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Interiors | Manolo for the Home - Part 5
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DIY Chalkboard Like a Pro (Instead of Like Me)

Ah, chalkboard paint. I love you so – in fact, I’d go so far to suggest you’re one of the most awesome inventions ever. I mean, come on. Chalkboard paint! Make anything into a chalkboard, and it comes in different colors, too. But, my gosh, are you fickle when you’re not applied to a perfectly smooth surface.

That’s right, my dear readers. If you love the thought of a DIY chalkboard do be prepared to brush on about a bazillion coats and sand thoroughly between each one. If it’s something like a chalkboard table you’re after, that’s one thing because most tables start out relatively smooth. But a chalkboard in the kitchen or in a kid’s room on a normal wall? That’s what we did, and what we thought would be a simple couple-of-coats job turned into a two-day, all day project for The Beard while the baby and I were in Florida.

Oh, things turned out all right – the baby’s room now has an almost floor-to-ceiling framed chalkboard (magnetic, even) that she’s going to love when she’s older. But ask my husband and he’ll tell you that it was a real pain in the rear.

So how do you get a DIY chalkboard like a pro? Easy: Chalkboard decals. There’s no painting, no sanding. You don’t have to worry about taping off an area, and getting cool shapes like fruits, elephants, and such becomes a whole lot easier when you’re dealing with a peel and stick panel. If I was doing the whole project over again, that’s what I’d go for, since the decals aren’t that much more expensive than a can of the paint. The only bonus to painting? A lot of leftover paint, so now I can find smooth things to chalkboardize!

Above: Word bubble decals from Scribble

What to Do With a Greek Key Rug

What to do, what to do with a Greek key rug… It’s a popular pattern nowadays, though I’d wager it’s never fallen out of fashion in any major way. This pattern, also known as a Greek fret or meander, is not one pattern, but rather many, because it’s just a decorative border constructed from a continuous line, shaped into a repeated motif.

To answer my original questions, here are a few things you can do with a black and white Greek key rug:

Er, I realized after the fact that the second and fourth pic are different areas of the same room. Still good for ideas, though!

(Images via: 1, 2/4, 3)

A Palace Fit for Two Princesses

I have to say that I am all at once inspired and mortified by this amazing girls’ room put together by Christina of Full House – inspired because oh em gee she did everything for less than $250 and mortified because I’d started to feel like my daughter’s room was coming together just a little bit and good lord it certainly is not in comparison.

I cry that I was not born with the gene that lets some people do amazing things on a tiny budget. But to all of you I say if you’ve got it, flaunt it! You can see how Christina did it here at Little Green Notebook!

Make Mine Bougainvillea

Mod? Modern? Retro? Reproduction? I just love it when can’t tell just by looking whether a piece of furniture came off the assembly line yesterday or some forty years ago. That’s precisely how I feel about the Hara armchair. Designed by Giorgio Gurioli for Kundalini, it’s described as a “bio-energetic” seat (which means goodness knows what when it comes to furniture).

I just know I dig it. The Hara armchair comes in white, black, orange, red, chocolate, beige, aquamarine, light green, and my fave, bougainvillea. It’s suitable for indoor or outdoor use, since it’s made of lacquered fiberglass treated with UV-protectant. Did I mention it costs the big bucks? Think $4,500, plus shipping.

You’d think they’d hook you up with free delivery!

Owls, Owls, Everywhere

I’m not really sure how owls became a thing, but here I sit on a couch decorated with owl throw pillows. Maybe I’m getting a little zany in my old age – please look away from my sock monkey kitchen chair pillows – but I can’t help but love animal inspired decor. Once upon a time that would have meant a leopard print chair, but now it’s more likely to mean a framed quilt patch featuring stylized songbirds or a pint glass with an elephant on it.

So how cute is all this?

Owl throw pillows in a living room via Dwell


A Room They’ll Remember

How awesome is this room from lakbdesign?

Love their design philosophy:

every child needs a special place at home, a place where they can learn to be alone, can have “away” space from the rest of the family, but children also need comfortable gathering spaces, where they can play board games or video games with friends, or where siblings come together to create a lego village. lakbdesign children’s spaces. easy.fun.perfect.done.

It’s the little details that really make this room for me – the elephant wallpaper… the disco ball in the corner… the zither (which is both pretty and fun).

When I was growing up, money was extra tight and my immediate family had no real eye for design, so my room was what I could make of it, which wasn’t much. Sure, there are those amazing seven year olds who manage to out-decorate the pros, but I was not one of them. That’s part of why I’ve been spending lots of time on my daughter’s room – I want her to have fond, happy memories of her childhood space.

So do like me and DIY it:

elephant wall decal

Keeping Up With the Joneses

Isn’t this retro Jones & Co wall clock to die for?

I believe it is the Jones & Co Boxy Clock, which as you might have guessed from the lovely reflections in the photo taken by a certain booyaa, is made from glass. I am in serious coveting mode right now!

Big, Bright, and Bold

My house is starting to look a little bit like Roma Interiors as photographed by Carlo Gianferro, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. His portrait series captures the inner lives of these super interesting people (who I’d occasionally see when I lived in Germany but never actually interacted with) by focusing on their homes… and what homes they are! Admittedly, some of them are a little busy for me, with too much “antique furniture, tapestries, paintings, religious images, china, staircases and mirrors” for my tastes, but you have to love the colors. That’s what I meant, of course, when I mentioned my own home. No tapestries there.

You can see more images from Gianferro’s portrait series at his web site, but I wanted to take a moment to share these because I am just in awe of the colors in these homes (and you have to see the one living room that contains very little furniture, but has an absolutely amazing hardwood floor).

How cool are those kitchens? Or the curving pink living room wall with the surprising insets of… stone? Bricks? And while I’m not a huge fan of tiger murals, I’m in awe of the frame paneling color choices! I’m not sure if it’s just the photo, but it looks like the ceiling yellow is lighter than the wall yellow, yum.

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