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’m not sure where the summer went (seriously, where did it go?!), but it’s getting to be time for pencils, books and teachers’ dirty looks, aka back to school. Whether you greet the school year with dread or excitement, the upside is that school items and supplies offer plenty of DIY decor inspiration. Take a look at these crafty ideas that totally make the honor roll.

5 Back to School Crafts: Pennant Banner

Design: Brian Patrick Flynn

This vintage pennant banner from Brian Patrick Flynn really gets me in the school spirit. Though it’s intended for a themed party, I can easily imagine this dressing up a kids’ bedroom or even a game room, can’t you? Check out all the instructions over on DIY Network.

MORE BACK TO SCHOOL BEAUTIES

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BRIANA: Here’s a seasonable topic from our own Camille: Outdoor living rooms. It seems like people are making their decks, patios and yards more elaborate and bringing all the comforts of the indoors outside. There are plenty of beautiful examples of this trend, like this cabana, but what are your personal feelings on elaborate outdoor living rooms? Are living rooms even greater in the great outdoors or are they big wastes of space?

Do You Like the Outdoor Living Room Furniture Trend?

Image: Courtesy of Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills

MEG: That cabana makes me want to lounge outside in a caftan with a turban on my head and a spritzer in my hand all day long. I think it’s crucial to create spaces in your home that are intended for rest, relaxation, and time spent outdoors. The more we can make our homes invite that type of chill vibe, the better! If I had a backyard big enough to hold my own cabana, you better believe I’d be on that in a heartbeat. And let’s just ASSUME a hammock is involved, okay?

GRANT: I’d love to have a space like this, but l always wonder where the people put all this mess after the photo op is finished.

Do You Like the Outdoor Living Room Furniture Trend?

Design: Jamie Durie

As it is, my tiny outdoor set gets so dirty so fast and I’m super resentful of the citronella candles I need to bring inside.

MORE ARGUING ABOUT ELABORATE OUTDOOR LIVING ROOMS

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Did you like my post about musical instrument design ideas? Then I’m betting these sheet music crafts will be up your alley, too! If you’ve got old sheet music that hasn’t seen love since your childhood piano lessons, consider turning it into something you can enjoy and admire every day. (Of course, you could always keep an eye out for old sheet music at flea markets, too.) If you object to repurposing the original sheets for crafts, you can easily make copies on similarly-colored paper.

Sheet Music Crafts: Decoupaged Dresser

Design: Marian Parsons

Old Sheet Music –> New Decoupaged Dresser
This idea for old sheet music from Marian Parsons serves another purpose: hiding imperfections like gouges or water marks on furniture. The lovely aged color of the music looks totally at home in this shabby-chic style setting, too.

MORE CRAFTY USES FOR SHEET MUSIC

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Baskets are something that mysteriously accumulate in my home. I think between flower arrangements and gifts of fruit, they just pile up in my hall closet, waiting for their time to shine again. If you can relate, take a look at these cool crafts and ideas for baskets and get inspired to use yours for something beyond bananas, pears and apples.

5 Brilliant Basket Ideas and Crafts: Light Fixture

Design: Brian Patrick Flynn

Old Basket –> New Light Fixture
This idea from Brian Patrick Flynn is perfect for deeper baskets that already resemble lampshades. The rope adds a touch of coastal-cool to this nautical light fixture. Get the full tutorial on DIYNetwork.com.

MORE BRILLZ BASKET IDEAS

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BRIANA: We’ve hashed out our feelings about hand chairs, but now I want to know your thoughts on a whole other type of hand: the hand sculpture or accessory. Hands have long been artist’s models or glove molds, but they were spotted at High Point Market and are making their way into the home as decorative objects,  jewelry holders and even hardware. Do you give them a high five or thumbs down?

Do you like the hand sculpture and accessory trend? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

JESSICA: I just thought of about 10 hand sculpture possibilities that would work for me. Most of them are offensive.

FARIMA: I would keep a hand sculpture flipping the bird in my car. Otherwise, no.

MORE HEMMING AND HAWING ABOUT HANDS

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We’ve covered some cool ideas for buckets in this space, but since you might be doing some more outdoor entertaining these days, I’ve gotta share these ideas for galvanized tubs. Whether you use them to add ambiance to your yard or to keep drinks chilly for your guests, they’re sure to come in handy. Take a look…

5 Outdoor Ideas for Galvanized Metal Wash Tubs: Light Fixture

Old Galvanized Tub –> New Light Fixture
A galvanized tub light fixture has a rustic industrial charm that looks just right over an outdoor dining table. Check out Brian Patrick Flynn’s project on DIY Network to see how to make your own version at home.

MORE WONDERFUL WASH TUB IDEAS

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Are you musically inclined? I never played an instrument when I was growing up, but one of the first gifts my husband bought for me when we started dating was a silver glitter Danelectro bass. He was teaching me how to play and my lessons were coming along nicely…until we got noise complaints from our neighbors across the hall. (Uh, sorry for rocking too hard, guys!) While it might not be practical to play again until we eventually move to the suburbs, I hate to see Estelle (that’s what I named her) collecting dust up in our loft, so I may take a cue from these smart ideas that turn musical instruments into decor worthy of admiration in the meantime.

5 Interesting Musical Instrument Design Ideas: Coffee Table Conversation Piece

Coffee Table Conversation Piece
I love the space-saving musical instrument idea in this small studio by Casey Noble. Nestled inside a cool custom coffee table, the guitar has a place of honor and is protected, as the table acts as a kind of guitar case.

MORE IDEAS FOR MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

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BRIANA: Sculptural busts go way back – like classical antiquity way back – but it seems like they’re having a moment again. Whether they’re old-school, updated with a flashy coat of paint or placed in an unexpected context (like these Mineheart pendants spotted at ICFF), they’re cropping up all over the place. What do you think of the trend? Is it cultured and cool? Or are bust sculptures too stuffy for you?

CAMILLE: Needless to say that as a traditionalist and antiques super fan, I’m all in when it comes to classical busts – especially when they represent Greco/Roman mythology. Like this bust of history’s original wild woman Artemis (aka Diana) that I scored at an estate sale in 2012.

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

In fact, I did a blog post about this trend and explained a bit about the different materials used for busts here…

MORE BUSTING ON BUSTS

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Did you go anywhere fun for the 4th of July holiday? I went to the beach with my folks and bought a handful of souvenir postcards to send to friends, but then I saw these adorable postcard ideas and considered keeping them myself. Hey, can you blame me? Take a look at these creative ways to use and display old postcards and you might be tempted to hoard yours as well.

5 Pretty Postcard Ideas to Try: Banner

Credit: Emily Fazio

OLD POSTCARDS —> NEW BIRTHDAY BANNER
This birthday banner (made with Pantone postcards) by Emily Fazio is festive, cute and cheaper than a banner you’d find at a party supply store if you use postcards you already have. Get all the how-to instructions on DIY Network’s Made + Remade blog.

MORE PRETTY IDEAS FOR POSTCARDS

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Remember a few weeks ago when I showed you a bunch of cool things you could do with old dressers? Maybe none of them were your cup of tea. Maybe you were intimidated by the time and effort those projects would take. I hear you. Sometimes nothing but (nearly) instant gratification will do. So, here are some super easy things you can do with old dresser drawers. Guys, you don’t even need the whole dresser. Less muss and fuss, but with all the crafting rewards! Don’t say I never did anything for ya.

5 Darling Ideas for Dresser Drawers: Bathroom Storage
Old Dresser Drawers —> New Bathroom Storage
This bathroom storage idea from Jen Jafarzadeh L’Italien could not be easier. Here’s what you do: Find an old dresser, yank out some of the drawers and use them to corral your toiletries. Everything is tidy, but still accessible. Genius, I tell you.

MORE DARLING IDEAS FOR DRAWERS

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