Bare walls? Eek! No excuse! Your walls, along with your entire home, should tell your story and reflect your life. Big, empty walls really bring into focus an unfinished room. I can help!

There are lots of ways to fill up a large wall, but today we’ll just focus on framed artwork.

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FREE PRINTABLE ARTWORK

Did you know you can print out A LOT of prints for FREE online? Yes, it’s true. Good quality, designer prints are yours for the taking. A few of the best sites are here, here and here. Print them at home or take them to a local printer. Either way, you can create a wall full or artwork for super cheap.

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FRAMES

Now, for the frames. You don’t have to spend much for great frames. Target, Wayfair and other online retailers have every option imaginable. I like to stick with clean, authentic materials. If it looks like wood, it should be wood, metal should be metal, etc. Light or white frames put the focus on the print or art inside. Dark or black frames put the focus on the structure and layout of the arrangement. A few of my favorite with links below.

Perfect frame in white or black with nice, big mat, here

Brass frame with white mat, here

 

 

 

HANGING

So, you have the artwork, you have the frames, now where are you going to hang them? You need a plan! If you’re feeling super ambitious, you can cut out templates of your sizes with paper and try a few arrangements on the wall. Here are a few to get you started.

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TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Want something a little more creative? Try framing something unique to you. Favorite scarves or shopping bags always look chic. Kids artwork can look extra important framed and grouped together.

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FAMILY PHOTOS

Family photos instantly tell a story. To keep things current, try frames with an extra wide mat and keep the photos either all black and white or all color. Consistency is key. Another way to go is blow them up nice and big, with no mat. Both look fresh and not like your Mom’s house. 😉

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GALLERY WALL

Ready to take it up a notch? Mix frame sizes and materials, maybe even pop in a mirror. The mix of textures and colors makes for a very interesting mix.

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So, no excuses for a big empty wall! Calculate a plan, buy some inexpensive frames (my favorite are $18.99!) and print out some artwork online. Mix in a few of your existing pieces and boom, you’ve got a super chic wall!

 

What do you think? Which style is your favorite?

 

Custom Home Built by Evans Construction & Design

You’re excited, you’ve got your ducks in a row, your Pinterest boards are full, your Houzz account is overflowing with images… you’re finally building your dream home. Exciting! What could go wrong?

I’ve been in the home building business for 20+ years now (please, don’t do the math) and I must tell you the 3 things that happen EVERY SINGLE TIME we build a new home that surprise the client. Seriously, every single time.

1. Your slab is going to look too small

I know this, I preach this, but guess what? When we built our last personal home, I went to my lovely husband, the General Contractor extraordinaire, and informed him that our slab, was indeed, too small. He laughed. I cried. We measured. Guess what, it was exactly correct. How could I doubt my dear husband? The lesson here is, for whatever reason, the slab will look tiny, but it’s still correct. I know, I know. How can you possibly take a shower in that teeny tiny rectangle? It’s going to feel much larger once the framing goes up. I promise.

Why is this so small? Umm, I think there's been a mistake.

2. Your interior paint color is going to look too dark. Like way too dark.

Color is funny. By funny I mean tricky, mean-spirited, and anxiety inducing. You’ve researched this color, pinned this color, bought samples, dreamt about it…why does it look so different now that it’s on the walls? Several reasons.

First, looking at a color in FRONT of you is very different from having the same color SURROUND you. Imagine looking AT a large red wall, now imagine being INSIDE an all red room. It’s a completely different experience. Give yourself some time to adjust.

Second, you’ve gone from the whitest-white plaster everywhere to a rich, beautiful color. The shock of that alone is enough to put you in panic mode.

Lastly, there’s nothing in the house to help balance (aka suck out) the wall color. Cabinets, flooring, tile, fixtures, trim paint…they all bring color into the space and help balance out the walls.

Take a breath, stick to your original choice. You’ve researched it to death, remember? 🙂 Once everything goes in, it will become the beautiful masterpiece you’ve envisioned. Pinky promise.

Revere Pewter Paint Color which originally looked WAY dark

3. Your sod is going to look dead

Lovely image, isn’t it? You’ve worked with the landscape designer, selected just the perfect amount of shrubs versus flowers versus trees. It’s going to be a garden for the ages!

Then they deliver the sod. What is this shit? Why are you ruining my dream home with this? Take it away! Get it out of my sight!

Relax! It always looks a little, umm,“less than perfect” when delivered. Maybe it was the long trip, maybe it was the installation, who knows. Once it’s laid in place, watered, and starts to “take,” it will magically transform into the green lawn you’ve always dreamt of picnicking on in a few short weeks. 🙂 I swear.

Green Grass! Custom home built by Evans Construction & Design

Well, there it is. These three things have happened on every single house we’ve built. I even fell into the trap of the slab being too small after preaching this for years.

Take a breath, relax, stick to your guns, and trust those pinterest boards full of ideas you’ve been creating over the years. You got this!

What surprises have you encountered while building your new home or remodeling? Please share below! I’d love to hear or talk you off the ledge if needed. 🙂

Spitting on your finger to hang the perfect artwork? Stuffing pillows that are too big into covers for the perfect fit? Stacks on stacks on stacks of coffee table book? Yes, yes and yes! These finishing touches make the room! Over the past 20+ years, I’ve collected seven of my favorite and today I’m revealing them to you. 

 

1. Buy Coffee Table Books You Love

One of the very best tips I have is to splurge on coffee table books you’re drawn to. They are super useful for adding dimension and height to coffee tables, console tables and bookshelves. Stack them, lean them, even open them and you’ve instantly elevated your design. Using topics you love (gardens, photography, you name it) or places you’ve traveled is the perfect way to inject a bit of personality into your room. Want to really take it up a notch? Have some of your favorite family photos made into a custom coffee table book.

perfect tabletop vignette with books {pursuit of style}

 

beautiful coffee table styling {the zhush}

 

these books help ground smaller brass items {swoonworthy}

 

two books stacks {ceresbr1}

 

the more the merrier {domino}

 

 

2. Create Your Own Paint Color

Can’t settle on the perfect color for your room? Love your sample but fear it’s too dark? Create your own color by having the paint store cut the color you love by half or a third. It will give you the same color, but with less intensity. Bonus, no one else will have it and you can name it whatever you’d like!

benjamin moore “sleigh bells” at 50% {studio mcgee}

 

sleigh bells sample {benjamin moore}

 

sleigh bells at full strength, maybe a little darker than you want {your design nest}

 

 

3. Layer Rugs

Rugs can be expensive, like super expensive. A perfect alternative to breaking your budget is to layer a smaller version of the pricey rug you have your eye on, ON TOP OF a less expensive rug. A basic sisal rug can be found very moderately priced and serves a a rich, textural backdrop for a more “statement” piece. Think large, solid, inexpensive as the base rug and smaller, richer, even trendier as the top layer. The result is stunning and something you don’t see everywhere.

this inexpensive dhurrie rug looks great overtop of an inexpensive sisal {decorpad}

 

a rich zebra painted cow hide stuns overtop of a basic sisal {kate jackson}

 

a natural cowhide livens up this basic seagrass rug {domino}

 

 

4. Buy Your Pillow Inserts One Size Larger Than Your Cover

No one wants a wimpy pillow. You know the kind; lifeless, pathetic and downright distracting. Purchase the pillow insert the next size up and you’ve instantly given the pillow (and room, really) a makeover. For example, for a 20″ pillow cover, I use a 22″ insert. A 18″ cover gets a 20″ insert and so on. While your at it, splurge on a down or synthetic down fill. Full, down pillows are one of the easiest ways to revive a room!

the proof {domestic imperfection}

 

plump pillow perfection {dimples and tangles}

 

perfect pillows {lynn morgan}

 

 

5. To Hang Artwork, Use Your Eye and Hand Height

It can be scary to hang the piece of artwork you love on big, bare wall.  Hanging it over a fireplace or a piece of furniture you love isn’t any easier. Too high or too low really cheapens the piece and the room overall. My rule of thumb, if hanging on a bare wall, is to hold the piece in front of you so that the CENTER of the art is AROUND your eye level, then go up just a smidge. Scientific, I know, but it works every single time. 🙂 The rule of thumb when hanging over a piece of furniture or fireplace is to use the WIDTH of your HAND(S) for the correct spacing above. Just place your hand sideways, then place the other on top (sideways) and you have the perfect spacing somewhere in-between the first and second hand. No measuring! Once you’ve settled on the height, lick your finger, slide your hand up, feel for the wire behind and tap on the wall where you want the nail to go. Gross, I know, but it saves a whole lot of measuring. Just don’t tell anyone what you did, it’ll be our little secret.

hung at eye level center and looks perfect! {the decorista}

 

another center eye level {better home and gardens}

 

umm, this is too high {social survival}

 

hand width above a fireplace, works for mirrors too {traditional home}

 

tory burch’s home, art hung perfectly above the mantle {tory burch}

 

 

6. Keep High, High and Low, Low

When you’re putting together the perfect tabletop vignette, it’s hard to know what to put where. Stacking items on books and choosing frames to use? It’s overwhelming. Keeping the taller pieces “high” and the shorter pieces “low” will create an interesting, layered display. For example, start with a tall lamp, then keep your books low, add a frame in the middle and you have an interesting flow. If you had chosen a shorter lamp, stacked your books up too high and selected a frame around the same height, you’d end up with one level throughout, which isn’t nearly as interesting.

nice flow, high to the sides and low in the center {the pink clutch}

 

vignette perfection! high to the left, low to the right {mimosa lane}

 

all one height, could look much better with varying heights {vanity fair}

 

 

7. Add Dimmers EVERYWHERE

What’s cheap and will instantly transform your entire home? Dimmers! I don’t want to oversell this, but they are literally life changing. Literally. 🙂 Adding dimmers to your main living areas will completely transform the space, I promise. Harsh, overly lit rooms suddenly become soft, candlelit looking spaces. I actually suggest having them everywhere, like in every single room.  Don’t believe me? Try just one and see what you think. You can go with a basic version, fancy smart versions, or even one made just for lamps. It’s super easy to switch out your current old-school switches for new dimmers. You can get them at Lowes, Home Depot or even order them online and it takes under 10 minutes. Home Depot has a quick tutorial here.

warm ambience in this dining room {ownby design}

 

dimmers allow for softer lighting here {leviton}

 

what a dimmer looks like, in case you didn’t know 😉 {elemental led}

 

 

Well, there you have it. Seven designer secrets that I just had to share. Do you think you might try one? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? I would love to hear them, please comment below!

 

 

Have you heard of Christopher Peacock? Many people have not. If you love Kitchens and Baths like I do, you may want to get to know him. Love the striking white on white on white Kitchens you see everywhere? He started them. Designers and homeowners use his designs for inspiration every day, myself included.

Always made in the USA, Christopher Peacock Cabinetry was launched in 1992, beginning with a single kitchen display inside a small store in Greenwich, CT. The vignette drew the attention of architects, designers and a discerning clientele. The rest is history.

Peacock Home now encompasses everything you need for a stunning Kitchen, Bath or really anywhere in your home. Check out a few of my favorite rooms below.

 

Kitchens, my favorite. Notice the details in the hardware.

 

 

Bathrooms, too. Fresh, clean and understated.

 

 

Dressing Rooms to die for.

 

It’s easy to see why Christopher Peacock is an industry leader. Which is your favorite?

 

Designers + Ceiling Fans…really? Aren’t they all tacky and huge?

Don’t get me wrong, a hanging light fixture looks better in a photo all day, every day. But, your house isn’t a photo and sometimes you just NEED a ceiling fan. Growing up in Miami, I get it. Living in Florida now, I really get it. It’s hot, you want air moving around at night and no one is going to take away your ceiling fan, dammit!  If you haven’t checked out fans in a while, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. They’ve come a long, long way.

 

Here are a few simple rules to keep in mind when selecting a fan.

-Streamline, streamline, streamline. Keep the design simple, clean and not overbearing.

-No hanging chains. I mean really, come on.

-No lights on the fan unless its absolutely necessary. If you must have light, make sure the light fits seamlessly into the fan’s design.

 

 

Here are my favorite, go-to fans with photos of each installed.

All come in a variety of finish and blade combinations. Click on each link below to take you directly to the source.

 

1. Lapa Fan, $348

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2. Java 54″ Fan, $249

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3. Falcon Fan, $639

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4. Zonix Fan, $349

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5. Mondo Fan, $398

roto brushed aluinum
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6. Peregrine Fan, $439

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7. Simple Fan, $279

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Here’s a perfect image for your Pinterest boards!

 

 

What do you think? Please comment below! 🙂

 

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How much does it actually cost to hire a designer? Well, it depends. It depends on what you’re looking for, the size of your project, who you are actually hiring and how pleasant you are to work with (it’s true).

The term “Interior Designer” is often used by decorators, furniture store salespeople, stagers and even stylish friends. Knowing what you’re actually getting can be tricky and you might need to do a bit of research. Searching the ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) website for designers in your area is a good place to start.

 

 

So, what are the different types of designers and what do they offer?

 

Straight-up professional Interior Designers you work with directly in your home

The most expensive option, but also the most comprehensive. This scenario has a licensed Interior Designer meet you in your home, work up a plan of action and handle everything. Professional Interior Designers are equipped to handle any design project you have. Furnishing a room, providing new home selections, built-in designs, simple updates, they’ll handle it all. You can (typically) expect an overall budget, allowances, floorpan, concept board, material selections, and final plan before anything is finalized. Know the fancy boards you see in movies with samples attached…you’re getting them, yippee! Once you agree on everything, the designer will typically place the orders, receive the merchandise, coordinate any subcontractors, deliver and install all items, and set the room up completely. Everything is handled and you can enjoy the space! You can expect to pay either a flat fee or an hourly rate, depending on the designer. Speaking for myself, I prefer charging a flat fee, so that everyone knows what the project will cost upfront, but each designer is different.

Depending on the scope of work and size of your project, you can usually expect to spend around 20-25% of the overall budget for the project plus 20% on top of any items ordered and delivered by the designer. It might sound pricey, but ordering, receiving and delivering these items entails a lot of work and liability. This 20-25% range is true for a variety of project types and is a good rule of thumb. When you get into new home selections or remodeling, the fee can go up from there. Plumbing, lighting, paint, cabinetry, etc are very detailed and take time. The fee will reflect that. A typical new home selection will run around $5,000 and remodeling projects will fall back into the 20-25% of the project range.

TIP: Offer to have the items sent directly to you and hold them there until installation day and forgo the upcharge. Personally, I often offer this to my clients and it saves us both! Win-win!

Design by Evans Construction & Design

Design by Evans Construction & Design

 

 

 

Online Interior Designers you work with virtually

New to the game, this is an efficient and cost effective way to design a space. It sounds a little crazy… handling everything online without the designer even seeing your space… but it really isn’t. Trained designers can easily work off a plan, dimensions, photo and a budget. This set up typically goes like this for a room design. You provide the designer with an overall budget, a few inspirational photos, brands you like and a floorpan with photos of the space. The designer comes back to you with a concept board, to make sure you are both on the same page. Once approved, you move into the actual selections for the space and the designer provides a rendering of the room with the items, right where they’ll go. The process typically goes for 10 days or so and you go back and forth until you are completely happy with each and every item. The designer keeps the budget and preferences in mind throughout. In the end you receive a final package with a furniture plan, final design board, a shopping list with direct links to order, and set up instructions.

You can typically plan to pay between $300-$800 for a comprehensive room design, which is really a great deal. Personally, I LOVE providing online design to my clients, locally or from a distance. In fact, my first year offering online services, I completed 50+ rooms in 3 countries and loved every minute of it! You can work with a designer directly (me! me! right here!) or through a design website like Laurel & Wolf (me, me, here too!)

TIP: Find a designer with a large portfolio online that you already like and you’re halfway there!

 

Concept board by Evans Construction & Design

Design board by Evans Construction & Design

 

 

Furniture store designers or decorators

This can really be hit or miss and it totally depends on the store.

Best case scenario is with a great store like Koontz Furniture in Florida. Stores like Koontz have top tier, professional Interior Designers who also work on their sales floor and offer design services as part of the furniture selection process. What? It’s true! If you’re looking for help picking out a room full of new items, this is a great way to go. You can get professional design services and end up not paying anything more than you would have paid for the furniture from their store. Let that sink in for a bit. You end up paying nothing.  Often, you can also hire these designers to help you with more than just the furniture, for an additional fee. They, then , charge a design fee and help you with whatever you need; paint, cabinets, flooring and furniture, too.

Worst case scenario has you working with a “Decorator” in a dark, dingy chain furniture store who’s really just trying to sell you what they have. Is that middle aged man in a short sleeved button up and tie trying to sell you on the hottest trend? Run!  The truth is you don’t know until you do a bit of research. Furniture stores can be an absolute treasure trove of talent, or not.

TIP: Find a store with brands you like, set a budget and see what they can do for you.

 

 

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Your stylish friend who claims to be a decorator

We all have one. She’s well dressed, trendy and “knows” decorating. She just can’t let you spend money on a designer, because she can help you for free! Tread lightly here. If it’s few accessories you’re looking for, by all means go together to TJMaxx and have a fun afternoon. If it’s paint colors, furniture pieces, overall design of a room, please use a trained professional. When she’s in over her head, she probably won’t tell you and your room (and friendship) will suffer. Expect to pay nothing or little to nothing.

Design by Evans Construction & Design

 

As I initially said, it all really depends. If you’re looking to spruce up your space with a few touches with a designer online, it can be $99. If you’re looking for a traditional room design and implementation, I’d say around $2,000+. If you’re looking for a whole home design, $5000+. It all depends and part of it depends on you!

 

Next week, we’ll break down what should you expect from a professional, licensed Interior Designer.

 

What do you think about these fees? Does this fit with your experience? I’d love to here about it below 🙂

 

Your Master Bath…cool, calm, serene…an oasis, a spa within your home…right? Right? Well, it can be and it  doesn’t have to break the bank!

We’ve gathered up seven of our favorite Master Baths, including some we’ve created. 🙂  We’ve broken them down and found the pieces you can add to your bath to create the look you love.  Take a tour of each of the baths, below, and then click on the links underneath to see where to get the key pieces for less.

 

 

1 Fretwork Traditional

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fretwork fabric | tile | orchid

 

2 Clean Masculine

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hydrangea | etagere | prints

 

3 Traditional Classic

Evans Construction & Design

garden stool | orchids | ginger jars | tub faucet

 

4 Classic Inset

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roman shade | tile | glass jars

 

5 Zhush

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wallpaper | quill mirror  | monogram towels | garden stool | rug

 

6 Mirrors for Days

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mirror | console | faucet

 

7 Bohemian Mix

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Rug | artwork | stool | etagere

So, which is your favorite? We can’t decide. 🙂

 

 

What do you do when your house is beautiful, but your Kitchen is a throwback to the 1970’s? Call Evans Construction & Design to renovate!

We had the pleasure of working with a wonderful Gainesville family to renovate their entire Kitchen, Breakfast Nook and Dining Room. They live on a beautiful little lake in Gainesville, surrounded by lemon and orange trees. Picturesque! The home is great, but the Kitchen…it could use a little, umm, improvement. A wonderful family like this deserves a great Kitchen, right? We can help!

 

 

The before.

 

The inspiration.

Classic, fresh, clean. The client loved this Kitchen and we worked to recreate the feel for them.

 

The plan.

Add two windows, rip out interior walls, fill in an oddly placed exterior door and open up the space. We would remove the current nook, add an oversized island with seating and move their current table to the adjacent Dining Room. While we’re here, lets redo the fireplace and adds some seating that swivels to the TV and Kitchen.

 

The renderings.

 

The selections.

After collaborating with the clients (who were an absolute pleasure, I must add), we tweaked the design, made our final selections and started demo. They left town for a week and we got all the messy part out of the way, and it was messy. We filled in a door and busted out cinderblock for 2 new windows. New wood floor was added and stained to tie into the existing flooring throughout. The renovation moved quickly and the final result is incredible, if I do say so myself! 🙂

 

The reveal.

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Cabinets- White shaker cabinets by Carson’s Cabinetry

Countertops- Quartz and Absolute Black Granite

Hardware- Polished Nickel

Main sink- Found here

Prep sink- Found here

Lighting- Pendants found here

Crackled, beveled subway tile- Found here

Roman Shade- Pottery Barn Riviera Stripe

Pierced ginger jars – Found here

Barstools- Pier One

Paint- Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore

Upholstered swivel chairs- Koontz Furniture

Cocktail ottoman- Koontz Furniture

Rug- Ballard Designs

The client is happy. We are happy.  The home is really transformed! What do you think? Did we nail it?

 

 

We’ve made it to the big reveal of my One Room Challenge Toddler + Teen Playroom. I’m so happy with how the room turned out and beyond excited for it to be put to use!

As a reminder, here is the before. Yuck.

And now, here’s the after!

I love how this has turned out, a place for my little man to go crazy and a spot for my teen to “chill”. I envisioned cutting the room in half and that’s basically what we did, diagonally. The duplicate rugs tie the two sides together, along with a cohesive color scheme. Neutral can be boring, but I don’t feel like it is here. We keep the flow from the rest of the house and still have a little fun in here with the map and accessories.

 

The wall of heads is probably my favorite. The room opens up diagonally and this is the feature wall across from you. Bam! It’s fun, colorful and unique. 🙂 My teen has pointed out that hanging puppy heads are a little morbid, but I’m going to choose to ignore that minor fact.

 

Black and white throughout ties everything together. It’s repeated in the pillows, rugs, walls, teepee, and more.

 

Lulu, the dog, is not impressed. But, she coordinates with room!

 

So, we did it! An actual room for my little guy and teen girl to coexist in. What do you think? I would absolutely love to hear your comments!

 

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Rugs | Bookcases | Map | Baskets | Canvas storage bins | Play table | End table | Lamp

Animal heads | Hello sign | Pillows | Paint | Tree | Console table

Ceiling fan | Teepee | Storage ottoman | Light up star | Happy place artwork

 

If you’d like to see the progression of the room, you can revisit our progress in these posts:

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 1

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 2

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 3

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 4

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 5

You can also see the 200+ designers who completed their rooms this week. Stunning!

Do you ever see a picture that just stops you in your tracks? Grant K. Gibson did that to me.  After stumbling upon his perfect kids’ room photo on Pinterest, I had to see more. I visited his portfolio and what did I find? Perfection! Bright, fresh, clean and interesting rooms, each one better than the last.  Enjoy a few of my favorite images below. They really are stunning! All images via Grant K. Gibson

 

What do you think? Are you as inspired as I am? Comment below!

 

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