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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Metal pails have a variety of practical household uses, but in the right context, they can be quite pretty, too! If you’ve got one devoted to cleaning supplies or gathering cobwebs somewhere in your garage, take a look at these beautiful ideas for buckets and consider repurposing it for something with a little more flair.

5 Perfect Ideas for Metal Pail Buckets: Toy Storage

Design: Susie Fougerousse

Old Metal Pail —> New Toy Storage Solution
Make an old metal pail look shipshape again by adding some red and white stripes or an adorable whale design. After its makeover, the bucket becomes an attractive toy storage solution in a nautical kids’ bedroom, as in this example by Susie Fougerousse.

MORE BRILLIANT IDEAS FOR BUCKETS

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BRIANA: Ice sculptures and swans are so ’90s. There’s a wacky new wedding trend taking hold: donkeys. Yes, you read that correctly. Donkeys. Apparently, some couples use them as transportation, to distribute goodies in their saddle bags, or just to provide ambiance and unique photo opportunities. What do you think? Do donkeys kick a wedding up a notch or would a burro upstage the bride?

Defend the Trend: Donkeys at Weddings, Yay or Bray?

Photo: Simone Van den berg/Hemera/Thinkstock

TREVOR: Is the ceremony taking place at the bottom of the Grand Canyon?

MEG ALLAN COLE: I’m glad you specified that I read this right because, it was unclear for a second. Who knew? Not this girl.

ARE YOU DOWN WITH WEDDING DONKEYS? VOTE NOW!

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Did you celebrate Father’s Day yesterday? I’m thinking there are probably a lot of special guys out there who got a shiny new toolbox as a gift, and if so, the old one may be hanging around, collecting dust. Before you ditch it, take a look at these clever ideas for repurposing old toolboxes. (Now who’s the handy one around the house?)

5 Handy Ideas for Old Toolboxes: Grooming Kit

Old Toolbox —> New Grooming Kit
An old metal toolbox looks right at home in a teen boy’s bathroom as a grooming/toiletry kit. It adds just the right rugged edge to the space and keeps products neatly tucked away from prying eyes. Want to complete the look? Check out Laurie March’s gallery on DIYNetwork.com.

MORE IDEAS FOR OLD TOOLBOXES

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Summer’s starting to bring the heat, so it’s no wonder ice cube trays (and fresh summer drinks!) are on my mind. But did you know that the humble ice cube tray can be used for so much more than just making frozen H2O? Take a look at some of these other genius DIY ideas for ice cube trays and get creative. Of course, if you want to kick back with an icy beverage after all your efforts, who can blame you?

Fun DIY Ice Cube Tray Ideas: Snack Caddy

Ice Cube Tray —> Snack Caddy
The classic ice cube tray format is perfect for those who like to keep their bite-sized snacks separate. The insanely-clever hack from Jennifer Bishop is a big hit with the toddler set, especially picky eaters! (They may even ask for seconds…)

MORE IDEAS FOR ICE CUBE TRAYS

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BRIANA: This week’s topic comes via Jessica: the resurgence of tie-dye. It’s very summery and historically, we’ve been sweet on shibori, but what do you think of this trend? Is tie-dye decor groovy or does it make you think of a pint of Wavy Gravy?

Do you like tie-dye decor? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

Credit: Rustic White Photography

KELLEY: I miss the old hippies who used to hang out around here, so I’m glad to see some hippie-dom coming back. I can do without the patchouli, tho.

DAVID HAYNES: Did someone say hippies?  As a veteran of more than just a few Grateful Dead shows, I will recuse myself from this thread. But before I do, if you want to witness extreme tie-dye, you might take a look at this:

YouTube Preview Image

Headphones recommended. Things start to kick in at around the two-and-a-half minute mark.

TREVOR LANE: The traditional psychedelic neon-hued tie-dye reminds me of childhood vacation Bible school crafts. But this more modern take on the trend is great. I love monochrome and am obsessed with indigo. The more geometric shapes are incredibly beautiful, like the Crate and Barrel napkin in the second link. If I could do it… I would.

Do you like the tie-dye trend? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

Crate and Barrel Shibori Blue Napkin

MEG ALLAN COLE: I support hand dyeing in all ways. I used to rock some pretty atrocious colored tie-dye in the 90′s, and those are moments we can leave in the past, but this new organic hand dye trend using muted mellow colors or bold jewel tones is just gorgeous. It gives off such a dreamy, tropical look and vibe that I am WAY into.

MORE DEBATING ABOUT TIE DYE

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I’ve been a fan of Petit Collage’s wares since I worked on a gallery featuring kids’ room decals and found some adorable examples on their site that I just had to feature. It’s truly a testament to the quality of the designs that they appealed to me even though I don’t have little ones of my own yet and I could easily imagine them fitting into my mid-century modern decorating scheme.

Turns out that the force behind Petit Collage, artist and designer Lorena Siminovich, is quite the multi-tasker! In addition to starting the successful home decor line in 2006, she has authored and illustrated over 20 childrens’ books. Her latest book, Petit Collage: 25 Easy Craft and Decor Projects for a Playful Home, came out in April from Potter Craft, and it’s definitely one that’s for parents as much as it is for the kids. These decor projects are stylish enough to earn a place in every room in your home and the crafts would make darling handmade baby shower gifts, though they’re so cute that it’s hard to imagine giving them away once you’ve made them.

New Book Release: Petit Collage

Photography: Thayer Allyson Gowdy | Design: Sara Gillingham Studio

I chatted with Lorena about the book, her personal style and how becoming a mother shaped her business. Plus: Try one of the book’s sweet DIY crafts!

READ THE INTERVIEW AND GET THE SAMPLE CRAFT

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Confession: There’s a dresser in my loft that I can’t seem to part with, even though it is totally old (not like valuable antique old, just like, old old), not in great shape and the drawers are barely deep enough to hold my unmentionables. Since we’ve established that I can’t (read: won’t) let it go, I figured I may as well solve my own dilemma and come up with some interesting new uses for it. Here are a few of my favorite ideas…

5 Totally-Doable DIY Dresser Ideas: Planter

Photo: DK – Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Old Dresser —> New Planter
This dresser-as-planter notion tops my list because it’s so whimsical and unexpected in an outdoor setting. It’d be perfect in a cottage chic garden, no? I love the way the items on top of the dresser have been cleverly repurposed for potting plants, too. A double threat!

 
MORE DIY IDEAS FOR DRESSERS

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BRIANA: Move over, duck face — there’s a new craze sweeping Instagram called the “shelfie.” Apparently, tastemakers everywhere are taking pictures of artfully-arranged shelves and posting them to social media with the hashtag. What do you think of the trend? Is it a fun way to share your personal style or does showing off your possessions make you seem shelf-ish?

shelfie trend

Design: Brian Patrick Flynn | Photo: Rustic White Photography

JESSICA: I’m a hoarder and lacking in shelf space (read: furniture), so looking at people’s neatly organized shelves is very relaxing.

KAYLA: I’m one of those people that rearranges my bookshelves once a month, so seeing people’s “shelfies”  gives me ideas for placement. (I had no idea that was a thing, though.)

DAVID HAYNES: I’m with Kayla. I’m all for seeing what other people are doing along these lines and I will happily cherry-pick and plagiarize their ideas. However, I’m more the type in search of the Holy Grail of shelf arrangement, so once I have a shelving strategy and display theme I’m happy with, it’s likely to stay that way to the end of time.

MARIEL CLARK: Here’s a trend I can get behind. I love being inspired by real-life design and bookshelves are such a great reflection of individual personality and style. I probably won’t share my own “shelfie” right now since mine is a study in juice boxes, train sets and baby blocks. But I will eagerly flip through others’ perfectly arranged shelves and dream of one day having just the right bookends that will pull the entire shelf — no, the entire room — together.

FARIMA: I love a well-decorated shelf, and I truly think it takes talent to design one perfectly. Saying that, the closest thing I have to a bookshelf is an electric blue China cabinet that I’ve decorated minimally because I hate dusting!

MORE SHOUTING ABOUT SHELFIES

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When I was little, “You make a better door than a window” was a popular way to complain about someone blocking the TV in front of you. Turns out that sometimes even windows are better in other capacities! Take a look at these wonderfully crafty ideas for old windows to see what I mean…

Old Window Ideas: Window Box

Design by Mandy Stansberry

YOU MAKE A BETTER PIECE OF WALL ART THAN A WINDOW:
Hey, there’s no rule that window boxes need to stay outdoors! Attach a box to an old window frame, hang on a bare wall and change out the display to reflect the seasons.

MORE WONDERFUL WINDOW CRAFTS

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A refreshing wall hue (like a blue or green) can make your home feel brand new, but it doesn’t take gallons of paint to spruce up the place. If you have a half-empty can or paint samples, you can still make colorful crafts designed to elevate the mood in just about every room. Check out these clever ways to make the most of your last painting project’s leftovers.

5 Painting Crafts to Refresh Your Home

Photo: Alison Gootee

If you have paint samples or pints: Dress up a dresser
If you only have a small stash of paint, this idea from HGTV Magazine is for you. Just take the color you have (like this cool blue) and mix it with a bit of white paint for an eye-catching ombre effect on an old dresser.

MORE CRAFTY WAYS TO REFRESH WITH PAINT

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BRIANA: I know I was pining for warmer climes through our long, bleak winter and it seems designers were, too. Pineapples have been popping up in the fashion world and now they’re appearing on pillows, in paintings and on blogs. So, what do you think of the pineapple as a popular motif? Are these fruits tropi-cool or do you only care about them when they’re in colada form?

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

Pillow: Bonnie and Neil via Anthropologie

MARIANNE: My girl Meg JUST did this amazing cut paper pineapple, and I’m loving it. And did you guys see The Alison Show’s Mother’s Day brunch? MORE PINEAPPLES.

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You might not have giant wooden spools hanging around the house, but I found so many ingenious ways to upcycle them into furniture that I had to share. If you’re inspired by these projects, ask your local home improvement store if they’d be willing to give you a used spool for free. Still coming up empty-handed? Big spools are often used to hold heavy-duty wiring, so check out your local electric and cable companies. (I think nearly-free furniture is worth a little legwork, don’t you?)

5 Furniture Ideas for Wooden Spools

Design: Randy Weinstein

Believe it or not, this wooden spool was salvaged from a junkyard. If you’re going for an industrial modern vibe, copy designer Randy Weinstein and top a spool with stainless steel for a DIY table. Eames chairs complete the look.

MORE SPOOL FURNITURE IDEAS

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Antler decor makes any place feel a little more like home to me. (What can I say? I’m originally from Pennsylvania and my dad’s side of the family counts a long line of hunters and outdoorsmen.) If you live near a wooded area where deer, moose or elk roam, you can find shed antlers in the winter through the early spring. Urban dwellers, you may be able to pick them up at flea markets or online. But whether you spot a single “shed” or a few matched pairs, there are so many interesting ways to accent your home with antlers, as you can see below. (Not feeling real antlers? Go faux, like Erin Loechner did in her laundry room.)

5 Unexpected Antler Crafts and Decor Ideas

We’ve basically exhausted the crafting possibilities around wine (see: corks, bottles, glasses, crates AND barrels), but this ingenious antler wine rack from Meg Caswell is a cool way to store and display your wine before you’re ready to sip it/craft with it.

UNUSUAL BUT ATTRACTIVE IDEAS FOR ANTLERS

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BRIANA: What about monograms/initials for this week? I was cleaning out some of my email folders and remembered this newsletter from C. Wonder. It was actually an April Fool’s joke that redirected here (ha!), but they totally do have tons of monogrammed decor stuff

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

C. Wonder April Fool’s newsletter

LIZ: Bring it on! I think people monogram things far too often. No one needs their initials embroidered on socks, toilet paper holders or underwear. And yet

BRIANA: Haha, oh, it is so on! Opening this thread wide right now. Folks, are monograms and initials a capital (letter) idea or just excessive branding?

JESSICA: When I was still in school, my friend’s mom sent him monogrammed sheets, and to this day, we are still making fun of him for it. They’re cute and make sense for weddings, though.

Do you like the monogram and initial trend? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

Photo: Ruth Meharg/HGTVGardens

DO YOU LIKE THE MONOGRAM TREND? VOTE NOW!

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Previously on Designer MacGyver…we’ve covered wrapping paper and newspaper, but surprisingly, wallpaper hasn’t made the list. I say “surprisingly” because I am a wallpaper fanatic and my bio won’t let you forget it. I don’t actually own the apartment I live in now, so I’ve had to resort to more temporary solutions there. Rest assured that once I own, I’ll be armed (with as many rolls as I can afford) and dangerous (with these genius uses for wallpaper other than on walls, obvs).

DIY Wallpaper Ideas: 5 Crafts You'll Love

Sherry and John Petersik, excerpted from Young House Love (Artisan Books), copyright 2012

This idea from Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love is perfect for putting wallpaper samples to work. A thrift-store dresser makes a statement when it’s covered in a big, bold pattern. Get the DIY details here.

MORE WAYS TO DRESS UP YOUR HOME WITH WALLPAPER

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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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