Briana Mowrey

"I want the Eames chair and I want the Saarinen table and I want them both."

Briana is a writer and senior editor for HGTV.com. Her self-described design style is "mid-century modern magpie." She lives in a Brooklyn apartment with her husband, their spoiled dachshund, Chauncey, and approximately one million old shelter magazines. She cannot wait until she is a home owner, and can wallpaper and/or tile just about every available surface.

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POSTS BY Briana Mowrey

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I don’t know about you, but the first thing I tackle when I start spring cleaning is my closet. There’s something so satisfying about pulling my lightweight dresses out of storage (yay!) and clearing away pieces I just don’t find myself wearing anymore. I have a bag of old garments to donate, but this time around there were also a few neglected hats and hat boxes in the mix. If you’re in the same boat, check out these chic ideas for reviving old chapeaus and their containers.

Haute Hat Ideas and Crafts
Hats off to Nancy Ondra for this genius container garden idea.  Old hats feel fresh when you upcycle them into hanging pot covers. Let leaves poke out of a baseball cap’s sizing tab or cut the top of a hat and feed stems through the hole.

MORE FASHIONABLE IDEAS FOR OLD HATS

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BRIANA: The nautical look has been sailing along for a while, but it seems like it’s really made a splash lately. Liz and Camille’s photos from High Point are full of aquatic creatures (sea see below) and Target’s new Coastal Collection sports stripes, boating motifs and plenty of navy blue. What do you think about this wave of nautical home decor? Is coastal style beachy keen or is it a sinking ship?

Do you like the nautical home decor trend? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

Design Legacy by Kelly O’Neal display at High Point Market

ALYSSA: This is blindingly awful for so many reasons, the first starting with the patchwork denim couch! A few items could stand alone in a beach house, but everything together is just too much. We ran a story about tropical style in the suburbs from the May issue of HGTV Magazine, so I could sound like a hypocrite for saying I like some of the looks in that home, but I think it’s all about not turning a design style into a design theme. AND YES, I know the difference between tropical and nautical. Also, I love a good navy and white stripe (like in Kayla’s mood board) and a big floral print — that’s the kind of preppy southern vibe I’m into.

BRIAN PATRICK FLYNN: Coastal style has timeless appeal because of its relaxed, casual and vacation-like vibe. It will always be in style and relevant as long as it’s played down, relying more on textures and finishes and shapes rather than literal nods like shells, fish and tons of anchors. One weathered anchor will do the trick, then just fill the space with tons of beach textures and muted coastal tones like blue-grey and seaglass green.

Do you like nautical home decor? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

DO YOU LIKE NAUTICAL HOME DECOR? VOTE NOW!

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I think the old saying that “when one door closes, another opens” is absolutely true. For example, when you’ve finished using a door as an entry or exit, a whole new world of decorating possibilities opens up before you! Check out our fave upcycled furniture ideas for old doors and get ready to fancy up your home with these former barriers.

Decorating With Old Doors: Old Door Headboard Furniture Idea

If you liked the rustic appeal of the shutter headboards I featured last week, I’m thinking you’ll love this old door headboard from Dreamy Whites. Weathered wood + a chandelier = a bedroom combo with great high/low contrast.

MORE DECORATING WITH OLD DOORS

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Shutters keep prying eyes out of your home, but if you want all eyes on your decor, shutters can come in handy there, too. Old shutters are a surprisingly versatile craft material and you can repurpose them without much effort. These crafts are just a few ways you can turn old shutters into something unexpected and chic.

6 Old Shutter Crafts That Are Surprisingly Chic

If you like a headboard with height, Layla Palmer’s clever use of old shutter doors here should appeal to you. The coastal cottage vibe is perfect for quaint country havens and sunny beach houses alike. Find all the DIY instructions here.
MORE CHIC OLD SHUTTER CRAFTS

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BRIANA: We’ll call this one “Defend the Downward Trend”: The microwave is a kitchen staple, but Jessica alerted me to the news that its sales in the U.S. have been flagging for almost a decade. How do you feel about microwaves? Are you attached to your “science oven” or are you more into toaster ovens? Do you think they’re an ugly waste of kitchen real estate or would you be lost without one?

Would  you miss your microwave?

FARIMA: I am a stove/toaster oven girl. I can’t remember the last time I used a microwave  — I’ve even switched to making popcorn on the stove (It’s so much tastier than microwaveable popcorn!) If it wasn’t built in, I would definitely get rid of it!

KERI: I’ll be the first to admit that I mostly just use my microwave for heating up water for tea in the morning. If I didn’t have it, I guess I’d just move right along to the stove. Plus, this year, I finally learned to pop popcorn over the stove. (Farima’s right: SO much tastier and healthier, too!) Wait, why do I have a microwave again? Oh wait, I steam vegetables in there, too. It has a purpose!

KELLY SMITH TRIMBLE: I’m with Farima. Ours came with the house and I rarely use it. I say take it out and bring back the appliance garage.

MORE HEATED DEBATE ABOUT MICROWAVES

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When I say in my blog bio that I’m a “mid-century modern magpie,” it’s not just an excuse to get alliterative. Like the bird of the same name, I too hoard small shiny objects. Jewelry is a particular problem for me, and no matter how many boxes or trinket dishes I fill, I’m compelled to collect more baubles. Now that I’m in spring cleaning mode, I’m trying to get organized and part with the pieces I rarely wear, but what can I say? I’m sentimental. This Pinterest pin inspired me to start thinking of old jewelry in a new light and I found even more amazing craft ideas to turn my paste into priceless decor. Now I can keep it all! [insert evil supervillain laugh here]

Old Jewelry Crafts That Are Real Gems
Old jewelry is a perfect way to get creative with curtains. Use a beaded necklace as an eye-catching tieback that won’t break the bank, like designer Brian Patrick Flynn did here. (Bonus: It picks up the colors in the wallpaper, too.)

Old Jewelry Crafts That Are Real Gems
Don’t have a beaded necklace you can spare? Thick bracelets or men’s cuffs also work well in this context. Cinching your curtains is a cinch with old jewelry!

MORE BRILLIANT OLD JEWELRY CRAFTS

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We’ve covered crafts you can make with wine corks, bottles, glasses and crates…what could possibly be left? This great post on Made + Remade reminded me: Wine barrels! Small scotch barrels make for attractive shelving and storage, but you’ve gotta think bigger for wine barrels. Take a look at some of our best ideas and if you’re inspired, hit up your local winery or hardware store’s garden center to claim your vessel.

5 Whimsical Wine Barrel Furniture Ideas

This wine barrel fountain‘s got a clever twist: the water flows out of the wine bottle on top! This would make a charming water feature for any oenophile’s garden. Get all the how-to details here.

MORE IDEAS FOR WINE BARRELS

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BRIANA: Today’s trend comes to us from the HGTV Home Studio Home & Garden Headlines newsletter: Black fences. I’ve heard what you think about black walls, but what about these hot garden backdrops cropping up everywhere? Are they a great contrast for all the flora and fauna or too dark and dreary for the outdoors? Do you prefer fences of the white picket variety or are you ready to embrace this trend? Talk to me!

Do you like the black fence trend? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

Photo: The Landscape Architect Garden Design Consultancy via Gardenista

MARIANNE: I love the contrast of a deep charcoal fence against lush greenery. In fact I love the color combo so much we are contemplating painting our modern house in the woods almost black! The darker tones in this Brian Patrick Flynn design are my inspiration:

Do you like the black fence trend? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

MORE BICKERING ABOUT BLACK FENCES

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Although you can never go wrong with a delicious home-cooked spread, trays are for more than just breakfast in bed. If you’ve got some wooden or metal trays taking up space in your cabinets, bust them out and give them new life with these pretty craft ideas.

5 Craft Ideas for Neglected Trays

A tray can add a little glitz to your vanity…and keep your cosmetics, candles and jewelry elegantly organized. Try this tutorial from Maureen Stevens for an Art Deco tray upgrade that has loads of Gatsby glamor.

MORE TERRIFIC IDEAS FOR TRAYS

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Sweaters used to be my winter uniform, but pesky moths seem to have made a feast of my fashions. If you’re like me and have a closet full of holey sweaters that you’d like to replace, don’t toss them out before you take a look at these cool ideas for upcycling sweaters.

5 Sweater Crafts That Are No Sweat

These dress shirt and sweater pillows from Brian Patrick Flynn are delightfully preppy and would add a wonderful menswear touch to any bedroom. Get all the how-to details and instructions here.

MORE AMAZING WAYS TO UPCYCLE SWEATERS

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