Paint an allover stencil on the wall

I love wallpaper, but it’s definitely a commitment. It requires more time and effort to hang wallpaper than it does to paint a wall, and it’s more of a process when you change your mind and decide to redecorate.

But an allover pattern in a room or even on just one wall makes an impact that paint alone can’t achieve. My solution? Make a stencil, and paint your own wallpaper. Note: This is not a quick process. This is going to take a lot of time, patience, precision and coats of paint, but the result will be dramatic and fabulous.

Stencil wall

Here’s how:
1. Select a shape. It should be a geometric shape that you have the ability to easily draw or trace. I wouldn’t choose something with lots of curvy lines or small, intricate parts. Large and simple is best. This one is a Moroccan trellis pattern.
2. Draw your chosen shape on a piece of sturdy cardboard.
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3. Cut out with a utility knife.
Cutting stencil
Stencil drawing
4. Lightly mark level vertical and horizontal lines on the wall and line your stencil up to it. If you’re creating the design on more than one wall, start in the upper center of one of the walls so the trellis design is equal around the entire room. If you’re creating just one accent wall, I would start in the upper left corner and work your way down and across, like I did on this small wall.
5. Trace your stencil, vertically all the way down. Start the second row to the right of the first row but don’t begin tracing at the ceiling. It’s best to have an image of your pattern pulled up on the computer so you can mimic it more easily. This pattern was inspired by curtain panel from Ballard Designs.
Drawing the stencil on the wall
6. Use a half-inch, flat artist paintbrush and trace your pencil lines slowly and methodically to keep lines smooth.
Painting the stencil
7. Let dry, recoat, and recoat. This wall required four coats of glossy white paint to get the desired opaqueness.

Fun dog-themed decor

There’s a project I neglected to complete before we moved. For months, I have been talking about turning profile pictures of the boys, Miles and Perry, into silhouettes for our bedroom art gallery wall. I took the pictures.

Miles' profile
Perry's profile

I bought this pretty paper to use as a background, a few sheets of this slate gray cardstock and these simple black frames (matting removed).

dog silhouettes

Then I wrote this fun story for about other designer’s and blogger’s dog-themed decor, and now I can’t wait to finish this project so I can move onto the next. I LOVE House of Earnest’s silhouette stitched pillow (may copy that idea as a thank you gift for my in-laws, who are keeping Miles for us) and Design Manifest’s oversize pup portrait in the girly glam dressing room. Perry would look amazing blown up (another idea to steal as a thank you for Pam, Perry’s guardian for nine months).

Decorating a dorm room

I was interviewed by Family Circle magazine about the best way to decorate a dorm room to make it feel more spacious and stylish. You can read the entire Campus Living article–and get all of my easy tips–in the August issue (on newsstands now), but here’s a sneak peak of some of the ideas:


Photos: Desk and chair, courtesy of Ikea. Bed frame, courtesy of Overstock. Navy pillow, yellow pillow, zebra pillow, scallop-design pillow and yellow-and-white pillow. White comforter. Stripe pouf. Temporary wallpaper.

Fourth of July party decorating ideas

I spent this past week in Germany and Austria, traveling with my good friend, Naomi (the one I designed the nursery for). We stayed in charming Bad Aibling, about an hour outside of Munich. The little town was peppered with tiny artisan shops–felt goods (where I bought something for Naomi’s nursery; there will be a post about that project when it’s complete), handmade housewares and Vergissmein Nicht, a fantastic flower shop.

Vergissmein Nicht

Wandering through this place, I could not help but envision the July Fourth party I would design. Here are a few ideas I would steal–and tweak.

Red wrapped bottles

Dig through the recycle bin and save all empty bottles–hot sauce, wine and beer. Wrap them with shades of red and blue yarn and secure (in a discreet spot) with hot glue. Play with texture and thickness here. I love the nubby blue one.

Blue wrapped bottles

Fill the vessels with small bunches of wild flowers.

All-white table

This is brilliant. I always run out of room on my table between the food and decor. Why not bring in a smaller console, coffee table, even a dresser to nest under the dining table and give yourself more surface area. Don’t have white furniture? Dress surfaces in casual white linens, like burlap. Then use all white and silver serving pieces and candle holders. Think outside the box when it comes to serving pieces. A galvanized bucket sitting in a closet makes a great chip container or utensil and napkin keeper.

Succulent ideas

Decorate with inexpensive varieties of succulents. Don’t plant them in squat tiny pots. Elevate the pretty plants on your table by planting them in tall silver or white vases.

Shim idea

These plant markers are actually just pieces of wood veneer, but it gave me the idea to do something similar with wood shims. I would tell guests what they’re eating by writing appetizer and dessert names on these wooden sticks (use a thicker paint pen) and placing them in small terracotta pots filled with dry rice (so they stand straight).

Great dog parks nationwide

Mahoney Locust Point Dog Park 4

OK, I am departing from decorating, decor and entertaining ideas to promote a story I just wrote for because it was just so much fun. The article features the best parks and places across the country to take dogs this summer. Click here to check out a great Boulder hike, two pooch-friendly cafes in the Twin Cities, a beach where dogs can play while their surf-loving owners ride waves and a park in Baltimore that’s more like a playground for dogs with climbing structures and water features.


While writing this story, I went through pictures of our golden retriever, Miles, and our corgi mix, Perry. These two pups have a few favorite Southern California spots where they like to frolic. Miles loves Dog Beach in Ocean Beach, where he chases his ball into the waves and swims


Miles also thoroughly enjoyed his first hike, greeting people and other dogs along the trail, chasing sticks and swimming. The Cedar Creek Falls Trail is a dog-friendly, moderate 4.5-mile out-and-back hike outside of Julian, California with a pretty waterfall and pool at the bottom, a great place to picnic and swim.

Miles on a hike

Perry’s not much of a hiker since he has short legs, but he amuses himself chasing big dogs at Dog Beach.


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