In this episode, Cara sits down with the Editor of Better Homes & Garden's DO IT YOURSELF Magazine, Brian Kramer. They dive into what's next for Modern Farmhouse Style and some design strategies for keeping it fresh. Brian shares a peak into the summer issue of Do it Yourself magazine and a preview of some of the on-trend projects you'll find inside. They also chat Furniture Flip Challenge and what Brian and his team are looking for when judging pieces + some insider tips for making your pieces stand out.

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in this episode:

✨ Brian's story & talent for balancing a hands-on approach and design inspiration when it comes to sharing stories and projects as an editor
✨ a sneak peak into the two new issues coming out april 30th — Farmhouse Do It Yourself and the Summer issue of Do It Yourself
✨ modern farmhouse style — uncovering the essence of the style and what's next for farmhouse
✨ design strategies for how to keep farmhouse feeling fresh through incorporating texture + Brian's color recommendations to explore
✨  Summer project trends and a first look at what you can find in the Do It Yourself Summer issue
✨ the increasingly important role magazines play in curating an experience of inspiration in a world full of inspo images

Furniture Flip Challenge:

✨  Brian's role as the judge of the Furniture Flip Challenge: what he and his team look for when choosing pieces
✨ The importance of storytelling, showcasing your process, and taking design risks with your furniture flip pieces
✨ Some insider tips for making your furniture pieces stick out to the judges for the challenge


chatting with...

With nearly 25 years publishing experience, Brian has written and edited books, magazines, and more, including dozens of projects for the Better Homes & Gardens brand. He's currently the Editor of Better Homes & Gardens Do It Yourself magazine, a quarterly magazine packed with decorating, remodeling, and gardening projects. He lives and works in Des Moines, IA with his partner Dennis and CoVID Labradoodle Archie.

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Instagram: @doityourselfmagazine // Do It Yourself Magazine

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...just in case you wanna read

*This transcript was auto-generated

Brian Kramer: [00:00:00] They look really purposeful and well thought out. That those are the pieces that, stick out to me. And yet they still find a way to be playful,  whether it's, you know, like a finished choice or the hardware choice or just  the littlest thing of, of painting the inside of the drawers, lime green, you know, on a piece that's very sophisticated, very subdued, very classy. I love design that surprises me. And I mean, that definitely makes the design memorable. 

Cara Newhart:  It's Cara  and I'm on a mission to help you find your style. Learn to tackle home design without intimidation and unlock the confidence to transform your home. On the show today, I'm sitting down with the senior editor of better homes and gardens. Do it yourself. Magazine, Brian Kramer. This conversation is amazing.

I know. I always say that I'm excited for each episode. If I wasn't excited, I wouldn't be airing it, but I think there's something really special about what Brian and I chat about today. Because he brings a unique level of insight into the conversation about finding inspiration and navigating trends to find your personal style as an editor.

That's literally what he does for a living is sift through all the noise to identify trends, identify special things that are interesting. And. Inspirational for people. And so I think getting to really hear his perspective could be a game changer for you. We're specifically talking about farmhouse style, which is really interesting because if you've listened to the podcast for any amount of time, you know, that farmhouse style is not my style.

I like to make a little noise every time I mentioned farmhouse, but we really dive into kind of the deeper level of farmhouse, not the word that gets thrown around and the. Tired feeling parts of the trend that are just kind of feeling repetitive, but we really dive deep into what the essence of farmhouse style is, how it's evolving, how to keep it fresh in your space.

If it's something that you love and how to incorporate parts of it into your space, if you don't like the whole style, but you can feel inspired by some of the specific elements or ideas. So I think it's a really good conversation. About how to take inspiration from style and use it in your own everyday life.

We also talk about the, do it yourself magazine, summer issue. That's coming out. Some of the trends you're seeing in terms of what projects they're including, and some of the things you can try out for summer. And finally, we dive into his role as the judge of the furniture flip challenge. He talks about his process with his team, for how they're going to pick the winner.

Some things to be mindful of, like sharing your story and your process along with your before and afters, and also kind of how the modern farmhouse style plays into the flipping category of this challenge. So if you're participating in this challenge along with us, be sure to listen to the end, because you're going to get a peek behind the curtain, into how he's picking the winners and what you need to do to potentially be chosen.

So let's dive into this conversation with Brian and I hope you leave feeling as energized and inspired as I did. .


Cara Newhart: [00:03:46] Welcome Brian.

Brian Kramer: [00:03:48] Thank you. It's great to be here.

Cara Newhart: [00:03:50] I'm so excited to have you. We have so many things to talk about and so much that the listeners can take away trend wise and just kind of knowing what's coming up for us this summer and through the issues of do it yourself magazine. So before we get into that, I really just want to dive into you.

And can we talk a little bit about your background? Have you always been. Have you been in, you know, a diy-er in your past, or have you been more on the design side? Kind of advising with tips?

Brian Kramer: [00:04:17] You know, I would say my background has. Has really been DIY, you know, my, my my mom was, is not particularly handy or creative, but elementary school teacher and a huge like supporter of like creative kids, you know, she always had an incredibly creative classroom, second, third graders, and that totally carried out into home, you know?

So there was always the paint supply cabinet, which was different than the sewing supply cabinet, which was different than the craft, because. Those are different products that you would need. so she, my sister and I, we always had more supplies than we could ever need and more activity books and inspiration, you know, project books.

But my dad, my dad has actual skills and has actual expertise. And when I was from the time that I was born, until I was in my early teens, they owned a carpet paint and wallpaper store.

Cara Newhart: [00:05:10] Okay.

Brian Kramer: [00:05:11] And so you know, it was the, it was the seventies in the eighties, it was called the color spectrum, which is, which is cool, but also like a terrible name because nobody knew what they could find it, the color by color.

But it was carpet, paint and wallpaper, and You know, so my dad was selling these things, but he was installing them and he would bring them home. He was a really good teacher. He was he's, he's very good at installation. So like  I can assist in installing flooring because he's very particular, I'm a very good painter because he was a stickler for that.

And people who have painted with me are like, What w w you're so precise and I'm like, I just barely passed the the ed Kramer education. And, you know,  because they owned the carpet paint paper store product was coming in. They were trying things. I remember, you know, in the mid eighties, my dad took a, a lesson, like a course on how to install carpet boarders.

In a room, you know? So it looks like a hotel and like, you know, like redid our living room. So it was like gray and purple with like a purple board.

Cara Newhart: [00:06:11] That's

Brian Kramer: [00:06:11] I mean, it was, it was the coolest living room on the block, but I mean, looking back on it, it was like, Oh my dad.

Cara Newhart: [00:06:18] Oh, that's so cool. I just, I hear so many parallels in my story, which just gets me excited. My mom teaches kindergarten and I describe her as Pinterest, as a person to people. And my dad was like a contractor and home builder. So I think having those two sides is a special kind of creativity that gets instilled with you.

Like the playful, fun, like exploration side, and then the more like trade, like technique side. So that's a really, really cool. Parallel that we both share.  

Brian Kramer: [00:06:45] agree with you. I mean, I talked to people who have all this idea and all this energy, but no, no sense of how to actually use material, how to hold a hammer. How, like, you know, like there are 99 cent paint brushes and there are $20 paint brushes. It doesn't matter. No, no, no. It totally matters for these three.

Right. You know, like, you know, buy a good paint brush. You will not regret it.

Cara Newhart: [00:07:06] So having that as your background, how did you kind of find your way into an editor role? It's always fascinating to me.

Brian Kramer: [00:07:12] Yeah. You know, so, I mean, of course I love projecting, but I would say that. Of of like everything and I've told people this and they always scratch their head and say, you are a strange, strange man. My favorite thing, like in elementary school and junior high and high school was always like book reports.

Cara Newhart: [00:07:32] I love that.

Brian Kramer: [00:07:32] I loved, I loved like getting a book that I knew nothing about and having to like. Cram everything, you know, figure this book out and then do do a report and say, here's, what's good. Here's, what's bad. Here's the character I liked, you know and try to sort of figure out the puzzle of a book and then present that in, you know, a paper or a one-minute speech or whatever.

And you know, I had several. Teachers along the line who, you know, would encourage very creative book reports, you know, like retell it as a comic book. And like, if, if, if your book were a catalog, what would you sell in it? You know? Like, and you're just, you know, like all these sort of You know, being inspired by stories and literature and that kind of thing.

So I mean, I went to college and wanted to want to, to teach wanted to, I wanted to make books also. So I was a book editor at first and that's still kind of my first love. But then I was, I was making books at Meredith corporation, which is in Des Moines, Iowa, and it's the home of better homes and gardens and many other home brands now, real simple.

And you know, Magnolia is part of our family now, too.

Cara Newhart: [00:08:37] didn't know that. That's cool.

Brian Kramer: [00:08:39] yeah. Yeah. It's, it is, it is quite a publishing Mecca here in the middle of the Midwest. So I came here to work on books, specifically home design books and home decorating, and also project books, how to books. Cause I wasn't afraid to, you know, from my background, people were like, Oh, do you have like a building trades background?

And I was like, no, I'm just not afraid to like, you know, ask people how to, how to rewire, you know you know, like. Yeah. And so I would, I would be working with editors and they'd be like, Oh, you know, I don't, I can't really write that because that's a plumbing thing. And, you know, I just want to talk about the color of the cabinets. I was like, Oh, but actually, like it's important that they didn't have to work with a plumber because they kept the sink in the same spot. And that's why the design is the way it is. So I think we need to mention that maybe like, how did you know that? And I'm like, how did you not.

Cara Newhart: [00:09:31] Right, right.

Brian Kramer: [00:09:32] Yeah. And then you start realizing, Oh, like kind of my background and my interests.

You know,  it does connect to a certain type of storytelling, a certain type of writing and editing. And  at Meredith luckily, thankfully there is a lot of hands-on decorating home maintenance, home repair, home improvement, DIY, whatever, you know, there's like a lot of things under that DIY umbrella in the better homes and gardens brand 

Cara Newhart: [00:10:00] Well, that is so cool. I'm just kind of hearing that you are kind of artfully balancing this side of like function and practical tips and strategies with the design side. And I think to be able to do that.

Artfully and help people see kind of both sides of the puzzle. It's something, it takes a lot of skill and a lot of intention in how you like analyze things. So that's really beautiful. And that's just kind of what first impressions is coming across to me as you tell your story. So that makes me excited because I think that's something I want it in part to listeners as well to kind of consider both sides.


Brian Kramer: [00:10:32] Yeah. Well, thank you. That's so nice.

Cara Newhart: [00:10:35] I know that with better homes and gardens do it yourself. You have two new issues that are going on sale at the end of April.

So I think it'd be fun to kind of unpack these a little bit and maybe get a preview for some of the topics and trends that are happening going into summer. But the first issue is the farmhouse do it yourself issue. So this is like kind of what we're trying to. Embody with this category of the furniture flip.

And I think farmhouse can mean a lot of things. So can we first just start by breaking down some of the staple elements of this style?

Brian Kramer: [00:11:09] Oh, sure. So yeah, I mean, farmhouse, I think farmhouse five years ago, people had, you know, one image in their mind when you said farmhouse. And I think that it has become. Very broad now. And you know, of course there is modern farmhouse. There is vintage farmhouse. There is classic farmhouse, there's chippy, flea market farmhouse, you know there's sort of like a, almost like a. Oh, I don't know. It's almost like a European farmhouse. That's very pastel-ey and sweet. It's it's, it's almost like a cute cottagey it's

Cara Newhart: [00:11:43] Yeah. Right,

Brian Kramer: [00:11:44] Yeah, yeah. Kind of that English country garden. It's still a farm house now.

Cara Newhart: [00:11:49] Right, right,

Brian Kramer: [00:11:50] Yeah. So, I mean, I think I'm always interested in labels.

But at the same point, I also don't care because it's because clearly there's, there's something in this world of farmhouse that's really resonating with people and it's yeah. I mean, I think, I mean, we say we use this word a lot and I always feel like I need to qualify before I say it, but I mean, there is a, an authenticity.

It's a farmhouse, you know, because you've got your vintage, you've got your antique, you've got your hand me down. You're repurposed. But even in like the new things, there's a certain authenticity to those, you know, the, the ceramic, you know, I mean, even when you go to target and you're in the Magnolia hearth and home section and you hold one of their mugs, There is isn't integrity to that.

You know, like you're, you're in target and it's a $5 mug, but like, it's like, Oh, this feels like it was crafted. You know, like this isn't, this, isn't a $1 mug and this is, this is a, this is a keeper mug,  and of course it's a mass product, but it still has that authentic feel. And golly, I think, you know who hasn't needed that in the last year. And I think those items that we already had around us that had sort of that history, that weight to them you know, I mean, I'm my mug right here. This is not a farmhouse mug, but it has a a finish on it that is like this matte finish. And I like, this has been my go-to mug, all, all quarantine, all COVID season, you know?

Cause it's just, it's like, it's just like, this is. This is real, like it's just, there's a feeling when I have this, this particular mug. So, so yeah we were putting together our farmhouse DIY issue. We really wanted to make farmhouse as doable as possible for as many people as possible.  Modern farmhouse in a certain.

Elevated design sense is actually very expensive to do. I mean, there are amazing designers, amazing craftsmen who are making, you know, $10,000 chairs, you know, that like go into this style and you have, you have, you know, designers that are working at a thousand dollars an hour, designing a modern farmhouse kitchen which is inspiring and fun and blah, blah, blah.

But you know, there's. There's so few people that can actually do that can actually live that can actually have that. So we wanted it to do farmhouse in a way that was, that was really doable. And, and I feel like we did a good job. We put together this, this will be our first farmhouse DIY. So Meredith has modern farmhouse style.

We have a magazine, we do called farmhouse at heart. That's more like, you know, cooking in a farmhouse style and making candles and, you know, kind of that earthy, healthy kind of stuff. But this is, this is projects that have. That farmhouse feel to them. I'm sorry. My clock is running right now.

Cara Newhart: [00:14:54] love that. It made me really jealous. I was like, Oh, I don't have a clock. I have a phone. Like, I want a clock

Brian Kramer: [00:15:00] This is a really nice clock. I mean, so I was, you know, you and I were talking and I was saying, you know, we're pretty modern, eclectic, you know, but this particular clock is, is my partners. It was his father's and it was gifted to him. by Like a neighbor it's so it's, it's like 120 year olds mantle clock.

And it we couldn't get it to keep time. Like it was, it was constantly losing about five minutes a day, which is. You know, it's almost a worthless clock at

Cara Newhart: [00:15:26] Right, right.

Brian Kramer: [00:15:26] but it was, you had such a nice chime that we kept doing it, but like, you have to, like, we took it to the clock shop and they like, you know, did an autopsy on it. They were like, give us two weeks and we came back and it's it, it loses like a minute a week now.

Cara Newhart: [00:15:41] Oh man. So efficient. That's amazing.

Brian Kramer: [00:15:43] Yeah. And it has, it has this, this weird little skeleton key and you have to you, you wind it, you have to stop it, wind it, and then you have to rock it. To get it going almost like you're rocking like a, like a cradle and then you put it on the shelf and you make sure that the pendulum started going again.

Cara Newhart: [00:15:59] Huh.

Brian Kramer: [00:16:01] it's anyway, authenticity

Cara Newhart: [00:16:03] Right. Well, in, in antique pieces, I think in a world where anything can arrive on your doorstep in two days from, you know, a replica, having those touches of something that's old and interesting, I think is becoming more, I don't know, people are like seeking it out more, at least from what I've seen.

But do you think that's part of the draw of farmhouse? Just like the storytelling through history and the vintage side.

Brian Kramer: [00:16:29] Yeah. I think vintage, I think it's hand me downs. It's things that it's it's heirlooms. And it's, it's trying to find a way to. Incorporate those into your life. You know, and do it yourself farmhouse, we would tell you it's so okay. To do something different with that thing from grandma, you know maybe you're never going to, you know, need a farmhouse, like a true farmhouse table.

That's, you know, 14 feet long. It's okay. To cut it down into two desks. You know, like if that's, if you really need these desks we're going to show you the best way to do that. And, you know, so you can confidently sort of celebrate the integrity of it, but also adapt it to what you really need because farmhouse, when you go back to it, it's, it's about resourcefulness.

I mean, you know, the, the, the designs, those, those classic. Colonial designs, those classic rustic designs. They are about like serving the moment that you're in. I mean, like they, they, there's a beauty to them that we look at them now, but it served a function for them. In the time. So, so yeah, there's, there's definitely that in this issue, we have a really good story on reclaimed wood. Because, I mean,  every farmhouse project, every chip and Jo remodel has of course you know, an accent wall with reclaimed wood. Great project. But we also wanted to not do that at all in this issue because there's a hundred places you can go to learn how to do that.

But sometimes people have one reclaimed board that's just really pretty, has really interesting paint or grain, or, you know, this, this was the board that was in my, my grandparents' garage. You know, like it's a hundred year old board and my grandmother. Humble wash on it in the winter time, you know, like, like this is like, this is an important board to me and what can I do with like one reclaimed old Oak board, you know?

Or, or I I've found all these kind of. Old pallets or old wine boxes. What can I do with that? Cause it's, that's kinda crappy wood in a way, but sometimes it takes one really beautiful patina from time. And so like what can I do with that? And still get a project, something, something substantial and meaningful. Out of  something that's, a lot of people would consider trash.  And I mean like truly like getting all the boards from a bar and, or, you know, turn of the century farmhouse floor, like that's, that is, that takes luck. And that takes money now to, to get,

Cara Newhart: [00:19:03] Definitely.

Brian Kramer: [00:19:04] to get that. So we wanted to focus on quantities of wood and types of wood that, you know, you're looking at spending.

40 to $100 on and getting an amazing piece of furniture out of as opposed to spending thousands of dollars potentially on reclaimed wood. So that's kind of the DIY take of it. 

Cara Newhart: [00:19:22] What's so cool about that is I think with the DIY angle, you have such a unique opportunity versus like, you know, a design like modern farmhouse. Here's the look, here's the elements, like put it in your space, but this angle is more of a like permission slip to. Take the spirit of farmhouse and see like what resonates with you in terms of the pieces that have history or the different elements and create what that means for your own space. So that's such a better. I dunno for, at least for me in teaching my listeners and trying to, you know, take them on this journey of like finding our style and creating that for ourself in our spaces.

That's such a more approachable way to navigate farmhouse, especially for the people that have maybe been turned off by it. I know it's a word that's been thrown around for the past five years, a little heavily, because everyone's trying to capitalize on the trend. Obviously it's, you know, a big trend making waves and it's been, it's been here.

So I think that's a really good. A really good approach for people to be able to, you know, navigate that and have permission to, you know, grandma's desk. Doesn't have to look the same as it did when it was in her house. We can have permission to use that piece in a way that's like still, there's a story, there's the memory.

But now we've put our own own take on it as well. So that's that made me really excited.

Brian Kramer: [00:20:40] Yeah, absolutely. You know you and I were talking off Mike about this and neither of us are really farmhouse or modern farmhouse people. You know, like we were designed people, we know, we know the language, we know the players in this, but like in our own personal lives, it's not, it's not really necessarily our wheelhouse, our go-to, But   like you say, there are things about the style that are really lovable and that are really inspirational.

And, and I hope in this issue really doable for people, you know, not that they have to save up for it because I think that. You know, DIY is about like doing it now, doing it this weekend. It's it's, you know, it's not about putting it off. It might be putting off your, you know, your a hundred thousand dollar kitchen remodel, but it is definitely like, can you spend $2,000 this month on the kitchen?

You know, are you ready to do it? Here's here's, here's how much better we can make your kitchen for $2,000, you know? And and some sweat equity that's that's, that's always been the. The energy behind do it yourself, which as is a quarterly publication that, you know, better homes and gardens has put out for.

 Put it out as a quarterly for 28 years. But like, like better homes and gardens, like the first issue of better homes and gardens had. An illustrated DIY in it of how to fix a leaky faucet

Cara Newhart: [00:22:09] Oh my

Brian Kramer: [00:22:09] using like a rubber gasket, like  it wasn't even a rubber gasket.

Like you got a piece of rubber.

Cara Newhart: [00:22:15] Huh. Like straight up, got your own rubber and created a gas like DIY gasket to fix the

Brian Kramer: [00:22:20] it in there and it showed how to do it. And you know, like you're, you're looking at and you're like, I think I could do it even though this is like plumbing. I mean, this is the first issue. So this is 1924, 1924 was the first issue I might be wrong. It might be 1922 where we're getting really close to a hundred years now of better homes and gardens, but the very first issue.

Was had had DIY projects in it. And the very first special issue that they did 54 years ago, like just on a standalone topic. Well, they actually, they did food, but the very first home standalone issue that they did. Was was DIY projects. It was, it was like 385 DIY projects. it sold for like 69 cents. Yeah. Yeah.

Cara Newhart: [00:23:06] so fascinating.

Brian Kramer: [00:23:08] Yeah, it was crazy successful. And they've, they've always, always You know, just whether it's, whether it's DIY decorating, whether it's choosing it yourself, whether it's, putting your own sweat equity into it, whether it's maintaining it yourself, like they've always tried to empower people, women first and foremost.

I mean, you know, better homes and gardens is a family brand, but it is that we always talk about what does she need? You know, what does you know, what is she doing now? What is she wanting? Realizing, of course all the implications of, of doing that because you know, not everybody is going to go by the he / she binary

Cara Newhart: [00:23:51] Definitely. Definitely. It's more nuanced.

Brian Kramer: [00:23:53] a lots of male readers.

Cara Newhart: [00:23:55] Definitely.

Brian Kramer: [00:23:56] yes.   I mean the, the brand has always been about you can do this.

Cara Newhart: [00:24:01] That's beautiful that there's such a rich history of that intention kind of being there from the very beginning. And having that evolve through, you know, as things change there's new opportunities for special additions or new issues. So is this farmhouse, is this like a one-time issue or is this going to be an ongoing.

Until the trend is dead. If it ever, if it ever will be, I don't think trends ever really die.

Brian Kramer: [00:24:24] Yes. I would say that my boss is going to say, we're going to go with this until we can't go anymore. This is the premier issue of farmhouse, DIY. We have high hopes for it. We're going to see how it goes. , the group that I'm in a special interest publication group, we have the opportunity to move a little more quickly and.

And as you say, dedicate to something that we're seeing out in the marketplace. And so this farmhouse thing started for us about five years ago is like, people are saying the word farmhouse a lot. Let's just put out an issue, call it, call it farmhouse style and see how it does it did amazingly. Well. We now do three issues a year of modern formal style.

We do this farmhouse at heart. We do, we do country. Country home magazine four times a year, which has a definite overlap with that too. So 

Cara Newhart: [00:25:12] yeah, well, one of the things that's so cool is you are in the position of expertise when it comes through sifting through all kinds of inspiration, to really curate and, and find, you know, important pieces of something. So do you have maybe tips for just kind of the everyday, everyday girl who's maybe, maybe she went all out with chippy paint, maybe she really embraced farmhouse and is kind of feeling tired of it and just wants a fresher.

Take on it. Just some tips for keeping it kind of fresh and interesting.

Brian Kramer: [00:25:44] Right, right.  That was one of the challenges of, of working on farmhouse. DIY was. People know this style, people have their impressions on it. They have their, their, their looks that they follow their, their influencers, bloggers, whatever you want to call them, who is sort of like, Oh, they like that's, that's my thing.

But . I mean, we, we could be getting towards the end of the height of this popularity, but it could go on, I think, I think that it does go on if we allow it to, to evolve a little bit, allow it there to be more personality. So we're not just all repeating, you know, shiplap walls. So, so yeah, I mean, I would say One thing I love about farmhouse is it's gotten people to have a new appreciation of neutrals.

Okay. So it's not just that there's one white, but there's a range of whites and actually white and off white and cream and wheat and khaki, and can actually work together really beautifully. Like you don't have to have one. I mean, You know, like, like, yes, there's a beauty and finding this is my white and I'm using it, but you can mix some of those neutrals into this really lovely, flexible sort of world.

I love that. can turn into a snooze if that's all you

Cara Newhart: [00:27:03] Yeah. Oh yeah,

Brian Kramer: [00:27:04] Yeah. So, so I, and this issue is doing this is encouraging people to find interesting, meaningful ways to inject like true color. Into the mix because a lot of farmhouse style is pretty much neutral. Gray, maybe a little pop of a sagey green, you know,

Cara Newhart: [00:27:25] Very muted green. Yeah.

Brian Kramer: [00:27:27] Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I got Navy blue. It's so crazy. So, you know, we have a whole story about exploring, you know, the rest of the color wheel and what is. What is, is there a modern farmhouse orange? I mean, you know, what there kind of is, it's kind of a terracotta

Cara Newhart: [00:27:49] Huh?

Brian Kramer: [00:27:49] what we say anyway. Which I don't know about you, but I, I love terracotta as an actual material.

The terracotta, I love terracotta sculpture. I love that. I mean, clearly Rustoleum loves terracotta. They just came out with her kind of spray paint. So you can, you know, you've taken object and spray it, and it has that terracotta texture that, that unique. Orangy red Brown. I mean, there's

Cara Newhart: [00:28:16] depths.

Brian Kramer: [00:28:17] Yeah. Yeah. So I think, you know, bringing terracotta in as, as your orange in, in the, in the purples, I mean, why can't you have that, that eggplant purple that Abra gene, you know, just, just one piece that is. Almost like bottomless purple, you know? And so we have have that, you know, where it's, it's a neutral room, but the sofa is averaging velvet, you know, and it's just like, Oh, wow.

Like there's suddenly so much personality in this room. Cause that's so cool. So, you know, it's, and, and of course, in, in blue, of course, Navy isn't around, but there's, there's that, that lovely peacock blue, that's got a lot of green in it. There's kind of I mean, it's kind of that classic country blue that I actually am ashamed to say that I like, again, it's just kind of mid range blue.

Cara Newhart: [00:29:10] blue it's just like something about it. So classic. You

Brian Kramer: [00:29:13] yeah. I mean, I like it with a little more gray in it. Yeah, a little more muted, but like, you know, how to, how to do that and work those things in. I think, I think like a mustardy gold is a great way to get some color into a farmhouse interior. So, so color being part of it. Another big thing that we're really trying to encourage people to do is to get, to get a range of texture. Into their, into their homes, because I would say the modern farmhouse look is maybe rustic wood, but then a lot of white paint or whitewash. But yeah, but like w how can we get more natural texture in, I mean, we love macrame and knits, and we love the raffia and rope and, you know, cycle and all of those.

And how do you, and. You know, I think there was a time where you were like, well, this room is all done in cycle, you know, and that's kind of the natural fiber that's here. And I, I, I just, I want it to be looser for people and let them kind of put different textures together. I mean, I love, I love just chunky yarn, you know, I mean, how great is just a, a scheme of chunky yarn that just,  And, and they're all different and like, what can you make with, what can you make with a skin of chunky yarn that'll really bring texture and interest to that farmhouse style.

And truthfully, like you can do, you can do a lot with a little texture in, in a farm health room, you know? 

Cara Newhart: [00:30:47] If you're scared to use color, you can kind of go the more texture route and stay with that neutral palette and bring in some more Brown, some different wood versus just kind of your, whatever you might have if it's like a dough bowl or.

Some of the more classic farmhouse pieces, but color, I think is fascinating because if you are feeling tired of your space, you went all in on the white farmhouse palette. You can really leverage that as a canvas and just start with those muted tones. If you're scared of color, don't go for the bright kindergarten Hughes, go for the muted, subtle things that are expressive.

And that is such a good way to change it up. I feel like that's going to be very helpful. It seems so simple, but very helpful for some people because

Brian Kramer: [00:31:25] Yeah. I, you know, people just, yeah, they just need to see it, you know, and, and it's, it's, it's, I'm not seeing a ton of it in Pinterest, Instagram land yet. Well, I think it's coming. I know that when I do see it, it catches my eye and I spend longer time looking at that. Then, then another pretty white and cream kitchen with butcher block, you know, like it's, when I see that eggplant piece in the mix, when I see that, you know, that peacock blue, you know, door, then I'm just like, Oh

Cara Newhart: [00:32:01] new. different. Yeah. I like that. Well, shifting gears a little bit. There's another issue coming out. That is the summer. Issue. So this is all about kind of like the outdoor living and we have so much more space to do projects cause it's warm. So this is like obviously a time to take on, you know, your yard take on messier projects that you can hose your driveway down after.

But what are some of like the most exciting topics you're covering in this issue?

Brian Kramer: [00:32:28] Yeah. So, so April 30th is a big day for me. We've got the, you know, as you said, we've got the farmhouse DIY, but then we also have. Do it yourself summer, that comes out that same day. New stands everywhere. And also you can, you can order just a single issues at , which is very cool.

If you can't get to a news stand or you're not a subscriber, you can subscribe at You can also get single issues and you can get digital issues. If that's your

Cara Newhart: [00:32:55] Oh, that's so cool.

Brian Kramer: [00:32:57] But in the DIY, people actually do love to have the physical thing, because we have plans. We have steps, we've held twos, we have material lists.

And even though we're on our phones, Kali, it's nice to have that. Here are the five steps I have to do. Here are the five things I have to buy. You know, it's almost like a, I'm very, I love the satisfaction of a checklist. I mean, I mean, I have a list app on my phone, which like, but God, I still like a list.


Cara Newhart: [00:33:30] Yeah.

Brian Kramer: [00:33:30] yes, summer, summer DIY I've always love our summer issue. It always come up actually fairly early. It always comes out to the end of April which, and we're working on it, you know, in the middle of winter.

Cara Newhart: [00:33:41] so that feels weird sometimes. Yeah.

Brian Kramer: [00:33:43] Totally totally weird. And usually all the outdoor stuff was shot the previous summer. So you're like looking back, but looking forward and it's cold outside and you're like,

Cara Newhart: [00:33:54] Very confusing emotionally. Yeah.

Brian Kramer: [00:33:56] Yeah, you're just kind of all over the place, you know, like you're getting ready for Christmas and like, thinking about starting seeds.

Yeah. I mean, outdoors.  This is the time that suddenly. You can go outdoors and you want to go and the outdoors wants you to come out. And, you know, I just, I love that time from April may, even into early June where you just, you just want to do everything outdoors, you know, like even if it's an indoor project, you're like, well, I can do that

Cara Newhart: [00:34:25] Outside.

Brian Kramer: [00:34:27] I can do that on the driveway. And like you said, I can hose it down at the end. That's easier than, you know, setting up a drop cloth in my dining room and trying to do that. So yeah, in this issue, we are, we're doing all sorts of things outdoors. We're building some amazing outdoor furniture. I love outdoor furniture Because you can do something very small, like an end table, like a plant stand, you can do a plant stand in a couple of hours.

You know, and I mean, I have I remember making a plant stand in junior high and my mom still has it, you know, and it's been outside and it's weathered kinda gnarly, but it's kind of cool actually.

Cara Newhart: [00:35:04] is. Yeah. That's so cool.

Brian Kramer: [00:35:06] It kind of like came around to being cool again. So, so,  we're, we've got outdoor containers, outdoor planters that are just super fun for like curb appeal, sidewalk appeal, but also great like on attacker patio in the back.

So love that love outdoor furniture. And we've got a range of things from some end tables and coffee tables with with concrete tops, which are super cool. 

Cara Newhart: [00:35:30] Those right now.

Brian Kramer: [00:35:31] know, and we have one where you use the inexpensive you use it's a pan that you put under a, a water heater to drain it.

Cara Newhart: [00:35:41] Huh. Like the rounds aluminum one.

Brian Kramer: [00:35:44] Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Like the drainage pan. I they're, they're like $20. But we're, so we make the top for the coffee table out of one of those.

Cara Newhart: [00:35:53] Ooh,

Brian Kramer: [00:35:54] Yeah. And it's yeah, and it's, it's like a lightweight concrete, but it's reinforced. And then we build this really cool modern Four legged frame out of four by four fence post.

So like these are items that are like seriously at every home center, every hardware store and a four by four fence post is, especially if you get it in Cedar or pressure treated. But I like, I like Cedar, it's a little more natural and it,  you don't even have to finish it.

You can let it, let it silver at the end of it. But it's a great material to work with. So, so we do some tables. We do these really cool armchairs out of you know, four by four. We do a lot as I was texture, we do a lot of rope which is so fun, like decorating with ropes. So not, not like macrame, not knots, but just like the texture and.

The feel of rope and covering things with rope and wrapping things in rope, we do a headboard out of rope and different planters cause it's summer out of rope and we do a whole tabletop with different gauges of rope, but just, you know, we tried to not have it be totally like, Oh my God, everything on this table top is roped. touches of rope in this, but there's still lots of glass and linens to go with it. So, you know, if you have just an hour and a couple of yards of twine, like you can do this or you can, you can cause really nice. Rope is kind of expensive. You can do that and do more of a, a wrapped table. We have, Oh, we, we do some hardware out of rope.

That's really fun. Really summery. So loved that loved the rope story.

Cara Newhart: [00:37:29] Yeah. I'm really excited for that.

Brian Kramer: [00:37:32] Yeah, it was, it was really fun. We also had somebody who did, they did a tile. We wanted them to just go to w we didn't want like designer tile sources. We wanted them to be tile sources that were available to everyone. So home center, but of course, like Wayfair, overstock, where you can find cool stuff.

Unfortunately so much tile that you see on Instagram is very special, you know, it's like higher order. 

Cara Newhart: [00:37:57] Discontinued all over the place. I'm always finding

Brian Kramer: [00:38:00] yeah. Yeah.

Cara Newhart: [00:38:01] Yeah.

Brian Kramer: [00:38:01] You know, or the lead time on it is three months because there's one place that makes it in Brazil and you also have to get it through customs and your kitchen's going to be like $8,000. This is crazy. So we wanted to focus on cool tile. That's available to everyone, but then. What to do with tile besides a backsplash, besides a floor.

So, you know, we're making, we're doing the inside of a bookcase. We're making planters out of tile. Cause it's summer, we're doing some trays out of tile. We did a headboard at a penny tile. Which was, was an interesting challenge. We, we took apart some really pretty glass tile and made a lamp out of the individual pieces of the tile, you know?

So it's yeah. So we're indoors, we're outdoors, we're we're growing things and we're trying to just always have a fresh look on those materials that you think, you know, like tile or rope, but just like, Hey. There's there's something

Cara Newhart: [00:39:04] about

Brian Kramer: [00:39:05] can do with that.

Cara Newhart: [00:39:06] I liked that so much. And that to me is just some of the really big value of the magazine is like on Pinterest. You kind of see the same things over and over again. So I think for a lot of the everyday, everyday girls who are, you know, on Pinterest to find trends like it's beautiful, but to really dive deep into, okay, what if you did this?

And what if you totally flipped? The whole game and do it this way. And so to have that creativity modeled for you, not only can you like have a project that you can take and you can do, and you can feel guided, but you can also just see that working and then bring that into your own projects and that level of like creativity and exploration.

So that's really exciting. I'm, I'm hoping everyone's getting pumped up for summer and is like excited for this issue and to be able to see what's in it. So,

Brian Kramer: [00:39:51] Yeah, I think that's really, I think that's really well said. I mean that, you know, because there is that question as, as people making a paper magazine, something that's been around for a format that's been around forever. Well, not forever 150 years, but you know, but like, like why do we need magazines anymore?

We've got Pinterest. We've got Instagram. I think, I think that the magazine does  need to kind of reflect, but it does  need to push, you know, it doesn't need to inspire. It does need to, to show you how to do it better than what you're finding everywhere and how to do it. Just different enough. You know, I mean, it doesn't make sense to go totally crazy.

I mean, like

Cara Newhart: [00:40:32] huh. Like one 80. Yeah,

Brian Kramer: [00:40:33] Yeah. You got to keep it in reality. Like, you know, people still would need to like actually want to have an outdoor plant or you could even be like, that's something that people actually want, but you know, ours is a different way to do it. Like you, you couldn't, we we've had some outlandish ideas that, you know, like are fun, but like, yeah.

 I mean, yes, you could do a dining table that hangs from the ceiling and all the swings are like, all the seats are swings, but like

Cara Newhart: [00:41:03] How are you going to drink

Brian Kramer: [00:41:04] that for? Right? Yeah. It's going to be a mess.

Cara Newhart: [00:41:07] Like other challenges there? Yeah. No, but that's really cool. Important. Cause I think when I do, like, when I do like design strategies with clients, I tell them to like get magazines and cut things out and a lot of them are like that's 

so old school and I'm like, look, what you're getting with Pinterest is an algorithm telling you what's good. What you're getting with a magazine. Is a team of people who have experience doing this and seeing trends and sifting through all the inspo to really curate an experience and also like specific inspiration that is unique.

And so I think there's a place for both, and it's easy to be like screen versus paper, but it's way deeper than that. So, yeah. Huge fan. I know, right. Literally the same page.   let's dive a little bit into furniture flip, you are our judge for the second season of the furniture flip challenge.

Can we talk about maybe just some trends that are catching your eye when you're looking at specifically people flipping furniture.

Brian Kramer: [00:42:11] Well, I do have to say that I will be judging this round this season with the art director of do it yourself magazine, Emily Butterworth. So I had to help her on the, on the first season our associate editor, Natalie Dayton, and this this'll be Emily and Emily. And I love our magazine and we love do it yourself.

And we love we love, we love Pinterest and Instagram too much

Cara Newhart: [00:42:34] Yes. Yes.

Brian Kramer: [00:42:35] sending one another. Hey, did you see this person? Did you see this project? Oh my God, can you believe she did this with her spice rack? You know, which is kind of crazy, you know, that we care that much about, you know, what somebody is doing with like, you know, the door trim.

Cara Newhart: [00:42:51] Yeah. Yeah, but you have to be invested. Yes, you do.

Brian Kramer: [00:42:55] Yeah. Where, how did she get that idea? So, so yeah, we are really excited to do the second season. The first season was so much fun and was such a surprise, you know, the, the range of ideas. You know, I mean, I thought that it was going to be a lot of people just finding a piece of furniture to flea market and covering it with chalk paint which is a great weekend project.

No, no shade to that. Like I have done it and I recommend people do it. amazing product, flea markets, so much fun.

But you know, these people were the last time  they were turning furniture on its side. They were, they were ripping out the drawers and putting on doors and they were, you know adding lights to things that didn't have them.

And, and it was all looking really cool. Like it wasn't like silly garish kind of things. It was things that you actually want to have in your house. I was, I was impressed with the number of things that like, Oh, I would totally have that in my dining room like that.

Cara Newhart: [00:43:55] I would put that in my house.

Brian Kramer: [00:43:57] Yeah. Yeah. You know, I, I have The the first like six trading spaces books back in the early two thousands that came out, I was the editor on those books

Cara Newhart: [00:44:08] Oh, wow.

Brian Kramer: [00:44:09] they were, it was so fun to interact with that team.

And that was such an exciting moment for kind of DIY kind of really hitting that kind of fun, playful mainstream and all these sort of people were DIY and who had never done it because I saw it on trading spaces. But some of the trading spaces stuff was like not livable. I mean, it

Cara Newhart: [00:44:27] Right,

Brian Kramer: [00:44:27] plastic flowers on walls, which were kind of stunning in a photo shoot kind of way, but like, you can't live in a bathroom with.

Cara Newhart: [00:44:35] that, like.

Brian Kramer: [00:44:36] A thousand sold flowers, like that's nasty. But I was so impressed by the practicality of it. And I think, you know, so you were saying trends you know, I, I love seeing, and I feel like the stuff that is catching my attention the most is the, the sort of projects that. That are livable. You know, that really look like something that I would use.

I would touch. I would sit at that desk. I wouldn't be afraid to store things in there and slam the door, or even, you know, as I was cleaning up the room, you know, but they look, they look hearty, they look substantial. They look really purposeful and well thought out. That those are the pieces that, that stick out to me.

And yet they still find a way to be playful, you know, like get a little twist of the play in there. Whether it's, you know, like a finished choice or the hardware choice or just  the littlest thing of, of painting the inside of the drawers, lime green, you know, on a piece that's very sophisticated, very subdued, very classy.

But you know that little moment of like you open up your sock drawer and it's lime green inside,

Cara Newhart: [00:45:46] Like a surprise. Yeah,

Brian Kramer: [00:45:47] I mean, that's, that's just fun. And I love design that surprises me. And I mean, that definitely makes the design memorable. So in the context of like judging a contest, you know, Emily, Natalie in our last time and Emily and at this time, I'm sure it will be.

And what about the lime green sock drawer? You know, like, moves like something that is so. Yeah, it really bumps you up in our memory and you know, that's, those are going to be the ones that we sort of identify as our favorites. 

Cara Newhart: [00:46:15] I liked what you said about like using it because that's a specific challenge you face with furniture, I think is a DIY or it's definitely easy to do an accent wall or change a light fixture, but something that's going to be in your space to be using that extra thought to, you know, it's not just a pretty photo.

It's kind of a deeper layer of functional and expressive, I think really? But yeah, what's what is your process like? That just would be so hard. There's so many entries. How do you like sift through things? 

Brian Kramer: [00:46:41] Well, you know, this is one thing that Emily and I and other folks at Meredith and you know, that we do do, I mean, we truly do to make our magazine Once a week, we get on Wednesdays at 9:00 AM and we look, we call it a slide show because back in the day, People actually submitted like slides of their projects.

Cara Newhart: [00:47:00] That's so funny.

Brian Kramer: [00:47:02] I know, I know I haven't seen a slide and you know, 15 years you know, it's all, it's all electronic submissions now, but we do get together as a team and with my boss and my boss's boss is actually there. And we're looking at rooms and houses and gardens and people are pitching things.

We have a network of field editors who are kind of our eyes. And so they're bringing us stuff from the Northwest and they're bringing us stuff from the Southern States. And we have one person who spends half of their time in in France. She actually winters in France. I know tough life.

Cara Newhart: [00:47:33] jealous.

Brian Kramer: [00:47:34] so, you know, like stuff will come up and you'll be like, Oh, is this South Carolina?

Or is this the South of France I'm looking at, you know, you have to like read her submission notes. You're like, Oh yeah, we have to get that next year when she's in France. But French, French, like European design is a whole other conversation we can have because it's so fascinating what they value and how they go about it.

And, you know, the materials and the tools they have. Yeah. So it's so fascinating. Anyway, we're, we're really used to looking at things, you know, quickly and having that kind of, that gut reaction. But then  I'm always very quickly, like how did they do what they did. and if I can figure it out really quickly, I'm not as interested.

But if there's a like question that comes up in my mind, like how did they make those pieces stay together? Like that finish is so pretty, but the pieces just made a pine, like kindness. Isn't that pretty? Like, how did they do that?  That, that, that intrigues me. And then as an editor, as a, as a person out there, trying to find more stories to tell.

That's like, Oh, there must be a story there. And then I want to go further. So, so,  I would say that half of what I, when I'm like judging a submission, I'm doing a very quick gut level, like one to five, just do I like the style, you know, like if I saw this in a store, if I saw this on a blog, if I saw this on Instagram, would I, would I put a heart emoji on it?

You know, like that

Cara Newhart: [00:48:59] Yeah. Right.

Brian Kramer: [00:49:01] Yeah. So it was just kind of a, a kind of a gut taste check. And then I probably do like a one to five as somebody who knows a little bit about redoing rooms and redoing furniture. How well, I think it's executed, like, does the finish look really well applied?

Did they choose good quality hardware? Does, does the carpentry look sound. And so like from that you kind of get a a zero to 10 score. And then, I would say that anything that in my mind is at a seven, eight, nine, 10 would be something that Emily and I would then talk about. Because there are so many,  Emily and I know each other pretty well. You know, we were able to say like, yes, no, yes, no. And then, and then we just sort of said, this is what we like. And we gave a couple reasons why we liked it. And there was the winner.

Cara Newhart: [00:49:44] Yeah, really just simple. Yeah. I, I like the piece about how there's kind of like the design element and then the craftsmanship and then kind of. Once you're in like the seven and eight range. I think that your story and your process, maybe that's when that really comes into play to kind of put you over the top.

And that's like a beautiful lesson just in general, in a world where we're swarmed with inspo, like curating and telling a story is kind of what gets you to the next level. So that's really good insight for everyone.

Brian Kramer: [00:50:14] It, it, it is that storytelling of that surprise. Those are the, those are the ones that, that break out of seven and move into eight and nines on, on my, on my scale.

Cara Newhart: [00:50:24] Yeah. So everyone listening, that's competing, don't just create a beautiful piece. Show your process, tell your story, make it exciting and surprising. And you might

Brian Kramer: [00:50:32] Yeah. And that's one thing I've been impressed with. This is a little inside baseball, but since, you know, folks listening to this could very well be participating in this season or, or thinking about doing, you know, an upcoming season. Cause they're going to be more, you know, part of the submission is showing that before and showing an after, like you have to do that.

But the smart people put in a durings, they put in an after a couple after details that really show off. If they're making it for a kid's room, maybe a cute little munchkin suddenly shows up, you know, like putting stuff, something inside the toy box, you know? And it's that storytelling, you know, that's where it becomes like, Oh, this is a real piece in a real person's life that they really invested their heart and their skills.


Cara Newhart: [00:51:19] Yeah, that context. That's so true. So good.

 Thank you so much for all your time. You had so much amazing insight. I think you're really going to challenge people's perception of farmhouse. Get everyone excited for summer. So I appreciate you coming on today.

Brian Kramer: [00:51:34] Well, thank you. It has been a joy and a delight, and I always love having opportunities like this, you know, talking about what I love and what I do, and, you know, kind of at the end of it, I'm like, Oh,

Cara Newhart: [00:51:46] I am cool.

Brian Kramer: [00:51:47] what I do.

Cara Newhart: [00:51:49] I love that so much. 

    if you're not already, you need to get it together and follow me on Instagram. That's where the party happens. Every day, it's where you can see me do all of my projects and DM me with your questions and your spaces and all of that fun stuff.

So hop over to Instagram type in neverskipbrunch and follow me so we can be friends there and talk more than just once a week. OUTRO WITH MUSIC

OUTRO: [00:52:14] thanks for listening. If this is your first time listening in, be sure to hit that subscribe button so you can stay in the loop with the newest episodes. If you're a subscriber and you like the show, be sure to rate, review or screenshot and share your favorite episode on social.

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I'm Cara, the designer & diy queen behind Never Skip Brunch. I'm a color & prints obsessed DIY queen who's here to help you create a beautifully lived-in life through home design advice and chic DIY tutorials

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