Palm Springs Style You Can’t Miss

The city really took off after the 1940s when the Golden Age actors of Hollywood wanted a retreat from the growing sprawl of Los Angeles. With all of that wealth coming to town, architects came along with it. William Krisel and John Porter Clark and Arthur Frey and Jack Meiselman and so many more created masterpieces and tract houses alike in this town. While you and I probably can’t commission the architecture gods to build us new homes, we can take cues from their style! It’s also a very real possibility to snag one of the homes for yourself if you’re in the market.

John Porter Clark home. The sky is bright blue, the house is modern and flat-roofed and brilliant white, and the foreground is beige gravelAlbert Frey home made of glass and steel tucked into the plants and rocks of Palm SpringsA white and black Jack Meiselman Home at sunset. Palm trees sway in the background, and the front yard is xeriscaped.

Color Reigns

The look of Palm Springs is one of openness and ease, minimalism with playful twists. With the pervasive sun and expansive sky, most of the homes in the area are painted white but you’ll be hard pressed to find a neutral-colored door. Pastels and neons reign! Hooray! There is this random house that isn’t one of the rat pack mansions or anything, but it has become famous because of #thatpinkdoor. A few cans of paint is all it takes for you to bring this Palm Springs styling tip home with ya! 

Vertical image of a modern white home with a pink door, agave plants, and structural landscaping

Don’t Forget to Look Up

If you go visit Palm Springs, odds are you’ll be so busy looking at all of the fabulous architecture that you might not notice the sky. Who am I kidding – it’s huge and bluer than you’ve ever seen it before. You can’t miss it. The architects who polished this corner of desert into a gem certainly didn’t! It’s almost as if they designed with the sky as the centerpiece. Check out this picture from my good friend Frank’s house. Architect E. Stewart Williams wasn’t messing around – he was showcasing the skies. My favorite Palm Springs houses have windows that are higher than I’m used to seeing. They also have cantilevered sections and skylights. This stunning photograph of the Sunnylands Estate, AKA “Camp David of the West” shows how important the sky is to the design of the property. By the way, Obama and Xi Jinping hung out here a few years back. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me! 

Image of a house with a huge blue sky, topiary-style trees, modern flat roof, and a pink ramp leading into a flat blue pond.

Geometric Ease

Okay, thanks for humoring me while I ranted about the sky for a bit. A huge part of the appeal of Palm Springs is its ease. I just look at pictures and feel relaxed. The design is simple to understand; it’s all about straight lines and symmetry. I love this photo of a room at Twin Palms – the sunburnt orange color is definitely an homage to the earth tones outside. I love that color as a headboard! The symmetry of the room is so precise and uncomplicated that it looks good from every angle. Imagine having a wall of matching prints of identical size behind you for zoom calls! The exteriors of Desert Modernist homes tend to have breeze block and hardy plants that are almost impossible to kill. What’s not to love about that? 

If you’re looking to add some freshness to your space, try channeling the vibe of Palm Springs! Its simple color scheme, sky-inspired design, and linear geometry create such a feeling of comfort and relaxation. That’s exactly what I want right now!!

Shop Palm Springs-Inspired Decor

Shop Palm Springs-Inspired Fashion

Palm Springs-Inspired Accessories

Looking for more style guides? Don’t forget to check out our In the Mood For series! We’ve found fashion, home decor, and accessories inspired by Frida Kahlo, Josef Albers, The Queen’s Gambit, Andy Warhol, Alma Thomas, Monet, Wes Anderson, The Royal Wedding Anniversary, Jane Austen’s Emma, Iris Apfel, Little Women, Alexander GirardAnne of Green Gables, and Hamilton.

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

State Flower Map Coloring Poster

I’m excited to release this new State Flower Map Coloring Page in our shop! I love easy projects that you can do with your family or friends, and coloring this state flower coloring page fits the bill! You could sit down and have everyone color in their favorite place to vacation or where they’re from. This coloring page is also a great option if you want to do something with your hands while you watch movies with friends but you’re not a big fan of puzzles. Because this coloring page poster is big enough to spread out on the kitchen or coffee table, it’s a great project to do as a group.

The State Flower Map Coloring Page hangs on Brittany's rainbow calendar with some art prints and a painting by Jasper.

On the Road

Have you seen those map posters that you scratch off each state or country as you visit it? This printable poster would be a great way to mark your travels within the USA—you could color in each state’s flower when you visit it!

The coloring map is on a red table. Colorful markers are scattered around and some hands reach in to color it.

I think it would be so fun to plan a road trip with state flowers in mind. In every state you visit, try to find the state flower! What a fun way to get into nature and get moving! If you do, be sure to tag us in your pictures with #LarsLovesFlowers and #LarsTravels.

The coloring map is on a red table. Colorful markers are scattered around and some hands reach in to color it.The coloring map is on a red table. Colorful markers are scattered around and some hands reach in to color it.

At Home

Even if you’re relaxing into another summer at home, coloring in the State Flower Map Coloring Page poster is a perfect art project to celebrate flowers and learn some geography. If you’re looking for a way to give your kids some structure in the summer, this would be a great addition to a summer school curriculum. Fun and educational? Yes please! Best of all, you’ll finish the activity with a gorgeous poster to hang.

The State Flower Map Coloring Page hangs on Brittany's rainbow calendar with some art prints, a painting by Jasper, and a cutout bird. A colorful desk with flowers, a laptop, books, and a globe is in front of the calendar.

Make your own State Flower Map Art

When you finish coloring your State Flower Map Coloring Page, hang it up! It has the potential to be It’s extra personal because you’ll color it yourself, and it will make a great conversation starter. Print your state flower coloring page on nice paper and then frame your finished work for extra gravitas. It would be so great in a kid’s room!

The State Flower Map Coloring Page hangs on Brittany's rainbow calendar with some art prints and a painting by Jasper.

Materials

All you need to make your own state flower art is our State Flower Map Coloring Page, markers, crayons, or colored pencils, and a frame.

The State Flower Map Coloring Page hangs on Brittany's rainbow calendar with some art prints, a painting by Jasper, and a cutout bird. A colorful desk with flowers, a laptop, books, and a globe is in front of the calendar.

Instructions

  1. Download the State Flower Map Coloring Page from our shop.
  2. Send the file to your local print shop or at a larger chain like Staples (we used this service and it’s under $10!). You can print the poster on sturdy paper, but you don’t have to.
  3. Gather your friends and color! You know what to do!
  4. If you want to frame your coloring page, this magnetic poster frame is a great and easy option. Enjoy!

The State Flower Map Coloring Page hangs on Brittany's rainbow calendar with some art prints and a painting by Jasper.

Looking for more coloring pages? I have great news in the form of COLORING BOOKS. Check out our Picture Hope coloring book, which we made with lots of artists to raise money for COVID 19 relief. Find it in our shop here. I’ve also made a coloring book called Flowers, and don’t forget all our other coloring pages in the shop! Get coloring!

I would love to see your finished coloring pages and hear about your summer adventures, whether you hit the road or just the couch. Tag us with #LarsLovesFlowers and #LarsTravels!

A Lars Closet: Floral Dresses

This May I’m celebrating flowers on The House that Lars Built, so I wanted to compile some phenomenal floral dresses for you! It’s a great time to be a flower-loving dress wearer, so I came up with quite a long list. In true Lars fashion I’ve organized them according to the rainbow. You’re welcome for all the inspo! Ha!

Dresses are an instant, one-piece outfit. I love that I don’t have to figure out if I have a blouse that goes with a skirt or think too much about putting things together. They’re really my daily uniform!

Brittany wearing a long floral dress and holding a baby

Dresses look great as an outfit all by themselves and they’re easy and fun to style up with other accessories. I love versatility! Dresses are cool in the summertime and easily warmed up with tights in the winter, and only wearing dresses means that I don’t have to search high and low to find pants that fit right. As you can tell I’m a serious believer in dresses and I’m more than happy to spread the good word!

So, without further ado, here are some of my current favorite floral dresses that you can buy and join my Lars Closet team.

Red

A smocked red and blue floral dress with ruffled sleeves and a smocked bodice A red and pink patterned maxi dress

Looking at these red dresses has me dreaming of poppy fields and berry picking!

Pink

A woman wearing a flowing cream colored dress with pink flowers and green line-drawn stems gazes at the camera A painterly printed tiered dress in pink with purple, yellow, aqua, and orange accents.

Here at The House That Lars Built we think of pink as a neutral color because it’s so versatile. Whether you’re looking for something subdued or show stopping, these pink floral dresses are perfect for summer.

Orange

A tiered orange dress with 70s-inspired pink, yellow, and blue swirling accentsA woman leans against a chair in a light-filled room. She's wearing an orange sleeveless dress with a flounce at the bottom and abstract large white flowers printed on it. A dog lounges on a bench behind her.

These orange dresses are transporting me to citrus groves and lovely terra cotta streets. Wear these on your summer adventures!

Yellow

A woman wears a loose maxi dress in a shirt dress pattern. It's printed with large yellow flowers. A woman wears a light yellow floral dress with Mexican-inspired embroidery and frilled sleeves with a flounce at the bottom.

Here comes the sun! These yellow floral dresses are all things sunshine and cheerfulness.

Green

A woman wears a loose-fitting dress printed with green and purple large modern flowers. A woman wears a black and green floral printed midi dress with a lace-trimmed collar in a room with light wood floors.

Channel your earthiness and all your garden dreams with these green dresses.

Blue

A woman wearing a dark blue calico printed dress with a ruched collar and waistband, a flounce at the hem and the sleeves, and pleating in the bodice stands in a white room with a grey floor. A blue calico-printed midi dress with ruffles and flounces crossing the body and on the short sleeves. It has a tied belt and a v neck

Blue is another color that can read as a neutral–maybe because blue jeans are such a staple in the average wardrobe? Achieve the same lovely, relaxed vibe with these blue floral dresses without the horrors of hot jeans in the summer!

Purple

A woman wearing a purple high-necked dress with long, slightly puffed sleeves that's trimmed with darker purple at the neck, sleeve ends, and hem hold a child's hand in a green outdoor space A woman wears a purple calico-printed dress with 3/4 sleeves and a large ruffled collar with a flounce at the hem.

Floral prints go hand in hand with purple. These dresses make me think of gorgeous bundles of wisteria and delicate clumps of violets. Dreamy.

Rainbow!

A woman wearing a square-fronted dress with ruffled tiers and ruffled shoulder-covering sleeves. The dress is black, printed with red, blue, yellow, white, green, and light pink flowers A woman wearing a tiered maxi dress with lilac, blue, aqua, and chartreuse floral tiers stands in a grey room

For days when your color story defies any part of the spectrum, wear a multicolored floral dress. Walt Whitman‘s not the only one who contains multitudes!

Neutrals

A woman wearing a cream-colored tiered dress with long sleeves and botanical illustrations printed on it. A dress with ruffled tiers in the body and on the ends of the long sleeves. It's slightly sheer and has a gathered neckline.

Louder for the people in the back: NEUTRAL DOESN’T MEAN BORING! These floral dresses in subdued tones from white and black to shades of rich brown are so lovely and refined. They will fulfill all your cottage core dreams!

More Summer Fashion Inspiration

If looking at floral dresses in all colors of the rainbow hasn’t satisfied your desire to look at summertime fashion, here are some more projects and posts to peruse:

Thanks for letting us help you build your wardrobe! Every time you shop through links on our blog we get a small commission that helps us bring you more great content.

Top destinations for flower lovers

Traveling after flowers

I’ve been extremely blessed to see some beautiful places throughout the world. I like to say that I don’t like to travel, I just like beautiful places–traveling is my vehicle for getting there. I love beautiful places so much that I’ve prioritized it over other things like an amazing wardrobe, furniture, and other fun delights and securities. I took my first trip to Europe when was 12 on tour with the Orange County Junior Orchestra after joining because I heard they were going to France and England (oh yeah, and I guess I liked the music too ;)). I had always been fascinated by the books I read as a girl that were set in beautiful places like the brooding moors in Sherlock Holmes and the floral nooks of The Secret Garden. After a few more trips to Europe, living on the East Coast, and then finally marrying a Dane and living in Denmark, I feel like I am only a bit more conversant in beautiful sites to see. I know there is so much more out there.

Santa Fe
Cloisters in NYC

Beautiful places, particularly gardens and old estates, make my heart burst. I didn’t realize how much a part of me they were until I noticed that other people couldn’t go on a run without stopping at every corner to look at the flowers. (That, and I hate running so I’ll stop whenever I can). I also started to notice that I love flowers. Like, I REALLY love flowers. I love floral fabrics, silk flowers, paper flowers, flower rugs, flower pillows, real flowers. I’m sure you’re not surprised by now 😉

With that flowery talk out of the way, I’d love to get a list going of the top places to go for flower lovers. I’ve asked a couple of people who I know have a similar affinity to flowers to share some of their favorites too, florist Sarah Winward and garden expert and BYU Museum of Art director, Mark Magleby. Additionally, I’d love to hear what YOU have to say. I haven’t found a comprehensive list anywhere, so I’m thinking this could be a help to all of us and help us create a bucket list.

ALSO! I have an idea for a documentary on this theme, so if anyone out there is a filmmaker I’d love to talk to you about it! Ha! No, really.

My favorite destinations for floral lovers

  1. Monet’s Gardens at Giverny in France. As cliche as it is, Monet is my man. I first went there when I was 13 with my orchestra. We got to perform right in the gardens! I will never forget it. I’ve been privileged to go back to Paris a few more times and always put this on my itinerary (one time I missed the train and accidentally Ubered there from Paris. It was not cheap).
  2. Tage Andersen’s residence and gardens at Gunillaberg in Sweden. You know I’ve now written about it like 5 times. Tage Andersen is pretty much a modern Monet. He looks like him and dresses like him. He bought a palace in Sweden and has turned it into his living masterpiece. They are gardens (including a patch where he’s planted 4000 bulbs) with animals and buildings topped off with his fantastical sculptures that he designs and makes himself. I’d LOVE to see a documentary about him and hoping someone makes one!
  3. Carl and Karin Larsson‘s Sundborn home and garden in Sweden. I got to go when I was first studying in Copenhagen. I’ve been a long time Carl and Karin Larsson fan and it was everything I dreamt about and more. Carl was a painter and illustrator and Karin did textiles and they filled their home with the most incredible details. You weren’t allowed to take pictures inside their home so look it up!
  4. Karen Blixen‘s home and museum in Denmark (I went a few years ago and just realized I haven’t written about it yet!). Her home is set against the ocean. It’s so serene there. Paul studied near the property.
  5. The lavender fields of Provence (My mom and I visited in 2012 and missed it by like two weeks and I was so heartbroken!)
  6. Stourhead in England. I nearly died of beauty there. It’s mostly just gardens. This is also where the new Pride and Prejudice was filmed.
  7. Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC. I think this might be the loveliest place in the world. I lived a few streets from it and had a season pass when I was going to grad school in Georgetown. That, and the cemetery next door, are pinch-yourself-I’m-dreaming worthy in spring and fall. Here’s a little post. It was created by Beatrix Farrand as commissioned by Mildred Bliss. I’ve become OBSESSED with Beatrix Farrand Read more about it here. I’ll be sharing more about her in an upcoming post!
  8. Hillwood Estate in Washington DC. The gardens are delightful and the interiors are crazy ornate.

    Portland during rhododendron season
  9. Domaine du Chaumont was a chateau and gardens that we stumbled on when we visited France a few years ago. They are the site of an International Garden Festival. When I was there in 2017, they had designated “rooms” in a large garden for different designers. It was during October so it had this magical fall quality. This is a MUST!!!!! You can read about my post here.
  10. Adleman Peony Farms and Schreiner Irises. In 2015 Paul and I visited Portland during rhododendron season. It was amazing! We took a day trip down to Salem. I had done some research and found a pocket of flower farms there. I had no idea what I as in for. If you want to be truly blown away with the variety and colors of peonies and irises, it’s a must!!! And now I see some of my favorite florists who go there regularly.
  11. Utah’s poppy fields. Utah has its own beautiful poppy fields that are off the beaten path (you can find them here). The history of how they came to be is nebulous (I’ve heard so many variations!) and I haven’t taken the time to research it properly. Photographers are pretty protective of its location because they don’t want competition, but it’s really remarkable. And a bit sad because it gets so trampled!

Last year we had a trip planned to Japan during this time and I was hoping to see flowers in another part of the world but we’ll have to do that some other time. I’d love to hear all your recs!

I asked some of my favorite flower lovers for their suggestions and here’s what they said.

Sarah Winward 

Sarah makes the loveliest arrangements. She’s got an impeccable eye so I trust her judgment!
  1. Around the end of June, purple lupin are blooming all over Iceland, they practically cover every hillside. They are up to four feet tall and the dark purple color looks amazing against the green mossy landscape.
  2. Israel has red anemone that cover lots of hillsides in the spring. I think this is so memorable for me because a red anemone isn’t the type of flower that I am used to seeing grow in the wild.
  3. Jasmine vine in New Zealand completely covers jungle areas. The smell is intoxicating and I wanted to clip entire walls of it to bring home.
  4. Locally in Utah, I love the Mt. Aire trail up Millcreek canyon. In the late summer there are wildflowers and butterflies all over the trailside.

Mark Magleby, Director of the BYU Museum of Art

Mark was my thesis instructor during my undergrad at BYU. I went on study abroad with him and his family to England, Scotland, France, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands about a decade ago. He specializes in 18th century art and architecture and his scholarship focused on the gardens of Stourhead as well as the creation of a database of English garden history. You can see why I would turn to him!
  1. The greatest of all the English flower gardens may be Sissinghurst Castle garden with is color coordinated garden rooms.
  2. Another would be the kitchen gardens at Rousham, which are riotous with flowers in the spring and summer. The most famous parts of the garden are designed by William Kent.
  3. I also think that the herbaceous boarders are excellent at both Hampton Court and Kew Palace.
Now, what about you? I’d love to hear your recommendations and add them to my list!

Becoming: Nadia Cates

Meet: Nadia Aguilar Cates  

Nadia is the Founder of Casa Palomí and Ella Rises and a proud mother of 6. Nadia’s passion for her home country has shaped her professional pursuits. With Casa Palomi and her culinary background, Nadia shares her love for Mexican cuisine (especially tamales!) through virtual cooking lessons. After relocating to Mexico for several years, she found a deep connection with her heritage, which has inspired her to empower Latina youth to connect with their roots through Ella Rises. In honor of Día de Los Meurtos, we are excited to have Nadia share how her rich culture has influenced who she has and continues to become. Because we all come from somewhere and somebody.

What do you consider yourself? Ex: designer, artisan, entrepreneur, activist, etc.

  1. There’s definitely an entrepreneurial spirit in me, and I also consider myself a creative. I love to take concepts and bring them to life. For example, Casa Palomí’s pan de muerto class – an amazing Mexican sweet bread – that I did last week. I’ve never done that before but it’s live now and a success with those who have taken it!

How has your childhood influenced what you have become?

My childhood has very much influenced who I am. I was born in Mexico and raised in Southern California. I became a U.S. citizen in grade school. For a long time, I carried shame around my story because people made fun of me and others with similar backgrounds.

I am no longer ashamed of where I come from, and I can honestly say that my story and heritage empower me. I’ve reclaimed a call to uplift and empower those with a similar story.

There’s a quote by Gloria Anzaldua about this that resonates with me. In her words, “I am from the land of the North and the land of the South. Indigenous blood runs through my veins. It calls me, and I honor it. What I once saw as disadvantages, clearly defines me, strengthens, and empowers me.”

What aspects of your Mexican culture have most inspired your work? 

Mexico has such a deep, rich, and consistent cultural heritage. I’m inspired by all of it, but especially the music, food, and textiles. When I can, I meet and work with artisans. I learn about the history of the places I visit and return to them or remain in contact with the people as often as possible because that connection is what inspires me the most.

What learning experiences have been critical to becoming an entrepreneur?

I think the reality of many entrepreneurs is that you ‘fail into success.’ I’ve tried and continue to try different things. When learning opportunities have appeared, I have taken them – most recently, with successful entrepreneurs and women, who I admire, offering mentoring classes!

Which people were instrumental in shaping the trajectory of your life?

There’s so many, but closest to my heart have been my parents, sisters, my husband, and each of my children.

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

I’ve always had different guiding statements that have inspired me. They’ve evolved and changed over time, but they’ve helped empower me. A couple I like right now are  “There has to be discomfort to change” and “If we don’t heal the wounds of the past, we cannot expand to our full potential; we can learn from it and be empowered by it.”

What sets your work apart from other brands? 

My work is designed to connect you with the beauty of Mexican heritage and reflected in that you will hopefully see your beauty and strength at the same time.

Was starting your own business or taking on entrepreneurial projects always your ultimate plan? Did you always know that you wanted to incorporate Mexican culture into your work?

Such great questions. I’m a mother of 6, and that’s the most important work in my life right now. But deep within me, there was always a desire to create, but I just wasn’t clear on what that was … until I moved to Mexico. It was then that I knew whatever I did, it would be to preserve our heritage.

What does your daily routine look like? 

Routine? What’s that?

My oldest is 12, and my youngest is 10 months. You could say I’m a slave to my kids’ schedules. I work during nap times and at night. When we have big projects with Ella Rises or Casa Palomí, I always find help. My husband is pretty good at loading up the kids and taking them somewhere when necessary.

What is inspiring you lately?

The Ella Rises girls and the challenges they face. And the female leaders and artists who are participating with Ella Rises. See the second to last question.

Tell us about your current project(s).

At Casa Palomí, we share our heritage with the community through food. We’re currently offering a virtual pan de muerto class for Day of the Dead, and friends from all over the world have signed up for our class! Follow @casa_palomi for more details.

Ella Rises is an initiative to empower Latinas in high school through virtual art and mentoring classes taught by Latinas. This historic project has never been done before, and 125 girls registered for Ella Rises 2020! We meet every Monday and Thursday in October. For more details, check out EllaRises.org

You’ve done culinary school, tamales, catering, all sorts of things. Tell us about your journey!

You know, it is all rooted in my continued journey to discover where I came from and the culture around all of that. Check out @casa_palomi on Instagram –  it’s visually captured there. I think you could say I’ve been on a journey to becoming for a few years now. And, I wouldn’t say that I’m there yet.

What designers/creatives/entrepreneurs do you look up to from the past or present?

Luis Barragan, a Mexican architect, came to my mind. I love his work! I often turn to it for inspiration, and I love his use of color and thoughtfully-curated spaces.

My culinary school maestros, Yuri de Gortari and Edmundo Escamilla, still inspire me today. They ignited a spark of love and reverence for my heritage, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.

I am also inspired by Mexican artisans. I’ve been building relationships with weavers and embroiderers. Their names may never go down in history, but I know them and love them.

What is on the horizon for you and your work in the remainder of 2020?

Casa Palomí and Ella Rises are thriving, and I hope we continue to do so through the end of the year. We’re connecting and reaching individuals who seek a space of love, respect, and appreciation for people of different backgrounds. Follow @casa_palomi or @ellarises and join our journey.

What is a piece of advice you’d give to women who are considering starting their own business? 

I turn to a higher power for direction. If seeking divine direction resonates with you, I’d recommend praying, meditating, going out in nature, and reconnecting with our creator. Then, create a statement of what you want to be, look like, and do. Rewrite it in the present tense, start repeating it daily, and keep seeking divine guidance.

What is the best advice you’d give to a businesswoman on determining her brand’s mission? 

When someone asks me for advice, I try (not perfect at it) to just listen to what they have to say. I believe that we often have or already know the answers to our questions.

Are you where you want to be in your life?

Katie Richardson, the creator of the Puj Tub, once told me “You’re right where you need to be.” I’ve taken that and ran with it. So, to answer your question, “I’m right where I need to be.”

Is there anything more you’d like to “become?”

Definitely! I embrace myself fully with where I am, but my journey of growth and progress continues. A millionaire would be nice too since I would love to invest more in my wildest ideas to help people. 🙂

Day of the Dead

For this feature, we worked with Nadia on creating this portrait, honoring both her, this unique time of year with the face mask, and the catrina in honor of Day of the Dead. This Mexican holiday typically involves friends and family coming together to pray and remember those who have passed on. It is seen as a festival of celebration rather than mourning. Ofrendas, or offerings, are often set out with pictures of ancestors and tokens that represent them. Thank you, Nadia.

You can find Nadia

Casa Palomi
Ella Rises

Provo Mural Guide: A Lars Tour

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Why Murals?

Murals have been around forever but have seen an unprecedented bout of popularity since the rise of Instagram. They can be incredibly simple, like The Pink Wall of Los Angeles fame. They can also be intricate and heavily patterned. I’d be crazy not to include our murals in a Provo mural guide! The House That Lars Built team has actually painted two pieces around the town already! In 2016, I teamed up with Dove Chocolate and painted one of their classic foil-phrases behind an antique shop: What are you waiting for? The brilliant letter-artist Jill DeHaan helped design the scripting and whatnot. I had the hardest time selecting colors, but am really pleased with how it turned out. It feels wonder-full. 

Our “what are you waiting for” mural is located behind Block 100 Antiques (145 N University Ave) in Downtown Provo.

Another mural painted by the Lars team is our geometric color wall! Everything we do is about color. You can see why in our video Hue Are You? Asking a person what their favorite color is might be a silly question, but as a person who is crazy about color, it means a lot to me! The wall we painted is a tribute to color, and our geometric patterning was designed to the let hues shine. This mural of ours is located on the west side of 111 W 600 S.

The Provo Mural Guide 

Of course, our murals are not the only ones in town. I love seeing all of the art contributed to my community by fabulous artists, and I’ve narrowed down the list to some of my favorite murals. If you ever come to town, visit the murals! It’s like a community museum with the sky as the roof. 

Colorful Provo Mural

Located at 27 100 W

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CHOM Mural

Painted on the side of the tasty burger joint CHOM, this mural is allll about line play. The wall is broken up into three segments; one has a white, rolling line wandering along a black background. Another section has a circle segmented by an invisible line. The invisible line cues a color change! 

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Color Block Wall

Located on the north side of 150 S 100 W

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Maeser Park Wall Mural

This lovely work is featured prominently in a local park, and the quasi-primary color scheme reminds me of fun childhood years. I love how the artist used a familiar color scheme, but altered the colors just enough to hold my attention. Located at 600 S 500 E.

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“This is our home” Mural

Located at 111 W 600 S Provo, UT.

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Leuven Provo Bike Mural

With its hot pink hue and white lettering and bicycle, this wall painting makes me smile and remember days when a bike was my only way around town! I still love ‘em, and am happy that Provo has its own delightful bike culture. This mural is tucked back behind FoxGlove Flowers and Rent-A-Center near 470 W Center Street in Provo.

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Musicians Mural

I love funky illustration, and these musicians are definitely feelin’ it! The proportions are silly, the colors simplified, and each person has a unique identity and emotion. I could look at this one and giggle for quite some time. This one is a must-see on any Provo mural guide. Located on the east side of June Audio, located at 39 W 200 N

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Shapes Mural

From a design standpoint, this mural speaks to me! It’s fairly simple, but the shapes are organic and brightly colored. The color scheme is consistent throughout, but no shapes near each other have the same hue. It creates a lively vibe as my eyes hop from one shape to the next!

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Fish Kiss Mural

I think I could do something similar to this mural! If you’re looking for some DIY inspo, check out the mural on the side of the Fish Kiss spa. The round bubble shapes present a casual riff on polka dots. Love it. 

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One Time in Provo

I figured I’d wrap up my Provo mural guide with a piece painted in the city’s unofficial town square. Part of why I love this one is the varied script – the cursive is simple yet elegant, and reminds me of a storybook. The big punchy block letters stand out and remind me of my excitement just to be here!  

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Take a Walk

No matter where you live, take a long walk around town and look for art. While art in your community might not be as obvious as a gigantic mural, I hope you’ll find some wonderful secret spots in the town you call home. 

And if you are local to Provo or Salt Lake City and want to visit even more colorful walls, check out our full guide here!

How to make your own mural

Want an art installation with big impact but minimal clean up? Our oversized paper-chain mural is the perfect choice when you don’t want something permanent!

Draw your own mural! We made this one in our old studio that doubled as a massive coloring page anyone could help color in! Just tape up some large white paper and go to town.

Or for another great temporary option, learn how we made a sticky note mural here! Yes you read that right, a mural made completely out of sticky notes.

Click here to see our process for painting a lemon mural in our office! We also added a dainty wall mural to Jasper’s nursery when he was first born. We are big fans of going all out for a real mural, indoors or outdoors. Don’t worry! You can always paint over it one day.

 

 

Paris-Inspired Design: A Bastille Day Bash

How to visit Paris without leaving home

Bastille Day is akin to the USA’s Independence Day in that it marks an important historical turn towards democracy. The bastille building itself was an armory that citizens of Paris stormed and set political prisoners free on July 14, 1789. Modernly, people celebrate in different ways all over the country! My favorite tradition takes place each year in the gardens of the President’s residence, the Palais de l’Elysee. The President hosts a picnic!! Isn’t that amazing? Take your own trip to France tomorrow by celebrating Bastille Day!

Cue the inspiration for my Bastille Day celebration: I’m throwing myself a picnic. Make your picnic simple and clever with these printable placemats!

Our Paris cake toppers from illustrator Jessie Kenelos Weiner, author of Paris in Stride are available for FREE! Download your own and make breakfast extra sweet tomorrow morning. Plus, you can count this as tomorrow’s homeschool geography lesson 😉

How to celebrate like a Parisienne

Lars girls love garden parties and all things French, so this particular celebration is downright delightful. I whole-heartedly suggest you decorate with some adorable France printables, as they are an easy way to play with the stylish theme: Paris-inspired design. Take color cues from there! The tricolore of red, white, and blue is simple and classic – just like French design. Don your best Breton striped top (blue and white of course), chic trousers/skirt, and a pop of color in the form of red lipstick. Stay up late and light off fireworks to celebrate the end of the day. 

Print off our Paris crown and invitation suite here for your next party. Whether you are celebrating Bastille Day, a garden party, a birthday party, or anything else – this party is sure to be tres chic.

How to decorate and dress like a Parisienne

I can’t write about Paris without mentioning how much I adore the style and design identity of this city. With each encounter, I feel creatively inspired. You got your first taste of this with our tips on how to recreate the iconic style of Monet’s French home. And everyone knows Paris has the best fashion. They even have a best baby’s clothes! As I figured when I visited while pregnant with Jasper. Here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks for incorporating Paris-inspired design in your home and wardrobe. 

1. Don’t overdo it

You’ve probably heard this quote from Coco Chanel: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” I’m pretty sure she is talking about accessories here…  Still, the advice stands – Paris-inspired design/fashion tends to be somewhat minimal. The pieces themselves can be extravagant and ornate, but use a light hand when decorating and accessorizing. 

2. Mix the classic with the eclectic

Part of what makes Paris so magical is its history. There’s just so much that has happened in that ancient city, and all of it feels magical. Select pieces that reflect the growth of the city! Ornate mirrors and crown moldings look fantastic juxtaposed with chic European modernism. Picture a chunky strand of gems or pearls atop a simple black suit jacket. Or fabulous shoes beneath a pair of pleated shorts. Invest in a few significant Paris-inspired pieces, then really showcase them. 

3. Embrace romance

The feel of Paris is really worth celebrating and if you’ve been, you know that feeling is one of romance. It’s almost as if some city official found a way to transform Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose into a scent and then pipe it through every vent in the city. If you’ll take a moment to recall the romantic moments of your life, I’m sure you’ll discover what I have: it’s all about the details. The same idea goes for creating a romantic feel for a space or look! Pick one romantic touch, like long-stemmed candles, your grandmother’s hand-embroidered pillows, ornate frames surrounding photographs from memories you love, sheer curtains, or a touch of crystal. Little details like these can make even the coldest rooms come alive. 

Paris-inspired Decor

 

France-inspired art prints to hang on your walls

We firmly believe anyone can pull off a beret, and this print from Monica Dorazewski agrees! Or for a more subtle reference to the city of love, transport your self to the Palais-Royal with this Stripes is Rhythm print from Jaqueline Diedam.

Fill your home with the art of French artist Julie Marabelle. We carry some of her stunning papercut art in the Lars Print Shop and they have added a touch of a French garden to my bedroom. You can read more about her life in France here.

Other fun French items

Everything you need for Paris-inspired design filling your home. If you are planning a trip to France, our favorite guides are Paris in Stride which you can read more about here. As well as Paris by Design by my good friend Eva Jorgensen. You can also find our guide to small shops in Paris here. As well as our itinerary from our last visit to France, here!

 

Enjoy! 

A Lars Girl in Mexico City: Travel Inspired Design and Fashion

Mexico City definitely is at the top of my list of favorite trips. Truly, it is a place of dreams. The gigantic, bustling city is home to almost 9 million residents, and the feel of the city is indescribable. I’m trying to teleport there using fashion and interior design; I’ll let you know if it works!

I visited Mexico City a couple of years ago with friends Nadia Coates of Casa Palomi, Meta Coleman and Chaunte Vaughn. (You can find Chaunte’s work in our print shop here! And some of Meta’s curated home picks here.) We went to visit Abby Low, whose work is also in our print shop! Abby’s book This is Mexico City is full of the color, print, and culture that inspired today’s post.

I am imagining what A Lars Girl would wear if her wardrobe was inspired by Mexico City. And what her home might look like. After getting a feel for some of the amazing sites in our Mexico City guide here, explore the links below for A Lars Girl top picks for fashion and decor.

Mexico City Inspired Fashion

 

Accessories

 

Read more about this amazing place

La Ciudad

Ciudad de México is an ancient city. Long before the land was called Mexico, the Aztec civilization built impressive temples and monuments in the middle of what was then a lake. Due to Spanish imperial efforts, much of the ancient city was destroyed or buried beneath new buildings. Modern renovation projects have done a beautiful job of peeling back the layers, allowing the city to truly shine. Though its past isn’t pretty, a beautiful way of life and a unique design sense has developed literally out of the ruins. Now a modern and very cosmopolitan place, Mexico City is a truly fascinating spot. 

La Mezcla

Old-world European architecture meets older ancient architecture, and all of it fits into an amazing modern place. When I think of Mexican design, I tend to think of folk art and textiles brim with life! Bright colors are used on funky patterns. But when I think of Mexico City, complex stylistic ideas with refined elements come to mind. Once there, you’ll know what I mean. If you’re looking to steal the style, try designing with Old World tastes, then decorate with clean-lined modern elements that allow ornate intricacies to shine. Conversely, try designing in a contemporary, clean design, then add some flair with natural or folk elements. To see this mezcla (mix) work in real life, check out pictures of the Museo de Artes Popular! Its architectural style is stunningly simple art deco, while the works within it are traditional and FUN! 

The residents of this city know how amazing it is, but most are happy to share the place they call home. I became friends with my cabbie and the local barista pretty quickly, and they clued me into the real neighborhood spots. Only true locals know the local spots. So, make some friends and get exploring! While you’re there, or even if you’re just lazing around the house, bring a dash of la Ciudad de Mexico into your life! See our shopping list above and below for clothing items and home decor that we think make the mark.

Mexico City Inspired Interior Design

Artwork

Decor

 

 

How to make writing in your journal fun and creative

Why should I write in a journal?

Baby prompts journal with promptly

We have all been told the importance of writing in a journal for our posterity’s sake. If this is the reason you write, I admire you for it! Preserving history and making sure your great-grand kids know what it was like during the COVID-19 pandemic and the beginning of tik tok is a noble reason to keep a diary. Though for some of us this motivation wanes from time to time, and we find our personal history missing some pretty major gaps.

For me, I have found I am the most consistent with writing when I make it a creative project. This post is full of tips on how to make your journal writing more fun and creative, and we think it will keep you more motivated than ever! Keeping a diary can be a creative outlet that helps you  get pumped up in the morning or wind down at the end of the day. It can help you learn discipline making good habits.

How writing in a journal can improve your art

I remember reading the book Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron which discusses the importance of “morning pages.” The idea is that, first thing when you wake up, you write at least 3 pages of stream of consciousness in your notebook. No thinking of making sense, just writing whatever (whatever!) comes to your mind. Doing this regularly unlocks your creativity and trains your mind to let ideas flow freely. I love this idea! It takes all of the pressure out of writing daily.

Different types of journals

If you are stuck on page 2, it’s possible you aren’t using the right kind of journal for you! Try out a new kind from the list below:

Writing prompts

My Life In Color a creative and colorful guided journal

Wreck This Journal

(And other journal books you get to color in!)

Photo books

Write one line a day

Travel journals

If writing daily feels like too much right now, stick to travel books instead! Find one that will be sturdy enough to stay nice in your carry-on, reflects the place you are visiting, and fill it with memorabilia and travel stories to tell your friends back home!

how to improve your handwriting for journaling

Different ways to fill in your journal

If you’re the queen of filling up the first few pages of a notebook never to touch it again, I feel you. I see you. No one wants a journal that jumps from 8th grade to Senior prom to their wedding day; so when we find an old (and mostly blank) book it’s hard to find the motivation to start writing in it again. Though there are not many feelings better than starting a fresh crisp new notebook, our hope is that with this complete journal guide we can all start a brand new diary and then actually stick with it! And remember, when you reach the end you can reward yourself once again with another beautiful empty book.

The key to filling an entire journal is remembering this is meant to be a modge podge book filled with your growth, mistakes, good days, and everything in between. No one’s life is free of spilled milk and mascara stains, and your journal shouldn’t be either! As a recovering perfectionist, even I can promise that a full messy journal is a much bigger accomplishment than a half empty perfect looking one.

If you are having trouble overcoming your desire for perfectly dotted i’s and margins free of doodles – try this: abandon your perfectionism in at least one area of your life – your diary. Doodle to your hearts content. Bring your notebook with you to the breakfast table and don’t worry about spilling your coffee. Fill your book full of ticket stubs and anxious scribbles.

If we are overwhelming you, take a deep breath. There is a more structured way you can learn to love a messy journal – this Brave New World journal is filled with prompts to help unleash your inner artist. Baby steps, baby steps.

Try these creative ways to fill your journal

Doodling

While trying to jog your memory of what happened this morning, don’t be afraid to doodle in the margins, or fill the entire page! This snapshots in time say just as much about your current self as your words do. Our daily flower drawing challenge is the perfect place to start! Draw a daily flower in your notebook and use this to keep yourself on track with writing!

Bullet points

Don’t stress over a novel of your day, just write at least a few key bullet points at the end of your day and call it good! If that’s all you can do, it’s a great place to start. Before you know it you’ll find yourself wanting to write more and more!

Collect recipes

If writing or doodling aren’t really your things, figure out what is! One idea is to gather family recipes and write down the memory you have attached to them. Making and writing our the recipe for your mom’s infamous chocolate cake is sure to start a flood of memories you’ll be itching to get down on paper. Try keeping a notebook dedicated to recipe related memories!

Baby boy's first birthday party

For Jasper’s first birthday I filled his baby book with photos, pins, and other paper momentos from his party! I can’t wait to show him when he is older.

Our favorite journals

Hardcover

Simple ruled

Dotted

Bullet

Unruled

This colorblock journal is customizable, comes in multiple color choices and page options!

Customizable

Journals for kids

Stickers

We promised you ways to make writing more fun, so of course we had to include stickers!

These habit forming stickers are such a fun way to keep yourself accountable (for more habits than just writing daily!)

Journal supplies

Hold all of your journaling supplies in this folio! These pastel pens are on sale in our shop now for a limited time!

Craft the Rainbow full set

All of the items in the photo above are on sale right now for Craft the Rainbow month! Click here to see the sale and start your own My Life in Color journal! 

New York Cake Topper

New York Cake Topper and Confetti

We love all the components of this cake topper. It really is the essence of New York on a cake! You could also make cupcakes and top each one with a different New York scene.

Materials: 

Instructions:

  1. Print out the templates on heavy-duty white card stock.
  2. Cut out shapes using scissors.
  3. For the cake topper, place a bamboo skewer in the middle of the back side of each NY shape and adhere with hot glue.
  4. Stick each NY shape into the cake and artfully assemble.
  5. Decorate the table with some confetti and your cake and celebrate!

Make sure you snag this book to plan for your next NY trip! Tag us with #larsmakes so we can see all of your New York creations!

Miami prints by Jane Merritt

Miami City art prints

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

You can find the prints in our Lars Print Shop!

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

You can see Jane’s work here.

Art prints for every style

From illustrations to photography to quotes, the Lars print shop has wall decor for every style! If you’re looking for some bold pieces to accompany your Miami prints on a gallery wall, you can find plenty of patterns and bright colors in the Lars shop prints! Or, if you’re going for a more subtle, pastel wall, you can browse through some of the illustrations to match the Miami art prints.

We even have a couple of art prints for Coronavirus relief charities. You get beautiful pieces of art AND help out communities during the pandemic. It’s a win-win.

If you love these Miami prints but aren’t sure how to start your gallery wall, we’ve got you covered! Learn how to make a gallery wall here, and let the decorating begin!

Copenhagen city guide

I’ve been wanting to share my favorite Copenhagen tips for years now and I don’t know how it’s taken 9 years to do so. Wait, yes, I do! Consider it one of those “never a tourist in your own city” moments, meaning, I experienced it all, just never wrote it all down in one concise list. Well, thanks for your patience! I’ve received numerous emails over the years asking for my recommendations and I’ve given them out, but I always thought that I needed an extra “oomph” to get it out into the world. That extra oomph was our recent trip to Denmark visiting family and revisiting some of my favorite haunts. Guess what? They still hold up! And they’re amazing.

If you’re planning a trip to Denmark, here’s what you MUST do: