When you’re a lifestyle blogger with a growing social media following, your home is an extension of your brand. In July 2019, Anna Mae Groves, a mother of four (her eldest son lives in Arizona), and her husband, Rob, purchased a house in Cincinnati. Anna wanted a space that showcased her love of mid-century modern and Scandinavian design.
To bring her vision to life, she took on a slew of DIY projects, from board-and-batten walls to a maple headboard. “Our house doesn’t have a lot of natural character,” she says. “But when you walk in, I think what we’ve created is unexpectedly interesting.”
Mix and match geometric patterns.
“I like when people walk into the house and immediately see something fun,” Anna says of the white geometric wall she installed in the living room. To achieve the look, Anna took a photo with her iPhone and used the Markup editing tool in the photo app to try out various designs.
Design Tip: Pick 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 entry gives the space even more character. To paint your own eye-catching black-and-white geometric creation, follow this step-by-step:
- Step 1: Cover an old canvas with white acrylic paint. Once it’s dry, measure the board and divide it vertically into thirds. At the center line of each third, draw a line most of the way down to show where to place circles and half circles.
- Step 2: Using the base of a bowl or a similarly shaped object, trace small circles on the tops of the rows at the ends of the canvas.
- Step 3: Use the bowl to trace half circles, repeating down the center line of each third of the canvas, switching directions as shown at left. Finally, fill in the tracings with black acrylic paint.
Get the look: Accent Wall Paint: Pure White, sherwin-williams.com.
Paint in an architectural detail.
Anna painted an arch at the top of the stairs to serve as a striking backdrop for works from Black artists.
Get the look: Black Woman Wall Art by Bohodeko, etsy.com; Portrait of Child Smelling Rose by CloudNinePrints, etsy.com; Potato Art, DIY.
Transform a room with lighting and hardware.
Unlike other rooms, the kitchen required only minor cosmetic changes, starting with the installation of black hardware. “Previously, it was all silver and just faded into the cabinetry,” Anna says. “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. To corral large containers neatly in the kitchen or bathroom, Anna is partial to collapsible fabric bins, which are inexpensive and don’t take up much room when not in use.
Get the look: Cedar & Moss Globe Pendant, rejuvenation.com; Emtek Mod Hex 4-inch Center to Center Bar Cabinet Pulls from the Urban Modern Collection, build.com.
Try a dark feature wall.
Anna played up the bedroom’s natural moodiness by installing a matte black board-and-batten wall. A DIY maple headboard, paired with crisp white bedding, adds balance. She used the same material — raw wood that has been sanded down for a more natural look — for the bench, the headboard and the picture frames in the bedroom.
Design tip: Always allow breathing room. “It can make a space feel larger, more airy and not too busy,” Anna says. This was especially important for rooms in which she chose to incorporate a feature wall, whether with shelving or with wood paneling.
Create a functional nook.
Using Behr Carbon paint as a backdrop and DIY shelves, Anna carved out a compact resting place for keys, face masks and sunglasses. She also hung a brass oval mirror that’s perfect for taking one last look before walking out the door.
Design Tip: When you need to clean up your space in a pinch, baskets can come in handy. Use them to store everything from remote controls to throw blankets and pillows. Anna even keeps one in the hallway for her dog’s leash.
Get the look: Modern Weave Small Storage Baskets, westelm.com; Pure White Ceramic Vase, westelm.com; Stamped Metal Mirror in Brass by Project 62, target.com; Radabaugh Platform Bed, jossandmain.com
En Suite Bathroom
Try peel-and-stick wallpaper.
Anna’s glamorous bathroom proves that temporary wall coverings aren’t just for rentals. This paper, in a neutral brushstroke pattern, took her about two hours to install and didn’t require glue or water. A pair of oversize rectangular mirrors in a brass finish and black sink fixtures and lights complete the fun, elegant look.
Get the look: Neutral Paintbrush Maze Removable Wallpaper, livetteswallpaper.com; Rounded Rectangle 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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