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Tuesday, 13 December 2011 09:00

Holiday Inspiration from the NYC Flower District

When I first moved to NYC one my favorite discoveries was the flower district.  I had of course read about about it in books and had seen in various movies films, but I had never grasped the size or just how wonderful it is to simply walk through it on a lazy Saturday afternoon.  Back in Indiana we have little flower shops here and there and fields full of wild flowers, but nothing like an entire section of a neighborhood solely dedicated to flowers and greenery.  There is a certain hustle and bustle in the flower district full of of people grabbing bouquets for loved ones, props for photo shoots, arrangements for catering events, and plenty of crafters picking up their supplies for their next DIY project.

Today we have the lovely Sara Lowman here to share with us a bit of holiday inpsiration from our beloved NYC flower district.  




 Holiday Inspiration from the NYC Flower District
by Sara Lowman

New York goes big when it comes to Christmas. From no-expense-spared department store windows to the Rockefeller Center tree, NYC takes the business of Christmas seriously. For those of us who live here, however, fighting yuletide gridlock and attempting to cram Christmas trees in tiny apartments can make the holiday feel a little forced. So it was a huge relief when I strolled through the Flower District and found some affordable and inspiring holiday décor that will help even the tiniest space get in the spirit.

If you can’t fit a tree, these ready-made swags can be hung on your walls or your door and still bring the smell of spruce to your home.


Think potted plants are just for spring and summer? Think again! Treat yourself to a lasting holiday arrangement like these amaryllises and paperwhites.


I love the rustic wooden boxes that these paperwhites were being sold in (the whole arrangement for $15)!


Branches have staying power and make beautiful additions to arrangements/centerpieces:


Still worried that flowers might not last?  These dried arrangements are a great alternative. I even love the brown paper wrapping—it’s a great way of dressing up a bouquet to bring to a friend.


Birch is classic and beautiful.  If you don’t have a working fireplace, filling it with birch logs is a beautiful way of using the space.  I also love working with birch accessories.

                                                                                                          Photo: BHLDN

Don’t forget your ribbon!  Those disposable sticky bows are the pits! Presents feel extra-special when wrapped in ribbon.  Whether your Christmas is white or blue, the flower market has beautiful shades to choose from.


You don’t have to live in New York to find decorations like these. Support your local florists and art supply stores to create your own DIY holiday spirit. Don’t lose heart if you have a limited budget. Simplicity is elegant, and little touches from the heart say a lot more than overdone decorations. My sister recently made me this tiny arrangement of one parrot tulip and two sprigs of holly berries. For me, a million dollar arrangement couldn’t have been more perfect.


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Sunday, 13 November 2011 17:12

How to Make Your Home Thanksgiving Ready With Sara Lowman

Happy Monday! Today we are kicking off our two week long Thanksgiving theme. Each day we will be serving up everything from recipes (new and some of our favorite classics), table setting ideas, design decor and much, much more! So whether you're having a small, quiet Thanksgiving gathering or a giant feast, you will have all the goods to make it a day of fabulous food, gorgeous settings, and great conversation (because what else can spark an enticing dialogue like scrumptious, mouth-watering food?!).

To start us off we have Sara here today to talk about how to set up a room to really get that conversation going.

Happy cooking & crafting!




Furniture Layouts Fit for the Holidays 

by Sara Lowman

As the holiday season comes upon us, so do the stresses of entertaining. From what to serve, what to wear, who to invite, how to decorate…there’s a lot to figure out. And while there may not be much you can do to prevent Uncle Frank from demolishing a bottle of scotch and embarrassing you with toasts of yesteryear, you can at least prepare your space to make for a (reasonably) good time.

Let’s get down to basics. If you’ve had a room that just doesn’t seem to work, here’s your chance to rework and rearrange. I’m going to take you through a room that has a great furniture arrangement for entertaining, so you can put some of the ideas to work for yourself.


  1. Identify a focal point.

In the room above, the focal point is the fireplace. The seating is arranged to allow for both comfortable conversation and a view of the fireplace. If you don’t have a fireplace, the focal point could be another architectural element or even the television or a work of art.


  1. Pay attention to how the room functions.

Keep doorways and traffic areas clear and uncluttered. People should be able to move easily through a space. Side tables and coffee tables near chairs and sofas allow guests to reach for a book or to set their drink down. 18 inches is a good guide for the distance a coffee table should be from a sofa. By arranging the sofas to face each other as well as adding chairs to complete a sort of circle, you will be able to accommodate a large number of people without making anyone crane their neck to participate in a conversation.


         3. Lighting is key.

While you may have great overhead lighting, table lamps and floor lamps add another layer and help to soften the light in a room. Table lamps can go on   side tables and consoles. A skilled contractor can install floor outlets so wires aren’t dragged across the room to plug into a wall. Of course, dimmers should be used whenever possible.

         4. Allow for extra seating.

If you have space along a barren wall, place a beautiful chair alongside a console.  It will come in handy when you have more guests than usual. Benches are also great. I like how there are two extra benches in front of the fireplace in this layout.

bench            Extra_Seating

            5. Don’t be afraid to go big with a rug.

If a rug is too small, it cuts up the room. By using a large rug, it unifies the space.  Generally, I like a six inch to one foot margin from the wall when measuring for an area rug. Each room is unique, however, and in this case, the bay window and fireplace hearth create an unusual shape, so we see a larger margin.


            6. Create your own vignettes.

While initially an area like a bay window might seem like a design challenge for arranging furniture, it can be a great opportunity to add charm and interest to a space. In this layout, two chairs, a floor lamp and a round table help set the area up for a quiet conversation. Finish it off with fresh flowers and your favorite accessories, and you’re all set!


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 08:58

Textile Week: Cozy Up the Cold with Fall Textiles

We are continuing Textile Week today with a post from the lovely and oh-so-talented interior designer, Sara Lowman.  Whether its our wardrobe or decorating a room we love pulling together different colors, textures, and patterns of textiles and Sara is an absolute expert in this area.  

Happy decorating! 




 Cozy up the Cold with Fall Textiles
by Sara Lowman

It’s here—Chilly air, shorter days and changing leaves.  Living in the Northeast, we know what we’re in for. And while Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) seems inevitable with our light deprivation and hibernation, some small changes in your décor can help to make your change of seasons full of cheer.

You don’t have to completely reinvent your space for each season.  Instead, use textiles to refresh your décor and keep it current. 

1. Get Inspired by Your Wardrobe

Fall is all about layering, and your décor can follow suit. From mismatched patterns to multiple rugs, layers create a comfortable, lived-in effect.

Photo: Domino

2. Skin is in

Adding a sheepskin throw to a chair or to the foot of your bed adds warmth and texture while working with virtually any color scheme.

Photo: Lonny

Photo: Roman and Williams

3. Appeal to the Senses

Pay attention to the way things feel. If a Nor’easter blows in to ruin your plans of a night out, curling up on your sofa with a cashmere throw can be the perfect consolation prize. I love Greenhorn Trading for cashmere throws, but places like William Sonoma Home and Restoration Hardware offer affordable alternatives. You can also change up your bedding by treating yourself to flannel sheets.  I love Garnet Hill’s Vintage Ticking Stripe Flannel Bedding.

Photos: Williams Sonoma Home; Garnet Hill

4. Fight SAD with Plaid

This classic pattern celebrates the holiday season like no other. I know your mother told you that stripes and plaids clash, but you can create playful interiors by layering multiple patterns. If you lean towards a more traditional aesthetic, a single plaid accessory (i.e. a pillow or blanket) can make your space winter-ready in no time.

Photo: Domino

Photo: Domino

Photo: Elle Décor

Hopefully, these few small changes can help keep you warm and inspired this winter. Purchasing some seasonal textiles can make a huge difference, and they are sure to cost less than a beach vacation. With any luck, you’ll no longer curse the falling mercury—Equipped with a cozy winter space, you’ll embrace the cold in style.


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Friday, 21 October 2011 08:17

6 Bold Colors to Inspire Your Home

Happy Friday everyone! I will be spending the weekend painting my room, kitchen, and bathroom.  This could be a slightly over optimistic goal, but we'll see how much I can get done.  I have been pouring over different design blogs for inspiration of bold, beautifully painted rooms.  

Here are some of my favorite! 

Kelly Green

Photo: Decor 8

Army Green

Photo: Coco + Kelly


Photo: The City Sage

Slate Gray

Photo: Design Sponge


hoto: Design Sponge


Photo: Apartment Therapy


I have been slightly in love with having a blue room someday, so I think that I'm finally going to go for it! 

Have you recently painted a room? Email it to us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Want to see more of our favorite interiors? Check us out on Pinterest here

Have a fantastic weekend! 



Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Thursday, 06 October 2011 08:52

Roast Chicken and DIY Extravaganza

Happy Thursday! I have been out of town for the last few NYC Thursday Night Dinners, so I am especially looking forward to tonight. Since my return to NYC, I have been getting settled in my house and am so excited (and slightly overwhelmed) by the giant list of DIY projects that I've made for the house.

I am going to be tackling my room first since right now it looks somewhere between a flea market and the Anthroplogie sale section during Christmas time.  


See what I mean? I have my framed 30"x40" thesis prints, about six different lamps, giant baskets full of crafting supplies, camera equipment, and much, much more. Simplicity and organization are now key skills that I have to remind myself of each day. I have a little habit of buying little things here and there just because they are on sale so now that I have about three different color schemes going on and enough hooks to probably individually hang each necklace that I own.  The first necessity was my closet. As crafty as I would like to give myself credit for, I am by no means a skilled carpenter. I think that the extent of my knowledge is what I learned in 3D class back at IU.  I chose my own custom made closet to be my non-DIY gift to myself. With the help of the lovely Sara Lowman and the skillful contractors from Kimco, I now have a beautifully designed closet.  We chose to make it floor to ceiling and to paint it white so that it feels as if it always belonged there.


Now that it's completely built, it's time to pick out the hardware! At Sara's suggestion, I ventured into the city and visited Anthropologie and Restoration Hardware. I have never actually picked out hardware before and had no idea how many options with only subtle differences there were out there! It was very easy to get distracted with hardware like this....

Anthropologie Knobs
knobsPicture_3 knobsPicture_5
knobsPicture_7 knobsPicture_6

However, I reminded myself that simplicity was key here.  I knew that I'll be painting my room blue with white trim, so I gathered a few options for knobs that have little specks of blue in them. With sheer determination to turn my room into something more contemporary and chic, (rather than just shabby) I pulled different options of long, simple handles. After a few days of sitting on it and Sara's fantastic input I've decided on these options.



The next two items on the list are painting and curtains.  I know that I want something light and sheer for the curtains and the truth is that I can probably make them myself.  Any ideas?! 

Getting back to Thursday Night Dinner, I am going to try this recipe from the one and only, Smitten Kitchen.  I have been itching to try this for months now and finally remembered to order all of the ingredients in my Fresh Direct order this week! 

 Roast Chicken with Dijon Sauce
by Smitten Kitchen

What you need: 

  • 3 pounds chicken parts (thighs, drumsticks, and/or breasts), with skin and bones
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium or sodium-free chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives or the green parts of scallions

What to do:

Preheat oven to 450°F with a rack in middle. Pat chicken dry and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet (if you’ve got a cast iron skillet, it is great here) over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Working in 2 batches, brown chicken, skin side down first and turning once, about 5 minutes per batch. I like to take a lot of care in this step, not moving the chicken until the skin releases itself and has a nice bronze on it, which will provide the best flavor and seal in the most juices.

Return all chicken, skin side up, to skillet and roast in oven until just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter, then add shallots, wine, and broth to pan juices in skillet and boil, scraping up any brown bits, until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cream and boil until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. To thicken the sauce further, turn the heat to high and boil it until it reduces to a consistency you prefer.

Strain sauce through a sieve into a bowl, if you’re feeling fancy (I never am, but if you don’t, you might find some chicken bits scraped up from the pan in your sauce. We don’t mind.) Whisk in mustard, chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve chicken with sauce.

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Tuesday, 04 October 2011 10:36

Workin' on Getting our Walls Covered

As we near the one year anniversary of owning our home, I am finally getting around to covering the bare walls. They have started to get me down. With planning a wedding and all the craziness of moving to a new city, we simply haven't had time to get our house quite the way we want it. Plus, we're doing everything ourselves, so that takes time. We don't exactly have the money to buy art, and while we do have a few pieces that have been done by our talented friends, we've got a LOT of wall space. So, I've decided to put my craftiness to use and have started making things for our walls.

Here are a couple of pieces I made this weekend. (I got side tracked and didn't finish the first one I started, but I'll get to it.) I'm still looking for ideas-- especially ideas on covering large wall spaces. We will do a bunch of frame clusters, but I also want some variation.

Here's to happy crafting!




For our wedding, we printed out a bunch of our favorite photos as Polaroids and strung them around the room. Since I never, ever have photos printed because I'm lazy, I'm excited to have all these photos around. Now, I just need to figure out how to display them. For these I cut off the Polaroid section at the bottom because it had writing on it.

I love this idea of using photo corners. It makes the piece look interesting and gives it depth without the time and money it takes to have something matted.

 Photo Corner Framed Artbedroom_art2

What you need: 

  • Photos
  • Frames (mine were 50% off at Hobby Lobby)
  • Card stock of your choosing (mine is wordy because they are being hung in the book nook)
  • Self adhesive photo corners 
  • Pencil
  • Paper cutter (or scissors)
  • Ruler (optional)

What to do:

Once you choose the card stock that you like, lay the glass from the frame over it. I lined the top and right side of the glass up with the edge of the card stock, so I only had to make two cuts.bedroom_art_3_copy Trace the two other edges of the frame onto the card stock with a pencil. Cut along the pencil lines with a paper cutter or scissors. The card stock will now fit perfectly into the frame. Arrange the photo or photos onto the card stock. You can eyeball it or measure if you want to be exact. On the card stock, make a mark where the corners of each photo will go. Place photo corners on the marks. Put the corners of each photo into the corners, put glass into the frame, then the card stock, then the back, hang and admire!





As you know, I got some good practice spray painting leaves with the wedding, so I thought I'd take the concept and put it to use for some art for my craft room.


Framed Silver Leavescraft_room_art3

What you need:

  • Fresh picked leaves
  • Spray paint
  • Spray adhesive
  • Card stock of your choosing
  • Frames (Again 50% off at Hobby Lobby)
  • Paper cutter (or scissors)
  • Pencil

What to do:

Pick some leaves from your trees (hurry before they all turn!) Fresh leaves spray paint the best. I've also found that maple and ash leaves take to the spray paint the best. In a well ventilated area, spray the leaves with a coat of paint, making sure to get all the nooks and crannies. I used silver spray paint, but do whatever you like. Let them dry thoroughly.

Choose the card stock that you like, and lay the glass from the frame over it. I lined the top and right side of the glass up with the edge of the card stock, so I only had to make two cuts. Trace the two other edges of the frame onto the card stock with a pencil. Cut along the pencil lines with a paper cutter or scissors. The card stock will now fit perfectly into the frame.

When the leaves are dry, determine where they will go on the card stock. Spray the back of the leaf with spray adhesive and place carefully on the card stock. Leaves are delicate so you can't move them around too well if they stick to the card stock, so be careful where you lay it. Put the glass into the frame, then your leaf art, then the back. Close up the frame, hang and admire.


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Friday, 30 September 2011 07:58

Ginger VS Mary Ann

Happy Friday, everyone! It's my second day here in Louisville and I am so excited to be here with my original Thursday Girls, Colleen, Emily, and Kate.  It seems like only yesterday when we were cooking in Emily's kitchen in Bloomington (sigh). Before the ladies came over for dinner, Colleen and I were able to get a couple of new products (new craft kits anyone?!) photographed for the shop yesterday afternoon. I will be getting them ready to go up on the site over the weekend so make sure to check out our shop early next week! If you missed yesterday's blog, make sure to check it out and help Colleen decide on her next craft! 

This week we have been focusing on the powerful and bold color, red.  A color that can so easily dominate any plate or room proved to be a fun challenge and sparked our creativity to come up with a few new crafts and recipes.  

Today we have the lovely Sara Lowman here to share her ideas on how to use red in your home.





Red was always a color that scared me a little. It seemed a little too bold--more Ginger than Mary Ann, and I happily stayed on the shyer end of the spectrum until I saw red paired with blue. The color I had written off as flashy and tasteless suddenly seemed fresh and elegant. So in the hopes of converting some of you haters out there, I’ve put together some images to inspire a little red in your life.

Photo: Diane Bergerson

Photo: Toby Fairley

Photo: Design Sponge

Photo: Domino

Ultimately these images show red being used as an accent color. Too often people approach a space with the idea that everything should match. By using a combination of warm and cool colors like red and blue, a level of contrast is achieved to create a fresh aesthetic. Hopefully, this will help you be a little more daring when coming up with a color scheme for your space, and with any luck, you’ll embrace a little bit of Ginger in your Mary Ann world. 


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Friday, 23 September 2011 09:02

A Whimsical Birthday Party for Little Carolina

Friday is here and we are busy, busy over here at Thursdays.  I am wrapping things up and will be hopping on a plane to Indiana for some time with my family and friends.  I am especially excited for my little trip down to Louisville where I'll be having my Thursday Night Dinner with Colleen, Emily, and Kate! 

Before I take off, I am so please to share today's blog from the the lovely Sara Lowman.  Our friend, Raquel, recently held her daughter's 1st birthday celebration! Raquel's tastes are absolutely flawless.  After this make sure to check out Raquel's baby shower, DIY wedding ideas, and her daughter's nursery. I promise that you'll go throughout the rest of your day feeling inspired to throw a little gathering of your own!

Thanks Sara! Oh! And happy belated birthday Miss Carolina!




My friend Raquel is one of those people who always gets it right. From her clothes to her house to her little Italian Greyhound, she’s devastatingly flawless. So it was no surprise when she whipped together the perfect outdoor birthday party for her adorable one year old daughter, Carolina. And while it may seem impossible to pull off stylish events as effortlessly as people like Raquel, you can’t blame a girl for trying.

1. Get Personal

Start with the invitation. Everything from the text to the shape of the paper says that this event will be a playful party with vintage charm. Custom invitations don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Sites like Etsy.com have many talented and affordable artists who can personalize everything from invitations to water bottles. Raquel used Etsy’s Loralee Lewis for her personal touches, integrating the style of the invitation into the party decor.





                                                                                                                                                                   I wasn't kidding about the water bottles...











2. Decorate!

A little bit of paper can go a long way. From paper flag banners (made by Raquel herself with some fabric shears and colorful string) to paper accordion lanterns, these whimsical touches add color and drama to the space.



















3. Remember Who Your Guests Are...

While an outdoor deck can be a great place for adults, it might spell splinters for little ones learning to walk. Raquel covered the floor with soft blankets encouraging adults to kick off their shoes and toddlers to wobble fearlessly.


4. EAt

Finger foods are great for kids and adults, and they don’t take hours to prepare.  Raquel made it easy for guests to grab a snack by setting up a beautiful buffet table.


5. Drink

We already covered the personalized water bottles which made for stylish hydration, but this party also made sure the adults had a drink of choice in hand.  A cocktail or two made the party festive for all parents and guests.


6. Be Merry

Fun is contagious, and it’s one thing (amongst many—obviously) that Raquel is good at.  All her planning and preparation allowed her to sit back and enjoy her daughter’s first birthday. No one wants a host who’s frazzled trying to entertain.  Relax and enjoy the fruits of your efforts. With any luck, you’ll not only plan a party, you’ll also make a memory.


~ Sara

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 15:17

It's a Beer and Honey Kind of Thursday

Happy Thursday! Well what a week! I have been running around all week trying to get my life a bit more organized.  There is this line from one of mine and Colleen's favorite books, The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster, where the main character, Nathan says something like, "At that moment I wish that I could have split myself in two to give myself a good pat on the back for a job well done". I remember the first time I read that line when I was reading before bed and had a good hearty laugh out loud.  At this moment I feel a bit like Nathan.  I've conquered my giant list-to-do's with sheer determination and finally now that the week is almost over I can look back and really feel proud.  There is just nothing like that, you know?

My main project has been my room.  Its getting completely revamped and has been my main focus throughout the week. The lovely Sara Lowman is guiding me through all of the arranging, organizing, color choices, and all of the little decision in between.  I've decided to start documenting the process and I'll go through each part as a separate DIY project throughout the next few weeks.  The major task that I have been chipping away at this week is discarding old clothes, furniture, knick knacks, etc.  I definitely recommend doing this with a decisive girlfriend.  It is the most effective way to really do get rid of the exploding items in your closet.  Caitlin very kindly volunteered for this job and couldn't believe how easily I was throwing anything that I haven't touched in a year into my giant donation bag.  There are some great places to take your unwanted clothes.  If you're in the NYC area, Beacon's Closet is an amazing second-hand store.  They will go through your clothes and buy what they want from you.  You even get the choice of taking cash or using it as store credit. They will happily take the remaining clothes and donate it to Goodwill for you.  Another great option is a clothing swap.  This is something that you can arrange with your friends or you can go to one that is organized for you.  Spacecraft hosts clothing swaps from time to time and just so happens to be hosting one this weekend.  

And this isn't even half of it! 


While I've been simplifying my life, my dream closet has been in construction all week.  (Instead of a pat on the back, I decided to treat myself to a closet.) The amazing contractor, Earl, from Kimco and their amazing builders have been here each day constructing away.  They are doing a magnificent job.  It is truly a thing of beauty.  I highly recommend these guys to anyone in the NYC area! 

Now for dinner...

After feeling very indecisive about what to cook for tonight's TND, I finally decided that it is officially time for chili.  I love, love, love this recipe.  It is the perfect fall meal.  We especially like it served with cornbread, but I'll bet a nice focaccia would be very nice too. 

 Beer and Honey Chili
by stephania stanley

What you need:chili_339B4986

  • 1 ½ lbs ground turkey meat
  • 1 ½ bottles of beer (ambers are great)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 6 oz cans of tomato paste
  • 1 16 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Grated Parmesan (optional)

What to do:

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and sauté for three minutes.  Add garlic and sauté for an additional three minutes.  Next add the turkey meat.  Mix often to ensure meat is cooked thoroughly and sauté for about ten minutes or until meat is cooked through.  Carefully pour fat out of pot (making sure to leave onions, garlic, and turkey in the pot).  Return pot to heat.  Add one bottle of beer, honey, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne to turkey mixture.  Stir to mix and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.  Now it’s time to add the remaining beer, but add to taste.  Simmer for an additional 30 minutes and then add black beans.  Stir to mix and simmer for a final 30 minutes.  Serve in big bowls and garnish with grated Parmesan.
Serves 8-10.
Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Monday, 12 September 2011 12:37

Some Serious Swedish Style

This week Thursdays is stepping out and taking some inspiration from abroad.  From French recipes to a summer Africa trip recap, we're going to share some of our favorite food, craft and décor ideas from the world way, way beyond our front doors.  To start us off, we have the always-inspiring Sara who is showing us some of her favorite examples of Swedish style. At the bottom of the post, be prepared to be amazed at yet another one of Sara's beautiful furniture makeovers.



While my passport may not be full of stamps yet, my wish-list of décor items seems to be keeping up with the global economy. Looking at home design magazines today, it seems that no house is complete without a Wegner chair and a Moroccan pouf. And while I am a huge fan of eclecticism, this week I would like to focus on my first love, Swedish Furniture.

No, I am not talking about Ikea. I am talking about the Gustavian style of furniture that arose in the 18th Century.  Structurally influenced by French Neoclassical architecture, the elegant furniture is mostly painted in tones that make for a serene environment.  I’ve put together a selection of images to (hopefully) inspire, to show you where to buy, and of course, how to do it yourself (or at least give it the old college try).




















cote sud



















elle decor

Where to buy:

If you have the budget, Dienst and Dotter is, without a doubt, a treasure trove of authentic Scandinavian antiques:

































top two images from Dienst and Dotter

If you don't have the budget:

Try Chelsea Textiles or Country Swedish for reproductions:


















image from Chelsea Textiles

DIY (if you really, really don't have the budget):

If your budget (like mine) doesn’t even allow for a reproduction, there’s still hope.

I love the lines and palette of Swedish furniture, and a little paint and new hardware went a long way on this cabinet from Target. The cabinet required assembly, and it had a cheap glossy black finish to it. I bought several pint size cans of paint (eggshell finish)—one primer, one grey-blue, one brown and one white, and I went to work layering to create an aged effect.  I replaced the clumsy silver knobs that came with the cabinet for antique brass ring pulls from Myknobs.com. For kicks, here’s the before photo:


































While you may not have the budget to buy your dream house or travel the world, you can probably afford a magazine subscription or the internet. My advice to you is to figure out what you like about certain styles. Once I became familiar with the colors and forms that repeat themselves in Swedish style, it was easy to figure out how to recreate the look for myself. I’m still looking forward to the day I get that passport stamp and a house full of antiques, but for now my serene painted studio will do just fine.

-sara lowman



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