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Walls | Manolo for the Home - Part 5
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An Eight-Hour Day I Can Actually Enjoy

Aren’t these prints cute? I know, cute isn’t for everyone, but if you have the right sort of aesthetic already in your home or you aspire to adorableness, then cute could be for *you*. For wall-ready adorableness I’m currently digging on EightHourDay, creators of, among other things, letterpress and screen print art featuring vintage-look designs in bright, eye-catching colors.

pink print

Did I mention that they’re cute? Because they are!

yellow and gray print

Eighthourday is a Minneapolis design boutique and a husband and wife team. You can find selected prints on Etsy, where the price is definitely right (though you’ll have to find your own frames). Their Flickr page is definitely worth a look. Fair warning: It’s not ‘stuff for the home’ but rather plain old good design.

No art? No money for art? No problem.

The whole empty frames thing has been much derided as lazy or ghetto or less-than-creative, but I still like it and think it can be a whole lot of fun if hung in something other than a grid. The look works especially well if you have some nice frames that will stand out on their on. Conversely, you can play around with frame orientation until you find art that you like that also fits into your budget.

empty frames 1

Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, but I think that in this case more is more. The empty frames being so colorful doesn’t hurt one bit. (via)

empty frames 2

This pic strikes me as belonging to the waiting-on-art camp. The perfect silhouette? Artwork scrawled on construction paper by tiny hands? The perfect print, perhaps? (via)

empty frames 3

Empty frames framed by other frames? It’s a little odd, but all right. I like how the gold frames find a friend in the little lamp with the golden shade. (via)

empty frames 6

You don’t need to go crazy, especially if your empty frames are larger and particularly striking, like these.

empty frames 5

Of course, it’s not like you have to commit to keeping all your frames empty forever. Mixing empty frames and frames containing some kind of image is the moderate (and now quite popular) way to incorporate empty frames into decor. (via)

Chic or Shabby?

This room reminds me strongly of one of my first apartments. I wouldn’t say that flat was a put together as this one — in fact, it was rather cluttered due to a wackadoodle roommate — but it had the same shabby chic feel. Of course, for many people shabby chic is just not something that exists. In their minds pits, dings, scratches, and paint less than uniformly applied are defects rather than features. Old things that haven’t been perfectly preserved are fit only for junking, and charming little cottages crammed with threadbare settees and chipped teacups simply don’t exist in real life.

shabby chic

I suppose I fall into the pro camp when it comes to shabby chic, and I can easily imagine a younger version of me settling comfortably into an apartment that includes this room (styled by Emma Thomas). The peeling walls might drive me a bit batty after a while, but who knows how long it would take considering that my own kitchen is currently sporting a rough area where I steamed off an ugly wallpaper border along with a great deal of paint and then just stopped. What do you think, dear reader? Is shabby chic a valid decor style or simply a way to excuse imperfection?

Bigger On the Inside Than the Outside? It’s All Done With Mirrors, Obviously!

Almost all home owners and apartment dwellers could use a little more space, not necessarily for stuff, but rather for the breathing room. Many houses simply don’t have enough windows to let the outside in, and apartment windows frequently open on views encompassing the sides of other buildings, trashy courtyards, and metropolitan sprawl of the least aesthetically pleasing sort. Knocking down entire walls costs big money. Putting in new windows costs less money, but isn’t by most people’s measure inexpensive. So short of giving away one’s earthly possessions, how can one open up a space on the cheap?

Wall mirrors. You read that right, simple wall mirrors. They bring light into a room, especially when placed opposite an existing window, and can even mimic windows when hung like panes and decorated with window treatments. A large wall mirror becomes a focal point, reflecting back the entire room resulting in a depth of space that makes a living room or bedroom feel expansive.

mirrors as windows

This doubling serves a second purpose in feng shui, where a wall mirror that reflects something good or lucky — think a treasured family portrait or beautiful objet d’art picked up on your travels — that positive energy will be doubled, too.

When you’re hanging wall mirrors, play around with the shapes and sizes and styles you choose. A classic wall mirror can beautify and open up a small space like a foyer or stairway landing, while a modern wall mirror will look great hanging above a couch or mantel. Try mixing traditional wall mirrors with mirrors like Jason Nipp’s Umbra Movamira mirror, which is evocative of a large small-paned window.

Whatever you do, make sure your wall mirror or wall mirrors aren’t reflecting clutter, lest that negative energy come back to haunt you in the form of even more mess!

DIY Options: Beadboard

A friend of mine is thinking about remodeling her master bathroom herself, and I’m behind her all the way. She shared her ideas, and all of them are totally DIY-friendly. Replace a counter top vanity with a pedestal sink? No problem. Put down a new vinyl floor? Easy-peasy. And throw up a few panels of beadboard wainscoting? Doable, definitely. As an aside, This Old House magazine had an article about wainscoting and I found their report on the pronunciation surprising.

Wayne’s coating? Wayne’s cotting? Wayne’s kitting? Merriam-Webster prefers the first pronunciation, but all are acceptable. It’s also fine to call it wainscot; the terms are interchangeable.

Who knew? But back to beadboard… I love it, mainly for its country chic look and its versatility. Beadboard isn’t just bathrooms, though they look great in small spaces like the powder room, hallways, and mud rooms.

Beadboard walls 1

In this particular bathroom from the Swan Corporation, I like how the look of the white wainscoting is continued in the sea foam bath stall walls. It’s a subtle inside/outside effect that makes the space look a little bit more expansive than it really is.

Beadboard walls 2

I was going to use this beadboard wainscoting as an example of how beadboard doesn’t have to stop at a relatively low chair rail, but it turns out that this is actually paintable beadboard wallpaper. Beadboard wallpaper is fairly inexpensive and easy to put up, though it doesn’t look quite as nice as the real thing.

Beadboard walls 3

Hot pink beadboard wainscoting in this room from Green Apple Design turns a plain wall into a display shelf for artwork or framed photographs. (I love the color — in fact, we have cans of that same color for our post-renovation nursery.) It’s nice to see more painted beadboard since the more common configuration includes a colored wall and white beadboard.

Beadboard walls 4

Like this one from Nantucket Beadboard. The contrast created by the white beadboard and the dark counter top is awesome, especially when paired with such a cheery bright blue. It’s very fresh and outdoorsy without being too beachy. The pretty blue glass bottle by the sink doesn’t hurt the look, but I’d make sure no one tried to add any seashells.

Beadboard walls 5

Beadboard doesn’t have to end at a chair rail! Floor to ceiling beadboard looks very rustic and homey, but stops short of looking like it belongs in a farmhouse. Look closely at the ceiling, however, since the beadboard doesn’t stop there, either. This room features beadboard everywhere but on the floor. What sets the walls apart from the ceiling is two different shades of the same color and two different widths of beadboard.

Skate Or Die… On the Wall

skateboarder wall decal

Aren’t these just super boss? I’m totally digging on skateboarding vinyl wall decals from Willow Creek. Even if you’re not a skateboarder (which I most certainly am not) there’s plenty you can do with a couple of kicky vinyl skaters. Jump ‘em over your couch. Have ‘em grinding along your bookshelves. Whatever. It’s up to you. Stick them, restick them, put them away when your momma comes a’callin. Give them to you brother for the holidays. It’s skateboarding, man. Do whatever you want!

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There’s Signs

Can I admit here that The Beard and U have a number of pilfered street signs hanging in our home without the coppers coming after us? The best stolen signs are of course those that say something like Drunk Street or Hell or Purgatory, but stealing signs does carry with it the risk of punishment. And frankly I think of stealing signs as an activity for what I now consider a younger crowd. But street signs aren’t the only signs out there, so until Paloma is old enough to start bringing signs home for us (I kid, I kid) I can content myself with all the interesting signs on Etsy and elsewhere. Here’s a sampling:

wall signs

Custom photo letter signs from Words on Wood, $80

wall signs 3

Print by KEEP CALM by derder (frame not included), $18

wall signs 4

Wood on vinyl family name sign from Off Woodland Lane, $25

wall signs 2

Hand painted sign from Suche Crafts, $27

wall signs 5

Repro burlesque advert on wood from Funcky Love Signs, $14

wall signs 6

No Stopping poster from eve & andy (frame not included), $14

Style to Fool the Eye

Commitment-phobic decorators can still get their fun on, sans nails or paint or anything else that will leave a lasting impression. Decals are the order of the day for those who can’t fathom keeping the same decor for more than six months and apartment-dwellers whose landlords have given them a clear thumbs down when it comes to changing anything more than the window treatments. Stick ‘em, unstick ‘em, stash ‘em when maman comes to visit, whatever.

Trompe L'oeil Chair Decals

Old chairs become new again!

Trompe L'oeil Chandelier

Low ceilings no longer mean having to forgo pendant lighting!

Trompe L'oeil Headboard

Why spend a lot on a headboard that doesn’t actually do anything?

Trompe L'oeil Mantle

No fireplace? No problem.

Trompe L'oeil Lights

The chair backs, socket lights, and headboard decals come from Blik, while the mantle decal comes from Urban Lola and the chandelier decal comes from Single Stone Studios.

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