Magical Moroccan Closet Nook … a DIY!

Some people have huge infinity swimming pools as luxuries. Some people have fast convertible cars. Some people have wine cellars with rustic stone walls and floors. Some people have closet nooks filled with Moroccan patterns and pillows. Okay maybe only one person has that last one. Me! Until I entice you to try this …

It is a luxury to give up a closet and turn it into a space that’s pretty much only for lounging around.

DIY Closet Nook Before After

If you can carve out a space like this in your house — from a closet, under some stairs, maybe flanked by deep bookcases and shielded with a curtain — it’s the kind of spot people like to curl up in. I’m a big believer in Sarah Susanka’s “Not So Big House” philosophy that was popular about a decade ago. Homes need spaces sized for humans. Humans don’t feel cozy in great rooms the size of office building atriums.

How did my crazy patterned nook happen? Well, I painted. I painted a lot! Sometimes until the wee hours of the morning and I had to switch contact lenses because they got dry from looking and not blinking so much. I painted an MDF board to cover a wood storage bench — see a tutorial of how to do stacked patterns like this:


There are painted and stenciled silk cushions — get tips on how to stencil on fabric like this:

How to Stencil on Silk Fabric

There’s even a painted, stenciled and beaded pillow that I created for a feature in Paint+Pattern blogzine, where all these stenciling tutorials are shared:

DIY Moroccan Stenciled PIllow


Believe it or not, I am not the only person on the planet with a nook like this. Because these nooks inspired me to pull all the clothes and junk from the closet, and make it a special space:


Now there’s a luxurious lounging nook that I can work in, read in, nap in, snuggle with a cat in. You can lounge around on a mix of pillows I bought during travels (a silk Turkish pillow actually found in India, a Moroccan Fez embroidered pillow) and pillows I made with details like jewelry fixings and long lush tassels from the Marrakech medina.

Closet Nook

But I’m not done with it yet. Oh no! Because you haven’t seen the ceiling yet …

How to Make a Scrapbook Paper Collage

In the previous post about this project, you followed along with me on a super strange trail of creative inspiration. It involved the Taj Mahal, a wayward Indian taxi driver, poets from thousands of years ago, and love sentiments followed by quick death. In the end, I was able to piece together an idea acceptable for a 50th wedding anniversary gift. That took some work because obviously a love sentiment followed by quick death is not an acceptable gift!

The idea was to make wall art by building layers of patterned scrapbook paper and painted stencil patterns. I added a South Indian temple arch shape and a love poem in ancient Indian Tamil script. Today I’ll show the play-by-play of how to make a scrapbook paper collage like this.

DIY Scrapbook Paper Wall Art


Money-saving tip: Look for “remnant frames” in the framing departments of craft stores!

Remnant Frame

One rule for this project was to use materials I already have. There was a “remnant frame” in our basement. Remnant or reject frames can be found super cheap in the framing area of JoAnn, Michaels or Hobby Lobby. You can get a pricey Larson-Juhl frame for a fraction of the original price. I’ve paid $10 or $20 for frames that were originally $150-200. This was a decent size 14″ x 22″ Larson-Juhl frame.

I also had thick chipboard in the basement (it’s like a whole craft store down there, I’m tellin’ ya) and I cut two 14″ x 22″ pieces of chipboard with a box cutter. These pieces were glued together to make a thick base for the art. While doing a previous project, I found chipboard curled at the corners when I glued paper to it. So I’m hoping a thicker board will not curl. My board, with two pieces glued together, is about 1/4″ thick now.

Enlarging Design elements

Money-saving tip: To get inexpensive large prints, make “engineer prints” at copy shops like Staples or OfficeMax.

Large Engineering Print

In the previous post about inspiration, you learn why there’s an arch in the collage. I am not very good at drawing things. So in Photoshop, I enlarged a photo of an arch from an ancient South Indian temple. I printed it as a large “engineer print” at Staples for about $6. The photo was not fantastic quality but that’s okay. I didn’t use the actual photo in the artwork. I just used it as a guide to draw an outline of the arch shape.


Money-saving tip: Scrapbook papers cost under $1 each and are a very inexpensive way to get lots of pattern and color.

Blue Scrapbook Paper Color Palettes

Next I sifted through a foot-tall stack of scrapbook papers. My parents like cool colors. So I built two color palettes based on blue — one was more navy blue and the other was teal and green. Chaai the Crafty Cat gets involved in all my projects and so he looked at the paper choices. He does not look thrilled. He doesn’t say why. Maybe he likes purple paper. Maybe he wanted FOOD. As a 20-pound cat, he always wants food.

Choosing Scrapbook Papers

I decided the navy blue was murky and muddy, and for a 50th anniversary celebration, brighter colors like teal would be better. I think Chaai is happy with this choice too.

Chaai the Crafty Cat Chooses Paper

When choosing patterned papers for a collage project, here’s a formula I usually use:

  1. Decide a primary color for most of the papers — for this project, teal blue
  2. Decide a contrasting color, for either subtle contrast or big contrast or both — for this project, red for big contrast and light green for subtle contrast – there’s teal in the red paper and green in the teal paper so this ties all colors together
  3. Choose a common design element that ties all the papers together — in this case, swirly patterned designs in brown

Matching Scrapbook Papers

I lay out the papers before cutting anything to see how they all relate to each other. Are they fighting? Are they singing harmoniously? I’m not sure how to share exact guidelines for this. It’s more of a “feel.” I mostly try to pay attention to where my eyes look. Do they keep bouncing around, unable to focus on anything? Or are your eyes able to find a starting focal point and then naturally sweep across all the papers? If your eyes are not drawn to a focal point, re-arrange your papers and design elements to create a focal point.

Scrapbook Paper Layout

Because I chose teal blue as the primary color for this collage, I start with this color. I choose a blue paper for the lower right corner, which will be a prominent part of the collage because it will eventually fill in the arch.

Engineering Print Arch

Layout of Scrapbook Paper Collage

Next, I used the big engineering print of the arch as a guide to cut an arch out of green papers. The arch was secured with double-sided scrapbook tape and rubber cement. I like rubber cement or E6000 glue for projects like this because if they smear you can easily clean up both glues and leave no trace of smears.

After securing the blue paper to the chipboard with double-sided scrapbook tape, I started “building” around that paper with layers of papers. For contrast, I added the red “column” paper on the left side. Then I added another blue paper so the arch would be completely “filled” with blue.

On this second blue paper, for some more pattern, I stenciled an Annapakshi bird stencil from Royal Design Studio with teal blue stencil creme paint. The Annapakshi is a mythical auspicious bird in India, so it fits the Indian theme of this collage. The stencil was placed to align perfectly in the middle of the arch.

Annapakshi Stencil

Stenciled Paper

At this point, I finished everything that I had mentally mapped out in advance. Now it was time to play “on the fly.” I felt like the teal painted Annapakshi birds needed some balance, so I stenciled a floral Indian border design on the bottom with the same teal paint.

I originally painted this same border across the top in red, but then the red band of paint at the top competed too much with the red stripe on the lower left side. It made two focal points and drew attention away from the arch. Not a problem — you can always fix things you don’t like! To fix this, I taped some green paper over the red paint. Now I knew to not put too strong a color at the top, so I decided to do a more subtle painted pattern here.

I decided to play up the curved arch shape, and painted a partial medallion centered above the arch. This was painted in gold because gold is the official gift for a 50th anniversary. It also has shapes that remind me of a bindi which is the mark on a forehead worn by married women in India.

Stenciled Scrapbook Paper

The upper left area felt a little bare. What to do? If this were a building, this would be a flat bare area next to the arch. I thought about how on buildings in India you might see bits and pieces of colorful flyers and posters. Along with usually a “no bills” warning which is ignored! So I cut little pieces of papers and taped them there.

Scrapbook Paper Collage

Sometimes you wind up going in a creative direction as a cover-up. There was an unsightly seam in some blue paper because I had to cut it to pass it through a printer. To cover up this seam, I found teal blue rhinestones in scrapbook supplies. The rhinestones fit the theme — India is full of sparkly bejeweled things! For balance, I added a few shorter lines of rhinestones on the upper left.

Teal Rhinestones

It’s important to know when to stop. It felt like this was a good stopping point, before there’s “too much.” Except the arch didn’t show up visually as much as I wanted it to. So I used some brown antiquing effect to make the arch shape pop out a bit more.

Finished Collage Ready for Framing

Printing WOrds on paper

Tip: You can run scrapbook paper through a printer to layer more design elements on it!

I decided to layer some scripted words — a Tamil love poem script — on the blue paper that filled the arch. I cut the paper to 8.5 x 11 so it would fit in my printer. I created an 8.5 x 11 file in Photoshop. In Photoshop, I placed the Tamil love poem where I wanted it to print on the paper. If you don’t have Photoshop, you can do this in Word. Then I simply put the scrapbook paper in the printer, and printed the Tamil script poem onto the scrapbook paper. Easy!! You could use this idea of printing onto scrapbook paper to create lots of layered effects. With a color printer, you can print text or other designs in any color. Just keep in mind that if you’re printing on colored paper, the color in the paper will change how the color of your ink looks. It might be good to print samples first.


At first I wasn’t going to use glass, thinking the artwork might have the effect of canvas. But instead, it felt unfinished and unpolished. So I got a 14″ x 22″ piece of glass cut to fit. I got the glass cut at Hobby Lobby for a reasonable $20. I was glad Hobby Lobby was reasonable, because glass costs a lot more than that at Michaels and JoAnn, and I didn’t have time to research a specialized glass supplier.

For a professional finish, I even glued brown paper over the back.

Finally, I attached an English translation of the Tamil poem on the back of the frame.

After a wild and crazy trip trying to find the right inspiration, the collage was finally done!

Scrapbook Paper Wall Art

And now, I am getting more visions of things with arch shapes … there’s something about the promise of a world glimpsed through and beyond a magnificent Mughal arch …


Story of 50th Wedding Anniversary Art from the Perverted, Morbid Heart

My parent’s 50th wedding anniversary was last month — worth celebrating, right!? While they said they did not want us to give gifts, how can you not give something? They didn’t want us to spend on more stuff because we all have plenty of stuff. So I decided to give a gift of “art from the heart.” Made by me, with things found around our house:

Mughal Arch Scrapbook Paper and Stencil Collage

Today I’ll share a story of the bizarre, silly trail of thought that can happen when you develop a creative project. This 50th wedding anniversary gift had inspiration that a 50th anniversary should not have! In the next post I’ll share a how-to tutorial.

So first, what is this art made with? Well, layered and patterned collages made with scrapbook papers and paint are becoming my “thing to do.”

Scrapbook Paper Projects

I already had a foot-tall stack of patterned scrapbook papers to choose from in my craft stash. Paper is a perfect memento as my mom, sister and I usually play with paper when we get together, and do silly giggling and sometimes snort-laughing. One time my mom wound up with potato chips behind her glasses and I don’t know how that happened but there is photographic evidence. Which I won’t post here!


So what to create with the paper and paint?

This is where my inspiration process can go on a weird, wild ride. The inspiration trail started with a promo email from Jaypore, one of my favorite sellers of creations from India. The email had a “love poems in marble” theme with products made of inlaid marble like you see in Agra at the Taj Mahal.

Jaypore Love Poems in Marble Marble Inlay from Agra

So thinking of love symbols, and with my affinity for India, of course the Taj Mahal’s story would be dreamy! Right? A man commissions this immense structure that took over 20 years to build, because of his eternal love for his favorite wife among all his wives!

My dad actually has only one wife so I am pretty sure she is his favorite as well. I have stencils that could replicate the Taj Mahal’s floral inlaid patterns. I could paint a “love poem in marble!” I even searched for romantic sentiments uttered by Shah Jahan (the creator of the Taj) for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, to turn into a love poem.

Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal

Above is Shah Jahan gazing at the Taj Mahal, the final resting place of his beloved Mumaz Mahal, while he was under house arrest in Agra. Clearly that is not his beloved Mumtaz Mahal with him, but as I said, he had numerous wives, so apparently whatever is going on is all legit.

But other than the polygamy problem, the dreamy love dream totally blew up in my face for another reason. Because the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum! Built out of great love, yes, but “morbid mausoleum art” inspired by a building built for a dead wife is not the celebratory tone I was shooting for, for a 50th wedding anniversary where both people are very much alive.

Need another idea.

Mughal Arches and Tamil Script

I always “saw” a Mughal arch as part of the design. I could still use an arch, it just wouldn’t be the Taj Mahal. Instead, I saw a collage of an anonymous Mughal arch and … script! But what script? Well, what about literally, a love poem? A love poem in Hindi? Because at this point in ideation, my mind was still geographically close to the Taj Mahal and Mughal architecture and today’s leading language of the area.

The thing is, I have a husband who is from India. And he doesn’t speak Hindi at all. I’m not sure why whether my husband speaks Hindi or not should have anything to do with an anniversary gift for my parents. But it felt weird. In fact my husband speaks so little Hindi that the time we visited the Taj Mahal, we couldn’t communicate well with the taxi driver who drove us from Delhi to Agra. I was trying to translate English to Hindi on an iPhone app! That whole taxi drive turned into an experience we’d rather forget. Let’s just say he drove us into areas of Agra where there were very sad things to see. Long frustrating story short, turns out our driver couldn’t read the signs saying “Taj Mahal” in English on the freeway, so he didn’t know the way, which we didn’t know until we got in places where we shouldn’t be.

Taj Mahal

Anyway, when giving a gift it’s best to have happy associations. With that memory, putting a Hindi poem in this collage was maybe not the best idea.

So the next obvious idea is, why not find love poems in Tamil? Tamil is my husband’s native language and it also looks pretty when written, and perhaps even prettier when printed over patterns on papers. Priorities, here.

Tamil Love Poems

But finding “love poems written in Tamil” is kind of an obscure thing to seek! Thankfully for Google, I found “Sangam poems.” I learned it was a time in South India thousands of years ago. There were gatherings of poets and scholars and they wrote volumes literally and figuratively. The first web site I found had samples of Sangam love poems written in English and some were a pleasure to read. But what’s the point of a Tamil love poem written in English? So while spending entire episodes of House Hunters searching Google, I hit the jackpot. THOUSANDS (!!!) of Sangam poems!! All with Tamil script I can cut n’ paste into Photoshop!! My vision is gonna happen. SO exciting.

Sangam Period Poem

So exciting, except for that part about THOUSANDS of poems. And wading through hundreds of them to find just the right tone. Because a poem might be promising at first. A heroine is pining after her hero. Who left her behind in the village to go earn wealth after traveling over vast unknown distances through dangerous forests. The longing of the heart, how sweet! But then with no transition, the next line might be about bloody elephant tusks. And tigers ripping things apart.

People write about what they know. Obviously villagers were traumatized by elephants and tigers. They kept parrots and grew millet and bamboo. Women wore bangles and anklets. The villagers were afraid of the forests. There were warriors with spears and you’d better steer clear of them. Fishermen lusted after (for us in today’s times) under-age girls. There were lots of kohl-lined eyes. It’s not socially acceptable to leave the village to pursue wealth. While reading these poems, I learned a bit about life in South India long ago. I’d just like a bit more transition between the love sentiments and the killing of people in various ways.

Sangam Poem


I also realize my parents would have no idea what the poem says if it’s printed in Tamil script atop a pretty scrapbook paper. I could even give a made-up translation! Which after reading 300 poems and not finding the right tone — there’s a lot of death, infidelity, and even eloping with forbidden loves — I seriously considered making up a poem. But I pressed on. Because a successful 50-year marriage cannot be built upon lies. So why would I put a fake poem — a big lie of a poem — in an art piece celebrating such a marriage? And what if by some chance someone  who knows Tamil visited my parents. And my parents (hopefully) proudly show off this “art from the heart” of their daughter. And the Tamil marriage love poem is actually a story of infidelity and lust for children. Oh my! What kind of heart does your daughter have?!?

I finally found a poem that would work. What I was thinking at that point is fuzzy. Because it was 2:00 a.m. on a Saturday night and I fell asleep on the couch. Without any pillow or blanket or anything. But I had a poem!

Sangam Love Poem

The next morning, because details are important, I thought using a North Indian Mughal arch might be inconsistent with a South Indian Tamil poem. So I go Googling again. And behold! I find information about architecture during the Sangam period when the poems were written. Then I find Chola temples in Thanjavur and they have arches. Yay! The arches fit the vision I originally saw. Although I know more about the Chola than is maybe healthy to know, I didn’t know whether the Chola ruled during the Sangam period. So, checked that detail. And indeed they did. Happy, happy.

I’ve got a poem.

I’ve got an arch.

They mesh well together.

We’re in business! Art may happen now!

This is how a creative project typically “germinates” here. Sometimes strange trails are followed to find inspiration.

This post has gotten long enough. So in a Part 2 post, I’ll show the DIY “how to do it” steps and you’ll see the vision emerge. I don’t think the final art is perverted or morbid, so it turned out okay.


Color: Coral + Indigo

In a moment of color serendipity, these two photos showed up next to each other on Pinterest:

Coral and Indigo

Is Pinterest getting so super smart that it’s analyzing color in photos? And serving up the same colors in a photo we just repinned?

Seeing these, I was struck by something about color:  they made me think about coral differently.

I’d always thought of coral as very Miami Vice-ish. Best left in the 80s. Like, bury that right along with Gordon Gekko, just as unsavory. But right now coral is trendy, and it’s even being teamed with teal again.

So plastic margarita glass … so Miami Vice …

That’s all I can see, I’m so sorry. I was an 80s teen so I lived through the 80s and really don’t want to live through it again, style-wise: the Flock of Seagulls hair, the Memphis style, the big-shouldered suits.

1980s Coral

Throw in green mint or lime with the coral and teal, and all I can see is Beach Vacation Condo Decor … it’s fine to live with for a week while you’re going all island calypso with colorful drinks and sand between your toes. But not to live with every day for years, in your house. Maybe it’s because I live near Chicago and these are not Midwestern colors? It’s way too much Don Johnson.


I think the problem is all the bright clear colors. I feel compelled to sprinkle sea shells all over those clear colors.

The solution? Indigo

Dusty dusky indigo blue balances the brightness of coral and gives it some sophistication. The handmade nature of indigo and its origins from the hands of people in Southeast Asia, India, Africa … I think that’s the quality and “heart” that indigo brings. Slubby textures help too like these indigo pillows from One Kings Lane:

Indigo Pillows from One Kings Lane

Whereas the bright coral/teal/lime combo feels like it’s manufactured in a plant off the side of a New Jersey highway:

Manufactured Mint Coral Blue

That’s not a knock on New Jersey, I know great people from New Jersey, it’s a knock on mass manufacturing.

Even Don Johnson nowadays says “stick it” with the coral, go with the neutral:

Don Johnson what is he doing?

I had to work that photo in some how!

So, let’s go from silly mood to sophisticated look …

How do you “work it” with coral and indigo?

It’s a fine line to tread. The key is look for blues without green in them. Blue + Green = Teal. And coral and teal is how you get transported to 1980s Miami. Instead, look for dusty faded blues without green, or darker navy blues. Vintage indigo pieces mixed with coral help tone down that manufactured color feel. A textured beige in the mix is more updated too. Here are some good blues to look for …

A vintage print of a marine botanical shows a good “non-green blue” from Etsy shop High Street Vintage:

Vintage Coral Print from HighStreetVintage

Ralph Lauren via ABC Carpet & Home:

Ralph Lauren via ABC Carpet and Home

There are many more examples of indigo here on my Pinterest Indigo board:

Follow Nomadic Decorator’s board Color – Indigo on Pinterest.

Add a dash of coral

Add just a bit of coral — reddish coral rather than girly-pinky coral — to the indigo blue. Mix in some textured neutrals. Include a few well-traveled global accessories or textiles.

This Treasury moodboard from Etsy by Stone House Artifacts shows how to do it well:

Etsy Treasury

This inspiration board for an indigo and coral wedding theme from Belle & Chic shows how to do it:

Indigo and Coral Wedding Theme from Belle and Chic

Another good example using navy and coral, this master bedroom makeover by DecorChick:

DecorChick Navy and Coral Bedroom

A pattern-full example from John Robshaw:

John Robshaw Indigo and Coral

You can often find the coral and indigo combo in Hmong hilltribe textiles. Like in this pillow from HomeGirlCollection on Etsy:

Hmong Pillow Indigo and Coral via HomeGirlCollection

And this Hmong indigo batik duvet cover from SiameseDreamDesign on Etsy:

Hmong Indigo Batik via SiameseDreamDesign

To wrap up, let’s get a closer look at the original color inspiration. It is Max Schödl’s “Oriental Still Life” actually painted back in 1907 with Oriental antiques:

Max Schoedl Oriental Still Life

Interesting that antique art inspired how to use coral in a more current way.

Max Schoedl Painting Detail


Goin’ to Goa: Beachy Bohemian Style

I am going to India again later this year, to Chennai the City rather than Goa the Beach. And I’ll be packin’ oversized boxy T-shirts and comfortable knit pajama pants with paint splatters all over them. But not for style! Because I’ll be painting in the India pied-à-terre. I’m also hauling my sewing machine across the planet to make the coolest curtains and other things for the apartment. So it’s a “working” vacation.

If I were on a relaxing seaside Indian vacation, Goa would be the place to go.  And …

When going to Goa, you gotta go bohemian!

Here’s some Goa boho chic style ideas from SHOP LATITUDE, showing the latest boho chic trends:

  • Fringe
  • Tassels
  • Pom poms
  • Beads
  • Semi-precious stones
  • Caftans
  • Maxi dresses

And no, this isn’t a sponsored post (I rarely do those) it’s just something that hit my email box that I thought would be good style ideas for summer vacations.

Fringe Elements Boho Style

I often wear black, even on hot summer days. Here’s how to wear black and be cool. If anyone should know how to make cool clothes for the heat, fashion labels from Mumbai and New Delhi would know.

Goa Boho Chic Style

Now, I realize these prices aren’t H&M bargains. I now choose to buy quality rather than super inexpensive. I find it costs less in the long run. Jewelry doesn’t fall apart, sweaters don’t pill too much, colors don’t fade, and fabrics don’t shrink in the wash as much. I’m only 5-feet tall, and seriously, I’ve had petite pants shrink so much they become floods for my height! Ridiculous! I’ve been burned by having these things happen too often with bargain priced clothes and jewelry. So lately I buy less, because it costs more up-front, yes, but I buy better. Anyway, look at these as style ideas, no matter what price point you’re looking for. You can find these bohemian styles in many stores right now.


Teal and Tassels

Yes it’s hot in the summer to wear a scarf, but I’d tie that scarf on the handle of the tote bag to add some more beachy blue color. Then it’s available for other uses, like to tie around your hair, or wrap around skin you want to protect from the sun.

Colorful Goa Town Style

Goa Gypsy Style

If you’re not goin’ to Goa, there’s no reason why these looks wouldn’t work at other popular beachy vacations like Cabo, Tulum, Belize. Or how about right in your own backyard?


Global Style at Tierra Del Lagarto

When you live in the suburbs in the Midwest, you might feel a little lonely when your style sense makes you hang a thangka, collect Burmese lacquerware, or use a rain drum as a side table next to your sofa. You might wonder, does anyone else out there like these things? Someone must, because these things are out there, and they’re sold. But I don’t know, I never see anything like these in anyone else’s house. My husband and I have lived on a little style island, all by ourselves.

Then along came Pinterest. Especially in the early days of Pinterest, it was easier to find people with similar global style. And that’s where I found Meg Van Lith of the Tierra Del Lagarto store in Scottsdale, Arizona years ago. If you follow her on Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook, it’s like you can virtually travel alongside as she searches for goods in India, Turkey, Morocco and Bali.

Then, join in the excitement as containers arrive and dozens of wooden printing blocks from India tumble out, such as these that she recently shared online:

Wood Indian Printing Blocks from Tierra del Lagarto

Watch as they unpack and share furniture with exquisite wood carvings and inlaid mother of pearl:

Tierra Del Lagarto Wood Carved and Inlaid Mother of Pearl Furniture

Get an eyeful of the graphic designs of Kuba cloth and mud cloth from Africa:

Kuba Cloth and Mud Cloth Pillows at Tierra del Lagarto

Seeing their photos of a Morocco shipment and so many familiar Moroccan things made me yearn to go back to Marrakech:

Moroccan Goods at Tierra del Lagarto

By the way, if anything here interests you, contact Meg — all her contact info is on the store’s website — and she can arrange shipping. She once contacted me while in Bali and asked if I’d be interested in some tjaps. Oh yes, yes I would! I now have some gorgeous tjaps in my collection thanks to Meg!

A few weeks ago I wound up at a meeting within a few miles of her store. Oh yay!! My husband and I stopped in and had a wonderful but way too-short chat with Meg and her mom Linda, and a stroll through their store. We had a plane to catch otherwise I might have brought my suitcase and moved in at Tierra Del Lagarto. After all, they have beds (sumptuously styled with pillows and patterns and textures!):

Bed Styling at Tierra del Lagarto in Scottsdale

Bedroom Styling at Tierra del Lagarto

Handira Bed Styling at Tierra del Lagarto

They have living room areas to lounge:

Living Room Scene at Tierra del Lagarto

Pattern Mix at Tierra del Lagarto

They have tables to dine:

Dining Table at Tierra del Lagarto in Scottsdale

Tile Table at Tierra del Lagarto

The thing that made me not want to leave, and perhaps miss a flight home like who cares about going back home, is the extravaganza of layers and patterns and colors. It’s so full of life and fun! As you can see in their photos here, they really excel at boldly and bravely mixing combos of patterns from different cultures and places. I was so enthralled while there, I forgot to take photos. But I guess that’s the best way to experience the store, with your own eyes, not looking through a tiny screen. And I don’t think I could take photos better than these photos styled by Meg and Linda. For a regular dose of these inspiring scenes, follow along at Instagram!


How to Mix Mid-Century with Global Style

Mid-Century Modern style — AKA, “MCM” — is hot right now, but I have to admit too many smooth simple surfaces leave me a little cool. Unless they’re mixed with dashes of patterns and textures from around the world. So when Chairish challenged me to do a Mid-Century Modern Mix, I could do that! I could mix MCM with things you’d never expect!

And here you go, a global mid-century look:

Chairish Mid-Century Modern Mix

Here’s a formula to get the global MCM look …



Mid-Century Modern from Chairish

To establish the mid-century style, first choose your big pieces from this style. Here we used a sleek velvet sofa, a chenille chair and a storage cabinet all from the Chairish collection of mid-century furniture. Then choose a few mid-century accents:

  • The floor-to-ceiling atomic tension pole lamp (hiding in the plant!) is the coolest thing that reminds me of my 70s childhood — my parents had a pole lamp in our family room and I have it now, lighting up a walk-in closet.
  • The wall art — a painting and two blingy starbursts — are mid-century. The painting shows people, which helps tie in with the idea of global pieces from people and cultures around the world.
  • There’s a little brass pineapple on the cocktail table which is mid-century but I’ve also seen brass pineapples from India too, so it serves dual style purpose.



Global Accents from Chairish

Once your mid-century look is set, look for accents from around the world to add textures and patterns. Here, I accomplished that with:

Indian Chest from Chairish

A great trick to add a well-traveled touch to a room is to use a chest from another culture — or a vintage or antique chest — as a cocktail table or side table. Here, the Indian chest used as a cocktail table adds that touch. Because the furniture is so colorful, I chose an Indian chest in a neutral color, like the storage cabinet, so your eyes don’t go too crazy from too much color. The neutral touches add places for eyes to rest.

Check: Do you have texture?



As I mentioned above, rooms that have all smooth sleek surfaces feel cold to me. Mid-century modern has lots of smooth sleek surfaces. I think a good trick to warming up a room and adding comfort is texture. Here, you can find many textures in the:

  • Basketweave detail on the cabinet
  • Actual baskets on top of the cabinet
  • Nubby rug
  • Embroidered pillow
  • Starbursts
  • Embossing on the wood chest
  • Feathery fronds of the plant

I hope this Style Challenge has showed you a different way to style with mid-century modern furniture!