When you’re a lifestyle blogger with increasing social media following, your home is an extension of your brand. In July 2019, Anna Mae Groves, a mother of four (her oldest son lives in Arizona), and her husband, Rob, bought a house in Cincinnati. Anna wanted a space that showcased her love of mid-century modern Scandinavian design.
To bring her vision to life, she undertook a multitude of DIY projects, from plank and slatted walls to a maple headboard. “Our house doesn’t have a lot of naturalness,” she says. “But when you walk in, I think what we’ve created is surprisingly interesting.”
- 1 Living room
- 2 Staircase
- 3 Cooked
- 4 Master bedroom
- 5 Have the look
- 6 Living room
- 7 Bathroom
Mix and match geometric patterns.
“I love when people walk into the house and immediately see something funny,” Anna says of the white geometric wall she has installed in the living room. To get the look, Anna took a photo with her iPhone and used the markup editing tool in the photo app to try out different models.
Design tip: Choose three colors to work with. Anna’s living room is designed around black, green and wood tones.
Paint your own art.
A DIY black and white painting on the wall opposite the entrance gives the space even more character. To paint your own geometric creation in eye-catching black and white, follow this step-by-step:
- Step 1: Cover an old canvas with white acrylic paint. When dry, measure the board and divide it vertically into thirds. At the center line of each third, draw a line almost all the way down to show where to place the circles and semicircles.
- Step 2: Using the base of a bowl or similar shaped object, draw small circles on top of the rows at the ends of the canvas.
- Step 3: Use the bowl to draw semicircles, repeating the center line every third of the canvas, changing direction as shown on the left. Finally, fill in the paths with black acrylic paint.
Have the look: Accent wall paint: pure white, sherwin-williams.com.
Paint in architectural detail.
Anna painted an arch at the top of the stairs to serve as a backdrop for the works of black artists.
Have the look: Black woman wall art by Bohodeko, etsy.com; Portrait of a child smelling the rose by CloudNinePrints, etsy.com; Potato art, DIY.
Transform a room with lighting and hardware.
Unlike other rooms, the kitchen only required minor cosmetic changes, starting with the installation of black hardware. “It used to be all silver and fit in the cupboards,” says Anna. “I wanted it to pop and be more dramatic.” She finished the look with a trio of globe pendants in a bronze finish for a touch of modern elegance.
Design tip: Consider collapsible storage bins. For neatly accommodating large containers in the kitchen or bathroom, Anna prefers foldable fabric bins, which are inexpensive and don’t take up much space when not in use.
Have the look: Cedar and Moss Globe Pendant, rejuvenation.com; Emtek Mod Hex 4 inch Center to Center Bar Cabinet Pullovers from the Urban Modern collection, build.com.
Try a dark feature wall.
Anna played on the bedroom’s natural mood swings by installing a wall of matte black slats and planks. A DIY maple headboard, paired with crisp white bedding, add balance. She used the same material – raw wood that was sanded for a more natural look – for the bench, headboard, and bedroom frames.
Design tip: Always leave room for maneuver. “It can make a space bigger, more airy and not too busy,” says Anna. This was especially important for rooms in which she chose to incorporate a characteristic wall, whether with shelving or woodwork.
Create a functional corner.
Using Behr Carbon paint as a backdrop and DIY shelves, Anna created a compact resting place for keys, face masks, and sunglasses. She also hung an oval brass mirror perfect for a last look before going out.
Design Tip: When you need to clean your space in a pinch, baskets can come in handy. Use them to store everything from remotes to blankets and pillows. Anna even keeps one in the hallway for her dog’s leash.
Have the look: Small Modern Weave Storage Baskets, westelm.com; Pure White Ceramic Vase, westelm.com; Brass stamped metal mirror by Project 62, target.com; Radabaugh platform bed, jossandmain.com
Try peel and stick wallpaper.
Anna’s glamorous bathroom proves that temporary wall coverings aren’t just for rental. This paper, in a neutral brushstroke pattern, took him about two hours to install and required no glue or water. A pair of oversized rectangular mirrors in a brass finish and black light fixtures and sink lights complete the fun and stylish look.
Have the look: Neutral Brush Maze Removable Wallpaper, livetteswallpaper.com; Rounded Rectangular Metal Framed Mirror, rejuvenation.com; Auburn light fixture, illuminatevintage.com.
A version of this feature appeared in the January / February 2021 issue of Good Housekeeping.
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