Guest Blog Interview: John Newlin of Livingly Media (& Lonny Magazine)

Back in December I had the luck to snag Michelle Adams (founder and editor-in-chief) of Lonny Magazine for a little guest interview. Well consider today part 2 because I’m so very honored to sit down with John Newlin who oversees the Lonny team and much more as Livingly Media’s editor-in-chief (Livingly is the online publisher and larger media house behind names such as Lonny, and That is a lot of fashion, beauty, celebrity, home, lifestyle, and entertainment to manage!

Today’s focus is more overtly directed towards John’s passion for design and beautifully sensible functionality. He’s chosen a few key images (like this one, below) that highlight his personal taste and has taken a stab at answering PDB’s four usual Friday Guest Blog Interview questions.

John lives in Northern California and is daddy to two. He began his career in print and digital media with the launch of a pop culture music and fashion print monthly at the early age of 22 and has penned articles for publications such as Stuff, Men’s Journal and Details. You might recognize him as a regular from ABC’s Good Morning America and Evening Magazine on CBS. (My favorite is that, for the purposes of a magazine article, he successfully infiltrated and appeared on Showtime as a “UFO expert”). You know he would make the best dinner party guest with all of those stories!

Check out the March 2013 edition of Lonny:

Now John oversees all things editorial for Livingly’s online properties and just for today, he’s sharing a look at his insight on the progression of home design and how the shift to blogging, online publications and the Internet at large has changed our perspective on how we design our homes. …

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Kitchen Update: Semi-DIY Fabric Botanical Chart Art

Just finished a new project for our kitchen and I love how it turned out!

Let’s start this post off with some yummy inspiration.

Sources 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I have loved the look of vintage botanical charts for some time! They are oversized, full of contrasting color (love the black backgrounds) and the illustrations are so detailed and just stunning.

But I ran into two dilemmas before finding one for the house. The first was tracking down the right print for the right price. I was hoping to find a fabric version rather than a print that I would frame behind glass (see those beautiful dowels above? my favorite way to hang a piece of art like this) and many fabric versions are originals from quite some time ago and because of that they all seem to be pretty pricey (like in the hundreds of dollars a pop range).

The second was finding the right spot! I wanted to find a creative way to hang a new print but these guys are usually pretty big and they need a special home that’s just perfect for the look of the print.

Then very recently, I found the perfect source (and added a little DIY love) and the perfect spot in our home! Our new fabric botanical chart now hangs in the hallway between our dining room and kitchen, and it fits in perfectly.

After a few months of occasionally googling and searching, I stumbled upon KSarahDesigns and her beautiful botanical print reproductions on Etsy. The store offered a gorgeous selection of paper prints, but I reached out to Kristen anyhow to ask about possibly using her artwork to print the illustrations on fabric. I was so happy and surprised when she offered to take on the project herself! Spoonflower is an awesome source for printing your own fabric and a few short weeks later I received my folded, heavy duty cotton twill fabric in the mail.

Printing black onto fabric is near impossible (we learned the hard way) but even the dark charcoal grey looks great as a chart.

Next step was to transform the fabric into a hanging piece of art. I snipped the white edges (no need for a perfect cut since my edges would either be hemmed or hiding behind a dowel) and then carefully added a very small hem to the long, horizontal sides of the chart. My first thought was to use an iron on hem tape to secure the hem, but after pre ironing my hem flat on each side I noticed that the tape wasn’t necessary – the edges stayed perfectly.

I picked up two 1/2″ dowels from Lowe’s and we cut them to size. Then I stained them a warm, chestnut brown (they were originally pine) and I stapled my chart directly to the dowels to give the top and bottom of the print a clean look.

It’s hard to see the string in the photos (and I may switch that out in the future) but for now the chart simply hangs from a nail. Finished!

And a glance from our dining room! Love the black accents and how the lampshade, b&w photos and print compliment each other. The chart leads you into the next space.

From the kitchen, the black of the fabric looks great with the new chalkboard and the black framed calendar floral art (those big prints that are sitting just to the left of the sliding doors).

Love my new art and that the price for the finished, semi-DIY piece (which came in at under $50) is a totally affordable alternative to the originals out there.

A Pink Girl’s Room for Two: the Inspiration Board

We didn’t find out if Liv was a boy or girl until we welcomed her on the day of her birth. That was thrilling and exciting and so worth the wait for baby #1. But this time around, I was much more ancy to know whether she might have a little sister or brother and I was so happy that Kevin agreed to a big gender reveal. Now I have three and a half months to plan, design and scheme a new nursery for 2! And two beautiful girls at that!

This means lots of pink. We’re pulling out all of the stops. There will probably be very little about this space that could qualify as gender neutral (basically the opposite of the design plan for Liv’s nursery back when).

Pink!! Still undecided on specific fabrics and patterns and art and rugs and lamps and paint and all of the details, but here are a few images that have resonated with me and have made it to the Pinterest board that continues to inspire.

1. We’ll keep the big drum pendant that currently hangs at the center of the room, but this lamp is very cool and a potential DIY project. I have wanted to DIY a glass bead hanging chandelier for some time too! This might be the right opportunity to make a version of this one.

2. Still quite unsure on the rug. Might be an excellent opportunity to introduce a contrasting color like this navy guy, or more pink. TBD.

3. Liv won’t move into a toddler bed for a while (she’s not ready, plus the new baby will stay in our room for at least the first 4-5 months), but when she is I would love to make a mini upholstered headboard out of a fun fabric and maybe attach it to an Ikea low toddler-sized platform bed. This photo is by the lovely Caitlin Wilson.

4. Art! I’m not sure at all where we’ll go with art, but I hope to add plenty of it :). Here Here are a few ideas.

5. Liv’s room currently has a dark brown dresser that we scooped up on Craigslist (it’s Pottery Barn so it’s sturdy as a rock). Rather than replace it, I’m considering painting the drawers ombre like this guy.

Modern, Contemporary, DIY, Makeover Nursery, Do It Yourself

Other than decor updates, there’s one big elephant in the room that we’ll have to deal with when reconsidering this room. When we opted to build a bathroom ensuite off of it, we completely demolished all closet storage space. All of it.

It hasn’t been terrible so far. Between the dresser, changing table and bookshelf we’ve managed to find homes for all clothing, baby storage (like diapers, wipes, wash clothes) and toys. It only becomes a bummer when we lack storage for bigger items like an umbrella stroller or Liv’s travel gear. BUT with two, I know that zero closet is going to be tough. So after much deliberating I’ve decided to build a series of built-in bookcases along the window side of the room. The unfortunate part of this decision is that we’ll have to paint over the beautifully awesome wall animals that Kevin’s mom and aunt gifted us with (they are both phenomenal artists). I measured and measured again but most of the animals will be awkwardly half covered up by the new bookshelves and drawers, and it just wouldn’t look right. Too bad we couldn’t pull the plaster board right off of the walls and relocate!

Those little baby animals are popular! They have been saved in over 37,ooo Ideabooks on Houzz and the tree bookshelves alone have been repinned more times than I can count.

It will be hard to say goodbye.

My ideas right now include a built-in unit like 7 below, but perhaps painting out the backings like Kate did in 8, and I’d like to use fabric for the new shade and window box similar to this little trio show in 6.


Last but not least are the walls. Everything will get a coat of clean white with the exception of the far right wall, which I hope to turn into a really cool accent wall by finding the right wallpaper.

Sort of like this room (so pretty, right?):

Here are a few patterns from Spoonflower (you can print your own wallpaper now! So cool!) that I love:

The sources for each (and even a dozen or so more that I love) can be found in my Houzz Ideabook.

There’s the start! What do you think? I’m so ready for a full room reno, even though it will be very, very hard to part with Liv’s current nursery. This is when you wish you had an extra room in the house for every idea :). Except for cleaning, then that’s a terrible idea.

PS See more of our nursery projects for the current room right here.

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