There are few things that get us more excited than homes full of color and pattern and the people who are fearless enough to design and live in them. That fearlessness is exactly what caught our eye about Ariel Garneau of the popular home decor and DIY blog PMQ for TWO. Ariel has infused her home—and her blog—with fun, quirky design, bright color, and bold pattern mixing, including several H&W wallpapers (and not just on her walls!).
We caught up with Ariel after her recent One Room Challenge kitchen renovation (which, to our delight, features Peonies in Copper!) to chat about her love of color and pattern, how she successfully uses both in her home, and her idea of hygge (hint: it has to do with wallpaper!).
Hygge & West: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into DIY and home decor blogging.
Ariel Garneau: I actually went to school for something completely different! I have an undergraduate degree in International Relations & Political Science, and my masters is in War Studies. Although my work focused mainly on Can-Am military relations and strategic communications, I somehow found myself being a total cliche and living on a military base (fell in love with a young officer I met while completing my masters), with no job prospects in a small town. Since this happened to coincide with our first real home together, I started to document the process of decorating it on a budget, using renter-friendly ideas, on my site. You wouldn’t believe me, but my style actually started out as pretty plain: blue and silver, and then quickly evolved once I started buying what I liked.
H&W: We love following along on your recent One Room Challenge space, your kitchen. Why did you choose our Peonies (Copper) pattern for this space, and what do you think it adds to the design?
AG: I chose Peonies in Copper for a few reasons: it accents the blue of our cabinets with darker contrasting colours (no direct competition), it’s a busy enough pattern that it complements the checkerboard floor without competing with it, and the large bold florals feel very 50s in the space—which is exactly what we were going for with our retro glam look.
H&W: Color and pattern seem to find their way into everything you do! Do you have any tips and tricks for combining color and pattern into a home in a seamless way?
AG: I sure do! Starting with the colour wheel, find your main colour (in the case of the kitchen—blue), and then look directly across from it to find your complimentary shades (yellows, oranges, and reds). I like to balance tones, so there’s never too much cold or warm, without a corresponding touch of something else. When it comes to patterns, I’d say two, maybe three patterns to a space. You want to mix patterns of different scale and different composition. I like to do a geometric with an abstract or a floral, but never two of the same. With that tension between colour and scale, you start to create some really interesting visuals that will hold the gaze of your viewer, and create ambiance.
H&W: How do you create a good flow of pattern from one room to a next, creating a cohesive home rather than one that feels disjointed? For example, you've used both our Peonies and Angelina wallpapers in your home. How did you ensure the flow between them?
AG: Because my style is so eclectic, it can make it easier and harder to create a good flow. Our current home is very retro in floor plan and design, so anchoring the style in that time frame allows me to play with my colours and patterns. Looking at the mid-century modern era of design, it bordered the groovy 60s and 70s, but also the more delicate 40s. The waves and shapes of Angelina feel right for the late 60s, but so do the florals (both Yellow and Copper) of the Peonies, which remind me more of something you’d find in a 40s scheme. This is where my curated look comes in handy, because I can pull elements from across all the periods to create a cohesive look.
H&W: What do you love serving up in your new kitchen? Do you have any favorite recipes?
AG: Time for a dirty secret, my husband Dan is the cook! I can make toast, cereal and reservations. He’s the one with a flair for the culinary arts. He loves cooking up a good stew, or getting experimental with whatever is fresh and local at the grocery store. I don’t complain!
H&W: Hygge is about life's smallest joys and coziest comforts. How does this space add a little hygge to your home?
AG: How can this space not add hygge to my home? Because the wallpaper is mainly in our seating nook, it’s the backdrop to my morning and end of day. Soon enough it will be where I sit with our baby girl (due at the end of August), and it will serve as the backdrop to many late-night feedings, early weekend mornings, and all the in between. If that’s not cozy joy, I don’t know what is.