Suburban Pop and The Jenny James

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This week, our family took a few days to spend some one-on-one time with each other before summer officially ends and school schedule starts up for the kiddos. While I left John back home with the youngest to chillax at home (and string a couple of Acapulco Chairs), our oldest son and I hopped in the car and did a super quick visit down the coast to spend time with friends in San Luis Obispo. 

During our short stay in SLO (as they call it), we popped by our friend Jenny's amazing mid-century modern home. As many of our friendships have begun, we first got to know Jenny through her beautiful Instagram Feed and then eventually met in person a few years ago while we were all in Palm Springs. I hadn't ever been in her home until now, (which made this spontaneous trip EVEN better!) so I was beyond excited to finally hang out with her and her family in their cool house.

We pulled up to their home and I knew right away we were in the right place.

 They created the beautiful landscape divider piece. Swoon! (And of course re-did all this awesome landscaping themselves).

They created the beautiful landscape divider piece. Swoon! (And of course re-did all this awesome landscaping themselves).

While waiting on the front doorstep, Sebastian was already admiring their cool MCM mailbox. I was equally obsessed with the front door and hardware... and door bell (of course).

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Door opens, kids took one look at one another, then proceed to play for the next few hours. Mid-century modern family match made in heaven! (And wow, when my kids aren't together and fighting, life is SO different).

I am not one of those amazing "Pro" iPhone photographers (I'm kind of old school with the real camera), so my apologies if my photos don't do her house justice, because there is just SO much good design, vignettes, color stories and furniture/art in her home and I had to snap these shots. (I had considered bringing my digital camera on the trip, but then felt like I was REALLY social media stalker-y...)

 Jenny sure knows how to make a kick-@ss Shelfie.

Jenny sure knows how to make a kick-@ss Shelfie.

 Jenny created so many vibrant paintings throughout their home .... with perfect accessories.

Jenny created so many vibrant paintings throughout their home .... with perfect accessories.

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 The teeniest, most adorable kids dresser/vanity set I have ever seen. 

The teeniest, most adorable kids dresser/vanity set I have ever seen. 

 Love this spot they created in the back yard.

Love this spot they created in the back yard.

 Two DIY'er-mid-century modern nut/enthusiasts Mamas enjoying a summer morning chatting it up. 

Two DIY'er-mid-century modern nut/enthusiasts Mamas enjoying a summer morning chatting it up. 

If you don't already follow Jenny's IG or Blog go there now. You are welcome. Her and her husband are always working on some crazy creative project, whether planting ginormous agaves or building cool bookcases, AND they are the nicest family ever! 

 

 

 

 

How to Restring an Acapulco Chair

The Backstory On Our Acapulco Chairs

We have two Acapulco chairs, classic mid-century modern outdoor furniture originally made in Mexico in the 1950's, which are perfect for patio or poolside lounging. Our chairs started to fizzle out this year after three years in the crazy California heat, so instead of buying new ones we decided to find some fresh vinyl cord and give it a go.

The two chairs we had were different: The black frame chair was an original we bought from an Eichler neighbor, who had already had the chair rewrapped; the white frame chair was a knockoff from a local discount outlet, which was noticeably inferior in comfort and restoration effort.

Let's Begin Restringing Our Acapulco Chairs

I cut the old cordage off the frames using utility shears and cracked open a Pacifico in the spirit of this project ;) 

Replacement Acapulco Chair Cordage

I purchased the PVC vinyl cordage via Etsy from InnitDesigns, a company based in Canada. I reached out the vendor with pictures of my chairs and they recommended two bundles of 135' 0.2" cord. All in for two chairs, four rolls plus shipping, ran us $84.

 The fresh vinyl cordage was soft like taffy.

The fresh vinyl cordage was soft like taffy.

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I found that the key to a good wrap is keeping the cordage evenly distributed on the outside frame, while keeping the ratio just right to keep the strands perfectly even on the inside hole.

 The cordage should wind evenly around the center ring.

The cordage should wind evenly around the center ring.

The number of winds in between runs to the center ring will change anywhere from seven to twelve. You need to eyeball it to see that the cord runs straight out to the outside frame. I didn't find a good way to calculate it precisely, especially my first time. You cannot just tell yourself 'seven wraps between runs'.

How to Restring/Rewrap an Acapulco Chair: Transitioning Colors

As you finish one color, you take a couple inches of the new cord and wrap the lead against the frame, then cut the cord you are phasing out. The new cord that should be wrapped under the previous cord will be held tightly as you begin to wrap the end of the old cord, keeping it tucked under the metal frame to hide a subtle bulge you'll create.

Time It Takes to Restring/Rewrap an Acapulco Chair

It took about 20 mins to remove the old cord, and about 2 hours to wrap the new cord.

Challenges With Restringing the Knockoff (white frame) Acapulco Chair:

  • It was manufactured using cord about half as thick, and the frame had a center ring about twice as wide, so it allowed for smaller spacing between runs to the center. The new thicker cord I bought wasn't going to fill the center ring evenly and leave enough cord to finish the chair, so I sacrificed a perfectly finished look.
  • The frame had a lot of additional bracing welded around the center ring, so it was impossible to string the cord bundle through the openings to fill the center ring evenly. While removing the old cordage, I noticed that each run to the center ring was a separate piece of cord so the assembly technique was completely different in order to wrap it evenly.
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 This is the remaining cordage left over.

This is the remaining cordage left over.

The only tip I can lend thus far, is using a utility clip to hold the tension which allows you to free up both hands to wrap the cord around. My hands were pretty dry and sore, so I reapplied lotion several times. The best video I found online was the one below. I'm sure I missed a lot of good tips, as a non-Spanish speaker, but it'll give you a the best view of what's going on.

Overall, I believe it was a success, but we'll see how long it holds up with my wrapping job ;)

Glacier National Park - Family Style

A week at Glacier National Park was the idea to kick off our summer with the family. Here's a quick rundown of how we enjoyed a week unplugged.

Day 1: Flew from Oakland to Kalispell, MT

Rented the trusty Dodge Minivan (yeah, the one with the remote doors and start!) We found an amazing AirBnb, a newly built custom home with fantastic views.

 View of the back yard.

View of the back yard.

Day 2: Hike to St. Mary's Falls (East Glacier)

 

Our house was west of the Glacier Park, and the road through the middle was still closed, so we had a 2 hr drive to get over to the east side. We stopped off as we entered the east side of the park at Glacier Park Lodge, a beautiful log-style structure.

The hike starts at Two Medicine Lake, where there is a fully supplied cafe/store to stock up on everything from hot chocolate to fishing gear.

We took the 2 mile hike to the falls and the grandmas needed to turn back, but the hike did continue that many hikers took. I'm going to assume it was somewhere exciting!

Trout caught at Two Medicine Lake shoreline fishing on a plastic worm bottom-bounced.

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Day 3: Chartered Lake Fishing in Flathead Lake

I found Norm at Flathead Lake Fishing Charters, who was the sweetest dude. The weather wasn't great, but he greeted us warmly with pastries and coffee at 9am. We didn't catch anything, but he offered a discount if we booked him in the future, which I definitely would. He has mentored other popular guides on the lake.

A local antique shop near Flathead Lake

After lunch we explored the nearby town, Big Fork, to stroll the farmer's market and do some light shopping.

 

Day 4: Fishing at Lake MacDonald & Exploring

 

We started from the west side of Lake MacDonald (amazing) at Fish Creek Campground, which seemed like a pretty cool spot (would totally camp there). We fished there and saw a lots of folks kayaking from Apgar Village, another larger commercialized campground. There are restaurants, supply shops, a ranger station where we stayed for a talk about the Pika, a relative of the rabbit, who has been affected by climate change, but the rangers aren't allowed to mention it on record - CRAZY - UGH!!

Scooting up the road, we hit up the Lake MacDonald Lodge, which was a pretty big spot - hotel, restaurant, supply store. I'd hunker down here in as a lodging option in the future.

 

In the late afternoon we headed back and stopped along the way to soak up the scenery - WOW! I haven't seen this type of view anywhere else.

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Day 5: Attempt at Bowman Lake; Whitefish - Splash at the Beach & Lunch Downtown

We had several locals tell us to spend a day at Bowman Lake, but the roads were so bad, our minivan didn't make it 2 miles before we had to turn back. That road is no joke! 

 

Improvising... we headed to Whitefish, a beautiful town filled with nice restaurants, cafes, a brewery, shopping, etc. It was good for a long lunch. Whitefish Lake was awesome - we spent the morning at Whitefish Lake State Park to let the kids swim. There was a dock, swimming area, and a small rental shop.

 

Day 6: Grinnell Glacier Hike: When in Glacier Park, right? 

Just before got to Many Glacier Hotel, we stopped off to appoint a pair of Jr. Rangers at the St. Mary's Ranger station.

We wanted to see a glacier, but the only way is to hike or take a heli... or by car, you would need to head to Banff. Needless to say, we didn't quite see it, but the experience was still amazing.

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The hike begins at the amazing Many Glacier Hotel which was majestically positioned within the mountains - reminded me of a Bond movie where he pulls up to some chalet in his Aston Martin. The hotel seemed awesome - had lunch and relaxed and hiked around the lake.

The hike could've been the highlight of our trip, but the full trip to see the glacier was WAY to long for two kids and two grandmas, so we aborted, especially after seeing signs for bears ;) You make your way around two lakes (we made it around one, then turned back), then start the real portion of the hike. They offer two water shuttles that book up quickly. If they do, just walk! I'm definitely heading back to Glacier for this hike another day.

 

Swiftcurrent Lake - Bears!!

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Cheers to a great trip - we will be back!

Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

 Diamond shaped tile from Fireclay Tile creates a bold geometric backdrop.

Diamond shaped tile from Fireclay Tile creates a bold geometric backdrop.

 Handpainted tile pattern featuring a custom colorway, from Fireclay Tile.

Handpainted tile pattern featuring a custom colorway, from Fireclay Tile.

 Stacked subway tile from Heath Ceramics gives a pop to this bar area. 

Stacked subway tile from Heath Ceramics gives a pop to this bar area. 

 A custom pattern utilizing Heath Ceramics mural collection, in mid-century inspired color palette.

A custom pattern utilizing Heath Ceramics mural collection, in mid-century inspired color palette.

 Heath Ceramics Dimensional tile creates subtle pattern play.

Heath Ceramics Dimensional tile creates subtle pattern play.

 Diamond shaped tile from Fireclay Tile. We alternated custom colors in an organic pattern to give playfulness to the space.

Diamond shaped tile from Fireclay Tile. We alternated custom colors in an organic pattern to give playfulness to the space.

 Handpainted collection from Fireclay Tile in a Bar area.

Handpainted collection from Fireclay Tile in a Bar area.

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Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West and Arizona Visit

 Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona

Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona

Last week, I was given the opportunity to go on a fantastic work-fun trip. A set of clients recently relocated to Phoenix, AZ, after living in the Bay Area for several years. I had the pleasure of helping them design their East Bay home, and after they sold it, they asked me to help with their next house renovation in Arizona. Of course I said, "Yes!"

Coincidentally, my sister was also on a business trip there, so we were able to coincide our trips and mix in both work and enjoying all that the Scottsdale-Phoenix area has to offer, which I discovered is A LOT OF FUN and filled with mid-century modern architecture and inspiration.

Fresh off the plane, my Client took me straight to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West.

 Frank Lloyd Wright's Desert Laboratory

Frank Lloyd Wright's Desert Laboratory

Architecture and FLW Fans will not be disappointed. The setting, nature and history behind this national historic landmark and creative "laboratory" is fascinating and absolutely spectacular in person. I had seen some photos before, but nothing beats experiencing the property and architecture/rooms in person. Light diffusion, sound, and nature and how they all interplay can all be witnessed throughout the property and tour.

We spent the rest of my short trip enjoying local eats (due to allergies, I eat gluten-free, no dairy) and there were plenty of yummy spots to enjoy. My Client showed me the best vintage shopping (both mid-century focused and general thrifting) and I somehow was able to fill a small empty suitcase for the trip back to California!

Here are some photos of Taliesin West and our incredible hotel Hotel Valley Ho, which for mid-century fans, is a must-stay! 

 Taleisin West Garden Room

Taleisin West Garden Room

 Talesin West Caberet Theater. I loved seeing the triangle and hexagon shaped inspiration throughout the spaces. My favorite shapesto incorporate into designs!

Talesin West Caberet Theater. I loved seeing the triangle and hexagon shaped inspiration throughout the spaces. My favorite shapesto incorporate into designs!

 Taliesin West Pool 

Taliesin West Pool 

 On the grounds of the Talesin West property.

On the grounds of the Talesin West property.

 Taliesin West, another beautiful reflection pool.

Taliesin West, another beautiful reflection pool.

 Hotel Valley Ho, once host to Bing Crosby, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh and Zsa Zsa Gabor

Hotel Valley Ho, once host to Bing Crosby, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh and Zsa Zsa Gabor

 Hotel Valley Ho's swanky Dining Room. I wanted to take home the Saarinen Chairs and Random Lights. 

Hotel Valley Ho's swanky Dining Room. I wanted to take home the Saarinen Chairs and Random Lights. 

 Hotel Valley Ho's beautiful Lobby. Love the stone work that goes from inside to outside, seamlessly.

Hotel Valley Ho's beautiful Lobby. Love the stone work that goes from inside to outside, seamlessly.

 Hotel Valley Ho. I love how the "balcony" continues through the glass an outside!

Hotel Valley Ho. I love how the "balcony" continues through the glass an outside!

 Hotel Valley Ho Pool. 

Hotel Valley Ho Pool. 

 Hotel Valley Ho. Yes it's always sunny in Scottsdale! 

Hotel Valley Ho. Yes it's always sunny in Scottsdale! 

Taliesin West
http://franklloydwright.org/taliesin-west/

Hotel Valley Ho
https://www.hotelvalleyho.com/

Vintage Shopping:

Midcentury Modern Unique
4610 N. 7th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ


Retro Ranch
#303 N 7th Ave
Phoenix, AZ
 

Michael Todd's Treasures
4433 N. 7th Ave
Phoenix, AZ

 

 

Anthropologie's Summer Home Launch Party

Over the weekend, we had the pleasure of participating in Anthropologie's Summer Launch party at the Walnut Creek Anthropologie store. A few weeks ago, their Head Stylist (and dear friend of ours) Shannon asked us if we would be interested in helping them introduce the brand's Summer collection with a Sunday morning party. When she said Mimosas and coffee would be served, naturally we said yes. (Only (half) kidding). The store would be newly stocked with their Summer collection -- both furniture and home accessories and they invited us to talk about our design work and inspiration, plus introduce the new collection, which happened to feature a talented local artist. 

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 Taking Bridgette Thornton's beautiful work, paired with their other colorful products made the job of creating a "tablecape" fun and easy.

Taking Bridgette Thornton's beautiful work, paired with their other colorful products made the job of creating a "tablecape" fun and easy.

I came into the store prior to the event to take a look at their new product line and was really inspired. This post, nor our participation in the event was not sponsored in any way, so I am totally truthful when I say how excited I was to view their home collection. Loads of color, pattern, texture ... all elements that are just the right flavor to layer into the type of work we do, which while it tends to be on the more modern/clean lines and minimalist side, we strive to create spaces that are still warm, and inviting.

 Setting up beforehand. We never bring the Digital SLR anymore (but afterwards usually regret that we didn't!)

Setting up beforehand. We never bring the Digital SLR anymore (but afterwards usually regret that we didn't!)

We were happy to meet the very talented Bridgette Thornton a local Bay Area Artist, who's playful watercolor designs are featured on Anthropologie's new outdoor tableware collection. I need to get our own set for going to our pool club this summer! 

 The very talented and sweet Bridgette, showing her designs featured on tabletop and pillow collections.

The very talented and sweet Bridgette, showing her designs featured on tabletop and pillow collections.

I gave a talk about Destination Eichler -- how we came about and what we do, then I got to "play" with Bridgette's new collection by pulling together a tablescape of her pieces and mixing in other products that I found interesting and colorful, along with beautiful Terrain greenery.

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Thank you to Shannon, Paige, Ryan and the Anthropologie team for inviting us to take part in this launch party! And big thanks to the friends/family (you know who you are) who lent moral support in the audience (and took iPhone footage), to the nice guests who listened in on my presentation and came by after to say hello, and a few clients who stopped by too. I haven't really done much/any public speaking since leaving my corporate job, (where I was used to giving updates at the monthly "Business Review" meetings and Quarterly full company presentations). Let's just say this was WAY more fun and I appreciated the guests interest and kind words for our work and business. 

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 Bridgette (right) with her beautiful collection, with me on the left.

Bridgette (right) with her beautiful collection, with me on the left.

Cheers to Bridgette! We wish her continued success with her beautiful work and line. We met many delightful new folks we look forward to connecting with and enjoyed a peaceful kid-free Sunday morning. :) It was a good day and we're ready to jump into what the coming summer season has in store for us!

Photos by Bridgette Thorton and Stephanie Perham

 

 

San Rafael Eichler Project featured in Atomic Ranch

We are SO thrilled to be a part of the Spring 2018 Issue of Atomic Ranch which features our Lucas Valley Eichler project from 2017. This is a very special milestone for us, as it is our first client project to be featured in print! Before we lived in a mid-century home, Atomic Ranch was (and still is) our go-to for inspiration and a peek into cool MCM houses, so it's pretty surreal to see our design and photography for our clients in the magazine. A big thank you to our fabulous clients who gave us the trust to work with them, also letting us photograph take up a weekend day to photograph their beautiful home!  

Here's a few sneak peek from the Spring Issue. Thank you Sarah Jane Stone and Atomic Ranch for featuring our work! PS. This isn't the last you will see of this Eichler Kitchen and home! More to come on that... 

You can get your copy via Atomic Ranch or your local bookseller. 

 

 

Before and After: A family townhome gets a mid-century inspired makeover

Last spring, we were approached by a wonderful family who have been in their home for twelve years and were ready for a full home makeover. With a very busy household, (think two children, three dogs, two cats, and another daughter away at college), this family was ready to reimagine their home to match their distinct style, fabulous furniture/art collection and active lifestyle.

While we didn't take down walls or change any exterior features, changes such as new flooring, wall treatment, lighting, and fixtures, planned cohesively made a big impact in this space. We opted for family-friendly/durable materials to withstand the family's daily traffic, while making updates that expressed the family's love for fun and adventure. Palm Springs is a favorite destination for the family, which is reflected in their mid-century style furniture and fun artwork collection. It was such a blast working with the homeowners to bring in more personal elements and style to their home!

KITCHEN BEFORE:

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Originally, the homeowners wanted to solely swap out the backsplash with new tile and keep the original cabinetry. After a few changes were made throughout the house (including installation of new hardwood floors and tile), plans eventually changed (as they often do!), and they decided to go with all new kitchen cabinetry as well. The the new tile had already been installed and needed to be removed to meet the new cabinetry configuration, but thanks to Heath Ceramics In-Stock Palette, we were able to secure beautiful new tile (very!) quickly that better suited the new white cabinetry. While not part of the original plan, the homeowners ended up with entirely new kitchen that meets their family's needs and reflects their modern style. Kudos to extremely flexible clients and Contractor! 

KITCHEN AFTER:

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The washer and dryer now reside under this countertop area (vs previously stacked), which now doubles as a bar and entertaining area.

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The clients' had a brilliant idea to utilize space underneath the stairs as a cozy area for pets. They also had a wood hand rail installed over existing metal stair rail, completely changing the look.

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FIREPLACE BEFORE:

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FIREPLACE AFTER:

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POWDER ROOM BEFORE:

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POWDER ROOM AFTER:

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We added a bit of drama to the Powder Room with custom drawer fronts and legs from Semihandmade (over an Ikea vanity). The clients had even more fun with this room, adding a rock theme to the decor.

KIDS' BATHROOM BEFORE:

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KIDS' BATHROOM AFTER:

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COMPUTER NOOK BEFORE:

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COMPUTER NOOK AFTER:

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Graphic wallpaper adds pop to this multi-functional space. The clients had their contractor install a custom built-in bookcase under the staircase, maximizing space and storage.

FRONT ENTRY BEFORE:

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ENTRY AFTER:

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A huge thank you to our clients for allowing us to be a part of this fun and transformative project! They were such as joy to collaborate with and we loved helping them make their home really feel like their home. They even entertained our oldest son when we came to photograph the space (inspiring him with their furry pets too!) Cheers!

Sources:

KITCHEN
Tile: Heath Ceramics
Faucet: Starlight Chrome Concetto Faucet, Build.com
Kitchen & Hall Ceiling Light: Boop! Wall/Ceiling Light, YLighting.com
Cabinetry: IKEA

LIVING ROOM
Fireplace Tile: Fireclay Tile

COMPUTER NOOK
Wallpaper: Emily Sanford Design, Spoonflower

POWDER ROOM
Vanity: Ikea Godmorgon with fronts from Semihandmade 
Faucet: VIGO Satro Matte Black 1-Handle Single Hole Faucet, Lowes
Light: Vista 2 Sconce, Cedar & Moss
Industrial Wall Mirror, West Elm
Paint: METAL .06, Colorhouse Paints

KIDS BATHROOM
Tile: Vives Rift Grafito, Tilebar
Boxie LED Ceiling Light, YLighting

PAINT
Main Living and Kitchen Areas
METAL .03, Colorhouse Paints

Interior Front Door
DREAM .03, Colorhouse Paints

Master Bedroom Walls
IMAGINE .05, Colorhouse Paints

ENGINEERED HARDWOOD FLOORING
Urban Floor Calabria

Construction by Jeff Lewis 408-781-1746

Concrete Planters: Sexy Succulents DIY Style

I was looking for holiday gift ideas and Karen suggested succulents and I was also anxious to try DIYing some concrete planters because it seemed all the rage on Instagram so I went for it!

Step 1 DIY Concrete Planters : Make Concrete Forms

I looked around for household items that I could use as forms. I've seen posts from folks that used all sorts of crafty items, so I ended up with:

  • Tupperware
  • Pho soup takeout container
  • Cover for a DVD-R spindle - (Because everyone has one of these sitting around!)
  • Styrofoam container
  • LEGOs - Thanks to Sebastian's brilliant idea!
 Time to get the kids busy building a LEGO form.

Time to get the kids busy building a LEGO form.

 Completed LEGO form on a melamine casting surface with mini plastic Solo cup for the planting area.

Completed LEGO form on a melamine casting surface with mini plastic Solo cup for the planting area.

Here are several examples of my DIY concrete planter forms.

Preparing the DIY Concrete Forms

Casting concrete requires a little bit of upside-down thinking. You need to pour concrete into a mold and put in knockouts to create pockets of space. In all of my cases, I used a small cup to form the area where my succulents will be planted. The bottom of the form will end up becoming the top of my planter.

I used a silicone caulk to seal the cups upside-down to the bottom of all my forms to ensure the opening of the planting area would be nice and smooth.

Step 2 DIY Concrete Planters: Mixing the Concrete for the Planters

I made batches of concrete mix using:

  • Portland Cement - this is the raw powder that binds and hardens
  • Sand - this is an aggregate that is mixed to give it some additional strength and texture
  • Green glass - I broke up some beer bottles to mix in some additional aggregate to add some variety to the finish on some of the planters

For most of the batches of mix I took 5 scoops of cement and 3 scoops of sand.

Step 3: Pouring the concrete into the mold

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Since this form was larger, I was able to sprinkle some of the green glass at the bottom of the form before pouring the concrete.

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Step 4 DIY Concrete Planters: Vibrating the Mold

You need make sure all the concrete fills the mold completely and allow air bubbles to escape to the surface, so I used an electric hand sander to vibrate all around the form. It helped to level out the concrete and make sure the finish was free from too many holes along the finished surface. You'll never get all of them out, but it helps greatly to reduce the bubbles.

Step 5 DIY Concrete Planters: Breaking the concrete from the mold - The Fun Part!

I broke the concrete from the mold about 18 hours after pouring - you could say it was early, but my time was limited. The planters casted in the plastic containers released from the mold very easily. As the concrete dries it shrinks a tad, so all I had to do is flip it over it squeeze around the container.

The LEGO mold was fun, and a great activity for the kids - they had to release the form piece-by-piece.

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The styrofoam mold was the most difficult, as I had to cut using a blade and tear off pieces to release the form completely. The concrete picks up imprints of all the textures from the mold, so all the cellular foam patterns appeared on the surface. 

Step 6 DIY Concrete Planters: Sanding DIY Concrete Planters (only two of them required sanding)

There was green glass aggregate I wanted to expose on two of the planters, so I used a wet concrete polisher with a 50, then 200 grit pad to polish off a layer of concrete, otherwise it wouldn't be seen. (This isn't' one of these tools most people have handy, but from doing our countertops, I actually had one... and was siked I got to use it again!)

The planter from the foam form also needed polishing to remove the rough finish left behind from the cellular pattern.

 Before sanding

Before sanding

 After sanding

After sanding

Step 7 DIY Concrete Planters: Arranging the Succulents

We sourced plants from our 'secret garden' (aka - Lolo's backyard, for which we owe much thanks)I put a layer of small stones at the bottom of each pot, added my cactus soil, then topped it off with a final layer of stones. I finished them off by adding felt pads to avoid scratching the table. After doing a couple I let Karen and the kids finish the remaining pots and add their artistic touch. Those receiving these succulents can thank them!

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They turned out great and we were very happy with the results. Looking forward to seeing what else we can make! 

P.S. - Much thanks for Mark Melonas at @lukeworks for inspiration.

DIY Painted Ornaments

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I haven't bought new Christmas ornaments in years; most of ours are from my prior career working for various retailers and amassing ornaments after each holiday season. 

A few years back though, I splurged on this one ornament, if I recall it was actually from J.Crew, or similar to a collection designed by kate spade:

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I love the black and white, modern look. So simple, yet elegant.

A lovely Instagram friend forwarded me an IG story of a DIY painted ornament project. It got my creative juices flowing (Thanks Karen! Her name is Karen too. :) and I ran out to the craft store to get supplies to attempt my own version. 

It was super easy and fun! I even got our 10-year old son into it and it was his idea to paint the glittered ones, which I hadn't even thought of doing!

SUPPLIES:

Just a few packs of plain ornaments from the Dollar Store (or use some plain ones already on your tree):

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Acrylic paint and brushes (I chose just four colors, to stick to a mid-century modern inspired theme): 

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Paint lines, dots, crosses ... as simple or fancy as you'd like. We rigged up a hanger to allow them to dry. 

Here's a quick video of the process. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!