New Project // The Art Hunter with Better Homes and Gardens

!!!!!!! I've tried to think of so many different clever openings to this post but a bunch of exclamation marks is basically all I can come up with. It's truly what I am thinking. 

Over the past six months, I have been working with the amazing Better Homes and Gardens team on a series called The Art Hunter. To say that working on these videos has been a dream come true may be an understatement. I've always had a passion to show that art is for everyone. A house can become a home with art. A room can be elevated from average to extraordinary with art. It doesn't have to be difficult or expensive to decorate with it-- It is for everyone. 

Video team member, Phil, tells me some pretty bad/amazing jokes right before I talk.

Video team member, Phil, tells me some pretty bad/amazing jokes right before I talk.

So when the amazing producer, Laura Rowley, came up with The Art Hunter idea, I was thrilled. Even better I got to work with friends and my sister Kate acted as celebrity stylist. Right now there are 4 different videos. Watch them all here

It's ridiculously nerve-wracking to be on a ladder and be filmed at the same time for some reason.

It's ridiculously nerve-wracking to be on a ladder and be filmed at the same time for some reason.

There's also a really fun blog post up today at BHG's Style Spotters blog that shows examples of putting artwork anywhere BUT your walls. Check that out here

Found vintage frames for the episode at Renovation Home in Des Moines.

Found vintage frames for the episode at Renovation Home in Des Moines.

There will be other fun promotions for the video series over the next month and I'll be sure to share them along with my regularly scheduled programming. 

Final look with Jenna and Riley!

Final look with Jenna and Riley!

Let me know too if you have any art problems you'd like to see tackled on the series in the future. We're always looking for suggestions. And thanks for watching!

How do they do that? // Letterpress

So we all have a general idea of what letterpress is and how it's made. But do we know know? I've recently become fascinated with learning more about how some of my favorite types of artwork are made. I've always liked the look of letterpress prints and cards. The subtle imprint in the design, how the ink varies between each print. There's a really nice mix of handmade and machine-made in letterpress, but I didn't know how that was really achieved. So I decided to call my friend, Sarah McCoy. Sarah (above) is a letterpress artist extraordinaire, owner of The Permanent Collection in the East Village of Des Moines, and all-around awesome #girlboss. She let me hang out with her at the shop recently to ask a million questions and take photos of the process so I could share it with all of you. 

Letterpress was the first method of mechanized print, from 14th century Europe. Fast forward several hundred years and Sarah began printing in 2001 and beginning her business in 2007. It's amazing that she is working in an art form that began 700 years ago. The machines above are some of the print presses she works with, each about 100 years old and each works differently--some automatic and some hand turned. Sarah showed me the process of creating a print from a hand-turned press.

Sarah had been asked to make a print for a group of students and teachers that had been caught in a snowstorm while on a school trip. They, along with so many other cars, were stuck for about 24 hours and the print was to commemorate the whole ordeal. She started by going through her antique letters and putting together her design. Most of the letters she uses are antiques but there are a couple of companies that create these today here in the U.S.

Apparently the phrase "Mind your p's and q's" comes from letterpress because they can look similar if you're not careful. These letters can also be called "sorts" which is where the phrase "all out of sorts" comes from, as well. The more you know...

After she has all of her letters, she lays them out on the press. The blank pieces of wood, or "furniture", are put into position to keep all of the letters in place. They are slightly lower than the letters so the ink on the roller doesn't hit them too.

Next, she uses the metal bars and spacers or "quoins" to lock everything into place, and adds the ink to the roller. The ink is much harder than I expected, so she scoops it up with a putty knife, warms it up on an ink plate and adds it to that top roller. After several turns the ink starts to spread evenly on the plate.

After a few test runs to make sure there is enough ink, it's time to start creating the prints. 

I'm feeling extremely proud of myself that I created my first .gif. But anyway, that's how Sarah puts the paper through and hand rolls each print. Additional colors and designs can always be used in a second or third roll.

It's incredible to think that each of these prints and cards were made with so much thought and care. There's a lot of creativity, precision, and love that goes into every one. Sarah, thank you so much for sharing your time and talent with us.

Any other types of artwork you would love to see made? Screenprinting is next!

Color Block Entryway

This is BY FAR one of my favorite projects in our house and it was also the easiest. Plus it just makes me laugh.

A few years ago Nick bought this framed Edward Hopper print from an thrift art sale for $10. He loved it and I felt...lukewarm about it. The only reason is because it's been totally sun-damaged. Those blues are the result of discoloration from direct sunlight. Below is a picture of Nick next to one of the original versions of Early Sunday Morning by Hopper at The Whitney last November.

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(Oh, he's going to be so pleased I put this photo in here.) But really--I want you to see how much the sun damages artwork. Our piece looks like it's had eight Instagram filters put on the original piece. So because of that, in my mind, it was the perfect option for a fun trick-of-the-eye paint job.

This is our entryway and the first thing you see when you walk into our house. The walls are rounded because of the turret and I thought doing something fun with paint would help emphasize the the architectural details. We also replaced the older sconces with something a bit more modern from Etsy and I went with white to blend into the top block of color.  

The entryway has issues. The floor tile has cracks and the ceiling needs to be patched, but this little paint trick pretty much keeps people from looking up or down. Most of the time people really love the idea but my very favorite is when people come in and are completely confused by it.

"Did you mean to do that?

Yes, yes I did. 

This summer's project will be to strip off the 80 years of paint off the door back down to the original wood and to fix the other faults in the entryway. It's all about a good first impression. For now though, I am amazed at how much style and energy a little paint and two new fixtures injected into our round room. What do you think about the paint trick? Too crazy or just the right amount?

p.s. I finally figured out how to turn on the comments for my blog posts, so say hi below!

Kate's Takeover // New Home.

Note from Liz:  My sister Kate will be taking over the blog today. She's a lot like me only shorter and funnier. Actually, we're really not all that alike but we do look similar. Which means if you have called me Kate or her Liz, we most likely responded, didn't correct you, and acted like we were the other one. She and her husband, Eric, just bought a new home too. So that's the backstory, now read on!

//

Hey party people.

My name is Kate and I am the younger, shorter, funnier version of the owner of this blog.

Liz is my artsy, talented, bossy older sister that forces me to do things like buy things on Craigslist for my new house and then write guest blog posts about it. 

Okay, she isn’t forcing me to write about my new Craigslist purchases, but she did ask me to write a post about designing the interior of my new home. When she asked me to write a post, I’m pretty sure she just wanted me to write about the ‘layman’s’ version of what it’s like to design a home. You know, like how normal people that don’t have her skills would design a home. 

First of all, how rude. 

And second of all, she’s right. I have no idea what I’m doing with designing our new home, but I have learned one very valuable lesson that I can share with all of you. 

Recently, my husband, son, baby bump, and I sold our small 2 bedroom ranch and moved into a 4 bedroom house. Yay for us, except the entire house needed a cosmetic makeover and we decided to do all the work ourselves. 

Like a bunch of idiots. 

I love the location and bones of our new house, but literally every room needed a makeover. Every wall needed to be painted, every floor needed to be refinished, every light fixture needed to be replaced, and the whole house was covered in old disgusting carpet. Ew.

And the entire process has been nothing short of overwhelming. 

But like most of the world, I have no real design skills or training in interior design. I just know what I like and I have a small idea of how I want my house to look. However, I don’t know how many feet from the wall my chairs should be in the dining room or what kind of art to get to fill the space. 

I just want to be surrounded by beautiful things. 

Unfortunately, that isn’t very helpful when actually making decisions about how I want my house to look, what furniture to buy, or what kind of wallpaper I should put in the bathroom.

So instead, I decided to first figure out how I wanted other people to feel when they walked into my home.

I want my guests to feel warm and welcomed when they come over. I want my husband to feel like it’s a place where he can relax and be taken care of (except not until the house is finished. He can’t relax yet because I need him to work day and night to get this house done). I want my kids to feel like it’s a safe, loving place where their mama is in the kitchen baking their favorite cookies. I want their friends to feel like it’s their second home.

You know, the kind of home where you would expect the hostess to say, “Bless your pea pickin’ heart” to everyone that comes over.

Of course I’m nothing like that kind of person or hostess, but I want this home to make me feel like I could be that kind of person. I want this home to make me feel like I am Reese Witherspoon welcoming people into her Southern home, wearing Draper James clothing, and mixing a signature cocktail for everyone that comes over.

But instead my home made me feel like a 90 year old man had been living their since the 80’s, so it was time for an update. 

I decided that I like the feel of a Southern home, except I wanted the design to be a bit more fancy. And more modern. Somewhere in between Reese Witherspoon and Melania Trump designing my home, with a consult from Kate Spade. 

The best example I can give is my new glam room/closet. All I knew when I started designing this room was how I wanted it to make me feel when I walked into it. 

Like a goddamn princess, obviously. 

But like Kate Middleton princess, not a Disney princess. 

*Before picture (ew)

*After pictures

I love this room. It makes me feel exactly the way I wanted it to. I mean, sure, I feel more like the shorter, chubbier version of Princess Kate Middleton when I walk into this room, but still a princess, nonetheless. 

Another example is my kitchen eating area. I wanted this area to feel homey, welcoming, a little bit southern, a little bit modern, and a little bit fancy.

*Before picture (ew)

 

*After picture

So my advice to all of you blog reading, Liz Lidgett stalkers is to ask yourself how you want a room or home to make you feel before designing it. Then the rest of the decor will fall into place.

And when all else fails, do what I do and call your older sister to tell you what to do. You can borrow my sister if you want. 

Bless your pea pickin’ hearts,

Kate

Seeing Spots

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This little bathroom on the main floor was one of the very first projects we tackled. When I say little, I mean tiny--like no more than one person in this room at a time. But just because it's tiny doesn't mean it can't have big style. 

I didn't have a huge budget for the bathroom but wanted to freshen it up quite a bit. We started by smashing out two humongous towel bars that had been plastered into the wall. Since no one is bathing in this bathroom, I decided that just a small hand towel ring would do just fine. Next we replaced the sink. The old one did not have a pedestal and was barely connected to the wall so I found an inexpensive, simple set at Home Depot. 

Next was the paint. I painted a light and bright white to the walls as the base. Then after using Royal Stencils for a professional project, I decided to try them out in my home. I knew that an all-over pattern would give me the biggest impact for the least amount of money. The whole process took about four hours for just this space. I found the mirror at At Home and decided it was the right amount of modern and traditional that I had been searching for. Plus, mirrors are pretty expensive so this one fit perfectly in budget.

This little nook is one of the reasons I love old houses. It's all about the character. I like to think about if this little space had a real purpose or if it's purely decorative.  You can also see that the lines are not perfectly straight and it gives it an old but done-by-hand quality.

Although brand new, I love how the faucet looks vintage too. Here's a breakdown of the budget and the items purchased:

-Paint, Benjamin Moore Decorator's White    $40

-Sink, pedestal and faucet                               $85

-Hand Towel holder                                         $25

-Mirror                                                              $30

-Roman Shade + Grosgrain ribbon                 $60

Grand Total:                                                    $240

Not bad for a bathroom re-do. Keeping the costs low were all due to the fact that my father can replace a sink and that I was willing to do some DIY. The window treatment was the final touch and looks a lot more upscale than the blinds that were previously there. I hot-glued some grosgrain ribbon to the shade to add some color. Lately, I have been adding dusty blue or kelly green to about everything I can get my hands on. I also just spray-painted the existing feature black from the original brass.

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It's also quickly become my favorite place to take selfies.

And last but not least--the artwork! The artwork is by Ella Richards. She's an amazing artist, great friend, and perfect restaurant picker. She hand cuts each of the scenes out, so you have to take a double-take on if it was drawn or not. She's also having a cyber sale on her website right now.

All in all, I am really pleased with how the bathroom refresh came together. We stayed within our budget and gave the room a huge amount of style despite the size. 

New House // Second Floor Before

Okay, so you got to see the first floor earlier this week. Now, let's head up the stairs to the second floor, shall we?

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Guest room.

Guest room.

Hallway bathroom.

Hallway bathroom.

Hallway bathroom. 

Hallway bathroom. 

Bedroom/office

Bedroom/office

Bedroom/office 

Bedroom/office 

As you can see, the second floor consists of three bedrooms, a hallway bathroom, and there's a little bathroom attached to our master. 

It's been so fun looking over these photos over the past week remembering what our home looked like just six months ago. Some of the issues I had completely forgotten (or blocked out). Before we moved in, we worked really hard on painting the walls throughout the house and refinishing the floors on the 2nd floor. That felt like a good base and the rest we can work on while we are living here. 

You may have seen on my Instagram some of the updates so far but starting next week, we'll take a look at the first projects we tackled. 

So now that you've seen the house, what do you think?

New House // First Floor Before

I have a group of friends who love to look at real estate. We are always looking but never actually moving. For me, I'm constantly on Zillow looking at houses on the market because I am fascinated by how other people live. My husband does not understand it. He can't imagine wanting to go to an open house for a home we have no intention of buying or spending your free time imagining how you would change a floor plan. 

This is the day we took possession of the house and I just want to go give the girl in this photo a big hug because she has no idea how much work is ahead of her. 

So I can imagine no better gift than a blog post of the before photos of our new home. We bought the house in July and have been working on it non-stop since the day we took possession. Well, first we had a party, but then the next day we started working.

I had to post this one too because I think we look like an American Eagle ad all matching and color coordinated. We didn't have any furniture except an old patio set from aunt and uncle that my dad had brought over to surprise us. We all sat around that and drank beer from a cooler and ate a pretty lavish cheese and fruit plate my mom put together. First night = first party.

Living Room.

Living Room.

Three season porch.

Three season porch.


Entryway.

Entryway.

Dining room.

Dining room.

Hallway and stairs.

Hallway and stairs.

First floor powder room.

First floor powder room.

Family room.

Family room.

Kitchen + breakfast nook + tv area.

Kitchen + breakfast nook + tv area.

Kitchen.

Kitchen.

Backyard + deck + a peek of the garage.

Backyard + deck + a peek of the garage.

Back deck.

Back deck.

There are so many things that drew me to this house. I love the entertaining areas. I love the big open kitchen/eating area/tv room. I love the details of an old house. It was built in 1936 and while it does need updates, it has been well loved. When we were first going through the house, I realized that it was the house a friend of mine from high school and college grew up in. You can tell it was a fun house and a great family lived there. It had good energy in it. It's the first house we've ever owned (we held on to renting really tight) and I've loved putting our mark on it.

Second floor next! But in the mean time, any ideas for that deck? I'm trying to think of ways to put more furniture and style on to it even though it's a strange shape.

Done is Better Than Perfect.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Done is better than perfect?" It's a motto that has been running through my head a lot lately. See, last year I had a blog. I didn't have a vision, and it was random at best. I wanted a platform to share my work but it seemed like really, I was only sharing other people's work that I was inspired by. I never really found my voice and I was stuck. So, I shut it down because being a perfectionist, I felt like anything less than that wasn't worth it. 

But today's a new day and 2016 is a new year and this is a new blog. I'm going to stop worrying about perfection, what other people will think, and care more about having fun and documenting my adventures.  I will share projects that I've been working on because there's been some pretty awesome opportunities lately. Like this mural "quilt" that will continue to grow upwards this spring. 

And also my husband, Nick, and I moved to an amazing house in Des Moines. We've been working our butts off on it so I'll share those projects too. 

Plus I'll get to share with you this HUGE project I have been working on for the past six months with Better Homes and Gardens called The Art Hunter. I'll tell you all about it soon like how much fun it is to make, how sweaty I get under all of the hot lights when I am hanging artwork, and where I got these blue pants (because literally everyone asks. [Okay, I'll tell just tell you now--My sister found them for me at J.Crew.])

Most importantly, I am excited to get back into blogging, to share my work with you and to hear from you. I hope you'll leave comments and we can start a community here that cares about awesome artwork and beautiful design that's affordable and attainable. I hope you'll come back and visit often. It won't be perfect, but it will be fun.