As my tastes refine and style evolves, I find myself increasingly more intentional about the pieces I choose for my home. As you guys know, I’m a big advocate for mindful design, which emphasizes understanding the social impact of our purchases and celebrating the story behind them: where they’re made, what they’re made of, and who makes them.
I get so excited when I find brands like Meridian who are making change for good around the world. Meridian collaborates with master artisans from Ghana to Peru bringing their story to the global stage, helping to preserve indigenous crafts, and empowering often disadvantaged communities. Every purchase through Meridian directly supports the artisan who made the piece.
My exquisite Meridian bone inlay box comes from a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India. The handmade box is adorned with intricately carved recycled and naturally occurring bone through methods that have been passed down through multiple generations.
If you can imagine, it takes a entire team of individual artisans to make just one box. One artisan is responsible for hand carving each piece of bone into delicate leaf shapes. A second person affixes those pieces onto a wooden frame in the intricate botanical pattern. The third artisan fills the outline of the pattern with black resin to create the background. And finally, an additional person sands and seals the box to completion. Uffda–I need a nap just explaining the process! No doubt there is loads of love and skill that goes into each and every box.
We use our box for storing TV remote controls in our living room. I love having a pretty spot to tuck them away when we’re not using them, and also knowing exactly where they’ll be when Netflix calls. It’s equal parts form and function–just the way we like things around here! I’ve been trying the box in a few different spots around the living room, and I think the media console is my favorite spot for it. What do you guys think?
This post was created in partnership with Meridian. I only partner with brands I personally use and love. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Process photos courtesy of Meridian. Follow them on Instagram for more artisan stories and sneak peeks at their latest collaborations.
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Kitchens, by design, are nearly entirely hard, wipeable surfaces, so I love the warmth and texture vintage rugs bring to these kinds of spaces. I have two Persian rugs that I switch back and forth with in my kitchen throughout the year, and whenever I post photos of my kitchen with the rugs on Instagram, I often get the question, ‘Doesn’t your rug get spilled on?!’ or the comment ‘You’re so brave to put a vintage run in your kitchen!’
To answer that question…Uh-huh! Little spills and food are ground-in weekly; dare I say daily? Earlier this year, I was removing a BIG family size, take-and-bake pizza from of the oven, and accidentally flipped the ENTIRE pizza upside down on the rug pictured above. Ugh, cue near meltdown fueled by starvation. After running back out to order another pizza, tasking Ken with removing it from the oven this time, and devouring it at warp speed, we took the rug downstairs to rinse it off in the laundry area. I’ll spare you the saucy details, but obviously rinsing off the rug didn’t cut it. So how the heck do you clean vintage rugs anyways?
The rug is from Kim Gunter’s rug shop, Woven Abode, so I contacted Kim, and asked her to walk me through how to properly clean it. She’s a pro, guys. The cleaning went so well I went to town with the rest of my wool rugs, both vintage and new. Most recently I washed my white West Elm rug, and snapped a few pictures of the process. Hopefully you haven’t dumped an X-tra large pizza face down on your rug, but if you have, we have your back.
To clean your wool rug, here’s what you’ll need:
These instructions pertain to unbacked natural fiber rugs.
1. First, remove as much dust, dirt and pizza crumbs from the rug with a vacuum as you can. The best way to do this is to first vacuum the rug while it’s upside down. Then vacuum the top. Repeat these steps until no dust/dirt falls out when you vacuum it upside down.
2. Then soak the rug in a luke warm tub of water + 1/2 cup of Woolite. Soaking length will depend on how soiled your rug is.
3. Finally, squeeze as much excess water out of the rug as possible, and let it dry on a rack in the sun. If you don’t have a rack, you can also lay it on the grass where air can get up underneath and dry it out. Just make sure to flip it over after a few hours.
So there you have it. Easier than you might think, right? I love Kim’s process because she uses tools you probably already have lying around the house.
I most definitely have more confidence now rolling out my pretty vintage rugs in messy areas like the kitchen and dining room, and hopefully you do too!
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LESS DIY INCLINED? Kim says you can also take your rug to an actual rug cleaner. “If you Google antique carpet cleaners you should be able to find one in your area. However, sometimes it’s tough to find them because carpet cleaners will pop up. Just make sure they are not people that come out and clean regular carpets because they will destroy it.”
If you’re in the market for a rug, pop over to Woven Abode, and browse Kim’s fantastic curated selection of hand-knotted vintage beauties. She adds new rugs weekly!
I’ve been playing around with geometric metal shapes that I found on Etsy recently, and rather than making some kind of statement jewelry with them, I decided to make something pretty for my walls. I came up with this cool brass + cotton flossing wall hanging. A little bit boho and a little bit modern, it pairs beautifully with a mixed art grouping or on its own in a small nook area, and it’s one of my favorite things I’ve made in a while. Check out the full DIY tutorial I did for Sugar & Cloth!
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One of my most favorite design trends or movements at the moment is the concept of mindful design. Socially conscious by nature, mindful design is the push towards surrounding ourselves with unique, handmade pieces in our homes–ones that are made of high quality materials from ethical sources.
It’s knowing the stories behind our belongings: Who made them? Where were they made? How were they made? And I think it’s a new way of defining interior luxury. I’m always on the lookout for brands, like St. Frank Textiles, who resonate with this approach, deviating from the mass market and bringing something more meaningful to the table.
I was first captivated by luxury home decor brand, St. Frank, and their extensive framed textile offering on Instagram. The more I learned about their mission, the deeper in love I fell with their company as a whole. I think we can all agree that St. Frank’s one-of-a-kind pieces are the stuff interior dreams are made of. But beyond simply offering beautiful pieces for the home, they’re committed to curating product with a story. St. Frank works with artisan groups in 25 countries around the world with a goal of preserving traditional crafts within these communities. Their collection includes the most luxe framed textiles (my personal favorite!), soft goods, accents, accessories an
The framed textile I have in my living room is the Biddew Noir designed by fiber artist, Johanna Bramble. It’s constructed with labor-intensive Senegalese weaving techniques rarely used anymore, as it requires two weavers and meticulous attention to detail. It’s praised, though, as being the precursor for mechanized Jacquard weaving (an extremely complex weave structure!).
I chose the Biddew Noir for my home because I love to the graphic hexagonal, yin-yang design, but I later came to find out that in Senegalese culture, woven textiles like the Biddew Noir, are often presented at big life moments such as the birth of a baby. The hexagon is a universal symbol of wisdom, life, and health, and so with the arrival of our daughter, Sylvia earlier this year, this symbolic textile could not be a more perfect addition to our little home!
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Weaving photos courtesy of St. Frank.
This post was sponsored by St. Frank. However, I only work with brands whom I love. All opinions are my own.
I’ve long been intrigued by the tiny house concept and the socially conscience push towards smaller home footprints + simpler living. In our newlywed days, amidst HGTV Tiny House Hunters marathons in our already small 620 sf Downtown Minneapolis apartment, Ken and I would casually dream about the idea of owning tiny, and I remember thinking, ‘Well if we were going to go for it, we’d better do it now before we start our family!’ In the end we decided to purchase a small (non-tiny) duplex in Minneapolis and 2 years later welcomed a baby girl. So basically, we were all talk. Total buzzkill, I know.
So you can imagine my excitement resurfacing on Instagram after maternity leave this Spring to find my Insta-friend, Ashley Petrone of @arrowsandbow had actually done it! She and her family had done what many of us only daydream about: They sold their 5 bedroom house, renovated an RV into a cool, monochromatic tiny home and are living on their land while they build their next place. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, they also have 3 kiddos tow! Ashley was kind enough to give us a tour of her tiny home and share some real life insight into what it’s like living small as a family of 5. So without further ado, let’s take a look around!
Earlier this year when I was so pregnant I was literally about to pop, I had the pleasure of photographing painter, illustrator & prop stylist extraordinaire Ashley Mary, of Ashley Mary Art, in her Northeast Minneapolis studio for my friend, Claire Staszak’s Women Who Make column, a fantastic feature celebrating women doing cool things in their creative field. Ashley was kind enough to show us around her bright and colorful studio and share insights into her design process, works in progress, and new mediums she’s currently exploring. After a few hours of demos, chats, and photos, I left full of inspiration and delight. What a morning! Head over to Claire’s site, Centered By Design for Ashley’s full interview and more looks inside her studio! And while you’re already here, check out a few quick captures from the visit…
I love Ashley’s bold use of color, pattern play and femininity that’s celebrated with each piece.
As we were leaving for the day, Ashley sent Claire and me each off with a hand-painted postcard of our choice. I chose a blush, gold & black beauty and have it up in my office next to a few of my own DIY’s. Make sure to hop over to AshleyMary.com to see (and/or purchase!) Ashley’s beautiful work!