Monday, July 27, 2015

Woods or Waves?

Heh, I just realized that post title probably implies we are going to discuss vacation destinations. No. Today we are discussing something far more interesting and frankly, critical, than vacations: Wallpaper.

I know that in my last post about the powder room, I sounded exceptionally decisive about my Cole & Sons Woods wallpaper choice. And I was. The problem is, a week has passed. So, naturally I'm all like "Ooh, but maybe this one would be better..." again.

When I ordered the sample of Woods, so that I could lovingly tack it up and stare at it over the next few months with joyful expectation as the room is under construction, I also ordered- totally on a whim and because it was pretty even though I figured I'd never actually use it but samples are free so who cares- the "Great Wave" pattern.

Two things happened when these samples arrived. One, I adored the Great Wave paper. And two, my daughter insisted that I was NOT to use the Woods wallpaper in the bathroom. (I know it's only because she wants to get her claws on it for her own room...she's like that, and she's going through a Narnia phase).

Once I assured her I would NOT be purchasing that paper for her room at $200 a roll, young lady, and she gave me the stink eye one more time before sauntering off, it was too late. The mere suggestion from someone that I shouldn't use that paper in my powder room reopened the flood gates of indecision.

Now don't get me wrong. I equally adored the Woods paper. It is every bit as glorious in real life as I hoped it would be.

Even as a 12" rectangle, taped to a 2 x 4 in a wall-less room next to a cardboard cutout of a mirror and an empty electrical box, it STILL looks uh-mazing.

But there's just something about those waves! The dusty blue colors, the graphic repeat, the whimsy of it. The unexpectedness! My house has no whimsy. Or color. Or unexpectedness.

Clearly, the only thing to do was revisit my Canva elevation, and then call on the blogosphere for a vote.

I adjusted the scale of the Woods wallpaper now that I have the sample and can see how it will lay out more accurately on the wall, and I did a second graphic with the paper switched to Great Wave.

I don't know you guys. Am I really going to miss the opportunity to use a wallpaper that is so iconic and massively appealing it inspires 50-deep round-up post "Extravaganzas?" Am I really going to do something as permanent as wallpaper and choose blue?

Obviously I need you! What's your vote? Are you Team Woods or Team Wave? (I will send you t-shirts and 40-oz. cups emblazoned with your team name if you comment and vote. Not really). Maybe you're Team Option C. I'm listening...the flood gates of indecision are open again, right? So I'm all ears.

(The curious may enjoy seeing poll results from Instagram...)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

DIY Summer School // Fabric Covered Bulletin Board

Welcome back to DIY Summer School! Today's theme is "Craft Store" and I've chosen to share with you one of my favorite DIY projects: The fabric wrapped bulletin board in my home office. I've been wanting to properly share the instructions with you for, like, ever so once again a huge thanks goes to Beth of designPost interiors for inviting me to this series and giving me the motivation!

I first noticed a board like this in the Ballard Designs catalog all the way back when I started this blog. I knew I needed to have it, but unfortunately it was like $300- that's insane. (And it's since sold out anyway).

Then I saw a version in the ridiculously gorgeous apartment of Alaina Kaczmarski from The Every Girl and it dawned on me I could probably make it. I pulled an old bulletin board out of the basement, bought some duck cloth, nailheads and spray adhesive, and went to town. It worked like a charm.

And guess what? I started to write up the tutorial for you, and then happened to see that Alaina had actually done one! And I had made mine the exact same way she did. So, rather than try to reinvent the wheel, I'm just going to send you to Alaina's for a minute to get all the details:

Then come back here and jot down these tips:
  • A solid color fabric without any obvious straight lines or patterns will be more forgiving of any slight crookedness as you apply. Trust me from experience, a pattern that you have to line up perfectly straight, like stripes or trellis, will drive you crazy forever if you don't get it right.
  • Start in the center of the fabric and work your way out to smooth the wrinkles. The spray adhesive doesn't dry immediately so you have some time to pull up the fabric and re-stretch it if you need to.

  • I used a yard stick to space the nailheads evenly. Just lay the stick alongside the frame and use it as a rough guide to space the nailheads about an inch apart. 
  • Use the inside edge of the frame as a guide to make the line of nailheads straight. If the edge of each nailhead just slightly touches the frame, your line will be perfect.

  • Make sure you place a nailhead in each corner (even if you have to get slightly off in your spacing). If there isn't one in the corners, they'll look rounded when you stand back to look at it.

  • Once the nailheads are down, you can spray a little more adhesive on the frame.
  • I used a nail gun to attach the fabric to the back of the bulletin board and it worked perfectly. 
  • Here's a detail shot of how I folded the corners (I basically did a hospital fold like when you're tucking the corners of your sheets at the end of your bed):

  • To keep the staples from scratching the wall, I covered them with duct tape on the back. It might not be the prettiest but it does the job well!

Alrighty, those are my tips. Like I said, you can visit Alaina at Live Creating Yourself for the full supply list and step by step tutorial. This is one of my favorite things I've done and it was so cheap and simple. It took less than an hour, and you can get all the supplies you need in one stop at your local craft store. And then you can set out to decorate it! (The best part of all).

 The most fun thing is changing it seasonally with new inspiration and the colors that I'm currently craving.

For more DIY & decor inspiration, follow Avery Street Design on Bloglovin'!

Now before you race to Hobby Lobby, be sure to check out today's other craft store themed DIY's!

DIY Summer School, brought to you by:

Kevin, Thou Swell
Laura, Avery Street Design

Featuring these DIY themes:

June 4th: IKEA Hack
June 18th: Thrifting
July 9th: Wildcard
July 23rd: Craft Store
August 6th: Hardware Store
August 20th: Found in Nature

Bloggers, do you have a craft store project to share? Feel free to link it up below using the blue button! And as always, play along on Instagram by sharing your projects with #DIYSummerSchool. See you next time!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Powder Room Update

Hi guys!

Well, I hope I'm not jinxing anything by writing this post, but I'm too giddy not to share. Construction has resumed on our powder room! Long time readers will remember me moaning well over a year ago about how we would love a bathroom on our main floor (we don't have one; long story), and may even remember the panic room post from last summer about our failed stalled construction on that project.

It hasn't been touched since that post. And it still looked exactly the same, until we got home from our vacation last week (because, seriously, who can visit a house like that and not get the bug to renovate?) We had a long talk on our car ride home about how to pull this off, and shortly after our return, my kitchen was once again hosting door frame builds. Finally!

Happily, Ryan's had a year to recover from major construction, and got to hit a few softballs on our bedroom remake, so he's ready to dive back in and pick up the power tools on this long-forgotten powder room. In fact, I'm listening to the power saw as I write this post. Sweet sweet music.

Here's why I might be jinxing it right now. We have to hire a plumber. And my husband- admiringly so- has never agreed to do that before. He has demolished a bathroom, rerouted pipes, including the main sewage line of our house, fixed our broken water heater (more than once), fixed all the toilets, and installed new faucets, totally on his own. But we've finally broken him. Adding new plumbing from scratch and making a bathroom where there wasn't one is just too scary, even for my fearless handy man.

Imagine this: You just sawed a hole in the floor next to your kitchen. As you look down into it you can see through to your basement. You see the plastic storage bins stacked just so on wire shelves, the pool table that's covered in lamps your wife used to like, and way too many cobwebs.

Now, make it so someone can pee in the hole.

{100% naturally occurring wood marks; No 2 x 4's were harmed in the making of this post}

See? Too scary. So the options came down to this: 1) Leave the room a rubble pile forever, 2) Drywall it back up and pretend it never happened (probably Ryan's first choice), or 3), Hire someone for the scary parts. We agreed he would get a quote for option 3. Note that he did not agree to DO option 3.

So, this may go nowhere. But he does seem motivated, and has been working quite diligently on it since we got home. He even went so far as to let me get him a plumber recommendation. I, of course, went straight to work revising the design plan and dreaming about wall paper.

We are modifying our original plan slightly and trying for a metal console sink base instead of a porcelain one. I wanted something that was still classic but a little more modern and a little less cottage.

What's that? I can't afford that sink even in my wildest dreams? Oh, pshh, technicalities. We ordered some parts today and I have high hopes that it will be a DIY post in the near future. Cross your fingers for us!

My plan was always to do hex tile on the floor with some sort of pattern. But because of the switch to wallpaper (see below) I'm sticking with plain marble. In order to further keep it from being too busy (and thanks to this photo by Lucy Laught), I'm going with a larger 2" scale.

And get this- after hours of searching online for sconces, I remembered we had two unopened RH sconces in the basement! (Yeah, that's bad, I know).

I had been searching for something a little more modern...maybe antique brass, maybe copper, possibly a little bit mid-century, but then I remembered I had these and thought hey, why complicate this? These are timeless and they're already in my house. Done.

I'm still loving the mirror we picked up at the Heritage Barn Sale for this project, and miraculously, in spite of a year-long stay on the panic room floor, it's still in one piece!

I'm not still loving the idea of blush pink paint (even though I of course still love the idea of blush pink paint). It's just that how can I not take this opportunity to put amazing wallpaper in my house? I have been uncontrollably pinning wallpaper.

I love the Woods wallpaper by Cole and Son. My single concern was that it is everywhere and I didn't really want to jump on any trend bandwagons. I'm hoping for a room that is purely classic and could go any which way- a little bit modern farmhouse, a little bit Parisian apartment, a little bit minimalist. But I couldn't find anything I liked better than those trees, and everything I pinned was basically me trying to find something that was those trees without being those trees. Know what I mean? So I decided to just go with them.

Then I read this by Grace Bonney:

"I went back and forth on including this wallpaper, but ultimately landed on including it for one reason: I still love it and remember it fondly. This paper got majorly overexposed during the early Domino Magazine years. It was the precursor to “Keep Calm” madness and seemed to pop up in everyone’s home. I had to stop looking at it for a while, but when I thought about wallpapers I love and still love seeing in people’s homes, this one was literally the first I thought of. Nature is timeless, so I think the strength of this design (which was actually created in 1959) is that it may go through bouts of overexposure, but the design itself is beautiful and classic."

~ Grace Bonney, "12 Wallpapers We Trust"

And I feel better. Yay!

I did seriously entertain this stunning large-scale floral print:

But in the end, it just kept coming back to the Woods. Ryan made his classic crack: "I've said this to you before, Laura, but I think you use too much color."

I like the way that the tiles and the wallpaper have a ton of pattern but still manage to feel like a serene backdrop because of the monochromatic palette. To me, it feels beautiful and classic. 

Of course today it looks like or classic....

We have a long way to go! But at least there is hope. 

Monday, July 13, 2015


This past week, as I mentioned, I was in Minnesota for a family reunion. I had no idea what I was really getting into, as I've never even met the people who were going to be in attendance. My immediately family was going to be there, but none of my dad's siblings or parents were able to make the trip (they're on the East coast). So I kinda felt like we were crashing someone else's reunion. I thought it was one of my grandpa's brother's families that was hosting, but it turned out to be my great-grandpa's brother's family that was hosting. Whoa. That goes waaaay back. Since my great-grandpa was one of five (ish?), and he had 13, and his brother had 13, and after that I got lost about who had who and how many....there was a LOT of family represented. And it was precious. I loved being able to walk up to guys and say without a doubt, "You must be my grandpa's brother," because they looked just like him. I loved seeing my great-grandfather's homestead, where my grandpa was raised with his 12 siblings. I loved hearing the stories of growing up there from my great uncles. It was like stepping into a time machine.

This beloved home remains in the family, and my great uncles take turns caring for it and trashing it (depending on how good the hunting is on any given weekend). It's a piece of living history and base camp for family that still lives nearby.

The most striking thing about the homestead is its size. In a world where I have a bedroom for each kid, and we are only having the boys share for company and memory-making, it is shocking to see a home with three tiny bedrooms for a family of 15. My great-grandparents had a cozy room on the main floor. The stairs in the center of the house led straight into a 3 ft wide by 3 ft deep closet, flanked by two small rooms: One for girls and one for boys. A tiny crib was nestled among the beds.

It is immediately evident that these kids didn't have 10,000 Lego bricks to store or a stuffed animal collection so large it had to be rotated.

It makes you pause and think about the abundance we have. It makes you appreciate it, and at the same time wonder if what you deem normal and necessary is just plain craziness. In any case, it's interesting.

Since my grandparents couldn't make it, they sent a picture with their regards from IHOP. How cute is that? ;D

You can see how the house overlooks a lake, which the family calls "Pete's Lake" after my great-grandfather. I'm so grateful I got to visit this house. It's a place where time doesn't seem to exist, and you can lose yourself in the landscape and the breeze. And I'm so grateful I got to meet my extended family and hear about my grandpa's childhood. My great uncle said, "We were a poor family, but you wouldn't find a happier one."

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