Brittany’s Guest Room Renovation with Crate and Barrel

Wait…a room inspired by bath towels?

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

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

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

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

Look at these before photos: 

I mean, it’s pretty standard rental: beige carpet, walls, outdated lighting.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

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

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

Bedroom furniture and linens

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

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

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

Bench

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

Rug

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

Dresser

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

Desk

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

Lighting

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

Artwork

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

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

Other items of note: 

Crate and Barrel Guest room selections: 

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

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

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

My Bathroom Remodel Reveal

The road to our bathroom remodel was long and winding, and part of that is because Paul and I have such different sensibilities when it comes to style and design! If he had his way, we’d live in a sleek warehouse with Brutalistic concrete floors. Ha! So you can imagine that we had lots of negotiations and conversations during our ideation faze, which ultimately led to “do whatever you want”. I will, thank you very much 😉

the top of a painted armoire against a red floral wallpaper background. On top of the armoire is a sculptural duck, a candle and candlestick, a paper money plant, and some cute odds and ends.

I get by with a lot of help from my friend, Meta Coleman

Interior shot of a colorful, eclectic dining room with red chairs, wallpaper and blue wainscoting, a green cabinet, and plants.
Hannah Carpenter home by Meta Coleman

I would be sadly remiss if I didn’t start out by singing the praises of my friend and designer, Meta Coleman. Meta is a rockstar designer who’s work is like actual magic. I’m convinced that she knows everything there is to know about interior design because she eats, drinks, and breathes it, and I’m the luckiest to be able to work with her and be her friend. Having Meta at the helm of this bathroom remodel made everything possible. Read more about Meta being my dream designer!

Meta’s process begins with really getting to know the people who live in the space she’s designing, which is part of what makes her work so immaculate. You can see this part of Meta’s designing process through this video of Paul and me talking about our history and design preferences. I really respect how thorough of a designer Meta is, because even though she already knew me and knew my style, she checked in to get really clear on my vision.

Four children lounging and laughing on a green bed with a striped quilt. One is holding a dog and there's a window behind them.
Hannah Carpenter home by Meta Coleman

Then, with my style clearly in mind, Meta brought in so much magic! I was astounded by the way that she totally understood my taste, then surprised and stretched me through her design. All I can say is that I’m super lucky to be close friends with such an amazing interior designer! I highly recommend it.

It’s also thanks to Meta’s incredible interior design that our bathroom was featured in Domino Magazine, which is such a fun honor. Get to know Meta a little bit better through her Becoming interview, check out her website, and definitely follow her on Instagram @MetaColeman_ to keep up with her work.

Our Big Bathroom Remodel

Like I mentioned, our bathroom started out rough. It was a total bare-bones cavern! I mean, look at this:

a blank, unfinished room with sheetrock walls and a dusty subfloor. There's a doorway that leads to a dark, grey space in the imagea blank, unfinished room with sheetrock walls and a dusty subfloor. There's a doorway that leads to another unfinished space in the image. One of the walls has mysterious plumbing coming out of it.a blank, unfinished room with sheetrock walls and a dusty subfloor. There's a doorway that leads to another unfinished space in the image. One of the walls has mysterious plumbing coming out of it.

Depressing, right?

With Meta’s help, we came up with a mood board that both Paul and I loved. As you’ll see, the final design departed just a bit from the mood board while still very much holding on to the essential spirit of Meta’s original design.

moodboard mock up of the bathroom, including red floral wallpaper, a green vanity, our towels and paint colors, and lighting.

I’m a big believer in starting out with a great mood board. It makes everything so much easier and provides an invaluable frame of reference for later, when you’re in the middle of building your design and feel stuck. Check out this tutorial on making mood boards!

Stuga Studio

The very first step was to install flooring, and we fell in love with this amazing wood floor from Stuga Studio. The color we chose is called Tivoli, and it’s perfect–warm but not too yellow. It’s such lovely, high-quality wood, and it has so much personality. We installed it throughout pretty much the whole house, and instantly felt so relieved about our plans to totally update a blank slate fixer-upper. Check out this post to read more about the flooring.

Vertical image of the bathroom. There's warm wooden flooring being laid over light blue plastic sheeting.process photos of Stuga flooring installation

Signature Hardware

Early on in the design process, I got this gorgeous vanity from Signature Hardware. I knew that I wanted an accent piece of furniture, but I didn’t have an overarching design planned out yet, so it was a tricky choice. Still, I had a deadline, so I went for a strong color that also serves as a neutral–the Olsen vanity in a deep emerald green. The green vanity informed lots of the remaining design choices for the bathroom remodel.

I’m so glad I went with the green! I’m a strong believer that green can count as a neutral color in design, and this bathroom is a strong example of that: it grounds the rest of the colors, which is what neutrals do best.

As you can see, I put the vanity to use long before things were finished or ready. Just keeping it real!

Emerald green vanity with clutter around and on it. The walls are mostly painted white, but are very unfinished.

Closeup shot of an emerald green vanity.

I also got a beautiful wooden hutch from Signature Hardware. It had an unfinished surface, so I wanted to do something to customize it and came up with a Swedish Wedding Cabinet as inspiration.

Antique swedish wedding cabinet

So beautiful, right?? I love the intricate floral designs and I think that cabinets make such perfect heirlooms (sturdy and useful? Check and check), so I decided to paint my wooden hutch with flowers. Stay tuned to learn more about that process in a future post!

A painted cupboard. It is burgundy with green, mustard, and white accents.

Signature Hardware also has beautiful towel racks and wall hooks, which are so important for a bathroom remodel. I installed the Vintage Towel Bar and the Vintage Towel Ring in brushed gold, and they land at the perfect intersection between simple and refined.

A yellow striped towel hanging on a brass towel rack.A yellow striped hand towel hangs on a brass ring on the wall. The out-of-focus silhouette of flowers in a vase shades some of the image.Close up of a brass towel ring. A yellow and white striped hand towel hangs from it, and there's red floral wallpaper in the back.

To complete the set, I also got the Vintage Robe Hooks in brushed gold.

A pink and blue batik-patterned bathrobe hanging on a brushed gold hook in a bathroom. You can see a doorway and a red, floral bathroom on the side of the image.

For the faucets I used New York Widespread faucets in polished brass from Signature Hardware. I’m a big fan of ceramic knobs, so I switched those in for the brass knobs to feel super classic.

gold faucet on a marble countertop. The handles are ceramic.Brushed brass faucets on a marble countertop with a periwinkle vase of flowers. There's red floral wallpaper in the background.Brushed brass faucets on a marble countertop with a periwinkle vase of flowers. There's red floral wallpaper in the background.

The Walls

Apart from all the technical things (like flooring, plumbing, and electricity), the custom DIY wainscoting was a big part of the remodel. Meta presented the concept to me after seeing a photo of it on a door frame in Paris. She directed me to how to make it happen and then I was off to figure it out. I bought square and circular wooden cutouts, painted them in a soft, light, blue, and attached them to wall’s bottom third. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, the workmen we hired to paint and install trim didn’t think so. Haha! You should have seen their faces when I explained my plan! Thankfully they warmed up to the idea.

The wallpaper came next, and at that point things started getting really exciting. It turns out that having finished walls makes a huge difference! Ha! At this point we started shooting some projects in the bathroom. Some of our eagle-eyed readers may have caught onto a few bathroom remodel teasers in the backgrounds of some past projects. For example, you can see some wallpaper and wainscoting behind these paper pansies.

Paper pansies on a windowsill. There's a white lacy curtain next to them, and red floral wallpaper on the other.Paper pansies in a distressed terracotta planter. They're placed on a stack of colorful books on a chair. In the background, you can see some red floral wallpaper and blue wainscoting.

I also couldn’t resist shooting these paper hollyhocks between the sinks, so you can see the countertop, wallpaper, and some of the mirrors in this picture.

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

Hudson Valley Lighting

Meta selected these light fixtures from Hudson Valley Lighting and I loved the classic feel. For the wall sconces she picked out the Beekman lamps in aged brass, and on the ceiling I got the Flare flush mount light fixture in aged brass. The shower and toilet are in their own separate little space, but I got the Ainsley flush mount in aged brass for that room. The art deco details around the edges elevate it without being too gaudy.

close up of beekman light fixtures.beekman light fixtures above a two-toned mirror.beekman light fixtures against floral red wallpaper.Interior shot of a bathroom. There's red floral wallpaper and framed art prints on the walls, blue textured wainscoting and trim, wooden floors, yellow window treatments, and eclectic styling.Ainsley flush mount light on the ceiling.

Adding Finishing Touches

After we got all the main pieces installed, it was time to style the bathroom. Meta Coleman came back to lend a hand, and I truly love the way she put my bathroom together.

The mirrors are custom made by Meta, and I love the way the two-tone glass reflects such warm, glowing light around the room. She used this two toned mirror technique on her own bathroom and generously gave me the remains. We tried a few different shapes included a wavy design and a flower, but ultimately, I wanted to keep it a simple oval.

Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.

Meta also custom made my curtains using Soane fabric. I love the mustard color, and the fabric’s pattern reminds me so much of Matisse’s paper cutouts.

Meta installs the curtains over the window. Meta's silhouette is outlined against a glowing yellow and white curtain.

Our Full Bathroom Remodel Reveal

Whew! So many things came together for this bathroom remodel, and it was seriously so much work. I’m so grateful for Meta’s help all along the way! I truly couldn’t have done it without her.

Shot of a green bench in a red wallpapered bathroom. There's also a blue wainscoting at the bottom and a green painting on the wall.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop,and brass knobs and fixtures.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.A brass faucet with white ceramic knobs on a white marble countertop. The wallpaper behind it is red and floral.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and brown wicker baskets under the vanity.Brushed brass faucets on a marble countertop with a periwinkle vase of flowers. There's red floral wallpaper in the background.Brushed brass faucets on a marble countertop with a periwinkle vase of flowers. There's red floral wallpaper in the background.A yellow striped hand towel hangs on a brass ring on the wall. The out-of-focus silhouette of flowers in a vase shades some of the image.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, along with beautifully curated knick knacks.

I have a closet attached to my bathroom, and I updated that, too! I’ve included a few sneak peeks in this post, but you can stay tuned to see more of it soon. 😉

Interior shot of the red wallpapered bathroom from inside a pink and green painted closet.

More Remodel Inspiration

For an overview on our renovations so far, read about everything we did to our house in the first year of owning it. You can also check out our tiled bathroom progress and our kitchen remodel update.

Would love to hear what you think! Let me know in the comments!

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!

Lars’ DIY Geometric 3D Wainscoting

The inspiration for my DIY wainscoting came from a picture that my friend, interior designer, Meta Coleman, saw of a door frame in Paris. You can see it in the collage below (bottom right). She presented the idea to me in her mood board below: and though I didn’t totally get it at first, I never saw no to Meta. I say yes and then I figure it out!

You can DIY wainscoting, too!

Look. I know that any time a room remodel starts means bringing out the power tools a lot of you probably sigh and put the project on the shelf. DIY wainscoting is pretty involved, and it can seem overwhelming! Fear not, though, because I’m here to show you that it’s actually totally doable.

Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.

The first step in our remodel was the flooring, which we got from Stuga Studios. I mention it here because it made a HUGE difference in our space, which was truly unfinished. Being able to walk through your house without shoes on makes a big, big difference!

Things got really exciting after the floor was installed and it was time to take care of the walls. I knew from Meta’s original design that I wanted the bottom half of the walls to be a light blue color to offset and cool down the red Josef Frank wallpaper that would cover the rest of the walls. So one night I just started painting!

Photo of an interior with wooden floors. The walls are mostly white, but there's some blue paint around the trim and the bottom half of the walls.

The circle/square pattern

One of the trickiest parts of my DIY wainscoting installation was mapping out exactly how tall I wanted the chair rail to be, how I would fit the wooden cutouts, and where I needed to cut some of them down to size. I taped up paper diamonds and circles to figure out the wainscoting height as well as distance between columns.

I highly recommend making paper mockups whenever you do a DIY like this, because they’re so easy to adjust and tweak. I tried a few variations: each column with the same pattern and then switched it around so every other one was the same. I tried an ABA pattern as well as an ABBA pattern and decided to go with every other row being the same and starting at a different point.

I also had to play around with how big each one would be and how many shapes I would need. All of them were made from maple plywood 1/4″ thick. The circle was 3.5″ in diameter, but the square had to be slightly smaller at 3″. I worked with Zach at Laser Lingo and he was wonderful. He even gave me a 20% discount for ordering so many. The circles were a ready made product he already had here. It came out to about $200 for the shapes.

How many do I need?

First, I had to figure out about how many columns I would have in the room. I spaced them out every 9″ and drew a line. I figured out how many squares/circles each column would have and multiplied that by the amount of columns and then added 10% more to make sure I had enough.

Figuring out the height

First, I placed the shapes at the bottom of the baseboards and realized that they would look better if they were cut in half at both the top and the bottom. Chair rails feel best when they are about 1/3 from the bottom so that’s what we were aiming for, but we also had to take into account where the shapes were going to end. We took into consideration the width of the chair rail too, so we stopped the pattern at around 32″ and then the chair rail took up another few inches leave it at around 34″ ish.

Paper mockup of DIY wainscoting on a white and blue wall.

Trim and finish painting

Once I decided on a height, it was time to install all the trim and finish painting. Don’t you love the feeling of a space progressing with every step? I remember walking into the bathroom once it was painted and breathing a sigh of relief. It was coming together!

Interior shot of a room with wooden floors and blue and white walls.Interior shot of a room with wooden floors and blue and white walls.

Prepping the squares and circles for paint

You will paint the squares and circles before applying them to the wall. My painter, who is the absolute best, took him the squares and circles, sanded them, sprayed them lightly from 4 different angles with an airless gun (you can rent them for cheap!) two different times. He placed them on plywood to spray them. He said it’s all about the prep! We had 280 pieces total so it was a bit of a process.

A hand reaches into frame from the left and holds up blue painted cutouts against a blue and white wall.

Applying the squares and circles to the wall

After painting and verifying my design, it was time to start the installation. We had a great team installing molding and trim to the exactly correct height. Then came the fun part: gluing up the wooden cutouts!

How to do a DIY geometric 3D wainscoting

Materials:

    • Standard construction adhesive (He used Liquid Nails)
    • pencil
    • ruler/measuring tape
    • circles and squares (I got mine custom sized from this Etsy seller)

Instructions:

  • Draw a straight line on the wall of where you will be installing the squares/circles. Make sure it’s level and perfectly straight.
  • Use standard construction adhesive (he used Liquid Nails) like 3-4 dabs per square/circle. You don’t need too much of it. The squares are easy to affix because we placed them on each points like a diamond so we could align them perfectly. The circles were eyeballed.
  • He used a saw to cut off the bottoms prior to painting so that the ends were nicely finished.

Interior shot of a bathroom with wooden floors and blue and white walls. There's blue-painted trim at waist-height around the room, and some boards and materials are cluttered in the corner and under a window.Two workmen glue up wooden cutouts as a custom DIY wainscoting.DIY custom wainscoting installed in a blue and white room.DIY custom wainscoting installed in a blue and white room.

Because I knew that I’d be installing wallpaper after we finished the DIY wainscoting, I didn’t worry about any paint that reached above the waist-level wainscoting. It all got covered up once we wallpapered!

Interior shot of a room with red floral wallpaper and blue custom wainscoting.

Why Custom Design

I know that some of you are wondering why I insisted on installing my own custom wainscoting design instead of using a pre-made one. It certainly would have been easier! But I love living in a space that I designed myself. There’s just something about seeing something develop from the very beginning and tweaking it along the way so that it’s just right. Having Meta’s help was also very encouraging, because she has such a talent for making a space really reflects its occupant. I knew that with her help, we could make my custom DIY wainscoting dreams a reality.

Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.Interior shot of a custom painted cupboard and blue DIY wainscoting in a red floral bathroom.Horizontal interior shot of a bathroom with red floral wallpaper, a green vanity with brass knobs, and blue diy wainscoting.

More Bathroom Remodel Inspo

Remodeling the bathroom took a lot of time and turned out to be a lot of steps. You can read more about everything that came together for our remodel here, so even if you aren’t ready to install DIY wainscoting there’s lots of bathroom inspo for you on the blog!

Felix’s New Nursery

Before my first son, Jasper, arrived we raced to get his nursery done and it paid off (you can see it here. I had such a wonderful experience having a fully designated space for him–it felt almost magical. Just him and me having our special place together nursing and me admiring him. We were certainly in a little newborn bubble. I think I even heard choruses of angels around us.

Interior shot of a child's room. Walls are green, A pink checkerboard rug is on the floor. A white rocking chair is central in the image.

With Felix, because of all the new home renovations and normal, if not over, work load, I didn’t get his nursery done, not even close. And I felt the toll! For a while I slept on a mattress downstairs next to his bassinet before transferring up to our bedroom and then we were constantly moving because we’ve been renovating the closet, bathroom, putting baseboards, etc. It’s been wild, uncomfortable…chaotic. Not conducive to a magical experience.

An interior shot featuring a painted green wall with a brightly colored lamp and a toy doll perched on a wicker shelf.

And then we partnered with our friends at Pottery Barn Kids and life got so much better as you might expect when you, well, partner with Pottery Barn Kids. 

Most important to me when creating a space for a baby is figuring out the immediate needs. Number one, especially in the early stages, is nursing. Life kind of revolves around it at this point (you too?): schedules, meals, outings (or lack there of right now, right?!). Everything! I nursed exclusively with Jasper and I’ve done the same with Felix (though I seriously reconsidered that this weekend after my first bout with mastitis–YIKES!).

Interior shot of a nursery. In the foreground, a red toy airplane rests on a white ottoman. In the background is a wooden dresser with a small Danish flag on top and some illustrations on the wall.

Because of my bad back, I like to have a great chair set up in place so I know it will be comfortable and I don’t have to scramble to make something up last minute. Jasper’s rocking chair has almost become a member of our family based on how much we use it. Though I no longer nurse him, we gather around it for stories every day. I knew I needed another one for Felix so we could create the same tradition in his room.

Interior shot of a child's room. Walls are green, A pink checkerboard rug is on the floor. A white rocking chair is central in the image.

Have you searched on Pottery Barn Kids recently? Look at all their nursery chair and ottoman options. I’ll wait….There’s a TON of styles and features. I looked for one that had a shallow back so that it wouldn’t have to strain while nursing. I also wanted one that felt both classic yet modern. I arrived at the Modern Wingback Slipcovered Glider and Ottoman. I got it in their classic white linen, which on first glance seems crazy, but because it’s a slipcover, you can easily take it on and off (velcro!) and wash it. 

Brittany sits in a white rocking chair next to a window and a green wall and snuggles Felix.A white rocking chair against a green wall with a colorful lamp in the background. An orange stuffed fox and a pillow are on the chair. Interior shot of a green nursery. In the foreground is a white rocking chair with a few pillows, toys, and books on it and in the background is a wooden dresser.

It may seem like a funny thing to get excited about, but I need my nursing conditions to be, well, perfect, and their ottoman is the perfect height so I can prop Felix up and be super comfortable. I’m so pleased with my new arrangement I can’t even express it. The magical feelings are starting to reemerge again and none too soon!

A white rocking chair against a green wall with a colorful lamp in the background. An orange stuffed fox and a pillow are on the chair.

But there’s more. Have you seen their collection of cribs and changing stations? There are so many beautiful options. I went all white with Jasper, but I wanted something different for Felix so I got an all wood collection–something to feel deeper. I chose the Dawson Convertible Crib, which is somehow even more beautiful in person than it is on a screen. It will grow with Felix into a toddler bed too so it’s worth the investment (two beds in one!). It’s also GREENGUARD Gold Certified, meaning it meets or exceeds stringent chemical emissions standards and it’s made in a Fair Trade Certified facility. I feel really good about their manufacturing processes and love being able to align myself with them.

A wooden dresser with a clock, changing basket, Danish flag, and blanket on top. The wall has a few illustrations hanging on it.

Then for the changing table/dresser I went with the Dawson dresser. Again, it’s a beautiful blend of traditional and modern with the clean lines and fine detailing on the drawers. It comes in a lovely acorn color with the same ethical standards. Again, even more beautiful and illuminating in person. It looks so good against the green walls! Which brings me to my next point.

Brittany sits in a white rocking chair against a green wall and snuggles Jasper and Felix.

Jasper’s nursery at our old house was more light and airy and again, I wanted something where we played with color more. The room is also acting as Paul’s office so I wanted to take his preferences into consideration. Paul loves BRIGHT colors. I’m talking saturated, BRIGHT colors. We settled on a agreen, but what green was the question! He LOVES a classic Jaguar green but then I got this lovely checkerboard pink/magenta rug (used from Hannah Carpenter as spotted by Meta Coleman) and wanted to merge the two colors together somehow.

A white rocking chair against a green wall with a colorful lamp in the background. An orange stuffed fox and a pillow are on the chair. The floor is covered by a magenta checkerboard rug with a few wooden cars and an airplane on it.

I figured out that the green needed to be a bit more blue so we went with this Palm Frond color. I thought it was going to be too much for me but with the gorgeous wood furniture, it’s MAGICAL. I tried out a contrasting trim in a light blue, the same color we’ll be using for our bathroom, and I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it…I like it sometimes and other times I’m not sure. I’m not sure you can see it too well in these photos so maybe you can speak to that quite yet.

Interior shot of a child's room with a green wall, a wicker shelf with a toy on it, and a crib. The crib has a denim-colored quilt hanging over the side.

I accessorized with the cutest bed sheet/comforter set. The sheets are dreamy soft and play well with the green of the walls. I love the chambray look always. It tends to go with most things.

Then I added in some green gingham curtains to play with the color too.

Shot of the inside of a wooden crib, with a few toys and pillows inside it.

With all the other bright color accessories we own, the color works so well and it’s now one of the few rooms in the house that feels GOOD! I’m still calling it a phase one design because we might adjust some things, but in the meantime, I’m spending all my time in there.

Brittany sits in a white rocking chair against a green wall and snuggles Jasper and Felix.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.

Thank you Pottery Barn Kids for making our nursery dreams come true and for sponsoring this post!

DIY Celtic Knot Pillow

DIY Celtic Knot Pillow Tutorial

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

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

Shop the look:

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

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

DIY: Friendship Bracelet chevron rug

You know how friendship bracelets are totally back? Well, I can’t quite bring myself to get into it after 15 years but I love the bright colors, the patterns, the idea of it….It got me thinking where else I could apply the process and I thought it’d be fun to make a huge friendship bracelet that you could walk on.  You know, given my love of all things oversized. After multiple attempts I came up with this rug for the new Chalkboard Magazine (it’s awesome. Check it out here). Any other size is too thick to actually use. The one you see here is two final rugs stitched together.
Materials: 2 sets of 5 colors of fabric, 8-10″ wide and 3 meters long; scissors, needle, thread, tape

Step 1: Line the 5 colors up how you’d like them to appear in rows on the rug.
Step 2: Mirror the colors on the other side of the line so that there are 10 pieces.
Step 3: With the first piece of fabric (mine is pink) on the left, make the number 4 with the second piece (dark blue here).
Step 4: Put the first piece under the second piece and tie it, bringing it up to the top.Step 5: With the first piece, move onto the next piece of fabric (yellow here) and repeat the process. Continue to the center of the colors and leave the pink alone for now.

Step 6: Work from the other side, moving from the right to the center. Make sure to reverse the number 4.
Step 7: When the two pinks meet in the middle, tie them together.

Step 8: Go onto the next row (the dark blue) and repeat the process.

Step 9: Work until you’ve finished your desired length. Mine is 31″ from the outer points.

Step 10: Begin a new one and repeat the process in the same color order.
Step 11: Stitch the two together with a needle and thread. I stitched mine so that they go opposite ways.
Step 12: Cut the ends off so that they hide into the first layer of color.
Step 13: Stich the ends to the first layer so it’s secure and can’t wiggle out.
Step 14: Voila!
Photography by Liv Colliander

Nativity Craft Along

Christmas is a perfect time to join up with our community and do something fun together, so we dreamed up a craft along. After all, there’s no better time to get out your glue and paints than during the holidays! And what’s more classic and meaningful than a handmade gift? I definitely don’t know of anything.

Well, as the Lars team continued scheming and dreaming, our craft along plans got better and better, and now we’re SO EXCITED to make this Mid-Century Heirloom nativity craft along with you!

unpainted wooden angel figure from a midcentury nativity against a pink and red background

We’ve teamed up with a few celebrities and crafting heroes, and to be quite honest, I’m already starstruck. Like, let’s just say that I’m going to meet my childhood hero and that we’ll be wearing pink on Wednesdays from here on out. We’ll be releasing our star crafters through our mailing list (sign up here!), but I’d also love to hear your guesses in the comments. 😉

You’ll also be able to meet our star crafters through weekly Instagram Live events, where we’ll be working on a character from the nativity every week.

Heirloom Nativity

So what’s a craft along?

A craft along is a way of building community with your fellow crafters while all working on the same (or a similar) project. Our nativity craft along is a perfect opportunity to get ready for Christmas (because we all know that it sneaks up on us every year) and get to know your Lars community a bit better. We’ll all be making a midcentury heirloom nativity together, and it’s going to be so lovely! Even though summer’s still on its way out, we wanted to jump into our handmade holiday plans early because this is a project that you’ll want to begin waay in advance. Get a head start on your handmade holidays and join in the fun with this nativity craft along!

Crafting with a cause

As I’ve mentioned in these two essays, I recently partnered with Nest and I’m now part of their advisory board. I really believe in Nest’s mission to support woman makers in the global economy, and I’m so grateful to be part of their amazing work. We’ve set the very exciting goal to raise $50,000 for Nest through this nativity craft along, and we’re doing it in three ways:

  1. Ebook sales: for each ebook sold, we’re donating $5 (with an option for you to donate even more at checkout).
  2. Donations: we’ll collect donations during Instagram Live events with our famous crafters (think a 21st century twist on a classic fundraising telethon). During these Instagram Live events you’ll get to know some of your favorite crafty celebrities a bit better, and you can work on your heirloom nativity alongside them and me! Doesn’t that sound dreamy? You can donate to Nest over here!
  3. Auction: After all these Instagram Live crafting sessions we’ll auction off our two completed midcentury nativities! There will be one made by me and one made by our favorite crafting celebs, and all the money we raise by auctioning them will go to Nest.  So even if you’re not a big fan of crafting, you can get your own gorgeous heirloom midcentury nativity (and it just might come with some star power).

Heirloom Nativity

However you do it, your participation in this nativity craft along will help us reach our fundraising goal and help Nest support woman artisans all over the world.

Make Your Own Heirloom Nativity!

Years ago when we first released our Midcentury Nativity project, we used a combination of vintage, found, and purchased wooden pieces. While I love the way our old set looks, it’s impossible to replicate exactly. That can be so frustrating! So this year we’ve worked hard to come up with an excellent set of wooden pieces that you can buy to make your nativity match with ours. If you buy these materials, your pieces will also align just right with the templates we made in our ebook! Convenience and unity for the win!

unpainted wooden finials and candlesticks in the form of wooden nativity characters

You can find all the materials we used over in the e-book including the specific wood pieces for the right combinations.

Here are the colors we are using for the set:

unpainted wooden wise man figurine from a nativity set against a pink and red striped background

To get templates and tips you can download our ebook!

Follow Along

The best way to stay on top of all our craft along content by following us on Instagram and subscribing to the newsletter. Now enter the giveaway, order your materials, and let’s get crafting!

baby Jesus unpainted wooden figure on a pink and red striped background

Looking for more nativity projects? If you love this, you’ll also love our DIY nativity puppets, this clothespin nativity, and this nesting doll DIY.

Back to School: DIY Whiteboard Upgrade

Because my love of pretty school supplies runs deep, making a DIY Whiteboard felt like a natural step. This would be a great teacher project (can you imagine how cute in your classroom??) or it would also look great in your home office, study space, or bedroom. If you’re a homeschool family, making this whiteboard would be a great project because it integrates math and design. Then you get a great, useful whiteboard in the end! Win win!

A squiggly-painted whiteboard with paint swatches, ribbons, and other mood board-like objects taped to it. It's on wallpaper with a green botanical design.

Make Your Own DIY Whiteboard

Materials

You’ll need a whiteboard, a ruler, a dry-erase marker, acrylic craft paint, and a paintbrush.

A squiggly-painted whiteboard with paint swatches, ribbons, and other mood board-like objects taped to it. It's on wallpaper with a green botanical design.

Instructions

You can make this DIY whiteboard with whatever size of square whiteboard that you have. It will take a little bit of math, but hey! It’s back to school time! You can handle it!

(If your whiteboard is *almost* a square, just proceed as written below and fudge the numbers a bit. You’ll make the squiggle with dry erase marker, so it will be easy to modify. Good news: no one’s grading this!)

Step by step photos in a grid showing how to make the DIY Whiteboard

  1. Measure the sides of your whiteboard. Divide the length of your whiteboard by six. We’ll call this new number “x” in honor of all the algebra classes we sat through.
  2. With a dry erase marker, make a mark around the board’s perimeter every “x” inches, starting in a corner and going all the way around.
  3. Starting at the first mark you made (x inches from the corner), mark a point half the length of x perpendicular to the edge of the whiteboard towards the center of the board and mark. Wait, what? Too much math? Let me break it down. If x is 7 inches, then you’ll mark a point 7 inches away from the corner of the whiteboard and 3.5 inches in toward the center. You’ve got this.
  4. Go to the next mark you made on the whiteboard’s perimeter. From here, mark another point x inches in toward the center of the board. In our example, this point would be 14 inches away from corner and 7 inches toward the center.
  5. Go all the way around the whiteboard marking points. Alternate them half of x inches (3.5 in our example) and x inches (7 in our example) all the way around.
  6. The hard part is over! Look at you, you mathematician! Connect all the new alternating marks by making a zig zag all the way around the board. At this point you’re still using the dry erase marker.
  7. Round the zig zag out and erase any previous markings. Now you have a nice even squiggle around your whole whiteboard.
  8. With acrylic paint, paint the outline of your squiggle design.
  9. Fill in the squiggle design with more paint.
  10. If you need to, do a second coat of paint on your whiteboard. Tadaa! You’re all done and ready for a fantastic school year!

Troubleshooting a Rectangle

If you have a rectangular whiteboard that’s very much longer than it is wide or vice versa, you can still make this DIY whiteboard but you’ll need to do a bit more math (and maybe some troubleshooting). Here’s my advice:

  1. Measure the short side of your whiteboard and divide that number by 6 to get x.
  2. Now measure the long side of your whiteboard and divide that number by x. If it’s close to a whole number, just go with that x value and proceed as above. Your long side will have more squiggles than your short side and it will look great.
  3. If you divide the long side of your whiteboard by x and it’s not close to a whole number, then find another number that divides neatly into your board’s length and width measurements. Just make sure that it goes into those numbers an even number of times, or else your squiggles won’t work.

Wow, have you had enough math for today? I think it’s time for a snack, then recess or reading time. Happy crafting!

A squiggly-painted whiteboard with paint swatches, ribbons, and other mood board-like objects taped to it. It's on wallpaper with a green botanical design.

More Back to School Inspiration

I made these paper lunch sacks with apples painted on them and I think they’re such a cute way to reimagine the classic apple motif. I also put together some creative quarantine homeschool activities for kids, so wherever the pandemic takes us you can be ready.

And don’t forget The School that Lars Built! We have art and art history classes for kids, a flower drawing course for people of all ages, and more coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled!

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

Lars Gardens: Planter and Pot Roundup

I have big dreams of landscaping my yard one day, but let’s be honest–it wasn’t going to happen in year one as a home owner. After all, there’s so much to do in the house that I couldn’t get myself to prioritize the outdoor space just yet. Instead, this year I’ve turned to my old standby of making a container garden on the porch, so I wanted to round up some statement planters to get you excited about planting flowers in your space!

Brittany steps out the door to a porch garden full of container plants in bright colors.

Even when I do get around to planning out and designing my whole garden, I’ll probably keep filling my porch with planters and pots because it looks so good and planting is such a great activity to do with kids. Whether you’re a homeowner or you’re renting in a small space, growing a garden in planters is an accessible way to cultivate joy in your space.

Lest you think that container gardening is a step-below gardening in the rest of the yard, look at my current gardening hero: Claus Dalby. Claus Dalby is a Danish gardener who’s going to be publishing a book soon, and I’m so excited to read it! He also is the king of container gardening. I love the way all the flowers look when they’re stacked together. Check out Claus Dalby’s instagram @ClausDalby

Sunset-colored container gardenPastel pink container garden.Purple container garden with lots of tulips. Orange container garden by Claus Dalby

Planter Roundup

A few years ago I shared some of my favorite places to buy planters in this post. They’re still excellent resources, but some of them are only in-person shops. Well, this year I’ve put together a big list of planters and pots that you can buy online. Now you can build your own collection of planters, whether live across the globe or across the street from me!

An exterior shot of a porch container garden with lots of flowers and sunlight.

Pre-potted plants

First up, pre-potted plants!  We partnered up with Plantquility to show you that anyone can (and should 😉 be a plant person, especially a houseplant person.  Plantquility’s pots come with fully grown healthy pre potted indoor plants.  Their site even showcases a comprehensive Care Guide for any of the plants you can purchase on their site. This means no guessing when it comes to your plant maintenance and care. 

Their pots come in nice, neutral colors so fit in with any room design. And with a premium and durable fiberglass material, these pots are sure to last! 

Here are some of our favorites:

pre-potted plants Tranquility

Colorful Planters

It wouldn’t be The House that Lars Built if I didn’t guide you to something colorful! There are colorful planters for every budget here.

Terracotta Planters

A display of geraniums in terracotta pots

Terracotta is a go-to for container gardening, and for good reason! Not only does it look beautiful, terracotta has a porous texture so it keeps plants from staying too wet. There’s nothing wrong with the standard terracotta pot look, but I found a few terracotta statement planters that are extra special.

Hanging Planters

Brittany holds baby Jasper up to a hanging flower pot full of pink flowers.

Hanging planters are a great way to get height and variety in your garden design. They look especially good with flowers or vines that spill over the sides. Once it gets too cold for plants to live outside, you can bring your hanging planters in and use them with your houseplants.

Unique-shaped Planters

Planters and pots come in so many unique shapes. From modern and sleek to abstract to even puppy shaped, there’s no reason not to incorporate some interesting shapes to your collection of planters and pots.

Patterned Planters

Planters with interesting patterns look great with ornamental grasses, greenery, and houseplants.

Textured Planters

 

If you’re looking to liven up your collection of planters without going all-out on the decorations and designs, interesting textures can hit the spot.

If you’re still looking for gardening inspiration, check out this post where I fantasize about my dream garden and this post where I show you how to plant a rainbow container garden.

Thanks for shopping through this planter roundup with me! Every time you buy something through one of my links I get a small commission, which helps me bring you more great projects and designs.

This post is sponsored by Tranquility though all opinions are mine.

DIY Paper Hollyhocks

These DIY paper hollyhocks are part of my ongoing home upgrade. As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I’ve been doing a lot of renovations since I bought my house last June. Lately I’ve been working on finishing my upstairs bathroom, and let me tell you–nothing motivates you to work on a big project like having to use an unfinished bathroom! 😬

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

My bathroom vanity has two sinks with a mirror above each one, so I wanted to make something beautiful to go between them. Earlier this year we made some paper pansies for the bathroom and I love them so much that I wanted to do another flower. I decided on a few stalks of DIY paper hollyhocks, and I’m so glad I did because these have IMPACT. The individual flowers are really simple, but when you put the whole stalk together they’re absolutely show-stopping. I keep thinking how pretty they would be as bridal flowers!

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

Follow along for the full tutorial!

Make your own DIY paper hollyhocks

Materials

You’ll need our paper hollyhock template, crepe paper in a variety of colors (I used dark purple, indigo, peach, magenta, light yellow, dark yellow, and a few colors of green), hot glue, a glue gun, floral wire, 14 gauge wire, wire cutters, floral tape, scissors, and a paintbrush

Instructions

Prepare your materials
step photos of preparing materials for hollyhocksfor
  1. Download and print our DIY paper hollyhock template (which you can find here in our shop!)
  2. Decide what colors of flowers you want. I made blooms in three different colors, and each color used a main color and a darker stain color.
  3. Cut your main hollyhock paper into 3 strips that are 5 inches wide and about 20 inches long. Cut your stain paper into 3 strips about 2.5 inches wide and 20 inches long. Make sure the grain of both of these strips is such that it stretches horizontally.
Prepare your paper
  1. The next steps will stain your table and fingers, so put down a piece of thick butcher paper or cardboard if you’re working on a precious surface and consider wearing gloves!
  2. Tape the ends of the main petal paper down so that it lies flat on a table. Tape the darker stain paper over the main color of paper so that it runs along the center of the wider purple strip.
  3. Dip a paintbrush in water and wet the stain paper only. Then, press it down onto the main petal paper. This will transfer some of the dark dye onto the main crepe paper.
  4. Repeat this with your other strips of paper.
Prepare the pieces
  1. While your petal paper (say that five times fast!) is drying, cut the rest of your template pieces out. You’ll cut the inner petals out of dark yellow paper, a stigma out of light yellow paper, and leaves out of green paper. Each flower will have 5 petals, 5 inner petals, and one under-petal leaf piece.
  2. You can also cut out purple rectangles of various sizes (the buds) and the bud leaves in green.
  3. Once your petal paper is all dry, you can cut those petals out. Arrange them so that the dyed portions are at the narrow base of the petal.
  4. Make a thick stem. Cut three pieces of 14 gauge wire to varying lengths. The longest should be a little shorter than you want your flower stalk, the middle one should be about 2/3 that length, and the shortest should be about 1/3 the length of the first.
  5. Hold the three wires together so that they all overlap at the bottom.
  6. Starting at the bottom where they all overlap, wrap the wires with floral tape. Wrap all the way to the end of the longest wire, forming a long, stiff stem that narrows toward the top.
Make the DIY paper hollyhock pieces
Flowers

Step by step photos of making a paper hollyhock

  1. Start with the flower’s stigma by crumpling up a small ball of crepe paper from your scraps. Glue this to the tip of your regular weight floral wire.
  2. Put a dab of glue on the center of the cut out stigma square and put this on the crumpled paper. Fold down the ends so that it covers the crumpled paper, then secure with more hot glue.
  3. Glue each yellow inner petal to the base of a purple petal. 
  4. Make a line of glue on the side/bottom of a petal next to the yellow inner petal. Glue then next petal to that first petal. Repeat for all 5 petals.
  5. Attach your line of petals to the flower center so that they wrap evenly around, and secure with glue. 
  6. Put a dot of glue halfway up the edge of each petal and attach it to the one next to it.
  7. Stretch the green under-flower leaf piece and glue it to the base of the flower.
  8. Stretch a thin stem strip of green crepe paper and wrap it around your DIY paper hollyhock’s stem for 3-5 inches, securing with glue as you go.
  9. Repeat steps 1-6 until you have your desired amount of hollyhock blooms. I think that 5-9 blooms per stalk looks lush and lifelike.
Buds

step by step photos of making flower buds

  1. To make the buds, cut rectangles of purple crepe paper and fold the top corners in, then fold the top down repeatedly. Roll up the paper, then glue it to form a rounded bud shape.
  2. Stretch the bud leaves, then glue and wrap them around the bud along with a 5 inch piece of floral wire. Let some of the buds show more purple inside, while some should be mostly or all covered with green bud leaves.
  3. Glue a small leaf to the wrapped bud.
  4. Stretch a thin stem strip of green crepe paper and wrap it around the bud stem, securing with glue as you go.
Leaves

step by step photos showing how to make hollyhock leaves

  1. To make the leaves, use the template to cut the 6 leaf pieces out of green crepe paper. Make sure that you’re cutting the pieces with the grain, as shown on the template.
  2. With a thin line of hot glue, attach the leaf pieces together. The leaf is an organic star-like shape, but if you didn’t cut with the grain of the crepe paper it won’t stretch right. 
  3. Stretch the paper slightly to ruffle the edges and give the leaf dimension.
  4. Glue a piece of floral wire along one of the seams in the leaf.
  5. Stretch a thin stem strip of green crepe paper and wrap it around the base of the leaf and the wire stem for 6-7 inches, securing with glue as you go. 
Assemble your hollyhocks!

step by step photos showing how to assemble hollyhocks

  1. Now you have a lot of hollyhock elements on pieces of wire. We’re going to put them all together, starting at the top of the stalk.
  2. Glue a bud to the stem of another bud, then wrap the glued stems together with a stretched crepe paper strip, gluing as you go.
  3. Add more buds, gluing and wrapping with crepe paper. As you add elements, the stalk will get thicker and stronger, just like a real flower!
  4. After you’ve added and wrapped all the buds, it’s time to attach the thick stem. Glue the wrapped buds and wires to the top of the thick wire stem, then wrap with crepe paper. Keep securing the crepe paper strips with glue as you continue this.
  5. It’s time to start adding your fully bloomed flowers! Glue a flower’s stem and a leaf to the stalk, then wrap with a crepe paper strip.
  6. Continue adding flowers and leaves to the stalk as you work your way down. You want to space them out with a few inches between each one.
  7. If you have extra leaves after you add all your flowers, add them to the bottom of the stalk. Wrap them with a crepe paper strip, just like you did for the prior leaves. You should leave about five inches of stem without flowers and leaves at the bottom of your stalk.
  8. After you finish adding all your flowers and leaves, continue wrapping a crepe paper strip all the way to the bottom of the stalk. Secure with glue, then cut the strip.
  9. Voilà! You have a gorgeous stalk of hollyhocks! Make a few stalks in various colors, then arrange them however you like for your own indoor cottage garden.

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

More paper flower inspo

If you loved this tutorial for DIY paper hollyhocks, then you’ll love our other paper flower projects! Check out our DIY paper peony, DIY paper foxglove, and this roundup of all our favorite paper flower projects. And if you agree with me that these paper hollyhocks would be beautiful as bridal flowers but aren’t sold on paper over real, then check out these lovely paper bouquets inspired by the royal wedding, white peonies, Cinco de Mayo, and spring color.

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.