Moodboard: Simple + Mod

Simple + Mod moodboard / holly marie designs

Recently I teamed up with a local church to create a cohesive brand for a new gap year school that they will be starting this summer. Transition One is a year pause between high school and college for students to focus on successful Christian living through leadership, responsibility, and service. For this project we opted for an overall simplistic + modern look with the use of a lot of white space paired with a teal, navy, and orangey-coral color palette. Along with print collateral, I designed the layout of the website – which I will share in a few short weeks!!

Tiny Heirloom

Tiny Heirloom / Portland, OR Tiny Heirloom / The Team

Tell us a little bit about Tiny Heirloom and how it all started. Three years ago, Tyson, our CEO and his brother in law, Jason, COO, decided to start building tiny homes on a very small scale. About halfway through building one, they decided to make it into an actual business. From there, they began customizing the features to be more luxury based and create the feel of a real home in each one they created. Jason’s brother and now CFO, Zach, soon joined the team and all of their wives started contributing as to make this a family operation. As of last week, I joined the team, as Chief Administrative Officer, and we have a few other guys on the team as builders. We are all friends and have been for sometime and so this business is a fun way for us to live life together and grow something from the ground up.

Tiny Heirloom / tiny house Tiny Heirloom / tiny house Tiny Heirloom / tiny house Tiny Heirloom / tiny house Tiny Heirloom / tiny house

What makes your homes different?​​ Our homes are unique in the fact that we are creating luxury homes, not just tiny homes. We felt like we wanted to create a space that allowed people to minimize but still helped them feel like they were at home. Also, we feel like the heart behind our company is really important. We value caring for our clients and our homes as if they were family. So, we care for our clients by flying them out to see their homes, taking them to dinner and adding personal touches like anniversary care packages.

Where does your inspiration come from when working on a Tiny Heirloom home? For each of the houses, a lot of the inspiration comes from the wives of our builders. They would take ideas to them and get a lot of insight from their wives in which way to go. For our business, it comes from a desire to revolution the ‘American dream’. The mission of the company is to bring a high quality home but not in an excessive way. To provide comfort and the warmth of a home, while still living minimally.

Tiny Heirloom / tiny house Tiny Heirloom / tiny house Tiny Heirloom / tiny house Tiny Heirloom / tiny house Tiny Heirloom / tiny house

Tell us about some of your biggest achievements and challenges. Biggest achievement would be the large amount of attention and affirmation we have gotten after only launched four months ago. This company started out of a fun, family project and has resulted in greater response than we could have imagined. Our challenges would include being on the forefront of a new hero of home building. It is difficult working with banks and insurance. There isn’t a formula or particular ‘way’ to go about this, so it has been challenging figuring out which avenues to go down to support our clients the best we can.

How long does the whole process take from start to finish?​ The process takes about 4 months, sometimes shorter.

Tiny Heirloom / tiny house Tiny Heirloom / tiny house

Is there a custom base package + what does it include?​ Our base price at Heirloom consists of an 18’ unit that is over 8’ wide with solar, top-of-the-line appliances, home automation, and all of the finishes of a luxury custom home. During design, we create a unique floor plan based on your desires and needs accompanied by a 3D model to help give you that relative perspective of your future living space! We also will ship your unit to you anywhere in the Continental US for free! Also included is a trip to Portland to meet the Heirloom team, see your unit in production, eat at local restaurants and stay a few nights in a tiny home. After the delivery we send out custom gift baskets based on your interests and what’s local to Oregon! All this for only $65,000.

Tiny Heirloom / tiny house Tiny Heirloom / tiny house Tiny Heirloom / tiny house

Freelance Insights: Caitlin Ritchie

Freelance Insights: Caitlin Ritchie

So as promised, I have another installment of Freelance Insights to share with you today. This time around, Caitlin Ritchie, a fellow designer and blogger, approached me about being apart of this series. After taking a peek at her lovely site (which chalk full of simplicity + white space, two of my favorite things), I knew I would love nothing more than to feature her here and have her share her words of wisdom. Today, Caitlin is speaking on the importance of taking a break every now and again (which is what I’m currently doing), so I thought it was quite fitting…

“This year I am focusing on “being present” in life. As a freelancer that works from home I sometimes find it hard to keep my work time separate from my personal + family time. I talked a little about it here. Design doesn’t feel like work to me so it is VERY difficult for me to step away sometimes.

One thing I cannot stress enough is, don’t overwhelm yourself with work. Take the time to be present in your life and enjoy the little things. Freelancing requires a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to consume your life.  See what you can eliminate, or cut back in your work day. Are you putting too much of a workload on yourself? Maybe cut back on those blog posts. You don’t HAVE to post every day you know! I personally cut my posts back to three times a week (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday). This works for me, find what works for you. Just remember to “be present” and “turn off” every once in a while. It will benefit both your work and personal life greatly.”

At Home with Anna Smith

At Home with Anna Sundman / home tour At Home with Anna Sundman At Home with Anna Sundman

Talk about your style. My style has changed a lot in the past two years since I became a homeowner, and my current home is a reflection of that growth. I began with heavy, dark furniture (most of which were hand-me-downs and have slowly been replacing those pieces with mid- century finds. I love everything with an organic or handcrafted feel—especially Danish furniture, warm wood tones, and craft pottery. I want the rooms in my home to feel warm, relaxing, and casual, and the kid spaces to be whimsical and fun.

Do you have a favorite room in your home + why? Our living room is by far my favorite, for several reasons. It has the largest and only original window left in the house, with beautiful wooden panes. I also feel like this room is the closest reflection of my style…and that blue velvet couch? Pure awesome.

At Home with Anna Sundman At Home with Anna Sundman At Home with Anna Sundman

Where does your inspiration come from? Most of my inspiration comes from the spaces I see online and in magazines. I’ve learned design through imitation—like when painters practice their art by painting the Masters first. I think people hear the word “imitate” and cringe, but if you find a space you love, it helps to analyze why you love it and use those pieces or that color palette as starting points in your own home.

Tell us about some of your biggest achievements and challenges. Honestly, the biggest challenge I’ve faced in the past few years is switching careers and throwing myself into the design field without a degree in interior design. After I started Annabode I quickly realized I didn’t want to be a decorative arts historian, stuck in a museum for the rest of my life. I wanted to be out there, designing. But I had no experience other than my trial-and-error decorating of my own home, and didn’t think I could make it anywhere without going back to school. Luckily I have a very supportive fiancé who encouraged me to go for it, which brings me to… My greatest achievement: getting hired as an interior designer by the company I work for (, without that degree. I design homes for clients all over the country now, and can’t tell you how happy I am to finally be doing something I’m passionate about!

At Home with Anna Sundman At Home with Anna Sundman At Home with Anna Sundman At Home with Anna Sundman

Name 3 pieces that define you + your space. The three pieces that define my style and home would be my vintage mid-century dining table, the blue velvet sofa, and the mid-century slat bench. I’ll keep them forever!

Biggest splurge and biggest steal: Our biggest splurge would have to be our sofa, which is from West Elm. I waited three months for that baby to be delivered, only to discover that West Elm had cancelled my order and the original style was discontinued. I chose another in the same fabric, and since have come to love it more than the first. Technically it was too large for our space, but I was too distraught over that lost sofa to care! Our biggest steal would have to be the mirror that hangs over it. It came from a beautiful Art Deco vanity and was only $10 on Craigslist.

At Home with Anna Sundman At Home with Anna Sundman At Home with Anna Sundman At Home with Anna Sundman

What are some of your go-to places when it comes to shopping for your home? Craigslist, Goodwill, Ikea, West Elm, CB2, and Crate & Barrel are all great staples. But I really love supporting artists and crafters on Etsy whenever possible.

Do you have any DIY tips to share? Invest in the right tools! I’ve made so many things with the wrong ones and regretted it—picture me trying to cut straight lines with a jigsaw, or sanding an entire table by hand. It’s the worst.

At Home with Anna Sundman

Any advice? If I had to leave you with one piece of advice, it would be: add plants! Bringing greenery into your space is one of the most cost-effective ways to totally transform a room. And with succulents as popular as they are now, you don’t need a green thumb to keep them thriving (my plants survive in spite of, not because of, me). Snake plants, philodendrons, jade plants, and cacti all look amazing and basically take care of themselves.

Becoming a #GIRLBOSS: 04

Becoming a #GIRLBOSS: Lesson 04

As we move forward in my #GIRLBOSS series, I am SO happy to finally touch on a topic that really hits home. Finances. One of the things that has prevented me from freelancing full time is the money side of things. As we all know, business has it busy seasons and it has is lulls, that’s just how it goes. Things are great when you can barely keep your head above water because your workload is so full and you appreciate those downtimes when they come. But they can also be quite scary if you aren’t financially ready.

As I’ve mentioned before, Sophia paid close attention to every detail when it came to her business, because it really had bearing on how successful her company would be. As she stated in her book, Nasty Gal went from making $150,000 a year to $150,000 over lunch! It’s astonishing to read that Sophia built her company with zero debt. Credit cards, loans, and borrowing money can make you overwhelmed and buried in bills. So if you don’t have the money to spend on that new flat screen TV, then don’t. Taking the time to manage your money can really have a domino effect on how the rest of your life plays out. It’s important to not neglect the small things, because it may prevent bigger and better things from happening to you.

Although I may be a few years away from completely working for myself, this chapter has really helped me to see the importance of taking control of my finances in order to ensure a successful life. So far, what lesson best speaks to you and your creative life?

Wishlist 18: Geometric

wishlist 18: geometric

Wow, I can’t believe it’s February already! Pretty soon winter will have come + gone (with little to no complaint from me)! Since this time of the year has me hunkered down indoors, I’ve been really concentrating on our apartment and organization. I’ve been itching to get rid of a few older things from our closets, furniture that needs updating, and items that we really just don’t use anymore. As we do away with the old, that’s where the excitement of picking out new goods come into play. Above are a few fun, geometric pieces that I have had my eye on – I really enjoy simplicity with touches of character! You can shop all of the items I’ve picked out via the links below:

Becoming a #GIRLBOSS: 03

Becoming a #GIRLBOSS: Lesson 03

A few weeks ago I started this new mini-series as I made my way through Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS book. I tried to nail down my major “take-aways” from the book and thought I would share with you my thoughts how we can become more successful creatives and entrepreneurs. If you missed my last post in this series, I talked about being a dream chaser and how a “you don’t get what you don’t ask for” disposition can really, sometimes, play in your favor. Today’s tip is a little simpler than that, and I’ve spoke on the idea many times, but this just really solidifies it even more. When Sophia first started selling clothes on eBay, she treated her customers like they were her friends. She made her MySpace a friendly place and always was on top of responding to the comments she received. This was where she was able to gain feedback and really listen to what her customers wanted, which helped pave the path she took with her business.

Let’s get a little discussion going! If you’ve been reading along (or have already read) please share some of your thoughts on the book in the comments below, I’d love to hear what tidbits are helping shape your creative journey!


Creative Q+A: Shauna Haider

Creative Q+A: Shauna Haider / creative director of branch & co-founder of the blogcademy

Tell us a little bit about how We Are Branch came to be. As soon as I started my graphic design program in 2006, I began freelancing to bring in extra income. Over the next seven years, my list of clients continued to build while I worked at a variety of design studios, gaining as much real world experience as possible.

In 2013, I was at a crossroads — I couldn’t expand my freelance business any further because I was completely maxed out. I quit my agency job, launched Branch a few weeks later and haven’t looked back. Working 100% for myself has been some of the hardest work of my life but also the most rewarding and I get to work with people I have immense respect for…including my mom!

Shauna Haider / creative director of branch & co-founder of the blogcademy

Describe your design style. Modern with an edge. I like clean lines, pops of color and solutions that stand the test of time. I keep up with design trends because it’s important to stay informed but I’m always sitting with work before I turn it in, asking myself if it’s the best solution and if it feels balanced.

What are some of your main responsibilities at Branch + what does a typical day consist of? I’m the Creative Director so I’m always focusing on the big picture — how our processes work, how many clients we have the capacity for, what we want to take on more of, what we want less of. I also spend a lot of time in email and on calls, making sure our clients are taken care of. Those personal relationships are really important to me. When I’m not doing those things, I’m designing. I first set out to be a part of the design industry because I loved creating and I never want to lose that personal connection.

Shauna Haider / creative director of branch & co-founder of the blogcademy

What are you currently working on? A little bit of everything! I’m wrapping up the design of a digital course for my other business, The Blogcademy, a branding system for a princess, the design of a new skincare line, a bunch of websites for creatives, a few books…the list goes on. I welcome the mix because it keeps me on my toes, thinking about different solutions.

Talk about one of your most treasured projects. In 2007, I was in my second semester of my design program when an email came in during class. It was from a band signed to Virgin records, asking if I was available to design their album artwork. I was so distracted that my teacher called me out in class. The embarrassment quickly wore off when I read through the email more closely — the artwork would be distributed worldwide and the payment was the equivalent of my entire year of school.

I spent the next two weeks sitting on the floor of my bedroom, cutting and pasting the 12 panels of artwork together and somehow delivered it on time. At the time, I was very inexperienced with design when this job happened and it gave me a lot more confidence to work with larger clients.

Shauna Haider / creative director of branch & co-founder of the blogcademy

Is there a fellow creative that you look up to and why? I’m always chatting with my design peers and follow a lot of their blogs but beyond that, I try to look outside of the industry for inspiration. I’m a big fan of an eclectic mix of musicians including Marilyn Manson, George Michael, Steve Perry, Boy George….the list goes on.

Where do you pull inspiration from? Everywhere! I always carry a camera in my purse and snap photos every chance I get. I also flip through fashion magazines and focus in on unique colors and textures. Online, I like scrolling through Dribbble and Pinterest to keep up on trends.

Shauna Haider / creative director of branch & co-founder of the blogcademy

Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? That is such a big question! I’m trying to figure that out for myself right now…but overall, I’m pretty happy with my life. Anything else awesome that happens is the icing on top!

Lastly, any life advice? Deep down, you know what you were meant to do. Listen to yourself. Following what anyone else is doing will leave you unfulfilled. It’s hard stepping out and doing your own thing at first but the more effort you put into it, the more you’ll get out of the experience.

Freelance Insights: Breanna Rose

Freelance Insights: Breanna Rose

I am thrilled to share another round of Freelance Insights with you all today. If you are new to my blog, this column features fellow designers as they talk about some of their tips, lessons learned, and share short stories during their lives as freelancers. Breanna Rose, is the art director and graphic designer behind Rowan Made + the co-founder of Be Free, Lance workshops, and is probably no stranger to you. Along with a handful of other creatives who have been featured in this column, Bre and I also attend design school together at UW-Stevens Point. I knew once I started this column that I had to have her as guest because when it comes to freelance, she knows a thing or two! So here she is, sharing a story about a client that went up …and missing?!

“Last year, I landed a branding project that I was pretty psyched about. It was for a local catering company that had an awesome vision + aesthetic that was right up my alley. After saying “yes” (it really was a no brainer), we dove head first into the design process and came up with a few solid design concepts that everyone was excited about across the board. Everything appeared to be going smoothly; we had a primary logo, mark, color palette, and font system all in place and ready to go. But just before the last checkpoint, the client went missing. For two months, I sent out friendly reminder emails with the final invoice, hoping that I would get some sort of response. I ended up getting paid, three months later, without any sort of explanation as to what had happened, which was a major bummer given that everything had gone so well up until that point.

To this day, I’m still not sure what happened. Freelancing is funny like that … it throws you curveballs just when you’re not expecting it. Sometimes they’re wonderful and sometimes they’re not. But instead of getting down on myself, I decided to turn a negative situation into a positive one! I still really loved the branding that we had landed on and decided to build everything out into a full scale conceptual project. Using the pieces we had already created, I designed catering menus, business cards, stickers, and a few other fun things as well. And you know what? It’s one of my favorite projects to this date!

When I look back on this project, I don’t get mad anymore. There’s just no point. Sure, it may have been tough in the moment to deal with, but everything passes (even when it seems like it won’t) and solutions can be crafted. Overall, it was a great learning experience that ended up with a killer portfolio piece! And that’s something to be proud of. Definitely.”

Shop Stories: Forage Modern Workshop

Shop Stories: Forage Modern Workshop

Shop Name, Location, Type of Goods Sold: Forage Modern Workshop / Minneapolis, MN / Curated Goods for the Modern Lifestyle

Tell us a little bit about how Forage came to be. Owners Michael Smith and James Brown own a design + build contracting company called Brownsmith Restoration, specializing in period design and restoration. Through this work, they became interested in modern furniture design made by architects – which a lot came out of the Midwest. So they wanted to create a space where local designers and makers could showcase their work, because good modern design still continues to come out of the Midwest. They felt that people needed to pay more attention to these designers, but also introduce the Twin Cities and beyond to amazing designs from all over the US and the world. They convinced me to quit my job and help them start Forage. Which I think is now this idea workshop. Sure, we sell beautiful things, but we also work to get people to think twice about their stuff – who made it, where does it come from, how long will it last. We have this crazy idea that craftsmanship and beauty can make the world a better place.

Shop Stories: Forage Modern Workshop Shop Stories: Forage Modern Workshop

Talk about your style. People are harping about the Midwest these days, but we love the Midwest! And, we are defining what we call Midwest Modern through the goods in our store. Scandinavian design, with Navajo design, with industrial design, with some fine art. Sounds like the Midwest to me!

Do you have a favorite part of your shop + why? Yes. The building that we bought where Forage now exists used to be an old Carpenter’s Union Hall built in 1951. It has amazing modern lines, but it was filled with cubicles and bad wood paneled walls. We kept the bathrooms exactly how they were – which means the men’s room is about three times the size of the women’s. And, we had our friends at Aesthetic Apparatus make a sign to hang in both bathrooms that reads “Carpenter’s Local Union 1644. Bathroom. Circa 1987. Meticulously Preserved by Forage Modern Workshop. It’s hilarious and some people get it and most people don’t. I love it.

Where does your inspiration come from? Honestly, I’m mostly inspired by stories. The designers themselves. What they do on a daily basis and what inspires them.

Shop Stories: Forage Modern Workshop Shop Stories: Forage Modern Workshop

Tell us about some of your biggest achievements and challenges. Oh man, it’s hard to pick an achievement because I feel like every day there are new hurdles to jump over. When you’re doing anything creative and different, you’re constantly thinking about the next thing. Which I think is one of the biggest challenges. Keeping Forage true to what it is, while letting it morph into what it should become without just chasing trends. One of my goals is always to just be cool and not chase cool. Ok, but if I had to pick an achievement I’m really proud of, it’s probably hosting Martha Stewart’s Made American Made Minneapolis Meet-up event and getting a write up in Dwell in their “Shops we Love” feature.

Name 3 pieces that define you + your space. Muuto Nerd Chair, Pendleton Los Ojos Blanket, and Adam Gruetzmacher ceramic mugs.

Biggest splurge and biggest steal: Here’s the thing. I try really hard to carry pieces that I think are super attainable. So everything we bring in the store, we think is totally worth the investment. But if I had to choose – biggest splurge: Stephen Kenn Inheritance Collection sofa in Black wool and brass and biggest steal: Dylan Design’s Retronaut Lamp.

Shop Stories: Forage Modern Workshop Shop Stories: Forage Modern Workshop

What are some of your go-to places when it comes to shopping for your space? If I told you, I’d have to kill you.

Any advice? Cheesy as it sounds, when it comes to small business, always stay true to who you are. Take a step back and look at every piece, every product and analyze it. And, you can never play too much ping pong or eat too many donuts.

Shop Stories: Forage Modern Workshop