo here. Pergo is a Beautifully Responsible partner.  These partners are committed to not only sustainability, but also durability.  I love supporting a company that utilizes mindful manufacturing and I love it even more when they over deliver on their promises. 

Resilient Flooring Everywhere: Danish Style

In keeping with Paul’s Danish background, we installed Pergo flooring in pretty much every nook and cranny of our apartment–no floor to floor carpet allowed! With Utah’s ever-changing weather and our small foyer, we knew that having a floor that could handle the dust and grime of fall along with the water and moisture of spring was a priority.  Sure enough, 4 years later and the floors have been a dream. They’re unbelievably easy to clean, and when you have an active toddler, quick and efficient cleaning is also a must.  Their scratch resistant qualities are true to their name. Years of moving furniture didn’t leave even so much as a scuff on this floor. Here’s a little walk down memory lane. The apartment started with carpet everywhere. 

And then we added in the Pergo Resilient Flooring everywhere.

And then we did some more cosmetic work to the apartment and put down an area rug because I like the color and patterns! 

As most of you are well aware, we moved at the end of last year in the chaos of a studio move, pandemic, and my third trimester. Lars was also on the hunt for a new designer to add to our team, and here is when Gwen steps into the story:

 

Enter Gwen, our Crafter!

Hello! Brittany and I met last fall when my husband and I were looking for a new place to live. We had been living in a shoebox of an apartment. So between the two of us and our adorable whirlwind of a dog, Lula, we were getting pretty cramped. A mutual friend referred us to Brittany’s old place. She sent us pictures from the blog, saying “she’s made the inside absolutely perfect!” Um, yes, please. When we came to check it out and meet our landlords we fell even more in love. After making sure that Lula and our landlords’ dogs could get along, we made it official! About a month later Brittany, Paul, and Jasper were in their new house and we had settled into their old one.

Not long after we moved, I saw Brittany’s listing for a designer at Lars. I immediately texted my mom “would it be too weird if I applied to work for someone whose old house I’m living in?” Well, I guess it wasn’t, because the rest is history and I have been part of the team since November. 

Putting our Resilient Flooring To The Test

Since moving in we have adjusted the placement of our furniture several times, and in all the hustle and bustle our Pergo flooring has stood up like a champion. It is a great color too, and doesn’t look constantly dusty like wooden floors tend to do. It’s seriously the ideal intersection of low-maintenance and beautiful that I think all of us are striving for. Because who has the bandwidth to be worrying about their floor right now? Our soggy boots and occasional spills have been no problem. And maybe most impressively, Lula’s antics haven’t left a single mark, even when she gets the zoomies. 

A big part of something being environmentally sustainable is not having to replace it all the time, and I foresee the Pergo flooring lasting for a long long time and for future generations of renters, their families, and their pets. Long live…longevity!

This post is sponsored by Resilient Flooring. Visit Beautifully Responsible to learn more. And follow @ResponsibleFloors on Instagram and Pinterest for more flooring inspiration!

Thanks to the brands who allow us to make awesome original content for you! 

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 hardwood 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 hardwood 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 hardwood 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!

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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.

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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