Ask An Expert: Mandi Gubler Part 1

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Spending the Right Color for the Right Space

Q: I LOVE the colors in your living room. Everything feels cultivated, and flows really well. How do you do it?! Your orange couch, blue chairs, pink antlers, artful accents… Seriously! I find awesome stuff at my thrift store all the time, but when I bring things home sometimes they just don’t work. And if I spray paint them to “match” the rest of my room, it feels, well…too matchy matchy! I love that your room has multiple colors that aren’t matchy, but when I try to do that, all I get is a disconnected mess! How do you decorate like that and end up with a cohesive room like yours? How do you get that flow while being interesting and still having lots of colors that don’t necessarily “match”? Thanks! -Jaclyn

A: Jaclyn this is SUCH a great question!! A few weeks ago I shared a post about designing a room around a feeling. The way that you want a room to feel is a great baseline for the amount, and type of colors that you will be using. If you are going for something that is calming obviously you are not going to use sun yellow and fuchsia. I look at color with a budget. The more energetic and colorful you want a room to feel, the higher your budget.

Next you have to decide where you are are going to spend your color. If you throw a crazy bright color up on the wall (like this emerald green) you are spending some serious color cash.

Eclectic Living Room
Image: Vintage Revivals

If you look at my living room for example (pictured above), the walls are white, the floor is wood, a lot of the furniture is wood, the rug is black and white. There just isn't a lot of color in the structural design. That is why an orange couch is doable. Because that is where I spent most of my color budget. Can you imagine the orange couch paired with a bright wall? You need to have a star, and the star tends to be the most attention grabbing thing in the room. Everything else is smallish pops that makes it complete but doesn't try to steal the show.

Living Room Makeover
Image: Vintage Revivals

For the record, I am not a fan of matchy. I would even go so far as to say that I don't think that you should have more than one (or 2 if its something like end tables or nightstands) that are the same color. Another tip is to remember that painted isn't the only option. You can go with wood, metal, mirrored, or painted surfaces (and about a zillion sub categories under each one of those!) Mixing all of these things is what makes a room feel collected and complete.

Tips on Succulent Terrarium

Q: I really want to make a succulent terrarium but I’m not sure where to start. Any tips on how to make one and what type of vessel to use? –Michelle

A: Michelle are you peeking in my windows?! I just finished a really fun succulent project that I will be sharing over on Vintage Revivals in the next 2 weeks, so stay tuned for that.

Living Room Makeover
Image: Vintage Revivals

I love succulents and have them all over my house. The most important thing that I learned to do to not kill them is to get a succulent/cactus soil mix. It pulls moisture differently than regular potting soil, and is very important to not slaughter them (I learned that the hard way!) If you are going to go with a terrarium type design my biggest tip is to keep it out of direct sunlight. Otherwise you will get condensation and your vessel will be so foggy you wont be able to enjoy it!

Changing Nail Head Trim:

Q: I just purchased a navy headboard with nail head trim from Joss and Main yesterday for my daughter. I love it! But it has silver nail head trim instead of brass/gold color. Is there an easy way to change them out? Thanks -Brianne

A: This is such a great question. Finding THE PERFECT piece is a long emotionally draining process (at least it is for me because I am super impatient!) and sometimes we find the almost perfect thing and just go with that. Nail head trim is hard because it is so close to the fabric that painting or using rub-n-buff requires the hands and patience of a surgeon. The first thing that comes to mind is using a nail head trim strip (AKA cheater trim) its basically a long row of nail heads that are connected together and you use an actual nail every 8 or so. If you could find some that would perfectly cover the silver that might be an option.
Nailhead trim
Image: Vintage Revivals

Transforming A Pair of Shoes to a Bookend

Q: Purchased a fabulous pair of shoes (brocade & mink, can you believe it?) that I’d like to make in to bookends. They’re a size 5, so they’re pretty small. Other than pouring concrete in them, do you have any great ideas to add the weight so that they can effectively perform their repurposed task? Can’t wait for THIS answer. -Teri

A: Hahaha now THIS is the kind of hurdle that this girl loves. I don't think I would fill them with concrete but you could find 2 really fantastic looking books and attach the back of the heel to the book. That way it will hold a stack and you don't have to totally ruin the shoe!

Make sure you check back tomorrow for Part 2 of this Q&A where I tackle painting!

This Week’s Ask an Expert: Courtney Petersen

Courtney Petersen

Courtney Petersen is the social media coordinator for The Stow Company, a company with a passion for helping make lives more efficient and enjoyable through intelligent home organizing solutions. Her interests lie in finding where good design and smart organization meet. She is also one of the voices behind the EasyClosets blog “Inspired Organization.”

Courtney will be answering all your questions about well-designed home organization. Ask your questions here!

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for this post! I created my first succulent terrarium this past weekend. I actually was able to find really awesome fish bowls at my local thrift shop. Less than $2 each. I also scavenged some rocks from a local area. All in all it was a fun project and they look great in my home.

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Mandi Gubler is a DIY/Shelter Blogger known for her fearless approach to all things Do It Yourself. She is a self proclaimed thrift store junkie, craigslist stalker (not the killing kind) and garage sale maven. Mandi started her blog Vintage Revivals in July 2010 with zero DIY/Design experience. She apparently had a hidden talent that once released, not only changed her life but inspires millions. Mandi's approach to design is simple. She believes that true style has the chance to emerge when you stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, will think, or might say, and do what makes your guts grin.