My friend Audrey just did something amazing in her home here in Berkeley: she painted a beautiful mural on the wall of her little girls’ room without any formal painting experience beyond high school art classes. I was totally floored by the result (and her bravery!). Here’s what she had to say about the process, how she accidentally became a textile designer after starting out as a DIY blogger, and how being a mother to four girls has changed her…
Audrey was born and raised in France, but has been living in the US since her college years aside from a short stunt in Ireland and Denmark (where her husband is from). Before design, Audrey worked in online advertising, photography when they lived in Denmark, DIY blogging when they moved back to the US, and finally started getting into textile design two years ago. Audrey has four adorable little girls: Olivia 7, Madeline 6, Freia 3 and Penelope 1 1/2.
Design is a new career direction for you. How did you end up where you’re at?
I’ve always been a design junky, a color lover, but didn’t necessarily grow up in a family that saw art and design as a way to make a “ real” living – so ended up studying business/marketing in college. Life circumstances brought me to start my blog This Little Street in 2012, which I used to share DIYs and showcase the design work of others -, and as I was working with Spoonflower on a new DIY project using some of their removable wallpaper, Spoonflower asked me if I wanted to design my own pattern for the project. My initial reaction was: “Are you crazy?! I am not a trained designer!”, but then the idea started to grow on me. I decided to go for it…and was hooked right away! Soon after that I opened my own shop on Spoonflower.
I’d be terrified to start a project like this. Any advice for mustering up the courage for a large scale project like a mural?
Haha make no mistake, I was terrified too – I had never worked on this big of a scale! What convinced me to do it was the fact that we will be knocking down that wall in the future for a big remodel project – so if I messed up I wouldn’t have to live with my mistakes forever! But the itch to just go for it ended up being stronger than the fear and I thought “What do I have to lose?!” Joke’s on me now because I want to keep this wall forever! Oh well – there are more walls to be painted 😉 At some point before we take the wall down, I am going to let the girls add to this mural so they can see what is possible when we just stretch our imagination out a bit!
I love the oversized flowers. What was your inspiration for the mural?
Flowers are one of my favorite things in the world (haha they kind of fill up my Instagram feed!). And my girls love them too was an obvious choice for their room. I wanted these flowers to feel magical, like the flowers in Alice in Wonderland.
Can you explain a bit about the process? Did you sketch it all first or kind of freehand it as you went?
I sketched a rough draft of what I wanted the whole mural to look like – so I had I good I idea of where I was going with composition/flow. And I separately sketched the individual elements more in details. That being said, there is a bit of freehand that went into the mural as I worked on it. I changed up elements here and there once I got a better feel for the overall scale.
What were the major challenges of this project?
The sheer scale of the project! I have drawn and designed a lot of things on paper, but never of this big and in such a permanent way. It was both thrilling and terrifying all at once. But the minute I painted the first stroke on the wall, the fear just lifted.
How long did it take you to complete?
Overall the painting part took about a week for me to complete, from start to finish. Add to that the time it took me to sketch it out.
Do you think it’s reasonable to think others without painting or design skills could DIY one?
I have always been a believer that people can do more than they think themselves capable of. That being said, this project doesn’t exactly fall into the “quick and easy DIY” category so you’ve really got to have the itch to do it! I’d say, start painting/drawing on a smaller scale first…and if you love it, just go for it!
Do you think you’d ever paint another one, and if so what would you do differently?
Absolutely! I would love to paint more murals in other people’s homes or businesses – bringing all these colors in my head to life would be a dream. Now that I have a better idea of what working on this scale feels like, I would probably work more precisely on my sketches before I even start painting. Although, I have to say, going with the flow on this one was pretty refreshing.
How do you think being a mother to 4 little girls has inspired your design work?
My girls always remind me to not take myself too seriously and enjoy the simplest of things. They make me take the time to slow down and look at the little things that I might not have paid attention to otherwise. They bring me so much joy, and that joy gets translated into all of these happy patterns.
Thanks Audrey for letting us take a peek at your gorgeous mural project! You can follow along on her other creative endeavors through her instagram, This Little Street. Photography by Liz Stanley for Say Yes.