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toddler pillow cases Rug Design Challenge Winners- Spotlight on Nicole Balch personalized pillow cases vintage

In the wake of the very exciting announcement on our?12 Rug Design Challenge winners this summer, we’re profiling each winner so you can learn more about them and their beautiful rug designs! Last month we profiled lifestyle and motherhood blogger Lauren McBride?and this month, we’re sharing a bit about Nicole Balch, who pens the home design blog Making it Lovely.

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Nicole started Making It Lovely in 2007 when she and her husband were in the process of buying their first home. With a background in architecture and a treasure trove of handy(wo)man skills, Nicole was anxious to dig in to various projects in her new abodetoddler pillow cases, and thought the perfect way to document the renovations would be via her own blog. Ten years later, Nicole and her husband have had three kids and have since moved into a different home, but the blog is still going strong and Nicole continues to document her various home projects regularly.

In case you missed it, here is Nicole’s winning rug design:

We asked Nicole a few questions about her winning design and the inspiration behind it…

What was the inspiration behind your rug design?

I was looking to reinterpret classic quilt patterns, modifying the proportions and including additional design elements to make it work as a rug. The triangle fill is something that has been around for a very long time, but it feels fresh and modern with a change of scale and a fringed border.

How do you see the rugs being used in an interior or exterior space?

It would be fantastic in a dining room, framing the table and chairs and adding detail to the edges of the room with its tassel fringe! The rug really works hard as a backdrop though. Busy enough to stand up to daily life, detailed enough to be interesting, but still subtle enough to let other pieces shine.

Tell us about the color palette you focused on. How did you choose the hues for your rug?

I adore color, and quilts tend to have a rich color palette, but neutrals felt right for this design. Black and white is too stark, but when you look at black or dark gray or brown paired up with a cream or wheat color, suddenly it carries the same graphic punch without the dizzying effect pure black and white can have.

How did Annie Selke’s designs play an influential role in your winning rug design?

I definitely looked to the Java pattern already in Annie Selke’;s bedding line. That led me to focus on a triangle fill for the rug center, rather than something like rings or tumbling blocks.

Any other thoughts on the design process or rug challenge?

I have designed products before; I owned a stationery company many years ago and I created everything in-house. The process of designing paper goods is not entirely dissimilar, but for a rug I kept in mind how this would be just one element in a larger context. It was a fun challenge, and a great creative stretch! I’;m thrilled that something I designed will be working its way into people’;s homes.

Be sure to check back soon as we continue to profile the remaining ten winners! If you missed our post announcing our twelve Rug Design Challenge Winners, read it?here!

The warm and cozy smell of the holiday season, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, oranges and rosemary. This holiday stove top simmer has all my favorite scents of the season and it is so simple to make.

Father’s Day is right around the corner, so today I’m sharing a fun project that would be the perfect gift for Dad or Grandpa. This photo frame wooden DIY desk?organizer is easy to build and perfect for Dad to take to the office. And it’s easy enough to build that the kids can help!

In the past month or so, two readers of ‘improvised life’ sent beautiful virtual bouquets in the form of emailed jpgs. You might think that a cyber bouquet would have little of the power or effect of a real one, but we’ve got to say, NOT SO.


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