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Articles on this Page
- 12/07/15--07:00: _How To: Make a PVC ...
- 12/08/15--09:30: _Giveaway: Enter to ...
- 01/08/16--10:30: _How I Made My New Y...
- 02/03/16--08:00: _DIY Floating Messag...
- 02/14/16--07:45: _DIY Valentine Bouqu...
- 03/11/16--13:00: _DIY Easter Egg Plan...
- 03/28/16--07:15: _DIY Painted Leather...
- 04/06/16--12:05: _His and Her Nightst...
- 04/18/16--13:00: _Giveaway! Win an Ud...
- 04/26/16--13:00: _The New, New Curbly...
- 05/19/16--13:30: _Sneak Peek: Our Nat...
- 05/26/16--12:45: _Let the Children Pl...
- 06/08/16--20:45: _I Hate Moving! Here...
- 06/10/16--13:00: _My Favorite Styling...
- 06/29/16--07:00: _The Fastest Way to ...
- 08/02/16--13:00: _Get the Look for Le...
- 08/03/16--05:00: _Make It! Mid-Centur...
- 08/04/16--13:15: _Styling a Credenza:...
- 08/05/16--20:30: _Free Download: Mid-...
- 08/18/16--13:00: _Kid-Friendly DIY Pr...
- 12/07/15--07:00: How To: Make a PVC Pipe Small-Scale Christmas Tree
- PVC pipes in a variety of different diameters (ranging from 1" - 4")
- PVC primer and adhesive (you can use E6000 in lieu of the primer and paste, but the traditional PVC adhesive bonds quickly)
- Spray paint
- Painter's tape
- Dremel Saw-Max
- Dremel Micro rotary tool
- (Optional, but super fun) Dremel 3D Idea Builder
- 12/08/15--09:30: Giveaway: Enter to Win $2,750 in Modern Homegoods and Services!
- 01/08/16--10:30: How I Made My New Year's Vision Board, and Why You Should Too
- 02/03/16--08:00: DIY Floating Message in a Bottle for the One You Love
- Heart balloons (6") + helium tank
- Kraft paper box to house your balloon - these ones are the perfect size.
- Mini glass bottles with cork stoppers (and eye hooks)
- A small strip of paper (about 1/2" x 6" (or a long as you like!) rolled into a scroll)
- 02/14/16--07:45: DIY Valentine Bouquet Wraps + Printable Love Quotes
- Flowers - Pick your favorites! We chose tulips, spray roses, and ranunculus
- Brown kraft paper or paint masking paper- It's classic and versatile and stunning with ribbon (are you humming the line, Brown paper packages, tied up with string. These are a few of my favorite things...? I am!)
- Mylar tissue paper
- Ribbon and baker's twine
- Scissors + washi tape
- Optional: If you want to dress up your kraft paper, grab some paints and a brush and paint the town (brown?) red. We did quick Xs and Os, lips, and hearts.
- Printable tags - These are your final touch! Download the PDF here!
- 03/11/16--13:00: DIY Easter Egg Planters
- Large plastic eggs that split in half the lengthwise (ours were 5 1/2" tall). They'll probably sport ponies and hulks, but rest assured, they are easily stripped down. You're just looking for a good, solid base.
- Washi tape, vinyl sheets, or pom-poms.
- Flowers. Pick your faves!
- Succulets or airplants
- 03/28/16--07:15: DIY Painted Leather Luggage Tags
- Leather Luggage Tags: I used these tags in the following colors - pearl, white, and pink
- Leather-Safe Textile Paint: I used a set of Jacquard Textile Paint, and mixed colors to achieve the palette I wanted. They worked beautifully on the leather.
- Paint brushes
- 04/06/16--12:05: His and Her Nightstands: Styled Two Ways
- 04/18/16--13:00: Giveaway! Win an Udon Blanket Knitter's Kit ($125 value)
- 5 balls of 100% Peruvian wool yarn (200gr each)
- Size 19 wooden knitting needles
- The pattern
- A small knitter’s sewing needle
- An embroidered label
- 04/26/16--13:00: The New, New Curbly HQ - We're Moving
- It's blocks away from our house. We can walk there, and run back home to collect the things we forget (that's a daily occurrence).
- It's across the street from our daughter's school and a stairway away from our son's.
- It has quirky charms that we have come to love - pipes that clink, the smell of roasted turkey every Wednesday, the senior's exercise class that meets across the hall from us with a piano accompaniment.
- We've done some of our favorite projects in this room. Painting, DIYing, vision boarding, daydreaming, and planning.
- It's special and just right for us. Every time I walk through the door I feel grateful for this space and what it represents. Leaving is hard.
- 05/19/16--13:30: Sneak Peek: Our National Painting Week Nursery School Makeover
- Wall Color: Sherwin-Williams' Pure White (SW 7005)
- Trim and Posts: Sherwin-Williams' Peppercorn (SW 7674)
- Triangular Accent Colors (from left to right):Sherwin-Williams' Comfort Gray (SW 6205), Breaktime (SW 6463), Champagne (SW 6644), and Lime Granita (SW 6715)
- Roman Shades: Signature Roman Shades (cordless) by Blinds.com
- Round Tables from Wayfair
- Green Classroom Chairs from Wayfair
- Paper Organizer
- Beanbag Chairs from Wayfair
- Stackable Benches from Wayfair (not pictured)
- Teepees: Black & White; Gray & White
- Train Table
- Wire Basket Wall Storage
- Rug (in Train Area)
- Storage Shelf
- Book Ledges
- Picture Frames with Clips
- Rug in Reading Nook
- Coat Rack
- Origami Wall Planters
- Metal First Aid Kit
- Throw Rugs: TANUM and Nate Berkus
- Clear Storage Bins: Small and Large
- Metal Book Baskets
- Gray Plastic Storage Bins
- Animal Busts
- Rug in Room's Center
- Runners in front of Lockers
- 06/08/16--20:45: I Hate Moving! Here Are Three Tips For Making It Less Painful
- 06/10/16--13:00: My Favorite Styling Accessories
- A plant stand, or any other piece of patio/porch furniture in need of a little spiff
- Wagner Paint Sprayer. We love the FLEXiO sprayer because it's compact, easy to use, doesn't require a noisy air compressor, and it's easy to clean up and store.
- Medium-grit sandpaper
- Paint (we only needed a quart for this project ... follow the coverage intructions if using a sprayer)
- Wagner Paint Easy paint additive/thinner
- Leather cording
- A potted plant you love
- Mind the overspray. Give your self plenty of clearance from anything you dont want to get paint on. Overspray is a fine mist that you don't notice until it hits something.
- Use safety gear for eyes and lungs. With tiny paint particles flying around, you want to be sure you keep yourself healthy.
- Start and finish each stroke off the piece (e.g. on your backdrop).
- Use many light coats, instead of a few heavy ones. Heavy coats tend to drip.
- If possible, build a simple spray 'booth' from cardboard or foamboard (as we did) to contain the spray.
- 08/02/16--13:00: Get the Look for Less: Mid-Century Modern
- 08/03/16--05:00: Make It! Mid-Century Modern
- 08/04/16--13:15: Styling a Credenza: Mid-Century Modern
- We all have them. Whether it's a mantel, a shelf, or a sideboard. These surfaces abound in nearly all homes and they beg to be styled.
- These spaces are flexible and easy to switch up. You can make vignettes to your heart's content, and by doing so really change the vibe of a room.
- Keep things simple (as far as your lines go).
- Play with bold colors (think about doing this with your artwork or a sculptural piece like a vase or broad-leaf plant).
- Work with warm woods and metals. Organic woods are a MCM staple, as are brass accents.
- 08/05/16--20:30: Free Download: Mid-Century Modern Icons
- 08/18/16--13:00: Kid-Friendly DIY Project: Back to School Pencil Cases
- Plastic pencil boxes
- White alphabet stickers (get them here)
- Permanent markers
- Pencils - these are our favorite.
- Washi tape - we used a variety of prints and patterns.
- Scissors or Xacto knife to cut around the eraser end.
This season we partnered with Dremel to bring you a pair of tabletop holiday trees you can add to your winter decor. We wanted to come up with a project for all of you folks who are tight on space, but still wanted to bring in lots of seasonal cheer.
Using several tubes of PVC, you can quickly fashion a unique tree (on a small scale) and spruce it up to your liking. We love this tree's versatility; it can house ornaments or trinkets (like a curio box), or it can stand alone, as a minimal, modern piece. Let's make one!
Begin by cutting your PVC pipes into uniform lengths (we chose 3")
Using a Dremel Saw-Max, cut the piping. Note: For some diameters, the blade won't cut all the way through the PVC, so you'll have to rotate it as you cut. Make sure to use appropriate safety gear, as PVC can splinter or shatter in some cases (safety goggles and a dust mask are a must).
Once your PVC is cut, sand the edges smooth with a Dremel rotary tool.
Using painter's tape, create a tree shape template and place the PVC rounds inside the outline. We liked a semi-random arrangment, but you could also try something very uniform and orderly. Make it your own!
Using your clear PVC cement, begin gluing the circles together. We started off using purple primer, which we discovered was overkill. For a non-plumbing application like this, the primer isn't really necessary.
Once assembled, let your tree dry for an hour.
Spray-paint your tree. We used a white lacquer paint to cover the lettering and imperfections on the pipe sections.
Now, fill your new tabletop tree's circles up with goodies! Dremel was cool enough to let us try out their new 3D printer, the Idea Builder. It was super easy to use, and we printed out those little geometric snow balls you see in the photo (each one took about 45 minutes to print). 3D printing is awesome, and we can't wait to incorporate it into some more projects.
This post was sponsored by Dremel. All words, opinions, and photos are mine alone. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Curbly.
Christmas is coming early this year! We've teamed up with a handful of gorgeous, modern brands to offer you a holiday giveaway that is off the hizzy, 'fo shizzy!
The older I get, the more I find myself fairly obsessed with carpe diem-ing and living intentionally. Without waxing too poetic, I spend a lot of time thinking about the notion that this life is the only one we get, and it's our responsibility to take the reins and live it fully.
Pair this day-seizing with the turn of a new year, and I turn into a strange combination of Oprah, Deepak Chopra, and Tom and Donna from "Parks and Rec". This year, as I compiled my resolutions for 2016, I decided to create a vision board. Because science assured me it would be an excellent visualization tool, and something that would feed the fire in my belly.
Are you still with me? Yes? Okay. Here's what took place:
I read several articles about vision boards that were super inspiring. Here are my two favorites:
For me, the most meaningful part of the exercise was the focus on feeling. Rather than thinking about the things I wanted to garner or achieve, I focused on the way I wanted to feel.
I spent a few days mulling (errrr ... fully obsessing) over quotes I wanted to steer my year. I settled on three. The first was a more refined version of my daily mantra (feeling grateful). The second was sparked by/directed at my work on Curbly (feeling inspired). And, the third was a mind-shift I'm trying to harness (feeling 'yas queen' and intrepid).
I vision-boarded with a dear friend. This was probably the most meaningful part of the process, because we were both fully invested in the project. Having a partner to work alongside created an opportunity for us to have essential conversations; in fact, some of my 'visions' were born from - or reframed by - these tête-à-têtes.
I've heard of people hosting vision board parties, and while I think it's a fun sentiment, I think it'd be a hard practice. Instead, I recommend working alongside one or two people you trust implicitly. It's vulnerable work, and it deserves your most open heart. You have to be unselfconscious. You have to feel buoyed.
When the time came to create our boards, we kept it simple. We used 18x24" canvases and Mod Podge. We had a printer at the ready for last minute inspirations. We brought magazine clippings, pretty papers, photographs, and important memorabilia.
We did simple things to create a beautiful environment. We drank drinks. Tasted treats. Listened to Beyoncé. Lit candles. Brought flowers. We created a pretty space to make the exercise feel extra ceremonial.
We displayed our boards in prominent places. The key to making your vision board successful is keeping it within view. Choose a spot that will catch your eye throughout the day.
I'm undecided when it comes to how much I want to explain my board to all who enter my home, so I placed it in our studio, above my desk. And, I took a picture of it and made it my phone wallpaper so that it's the first thing I see when I reach for my phone.
Having just completed the board, I'm not yet sure how it will guide my year. But, I know that every time I look at it I feel excited. And inspired. And resolute.
Have you ever created a vision board? If so, please tell me all about it in the comments. I wanna hear about your experiences.
I love Valentine's Day, and the truth is, I always have. Even when I was single, broke, and in no position to treat my self or anyone else - I tresured the holiday. Here's why: It's a holiday centered on love. That's basic and not exclusionary. So, for years I've used the day as an invitation to tell the ones nearest and dearest to me how much they mean to me; a love letter to the ones I love.
Pour your heart out on that little strip of paper. Tell your people how much you love them. They deserve to hear it and telling them will give you all the feels.
Roll your paper into a scroll and slip it into the glass bottle. Set aside.
Fill your heart balloon with helium. These ballons are small, so be careful not to over-inflate them; they fill quickly.
Measure about an arm's length of string and cut. Tie one end to the end of your balloon and the other to the end of the eye hook on your bottle's cork top.
Carefully place your love letter contraption in your brown box, put a ribbon on it and share your love. It's the sweetest surprise.
Help us out by sharing this project on Pinterest:
Even if Valentine's Day isn't your thing, flowers should be. And if Valentine's Day is your thing (it's definitely mine), then you're going to love this DIY project. We put together a simple way to present your blossoms to your boo, your bestie, or your bae. And, we've added a few free! printable! adornments you can add to your bouquet. Read on to find out how.
Add a few simple designs to your brown kraft paper. I did Xs & Os, lips, hearts, and arrows using acrylic craft paint.
Trip your kraft paper to size. You'll only need about a foot for a small bouquet like the ones I made.
Line your kraft paper with mylar and wrap your bunch. Don't worry about making it look perfect. A simple wrap that's tighter at the bottom and more open at the top looks great.
Add a ribbon to the outside of your wrapped bouquet.
Print out the free PDF bouquet tags and cut them to size. Attach tags to your bundle with a strip of washi tape.
Plastic Easter eggs are abundant this time of year. You can find them in a variety of colors and sizes, and with a medley of super-heroes and princesses plastered across their round bellies. But when you strip Batman and Cinderella away, you're left with a beautiful shape - the incredible egg. And, it turns out, it's the perfect vessel for lovely arrangements of spring flowers!
Here's everything you need to know about how to take a store-bought, treat-stuffed, plastic character-laden Easter egg from average to fantastically floral - in three easy steps.
Empty out all your character-embossed eggs and toss the tops. The bottoms are the only part you'll need for this project, and they work well because they have a flat base. Decorate them with Washi tape or vinyl. We cut some shapes out of vinyl for crisp lines, and tore strips of Washi tape for a more organic look.
Fill your eggs with water and fresh flowers. Have fun with this part! It's really beautiful to mix and match a variety of flowers here.
If flowers aren't your thing, you can create a more subtle arrangement with succulents and air plants on a bed of moss.
Display your eggs. Put 'em on a windowsill, as a centerpiece, or on the mantel!
Leather luggage tags are a classic travel accessory. They're durable, they weather well, and they have a timeless throwback bit of nostalgia. They remind me of the days of yore when air travel was a bit more glamorous and passengers dressed in suits and tea dresses.
I'm heading to Palm Springs with dear friends next week, and in anticipation of our trip I put together a set of commemorative luggage tags to send us on our way. It was an easy project that you can complete in just a few hours. Here's the scoop!
Choose some designs to embellish your tags. I chose Palm Springs-inspired designs as a nod to my vacation, but you could easily stick with polka-dots, stripes, or a simple pattern.
If you want to try a detailed image that requires the ability to wield a paintbrush with some finesse, I recommend finding some simple illustrated inspiration and using it as your muse. I chose a pineapple, swan, flamingo, palm tree, abstract flowers, and a beach umbrella. I Googled every image, searching for 'watercolor' versions of each so that I'd have an abstract guide to work from.
Paint. You can't go wrong here, and the paint-and-leather combination is quite forgiving. I was able to wipe the paint away several times and fine-tune my paintings. And frankly, the quirks end up being endearing reminders that they're handmade.
Let your tags dry overnight and pass them along to your favorite travel-mates, or fasten them onto your favorite suitcase.
It's no secret that I love my bedroom. We went to great lengths to make it a special place, with vaulted ceilings, a statement-making headboard, and an eye-catching chandelier. Investing in big things certainly pays off, but to create a cohesive room, you need all the elements to go together, right down to the bedside tables. Your bedside space can make all the difference in a room. It's a practical, necessary piece of furniture, that can be anything but ordinary. From vintage chairs to a stack of books, you can form and style them any way you please. And, that's just the beginning. It's how you dress up your nightstand that makes it really interesting.
Today, we partnered with Sauder to talk about how to style a bedside table. Whether you're using an old stool or a tree stump, there are a few things to consider to make sure your nightstand is working the way you want it to.
We chose two different nightstands from Sauder's collection. We liked these simple pieces, with their unobtrusive, clean lines. Both look classic and unassuming, fits the tone of our room, and also doesn't put us in a corner when it comes to styling. Neither one is a traditional "nightstand"; instead, they're side tables performing bedside duties perfectly.
Before we show you our styled nightstands, let's run through the most important things to take into account when choosing a bedside table:
1. Height. It's important that the height of the nightstand works with the height of your bed. A stand that's too tall or too short won't be functional, and it'll look strange too. Ideally you'd like the bedside table to come up just above the height of the bed.
2. Size & Function. Do you need a large tabletop surface for a lamp, books, your phone, etc? Or are you tight on space, and better off with a smaller-profile stand? Remember, the width of the bed comes into play here, too. A wide, king bed, needs some reasonably wide, substantial tables next to it.
3. Storage. Do you need a small bedside chest of drawers to hold your books and magazines? Have a journaling habit? That's great! But you'll want a place to store all those memories, right?
4. Profile. Depending on the size and layout of your bedroom, you may need a hefty nightstand or require something much more delicate and sleek.
5. Number and Style. Do you want a pair of bedside tables flanking your bed? Or will one do the job? If you need a pair, should they be matchy-matchy or a more dynamic duo? Generally-speaking, I don't love super-matchy nightstands; I'd rather see two that share a lineage, or have a unifying theme or color, but aren't exactly the same (but that's just me!)
This night stand (remember, it's actually a side table) comes from Sauder's International Lux Collection. It has an ash wood finish and matte gold metal accents. It works perfectly as a nightstand because it's the right height, provides a little bit of storage, has some stately character (Hello, gold accents and pull!), and feels sturdy and substantial without taking up much space.
We styled this bedside table in a slightly masculine way. We added a task-style lamp with a movable neck, some books for bedtime reading, a candle for a little ambiance, and a tumbler for water. We like to keep things simple on the bedside table, because your bedroom should feel calm and clutter-free.
For the second bedside table we chose something with a far more delicate profile. The Round Side Table from Sauder's International Lux Collection is soft, with elegant lines that make it feel light. The metal frame and glass top add a bit of glam to the table, and it has a nice wide surface for bedside accoutrements.
We styled this table with a glammy table lamp, books, a vase of tulips, and a vintage brass ring holder (which serves as the perfect catch-all for jewelry). Again, we tried to keep things simple and beautiful. Going to bed and awaking to a bouquet of flowers and a tidy table is good for your soul.
1. The Tray Table: We love the pop of color and sleek lines.
2. Soft Modern Collection Side Table: Cool lines and a nice surface area for bedside goods.
3. Square 1 Collection Side Table: This is the perfect table for people who are tight on space. It has a very small footprint, but does the job.
4. Inspired Accents Collection Side Table: The cube-like frame gives this table a cool modern feel.
5. Soft Modern Collection Round Side Table: This table is the brother of the glammier lux version we styled in our bedroom. If gold isn't your color of choice, black can be!
This post is sponsored by Sauder, but all opinions are mine alone.
Whether you've been knitting for ages, or are just curious about getting into the hobby, we're really psyched about the giveaway we're sharing today. We've teamed up with We Are Knitters to give away five of their amazingly-comfy Udon Blanket Knit Kits (each worth $125).
The Udon blanket is easy enough for anyone to make, and snuggly-soft enough that everyone will want one! And with We Are Knitter's super-clear instructional videos, there's really no excuse not to try.
Each kit includes:
Not sure you could tackle this for your first knitting project? Check out some real-world success pics from Instagram:
A photo posted by Alyson Lott (@bash_studio) on Mar 24, 2016 at 1:09pm PDT
A photo posted by @ladymoonbird on Mar 13, 2016 at 6:06am PDT
A photo posted by Pink Sheep Designs (@pinksheepdesign) on Mar 21, 2016 at 11:07am PDT
A photo posted by Madyson Grace (@beautiefullthings) on Mar 3, 2016 at 1:00pm PST
How To Enter:
Easy, just click on the image below
Click the form above to enter, or click here to open it in a new window.
Hurry and get your entry in! This giveaway ends May 6, 2016. Giveaway open to US and Canada residents only.
This post is brought to you by Bill Murray and the movie 'Groundhog Day' because here we go again. One year ago, I was writing a post about the big move into our own studio space. It was a huge step for us, for in moving we made the decision to find a space that allowed us to create more work-life balance (less emailing/preparing dinner/managing homework, more intentional family time at home).
Now, here we go again! Through a series of unforeseen - but maybe also fortuitous - events, the organization in charge of our space has decided to do major work on the building and cease rentals.
Initially, I was pretty broken up about the news. I know this sounds like an awful lot of drama for a workspace. And, admittedly, it is. But, facing the loss of our space was difficult because of what havingspace has come to mean. It creates a beautiful and very necessary separation between our home life and our work life. This is especially important if your brain works like mine and has a hard time turning off the work side of things. Having a studio has also given us a dedicated place to be creative and independent.
Losing it felt like a huge step backward. I feared a return to the circus of trying to do all the work from home, children about, struggling to be productive.
While our studio space is not perfect (the light could be better, the space could be bigger, the building has a smell that's some combination of mothball and lemonade). It is so perfect for us in a million ways. Let me count just a few of them...
We've spent the last 8 weeks visiting every rentable space in the Twin Cities. This is no exaggeration. Bruno has visited a very-many-dozen-hundred spaces in our quest for the right one. Lofts, garages, polished studios way out of our price range, and fixer-uppers way beyond our skill set. There have been many moments of believing that the right space didn't exist. And so, we considered building a garage with a loft in our backyard, making a shipping container studio in our backyard, buying a new house and using it as a studio... we've really gone down all the roads.
And then, because Bruno is tenacious and one of the hardest working people I know, we found the right place. Props to my man, because with this space, the sky opened up and angels sang. For real.
Here's the future of Curbly. Big windows, high ceilings, ample space, and many opportunities for us to knock some socks off style-wise.
Here are a few pictures from my phone, that if nothing else, will prove to you that we have been given the gift of vision.
Do you think we're crazy? Can you take our hand and run through the field of visions with us? Do you believe in us? Big questions, I know. No matter your answer, we can still be friends.
We move in on June 1, and in the meantime, walls will be removed, everything will be painted, new floors laid, and new lighting will be installed.
A new adventure begins. We're excited, a little bit scared, and eager to move on up. Cue, The Jeffersons, here we go!
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - National Painting Week is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Why, you ask? Because the power of paint in a room's transformation is astounding and I'll never tire of it. This year, we're participating in Sherwin-Williams National Painting Week and we're so excited to show you what we've got up our sleeves.
We did things a little differently this year. Instead of a bathroom, bedroom, or living space of any kind, we partnered with our treasured neighborhood nursery school. It's a place that's infintely important and precious to our family, and it's one of my favorite makoevers to date.
You'll have to wait until next week for the big reveal, but in the meantime, here's a little taste of what we're cooking up:
We worked with a solid bright, white base, and then folded in some pretty pastels to give the room something a little unexpected and joyful. Then we painted like there was no tomorrow ...
We'll be back next week with the big reveal. In the meantime, you can follow Sherwin-Williams on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram for more updates. And, if you're impatient like me, you can revisit our National Painting Week porch makeover from last year!
This post is sponsored by Sherwin-Williams; all opinions are mine alone. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Curbly!
Our neighborhood preschool is a goldmine of childhood magic. It's a special place that brings families together; an emblem of our community's commitment to children.
This year, for National Painting Week, our friends at Sherwin-Williams encouraged us to seek out a community-based project. We were thrilled, because doing more of this sort of work has long been one of our goals. We instantly knew our beloved preschool would be the perfect candidate. The power of paint would be transformative, helping improve a space that does so much for children and families. Read on to hear all about it.
The St. Anthony Park UMC Community Nursery School is a treasured place for our family. It's a school built on visions of play and exploration, housed in the lower-level of a turn-of-the-century church; modest on the outside, but all kinds of wonderful on the inside.
Both of our children have attended the school, and we've watched its director, Molly Breen, tirelessly transform it over the years. She inherited sun-filled, open spaces the children delightfully make their own. But those wide open spaces harbor decades of character ... good and bad.
Over the years, Molly has turned the dated spaces into beautiful learning environments that support her child-led curriculum. The school's gym was one of the last projects on her to-do list, and the one we most wanted to get our hands on. We were intrigued by all the design possibilities, and verily, a little frightened of the room's size (more than 1,000 square feet).
The gym needed to remain multi-functional; lots of long runs for large-motor play, with some cozy nooks built in for quieter times. We needed to account for gym mats and scooters, but also consider storytime and naps for all those little artists, builders, and daydreamers.
My brain immediately started making a dozen vignettes, but they had to be cohesive and fluent.
So, with miracles in mind, have a look at the 'before' space to get a sense of what we were working on:
Children are miracles ... we must make it our job to create, with reverence and gratitude,
a space that is worthy
of a miracle.
And here's what the space looks like now:
Paint is Magic in a Can
We knew paint was going to have an unbelievable impact on this room. The worn beige color was not doing those walls any favors, and they deserved much better. For the foundation, we chose a bright white - our standby, most faithful friend, Pure White (SW 7005).
We worked in some joyful color and texture by building overlapping triangles out of one corner. The colors were inspired by my beloved Birchbox subscription. March’s box was good:
The triangles were painted with the following (from left to right): Breaktime (SW 6463), Comfort Gray (SW 6205), Champagne (SW 6644), and Lime Granita (SW 6715). Do they remind you of this little boy’s room? That was unintentional, but kind of a happy throwback!
Getting perfectly crisp lines when masking paint is hard, especially when painting old plastered walls with lots of imperfections. The paint just loves to bleed under your tape lines.
Here's how to avoid paint bleed...
1. Rough in your shape without taping; make it a little bigger than you want the final shape to be.
2. Let that color dry, and then lay your tape line down over it (that's why you made it a little big in step one). Your tape should be inside the colored area. Now, paint over the outside edge of your tape with that color. This seals the tape down.
3. Let it dry, then paint the outside of the shape (i.e. if the wall is white, re-paint the white area outside the tape). Peel the paint up while this coat (the base wall color) is still wet. You'll have perfect, crisp paint lines!)
Still not making sense? Here's a an explanation with pictures.
We added some dimension to the triangles with metallic silver circles (cut thrice due to the inability of the first two vinyls to properly adhere... the winningest vinyl was the Cricut Adhesive Foil).
All the trim and posts were painted a dark gray (Peppercorn SW 7674). My first inclination was to paint the wood trim white, but Molly (smartly) suggested a darker color that could hide imperfections (those baseboards and doors are at the constant mercy of tiny hands and vehicle wheels). We used a paint sprayer for the baseboards and trim; highly recommended. We used a paint sprayer for the baseboards and trim; highly recommended.
Corraling the Light
The thing we love most about the gym is the abundance of natural light it gets throughout the day. Although it's a basement, it has large, south-facing windows, so it practically overflows with light in the afternoon.
This is great! Except when it's not ... like when 25 preschoolers are trying to rest during quiet time.
That's where window treatments come in. Say heeeeeeey to the Signature Roman Shade from Blinds.com! These shades had a profound effect on the room, adding texture and an organic softness. They complemented the paint in a most excellent way and instantly elevated the entire room.
An Organized Space is a Happy Space
Once the canvas was set, we got down with organization. As I mentioned before, we needed to create many small spaces inside one large space, which required a small bit of wizardry. We wanted the overall space to feel unified while playing a variety of distinct roles.
When I was teaching (3rd and 4th grade, ten years, holla!), organization was my biggest mountain to climb. Every year.
But, in truth, it was also one of my favorite parts of the job. Here's why: an organized classroom makes everything else possible. It helps you do your job better and allows you to use your space well. When children can find the materials they need, a sense of independence and ownership are fostered.
We used dozens of clear bins to store all the small stuff (art supplies, blocks, dinosaurs, etc.). This was a top priority for Molly, in line with her teaching philosophy; the children should be able to see everything that's available to them.
While we worked on organizing all the toys, our friend Andy installed beautiful maple cabinetry and a 'garage' system to house all the trikes and scooters. He also turned a defunct doorway into a shelving system. The cabinetry is not only stunning, but it provides much-needed storage in the space.
Making One Space into Many
We left the room's floorplan alone because it was working for the kids, and if it ain’t broke …
We used furniture and art to help create visual dividers throughout the room. As part of the project, we partnered with Wayfair, who donated $1000 in furniture to the space - including two new sets of tables and chairs. The furniture defines the art and craft area, and it's easy to move when the space needs to be more open.
We moved all the flexible piping to the wall to free up floor space.
When you're trying to define spaces within a room, rugs are pretty much your BFF. We used several basic IKEA rugs to define different areas. These rugs work well because they're aesthetically pleasing, affordable, and easy to replace after a school year of hard use.
I made a new cover for to the reading nook with my most beloved Nate Berkus's line of fabric, and we cozied it up with rugs and toss pillows.
We hung those magnificent animal busts above the lockers, and swapped out the orange storage baskets for a fresh set of white ones.
Of course, the most important question is, what do the kids think? Have a look:
This year's project was a tonof work, but we enjoyed every minute of it. I'd love to know what you think! Leave a comment below telling us what you liked, or what you would've done differently.
And don't forget to check out these other National Painting Week projects from our friends.
This post was sponsored by Sherwin-Williams. All opinions, images, and words are mine alone. Thank you for supporting the brands that make the Curbly world go 'round.
We just completed a big move from a small office space into a much larger, 'OMG is this for real' studio. For me, moving ranks right up there with the greatest of nuisances - dental visits, airport security lines, and flu shots. I recognize I'm complaining from a place of great privilege an opporunity ... but moving just stinks.
To make this move slightly less irritating, I pulled out a few tricks I've learned from previous experiences:
Put on an audiobook
With silence comes boredom. To help pass the time while packing up all those boxes, Bruno and I listened to an audio book through our Audible account. An audio book keeps the day moving as the stories progress. Music is great, but the development of narrative and humor gives the whole process an uplifting feel - since the audiobook, like us, is actually going somewhere. We cued up Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris, and totally recommend it.
Sedaris has completely unforgettable voice, and the book's six hours of short stories are perfect for a moving day. These little stories helped curb the monotony of packing boxes and driving carloads across town.
To use book recommendations, just tap on the ‘Send this Book’ icon in your Audible library, then choose who you want to share it with (via text, Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.) will be free if it is your recipient’s first time accepting an audiobook through this feature.
If haven't tried Audible, you can sign up for a one-month free trial and download Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, or any another book of your choosing. For more information of how to download Audible and take advantage of this offer, visit Audible.
I don't know what comes over people when it comes to lifting big boxes, but why do we always feel like we have something to prove? Unless you're training for a world's strongest man/woman competition, dead-lifting giant boxes off the ground is not a smart idea. We keep a dolly around and use it liberally. Mechanical advantage for the win!
You can find medium-duty dollies at your local hardware store or home center for a very reasonable price. Coupled with some heavy duty straps and perhaps a bungee cord or two, you can move some serious weight with one, all by yourself. It may seem like a unitasker for a single move, but once you have one of these on hand, you'll find yourself using it again and again. No sore backs or busted boxes here.
Donate. Sell. Trash. Let go.
Every move is an opportunity to get rid of stuff you don't really need. The last thing you want to do is haul something you never use from your old space to your new one, so it can go one being unused there.
Although moving can be a pain, by reducing the amount of junk that could clutter up your new place, you can turn a potentially negative experience into a positive.
In order to decide what we should keep and what we should get rid of, we decided that if an item met any of the following, it had to go: 1) if it's a craft or art supply that we bought more than a year ago and we haven't used it yet 2) if something is more than 75% used up (paint tubes, glue bottles, fabric and paper scraps, etc) and 3) if it isn't something we'd be excited to photograph to create a blog post or social media update.
Of course, we're moving our office and studio space, so the rules for your home will be different for you, but the point is: make sure the stuff you're taking to your next space reflects your values, and will have an obvious use once it gets there.
We finished moving all our stuff to the new office in just one day, and as you can see below, that made our kids pretty happy:
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible. The opinions and text are all mine.
Room makeovers are my bread and butter. On Curbly, we feature lots of DIYs and small projects, but the most satisfying work Bruno and I do are makeovers. And – if I can just run with the bread and butter analogy – I will add that the jam to the room makeover is the styling, staging, and photographing of the space. With that, my friends, comes the need for accessories.
It occurred to me that we have a rather modest collection of accent pieces, and with it we run the risk of having everything look the same. Are you tired of that brass hand ring holder yet? I'll never tire of it, but I'm ready to look for some new favorites. So this summer, a top priority for me is to refresh our stockpile of staging stuff.
Today, I'm sharing a round-up of my favorite accessories we currently own (and similar ones for you, dear shoppers), along with some of the ones I'm coveting hard.
Vintage Brass Hand
This hand is perfection. Delicate and shiny. It's a high five and a dainty wave all in one. We found ours at Missouri Mouse in St. Paul, MN during our most favorite adventure with Emily Henderson. It's one of a kind, but here are some excellent twins:
I love trays because they allow you to do all sorts of beautiful things in a confined space. They work like a frame for a vignette, and allow you to get as weird and wild as you like with your 'picture'. My favorite ones have been found at Goodwill (for $2) and Target. Here are some similar ones:
Vintage Brass Bust
I have a thing for vintage faces and heads. I like looking at them and filling my house with them. This guy came from Hunt & Gather in Minneapolis. I've yet to find anything like him, and so for now, he's the lonely bust among a sea of two dimensional portraits. At the moment, I have my eyes on this lady to be his partner on the mantel. Here are a few more I'm coveting:
Candles and Candlesticks
Candles evoke warmth and give a space an instant dose of cozy charm. My favorite candles are made By the MN based company, Thymes Limited. I love them because they burn cleanly, look beautiful, and smell amazing. My favorites are: Kimono Rose, Lotus Santal, and Fraiser Fir (in the winter months).
I love the elegance and grandeur a good candle holder adds to a vignette. My favorite is the Tri Taper Holder set from CB2 (pictured above, but now discontinued). I love this set because it works with nearly every style. Here are a couple alternatives:
Cubes & Small Sculptures
This trio of brass wire cubes is a staple in my book. They're small and versatile - and most importantly - visually interesting. We've dressed them up with air plants and let them stand alone. They're affordable, and you should add them to your style bag of tricks.
Books are the design bomb when you're staging. They help you create surfaces to 'dress up', and allow you to create height, depth, and visual interest. Grab them in every size, color, and subject. In the case of vintage books, I like to remove the dust cover, because the weathered hardcovers are so beautiful.
Flowers and plants are some of the easiest and most beautiful decorations you can add to a space. They act as sculptures, artwork, and focal points. They also make a huge organic impact on any space.
Now that we've reviewed my favorites, here are some of the pieces I'm hoping to add to my styling mix:
Do you have a list of favorite styling accesories? Or a piece you love the very best? Tell me all about it in the comments section!
Porch and patio season is officially open, and it should be our modus operandi for the next three months. If you haven't dusted off your outdoor furniture, swept out the porch cobwebs, and fired up your citronella candles, the time is nigh.
As we cleaned out our porch last weekend, we decided our plant stands needed a little pick-me-up. We gave them a refresh with a favorite paint color, our Wagner paint sprayer, and a new potted plant. Read on to learn how to do this easy project this weekend (and how to win a paint sprayer of your own)!
Adding a coat of fresh paint to patio furniture is a great way to revive even the most worn piece. In my case, I wanted to add a little more interest to a basic plant stand I picked up at Target earlier this spring. It was simple, with nice lines, and flat black finish, and I wanted to give it a softer, more feminine touch.
I looked for a soft peachy-pink in several spray paint aisles, and couldn't find one I liked. So, I did a little research, picked up a quart of the very color I was dreaming of (Sherwin-William's Spun Sugar - SW 6337), and applied it with our Wagner FLEXiO 590 Paint Sprayer.
Painting wicker, wood, or metal by hand can be very time-consuming. If you've got a piece that has lots of small, intricate parts, trying to paint it with a brush can be a real chore.
Here's the how-to:
Wipe down your piece to remove all dust and dirt. If it has a smooth or glossy finish, rough it up a bit with some medium-grit sandpaper (this gives the paint a better surface to bond to)
Fill Pour your paint into the FLEXiO 590 paint cup and add the Paint Easy additive as inidicated in the directions. A paint additive is not strictly required (you can use the sprayer without it), but I've found that it makes the paint flow much better, and gives my projects a better, more even finish.
Do a test spray before adding paint to your piece. The paint sprayer is more powerful than a can of spray paint (it's also a lot cleaner to use; no spray-painted finger tips involved). If you've never used one before, it takes a couple of passes to get the hang of it. Definitely do this project in a well-ventilated area, and use eye and respiratory protection (goggles and a mask).
Evenly coat your piece in long strokes until the whole piece is covered. Because I was painting a plant stand with lots of weird angles and lines, I did a first coat that covered most of the stand, and then I let it dry. Once dry, I flipped it over and did a second coat to cover any areas I missed (e.g. the bottom of the stand's tray). As with any sprayed paint application, you're better off going for many light passes, rather than one very heavy pass.
Once dry, wrap the base of each plant stand leg in leather cording. This step is quite easy and adds a pretty boot detail to the plant stands. Simply wrap the cording around its own tail to secure it. I used two colors (carmel and black). To weave the second color into the mix, wrap it's tail with a few rounds of your first color. Clear as mud? In this case, hopefully the pictures do a better job of illustrating the process.
Add your potted plant to your freshly painted, newly footed stand and enjoy the fruits of your (very little) labor.
Here's a final look at our plant stand in our brand-spanking-new studio space!
This post was sponsored by Wagner. All images, thoughts, and words are mine alone. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Curbly!
It's no secret that we at casa Curbly are big lovers of everything mid-century modern (MCM). The classic, clean lines of this style of furniture make it timeless and easy to blend with different styles. But true MCM pieces can be hard to come by, and even harder to afford. We've rounded up some of our favorite MCM looks for a fraction of the price. And, while nothing beats the quality and durability of a classic MCM piece, these doppelganger will work for you while you save your pennies for a vintage Eames lounge chair or original Saarinen Tulip Table.
Flowing, uncomplicated lines or unruly live edges and hairpin legs are the name of the mid-century table game.
Mid-century lighting is sculptural by nature. Sputnik spindles, graceful arcs, and dramatic statements pieces are hallmarks of MCM lighting.
Simple shapes, nubby wool, sleek wood, and bucket seats are all part of the mid-century seating story. This is an area where you can save money by carefully choosing replicas, but quality is of the utmost importance, and with that the price tags are going to soar a little higher.
Carefully chosen accessories are the glue that will pull a room together and give it a distinctly mid-century feel. Think wooden sculptural pieces, vibrant patterned pillows, and polished brass knick-knacks.
If you have a favorite mid-century look-a-like or a trick for pulling off a MCM-esque room for less, please tell us in the comments below!
This week, we're diving down deep into mid-century modern love on Curbly and we're re-sharing our "Make It! Mid-Century Modern" eBook. It's full of mid-century inspired masterpieces you can make at home.
The book features twelve MCM-inspired how-to projects will show you how to make a Calderiffic Mobile, Eames-embroidered napkins, a fantastic Girard-ish ottoman and more!.
Each article includes background on the designer who inspired it, a materials and tools list, and detailed step-by-step instructions with high-res photos.
We've even included full-scale printable templates and patterns to make projects even easier.
Here's a preview of what the book holds:
This August we're devoting each week of the month to a different decor style or theme. This week, we're all about the mid-century modern (MCM) style. The clean lines, geometric shapes, and natural woods and metals make this style iconic and evergreen. MCM treasures are widely sought-after and coveted by collectors, making it difficult and pricey to get your hands on the real deal.
The good news is you can achieve a MCM look in your home by mixing and matching vintage and modern pieces. Read on to give it a try!
There are two "best things" about flat, horizontal surfaces in the home:
To achieve the MCM look, the only rules you have to follow are:
If you follow the above rules, you can achieve a pretty amazing MCM look without exclusively using true mid-century pieces. Here's how we achieved the look below using a few vintage finds, mixed with goodies from West Elm, CB2 and the like.
While the look isn't strictly composed of MCM pieces, it has a mid-century feel because we used a broad-leaf plant, sculptural vases, and some bold colors. The artwork is an eclectic mix of old and new, but it work because the bold colors of the modern print are grounded by the vintage portrait of a lady and an iconic MCM star burst urchin.
Here's a source list (with prices). I think it's difficult to price authentic MCM pieces, so I'm including price tags to give you a sense of what a real piece goes for.
Gourd Vase: West Elm $39; similarhere
Lamp: $70 for a pair (Vintage); similar here
Artwork: Portrait of a Lady - $20 (Vintage); similar here
We're rounding out our MCM week on Curbly with a booklet of twenty-four iconic modern design silhouettes, along with the vector files we used to make them! We chose our favorite designs by Eames, Nelson, Saarinen, and the best of the mid-century designers. Read on to see how to download the files - for free.
To download out MCM Icons:
Download it for free on our Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/e4C4iv (don't forget to become a Curbly fan first).
Our oldest daughter begins school after Labor Day, and at the moment there is much anticipation buzzing around our house because their teacher and class placements will be mailed in the coming weeks.
This year, our girl wanted to come up with a gift she could share with her friends to celebrate the start of school. After a walk through the 'Back to School' section of Target, we came up with a simple DIY pencil case embellishment that she's excited to share with her friends. Read on to find out what we did!
We found some basic, plastic pencil cases for $0.79! Using stickers decorated with permanent markers, we personalized each case with the names of her friends.
We then created colorful pencils by covering our favorite Ticonderoga pencils (as a former teacher, I can assure you these are the very best pencils ever) with Washi tape. Both projects were easy to complete on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Once the pencils were complete, we placed them in the pencil boxes with some other back to school goodies. Happy Back to School!