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2 In DIY/ Interiors

A Perfectly Plaid Holiday Table

After an insanely fun media console styling session last month, Tasha from Tchotchkes Interior Design and I have teamed up again to bring a little nostalgic yuletide inspiration to Holiday gatherings this season.  This time we’ve brought Retro Wanderlust (the shop in the Minneapolis area for all things vintage home) along for the ride and challenged ourselves to think beyond the quintessential red and green palette and instead focus on less ‘in-yo-face’ festive cues like greenery, Holiday motifs, cozy textures, and candlelight to bring home the warm, merry appeal. Below we’re talking through how we arrived at this look, so you can recreate for your own gathering!

Inspiration for a non-traditional, yet nostalgic Holiday table in collaboration with Tchotchkes Design Studio. Christmas entertaining at its finest! Continue Reading →

2 In DIY/ Interiors

How-To: The Nordic Style Christmas Tree Basket

How to get the Christmas tree basket set-up in lieu of a tree skirt. Plus! Nordic-style tree inspiration!

As I was naming this blog post yesterday, it occurred to me just how simplistic and all around ‘common-sense-esque’ it sounded. How hard can it be to put your real Christmas tree in a basket? The truth is I’ve been trying to figure out how to use a basket (in lieu of a tree skirt) for my real Christmas tree for the last few years, and I finally figured out a set up that works. So here we are!

You see with real trees the stands are often 20″-24″ at their widest point, making it difficult to disguise in a basket without the basket being MASSIVE. I recently came across a 16″ diameter plastic tree stand that holds a 6′ tree. Our tree this year is a real Fraser Fir, known for its more “open” Nordic feel. The top of the tree thins to a single branch with a few small off shoots. Technically, the tree is a 7-footer, but considering the sparseness at the top of the tree, I decided to give it a whirl with the 6′ tree stand. And SPOILER alert…it works great!

The 16″ tree stand diameter makes the basket so much more doable. Here I’m using an 18″ round sea grass basket from Target’s home storage section. Placing the tree stand in the basket is a snug fit, keeping the whole set up nice and stable. For good measure, I thought I’d detail our whole tree setup this year. See sources at the bottom!

How to get the Christmas tree basket set-up in lieu of a tree skirt. Plus! Nordic-style tree inspiration! How to get the Christmas tree basket set-up in lieu of a tree skirt. Plus! Nordic-style tree inspiration!

S H O P  T H I S  L O O K

Glitter Star Tree Topper  ||  Fraser Fir Real Tree  ||  Finial Ornaments ||  Candle Clips  ||  Candles  ||  Black and White Striped Ornaments  ||  Danish RowHouse Gift Wrap  ||  Black Plaid Gift Wrap  ||  White Plaid Ribbon  ||  Black Border Ribbon  ||  6ft Plastic Tree Stand  ||  Sea Grass Basket

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1 In DIY

Francois Renovates: The Nursery Before

As you guys know, we have a little girl on the way arriving next month, and after adding a Murphy bed to our office to accommodate guests, we’re ready to tackle the ol’ beige guest room, and turn it into a nursery!

The “Before” of the room is pretty innocuous, but it’s also pretty boring. Just like the entire rest of the house, this room was painted beige too. I’m not kidding, from the kitchen to the bath to the living room to the bedrooms. EVERY room was painted the same color beige. Above is a picture of the room from the For Sale listing and you can see even the hallway was beige. No real complaints here though, beige is easier to cover up than say deep royal purple!

We're kicking off our nursery redesign with before photos of the former guest room. Come see beige overload! Continue Reading →

In DIY

4 DIY Favorites of Christmas Past

Making things for my home is probably one of my favorite things to do and especially so around the Holidays, as the projects are often created along with or for loved ones. And there just seems to be an added element of tradition, nostalgia, and memory-making that goes along with each handcrafted piece. Here are four of my DIY favorites from over the years:

Four of my all time favorite DIYs of Christmas past. Click for the round-up! Continue Reading →

4 In DIY

DIY Wall Vase

I have probably the simplest DIY on the planet for you today! In fact, you might even consider it more of a styling trick–it’s that simple.  Lately, I’ve been borderline obsessed with hanging vases of flowers on my walls, and it all started with this wall vase version a few years ago where I’d adhered a picture hanger to a vase with heavy duty adhesive and hung it on the wall like a picture. It was such a simple way to add fresh botanicals to vertical surfces.

Fast forward to two weeks ago where I needed something organic to pair with my DIY key holder, so on a whim I pulled out a Command strip and quickly hung a vase of eucalyptus on the wall. I only had black strips at the time, but I still think it still worked out. (Check out the last photo in this post for a look.) I love how it turned out, so I left the vase on the wall for as long as the eucalyptus would allow. I even made another for my blog room when Mr. Francois came home with tulips last week!

The obvious great thing about using removable hanger strips is that they can be taken off the wall and the vase without a trace (when you want to change out your decor) and the large 16 lb strips give you peace of mind that the vase won’t come crashing down on your at any given moment. Here’s the skinny on how to hang a vase:

Hang flowers on vertical spaces fast, easily, and non-permanently with this 5 minute DIY wall vase. Click for the details! Hang flowers on vertical spaces fast, easily, and non-permanently with this 5 minute DIY wall vase. Click for the details! Hang flowers on vertical spaces fast, easily, and non-permanently with this 5 minute DIY wall vase. Click for the details!

Let’s Get Started, Shall We? Hang flowers on vertical spaces fast, easily, and non-permanently with this 5 minute DIY wall vase. Click for the details! Hang flowers on vertical spaces fast, easily, and non-permanently with this 5 minute DIY wall vase. Click for the details! Hang flowers on vertical spaces fast, easily, and non-permanently with this 5 minute DIY wall vase. Click for the details!

How I Made It:

Materials: Any Small Vase || Large Picture Hanging Strips (16 lb capacity) || Fresh Flowers + Water

  1. Press two hanging strips together until you finish hearing the teeth click together.
  2. Peel off one of the strip’s backing. Attach vertically to the vase and firmly press for 30 seconds. Trim the strip’s tail, if the strip is longer than your vase.
  3. Peel off the other strip’s backing paper and attach to the wall, again pressing for 30 seconds.
  4. Fill the vase with water and flowers!

Hang flowers on vertical spaces fast, easily, and non-permanently with this 5 minute DIY wall vase. Click for the details! Hang flowers on vertical spaces fast, easily, and non-permanently with this 5 minute DIY wall vase. Click for the details!

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1 In DIY

How Learning to Sew Helped Me Find My Creative Voice

I’ve never been super into sewing. To be honest, I was always a little intimidated by it because my Mom, Sandi of Seams Sew Cool, is a REALLY good sewer (check her out!). She runs a crazy successful sewing school in Duluth, MN teaching kids to sew, and she’s the type of person who can just look at something and know how to sew it. She even made my wedding dress!

She was always an encouraging teacher, and though I explored creativity in lots of different ways throughout my childhood, I could never quite catch the sewing bug.

How Learning to Sew Helped Me Find My Creative Voice | Francois et Moi

Things started to change though when I went off to design school and started living on my own.  I was interning at a fabric showroom, and would take home all the discontinued fabrics that they would otherwise throw out. I ended up with stacks and stacks of 28″ x 28″ fabric pieces, and decided to turn them into pillows for my apartment because, well, they were  free (which was a big factor back then). Plus I could design them to be the exact color, shape and size I wanted.

My mom, excited her daughter was finally taking an interest in sewing, set me up with one of her older sewing machines, taught me how to thread the machine (which I still get confused and call her with questions on to this day), and even drove down from Duluth to give me a mini lesson. The first set of pillows were a little choppy (okay a lot choppy) and stuffed with synthetic fiber fill from the craft store (because again it was cheap!), but I loved them. They were totally my style, different from what you could buy in stores, and they cost almost nothing to make. I wish I had a picture of those pillows, but alas you’ll have to paint the picture of the jewel-toned goodness circa 2006 in your mind.

How Learning to Sew Changed Everything | Francois et Moi

Now I’m not saying I found my life’s passion in sewing and went on to be this master sewer (because that most certainly did not happen), but what I found through sewing was a love for home DIY. Learning to sew was a big jumping off point in understanding how to work with the resources around me and flex my creative muscle to find home decor and design solutions on a budget. And a decade later, I’m now making a living freelance writing and blogging about just that, Home DIY.

That first collection of pillows from college?  They’re long gone, but I’m still sewing pillows for our house, only now I’ve actually purchased the fabric (!), they’ve got straighter, reinforced seams and are much fuller and stuffed with feathers.

Don’t let a limited budget stop you from exploring your creativity. Use the resources around you to simply start somewhere…anywhere, because who knows where it will lead to!

How Learning to Sew Changed Everything | Francois et Moi How Learning to Sew Helped Me Find My Creative Voice | Francois et Moi

How Learning to Sew Changed Everything

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How Learning to Sew Changed Everything | Francois et Moi

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3 In Interiors

Throw Pillows: A Guide to Sizing & Inserts

It’s no secret I love throw pillows. I think most interior enthusiasts do! They can be the pièce de résistance that makes a room feel finished, as well as easily switched out to change the whole feeling of the space.

As a former interior designer + several years experience running an industry fabric showroom under my belt I’m quite familiar with pillow talk. If you’re thinking about purchasing or DIY-ing pillows for the change of seasons, you may want to check out the guidelines below to make sure they look their best!

guide-to-pillows3

Types of Inserts:

Feather & Down – Down fills are typically best as they’re all around loftier, and can be fluffed overtime to maintain their shape and volume. Tip: The more down content there is in the feather/down ratio, the better!

Synthetic Spun Polyester – Think craft store inserts. Synthetic fiberfill is generally a lesser quality insert as they flatten, lose their shape, and become lumpy overtime. I almost never use them, except for in these tufted pillows! In this case, the synthetic insert stayed in place and proportional in the pillow better than down would have.

Down Alternative – Though down alternative is technically still polyester fill, its composition is such that it mimics down’s lofty clusters, making it a great down stand-in for anyone with down allergies. Crate & Barrel has a good down alternative pillow option.

Outdoor – Usually filled with water & mildew resistant acrylic or polyester fibers to hold up to the elements.

Amber-Interiors-Before-and-After-Client-Double-Thumbs-up-Neustadt-48

Throw Pillow Sizing:

Typically we see ready-made pillows in stores at 18″ squares, but it’s no secret designers hate wimpy pillows which is why they often have them made custom. If you’re up to the task of sewing your own pillows, you might want to consider opting for 20″-22″ size, as it’s a bit more of a luxe designer look. My personal size preference is 22″ square. Some designers even go up to 24″ squares depending on the size of the sofa or chair.

Square pillows are probably the most common shape, but there are tons of other shapes out there too: lumbar, circle, bolster, etc. Don’t be afraid to mix and match sizes and shapes like Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors has done in the space above.

In terms of pillow insert sizing, the general rule of thumb is to use inserts that are 1″-2″ larger than your pillow cover. (I usually go 2″ larger.) So for example, with a 22″ square cover, use a 24″ square insert. Going a step larger with the insert makes for a more voluminous, high end look.

Things to Consider When Choosing Throw Pillows

Throw Pillows: A Guide to Sizing & Inserts | Francois et Moi

PIN-IT-later4 Photo Credit:  Seventy Nine Ideas | Amber Interiors | Rebecca Atwood

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4 In Interiors

Francois Renovates: Bed & Bath

This post is part of an ongoing series, Francois Renovates. Find the other posts in this series Here, Here, Here, Here & Here.

Good Monday Morning! Today I’ve got the bed & bath areas of our home to share. The bulk of our updates took place in the Kitchen, Living Room & Dining Rooms, & the Upstairs Apartment, so not a ton of work has been done in these areas, shy of setting them up functionally. But, I think it’s fun seeing how other people live (because I’m nosy!), so I’m sharing the bed & bath areas of the home in case you’re anything like me!

Next on my to-do list is to paint (or maybe wallpaper?!) our bedroom. It’s the same color as when we purchased the place, so I’m not sure of the color name, but I call it builder beige. While it’s innocuous, this room faces North, so I’d like to brighten the walls up in here a bit. I think Ken is enjoying the fact that it’s one of the only rooms in the house that’s not white. I, of course, feel the opposite. When in doubt, paint it white I say!

Francois Renovates: Bed & Bath   Francois Renovates: Bed & Bath

Francois Renovates: Bed & Bath   Francois Renovates: Bed & Bath

The Bed & Bath Areas of Our New Home

The personality of the original bathroom floor tile was one of the things I fell in love over when we bought this house. It’s just not something that’s easy to find these days. Someday, I’d love to replace the vanity with a console similar to this bad boy, switch out the sconces to something more modern, and update the faucet/hardware to unpolished brass. All in due time though. Due time.

Francois Renovates: Bed & Bath Francois Renovates: Bed & Bath

Francois Renovates: Bed & Bath

My studio is another spot in the house that hasn’t gotten a ton of love yet, other than getting a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore “White” on the walls. Now that I’m looking at this photo, I’m realizing just how badly this space is in need of a big rug. But for right now the brightly lit space is purely functional, and I’m choosing to be okay with that.

If I’m really telling the whole story, we also have a 3rd bedroom that functions as a guest room and storage room equally. Nothing to see there, as of yet. We’ll get there though!

Francois Renovates: Bed & Bath PIN-IT-later4 Francois Renovates: Bed & Bath

SOURCES:

Duvet | Striped Pillow Cases | Mini Medallion Pillow Cases | White Dresser | Sheepskin | Murano Mirror: Discontinued–Here’s a Similar One | Studio Dresser | Gold Stapler | Stool | Palm Tree

DIY PROJECTS: Brass Sconces | Gratitude Banner | Concrete Trays | Pink Floor Mirror | Work Table

This post is part of an ongoing series, Francois Renovates. Find the other posts in this series Here, Here, Here, Here & Here.

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