Mood Boards


It’s Friday (woot woot!)! I’ve got a fun mood board to throw your way and we’re keepin’ it in the family…

Meet Danny and Sarah! Danny is my cousin and Sarah just so happens to be one of my very nearest and dearest childhood friends. Yes, a fab arrangement! They met at my 17th birthday party and have been together ever since. Fast forward 10 years and they’re now married, living happily ever after in sunny California and have the two most adorable kids in the world, Elliott and Nora. So, technically, since they met at my birthday party, I’m totally responsible for the two most adorable kids in the world, right? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Last week, Sarah took the kids to visit her family here in Virginia. While she was gone, Danny decided he wanted to surprise her with an early Mother’s Day present and totally revamp their apartment’s living room. Talk about an awesome Mother’s Day present, huh ladies!?  They had been talking back and forth about what they wanted to do with the living room for a while, but Danny thought now was a good time to take the plunge. I was so very excited when I was called in to join the fun and help pull their vision together! After all, who loves putting together mood boards? This girl.

I’ve mentioned a few times about how much my family loves all things Disney. Well, Danny and Sarah are indeed a part of our Disney Crew. Actually, we called ourselves the “Indy Crew”. When Danny, our cousins Dana and Darin and I were little, we’d play Indiana Jones. Danny was Indiana and Darin was Jones. Dana was the kid (Short Round) and sometimes the villain – wherever the story took us. I was Marion – who I often mistakenly called “Maid Marian”. Wrong movie, Ash. Okay, back on topic! Growing up, it seemed like we lived, breathed, and played Disney 24/7 so it’s no wonder it has trickled into our adult lives.

Being Disney geeks, Danny and Sarah are huge fans of the one and only Mary Blair. Back in the day, she was one of the leading producers of art and animation for the Walt Disney Company and worked on all of the classics such as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty and Peter Pan. She also created the characters for the It’s A Small World ride. Her work is phenomenal and definitely jam packed with inspiration. Fun fact for fellow Disney World lovers: Mary Blair is the artist behind the huge mural you see at the Contemporary Resort. Yet another fun fact: It includes a hidden 5-legged goat.

Needless to say, this was a mood board that I was super excited to delve into. Danny and Sarah wanted something fun, whimsical, modern and oozing with Mary Blair-ness. Here’s what I came up with:

1. The Color Palette – Danny said that Sarah loved purple. So, why not? We’re talking bold, bright, whimsical and colorful Mary Blair, right? So purple walls it would be! Paint will totally transform a room and going from “builder beige” to a deep and pretty purple was sure to pack a punch. He ended up using Valspar’s Good Plum (#95114). Their existing sofa is lime green, so that played a big role in the color scheme. Adding white accents and touches of gray throughout the room really help ground the rest of the bright colors.

2. Gallery Wall – Oh, how I love gallery walls. The plan here was to create a gallery wall over the sofa using pages from a Mary Blair coffee table book and black and white photos of the kids. It’s a perfect way to bring in a little bit of Mary Blair herself (without having to sell a kidney) as well as the kids’ freakishly adorable faces. Since the Mary Blair photos were packed with color, making the kid’s photos black and white helped them stand out more but not compete with the awesome Mary Blair photos. At first, I thought the Ribba frames would be the ticket, but Danny said he thought the Virserum frames were more “Mary Blair-ish” and he was totally right. The beveled edge brought a lot more detail and looked more whimsical. To make it easier for Danny when he was shopping at Ikea, I went ahead and designed the gallery wall layout:

I also lettered them according to frame size to make putting them in place a lot less complicated: a) 8×10  b) 11×15.75  c) 5×7  d) 4×6

3. Kappa Ceiling Light – Even though their living room has a huge floor to ceiling window, the room needed ample lighting. This light fixture, coming in at only $30!, did just the trick.

4. Karlstad Sectional – This is Danny and Sarah’s existing sofa. I’m pretty sure it’s not available in this color anymore (at least it isn’t on the website). It’s bright lime green color is perfect for a Mary Blair-inspired environment and looks awesome against a bold purple wall.

5. Owl Bookends – These bookends are from ZGallerie. When I made this moodboard, just last week, they were on their website. But now they aren’t anywhere to be found. Hopefully they are just temporarily unavailable because they are so stinking cute. UPDATE: These are now back online and in stock! Yay! Thanks, Stephanie! The bright white will stands out against the purple walls and is a fun place to keep the kid’s books. The owl also reminded me a lot of Sleeping Beauty – yet another Disney film Mary Blair worked on.

6. Dining Set – For the new space, a new dining set was in order. Bringing in some honey wood tones, like this dining chair, I felt would really warm up the space. Update: they ended up going with this dining set!

7. White Stockholm Bowl – I think this bowl screams Mary Blair! Can you hear it? It’s organic yet graphic at the same time and makes a big statement for only $20 bucks. It’s almost so pretty, you wouldn’t want to put anything in it.

8. Knipsa Basket – In an apartment, storage is key. A few of these baskets would offered up some extra toy storage. They also add some interesting texture and are a similar tone to the new dining set.

9. Malin Figur Curtains – I love these curtains! When I saw them, I literally said “these are it!”. Like the Stockholm bowl, they just scream Mary Blair. The colors were perfect too. The greens and purples weren’t too matchy matchy to the wall color and sofa and the gray helps ground all of the bright/bold colors. A win win!

After I emailed the moodboard to Danny, he literally hit the ground running. Shoot, I had the easy part! Enough talk, you want to see how it turned out, don’t you? Well, you’re in luck! Before I show you the after, here’s the photo Danny sent me the day before Sarah left for Virginia…

A gallon of paint, more than a few shopping trips, a bunch of phone calls and a million picture messages later, here’s the photo he sent me the night before she got home!

Such a huge difference, right?! The room before didn’t have any overhead lighting. Danny rigged a the light fixture and ran the wire taught to the ceiling (towards the window so it wasn’t noticeable from the front door), ran it to the window frame, over to the corner and down the wall. It’s so seamless, it looks like it’s hard-wired.

As for Sarah, she LOVES it and is planning a trip back to Virginia next month so Danny can start work on the master bedroom. Kidding. Seriously though, Danny did such a great job honing in on Sarah’s style. He knows her so well! Yeah, I put the mood board together, sure, but Danny led me in the direction he knew Sarah would want and he made the calls. As I told Sarah, he said “no” to the sparkle rainbow butterfly decals. Kidding again.

So what do you think? Love you some Mary Blair flair? Have the sudden urge to plan a trip so your husband can get to work on a room in your house?

Mary Blair images from here and here.

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  • Reply
    April 27, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Oh my gosh – this is incredible! It really is so amazing what a can of paint and some nice curtains can do for a room! And that gallery wall is truly inspiring! This new design rocks! Happy Friday! xo, Sara

  • Reply
    April 27, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I LOVE this!!!! So much color and what a transform!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2012 at 10:36 am

    It is amazing how anything looks better with a fresh coat of paint to match the owner’s personality! I love it!

  • Reply
    Rachel T
    April 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Such a big difference! We just did the same thing with an Ikea light fixture in our apartment. We didn’t have a light box on the ceiling in any rooms in our first apartment and it was miserable. I wish we would have known about it sooner. Great job!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2012 at 10:38 am


  • Reply
    paula K
    April 27, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I bet Sarah is one happy lady! You two did a great job!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I love Disney World too! It’s A Small World is my favorite ride so this mood board is a favorite as well. You did a good job of capturing Mary Blair in affordable furniture. It looks like a Disney hotel! HA!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Nice! Sarah deserves it for sure!

    Sarah, can you have Danny talk to Patrick… He needs to get on the ball!!

  • Reply
    Mckae @ Kaes Corner Design
    April 27, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Love it, it’s so fun! I love those book ends, I’ve used them a lot for my designs, I hope they aren’t really gone!

  • Reply
    Monica W
    April 27, 2012 at 11:22 am

    That was SUPER sweet of him. The room turned out great, good job planning!

  • Reply
    Staci @ My Friend Staci
    April 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

    This is just gorgeous and turned out JUST like the inspiration board! I love Mary Blair’s whimsical work. The room has really been transformed and looks so rich now!

  • Reply
    Missy G.
    April 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Awesome!! Everything looks so good! I especially love the colors and the gallery wall.

    P.S. Seriously love their kiddos’ names. I’m not expecting but that doesn’t stop me from considering names for any future kids o’ mine. Elliott and Nora are now officially on my unofficial list, haha!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Yay! I love when people post the “after” from mood boards!!

    • Reply
      April 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      Me too! This was the first for us and we’re so excited to share it! : )

  • Reply
    April 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    We are not fortunate enough to have an Ikea in Alaska, and they don’t ship their picture frames. Do you know any places online that sell affordable matted picture frames?

    • Reply
      April 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      I really like the Room Essentials matted picture frames at Target (like this). They aren’t as affordable as the ones at Ikea yet look very much like the gallery frames at Pottery Barn, but a bit cheaper. Hope that helps!

    • Reply
      April 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks for giving me an excuse to go to Target!

    • Reply
      April 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      No problem ; )

  • Reply
    Angel Y.
    April 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Loving this article! Such a huge fan of Mary Blair. I think she’s amazing! 😀 Also, thank you so much for linking back to my post. I’m super appreciative. Adorable blog!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    What a transformation!!! Looks fabulous! I’m certain she was one happy lady when she got home:)

  • Reply
    Carrie F
    April 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Can you tell me where I can order a “Danny”?

  • Reply
    Michelle from
    April 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks so much for posting the gallery wall configuration! I’ve been meaning to do a gallery wall over my couch for months now, but never had the time to sit down and figure out a configuration. You did the work for me! Seriously – I printed out your arrangement and I’m going to bring it into the store to get the frames that you list. You have saved me work! Thank you!

    Question: Are the measurements for the frames the size of the picture opening, or for the entire frame? I’m having a hard time matching up the sizes on the Ikea website.

    The room looks great! Well done!
    Michelle from

    • Reply
      April 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      Awesome! Yes, the measurements are for the picture opening. 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, and 11×15.75.

      Hope that helps!

    • Reply
      Michelle from
      April 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      Thanks Ashley! That helps! I was looking at the Canadian IKEA site, hence the confusion.

  • Reply
    Allison @ House of Hepworths
    April 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Wowza. I am shocked. The after is amazing. You are so talented. I wish IKEA still sold that green couch.

    • Reply
      April 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      Thanks, Allison! Though I had the easy/fun part, haha.

  • Reply
    Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove
    April 27, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    I love everything about this room. The purple looks amazing on the walls! My favorite part is easily those curtains – how fun!

  • Reply
    Sarah K
    April 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Looks amazing! I’ve been wondering what type of room those curtains would work in, and now I know!

  • Reply
    April 28, 2012 at 9:40 am

    What a fun project! Cudos to all involved.

  • Reply
    Vidya @ Whats Ur Home Story
    May 2, 2012 at 7:56 am


    Great transformation. Came here through Pinterest. Another fellow VA blogger here.

    • Reply
      May 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Thanks! Glad you found us : )

  • Reply
    Amy }:o)
    May 2, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Happy Wednesday! WOW! Looks GREAT! Really cute pic of the owl book ends. Would love to put that in my home. Where can I get a set? Thanks & Have a GREAT day!

    • Reply
      May 2, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      Thanks! Happy Wednesday to you too : )
      You can get them right here at Z Gallerie:

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