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#060: Adding personality to your space + DIY Murals with pro muralists Phoebe & Roxy from Pandr Design Co.

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On the show today, I am sitting down with my friends Phoebe and Roxy from Pandr Design Co. They are incredible muralists. They’ve painted pieces for brands like Target, Red Bull, Shake Shack, Lulu Lemon, Bumble, and many, many more. We are talking about all things murals. 


This conversation is going to give us a new angle on paint. We people are talking about creating spaces with a budget the go-to advice is to paint a wall. What if you don’t know how or what if a big block of color in your house isn’t enough? In this conversation, we dive deeper and we talk about how to explore painting a mural in your home, how to do it yourself, and a little bit about their book that just launched called Wonder Walls. Wonder Walls is a step-by-step guide for walking you through mural painting featuring all kinds of amazing murals that they have painted in homes that you can learn from.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcher, and Spotify – or listen to it below!

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in this episode:

[02:26] How Phoebe and Roxy met

[04:03] How they started painting murals

[06:36] What murals can do for a space

[07:48] Process of painting a mural

[10:30] How they design and plan a mural

[13:45] Choosing colors for your mural 

[16:12] Pro tips for sheens, brushes, and more

[20:56] Their favorite designs to paint

[24:12] Most challenging mural they have painted

[25:46] Their book, Wonder Walls

[30:17] What is coming up next for Phoebe and Roxy?

[36:28] Where name Pandr came from

[37:35] What Cara’s obsessed with this week

[02:26] How Phoebe and Roxy met

We actually met through Instagram. Phoebe reached out to Roxy about six and a half years ago to get wine, cheese, and talk about design. We both were working graphic design jobs at the time. From that first meeting, we had the idea of starting a meetup group together for like-minded designers and artists, and from doing that we found we worked really well together. We both quit our jobs to start our business full time.

[04:03] How they started painting murals

We had no idea that this was going to be our full-time spiel. We just had a goal of doing one. I think like a lot of other people who work at their desks all day or on the computer, you just need a break from the computer. As graphic designers, we just missed working with our hands and drawing and painting as we had done in art school. So that’s where the initial goal came from. Then we did one and we were like, “Wow, that was really fun.” We really enjoyed it and the client was happy but at the same time, we were still doing logos and all the normal graphic design work. Then we got asked to do a second mural a couple of months later and then it just started becoming the more common ask of us and here we are today.

[06:36] What murals can do for a space

So I think when people think of murals, they think of something really big and full wall to wall with all kinds of colors, like an art piece that you’d see walking down the street. But when it comes to your home, it doesn’t have to be just like that. It can be something really fun. It can also just be something simple in a very small area to add a pop of life to a space that you’re not sure what to do with. It doesn’t have to be fully transformative, it can just elevate a little part of the space and it’s affordable. 

[07:48] Process of painting a mural

It’s not as intimidating as you think if you are comfortable painting a wall. It’s honestly fairly similar to that process, it just requires a little bit more planning. So for interior designers or graphic designers, we can use the computer to mock up what we want to create with a mural in our space and get a sense of if we’d like it in the space before we even paint it. Chalk and pencil are your best friends and you can mark out where you think you want to place your design or whatever you want to put on the wall. Magic Eraser can take off pencil marks and chalk. If you paint something and you didn’t mean to put it there, you just wait for it to dry, and then you can paint over. So nothing is permanent. 

[10:30] How they design and plan a mural

Our clients in our day-to-day work are all commercial so it’s a little bit different than residential. Whereas our inspiration comes from our client’s needs and their target demographic. But when it comes to the actual installation, it’s a fairly similar process. The first thing that we look at with a project would be photos and dimensions of the wall. So based on those photos and dimensions, we can get a sense of how we’re going to install this. 

So we have a few different projects in the book that are projection-based. So you would get a projector and use your computer to get the image on the wall. But that’s not necessary. That’s the most high-tech it gets. Otherwise, we’re all about free handing it or just using math the old-fashioned way. We do use an iPad to sketch out all our designs. The app that we use is called procreate, and it’s super affordable.

[13:45] Choosing colors for your mural 

When it comes to choosing actual paint colors, we use regular water-based acrylic paint from the hardware store. They are more limited to that than what you would get on-screen or with printing so we’re never really doing anything like bright bright fuchsia or anything like that. We’ll try to stay away from yellows and oranges because those really suck to paint but we still end up using them just because they’re so like yellow is just really fun and happy. Then when actually choosing the paint colors we will tend to go lighter unless the wall is in direct sunlight.  It’s going to be a little bit darker than the swatch itself when you’re looking at it bright underneath the light in the hardware store. We usually lean to the lighter tints.

[16:12] Pro tips for sheens, brushes, and more

With sheens, at the end of the day, it comes to your preference, but typically, you want to use glossy paint for rooms like the kitchen in the bathroom that you’re going to have to clean more often. They’re just a little bit easier for that. But for everything else, we prefer flat paint just because we like the look of it. You can also have fun with mixing and matching. Like doing a flat for certain areas of the mural and then using gloss paint for something that you want to stand out a little bit more. As far as brushes, we actually have a supply list on our website of all our go-to supplies that we love using but we prefer Wooster brushes. Like any brush, the wooden handle is always going to be better than the plastic handle was. We prefer the smaller ones, you can just zoom around a wall and get that painted. We actually don’t keep a bucket of water on our job sites anymore, because we always found ourselves stepping in it. So instead, we actually wrap our brushes in between usage in our plastic drop cloth and people use baby wipes too. That’s a little trick so that it keeps it from drying out. 

[20:56] Their favorite designs to paint

Every project is different. Lately, we’ve been doing a lot of geometric stuff. We’re kind of craving to do something more realistic. We’ve been just throwing realistic flowers and things in our designs, hoping that our clients choose them. As artists, we get bored easily. We don’t want to paint the same thing. We’re always trying to push ourselves.

[24:12] Most challenging mural they have painted

Phoebe and I have to work on scissor lifts a lot. But our first time using a boom lift was a bit challenging. It was a 50-foot wall that was protruding out of a building. It kind of looked like a fin coming off the building and at 50 feet tall on a very busy street. So we had to use a boom lift for the first time. Since the part of the wall, we are painting is like hanging over the sidewalk, you look down and there are just cars speeding by you. So that was just like an extra element. The mural wasn’t even that difficult as far as designed to get on the wall but because of the heights, using a boom lift, the busy street, and the wall coming off the side of the building it just added so much. 

[25:46] Their book, Wonder Walls

So it really started almost four years ago, when we were approached by a book agent. There are no books about murals out there so she helped us put together proposals and send them out to different publishers. Since there were no mural books out there, we had to kind of restructure our idea and to create something that was under the DIY and interior design world, because that’s more approachable to consumers and publishers. Ultimately, we were able to get a book deal by changing the idea to be more residential and it falls in line with what we do and the rest of our businesses. We do a lot of artist coaching. So it’s empowering people to yet completely redo their space on their own time and on their own dime.

[30:17] What is coming up next for Phoebe and Roxy?

We have all these goals and we are definitely painting into the sunset. We go to Portland next week to do a few murals and we’re going to Texas to paint a few murals. We have a goal of painting in all 50 states. We have a goal of getting a TV show, which is really crazy but we just continue to put it out there to try to manifest.

[36:28] Where name Pandr came from

It’s way less complicated than it could be. It stands for P and R as in Phoebe and Roxy. We kind of wanted to leave it open-ended because maybe in five years, we’ll be doing something completely different.

[37:35] What Cara’s obsessed with this week

My very favorite paintbrush is this little angled brush from Wooster. It has a short little stubby rubber handle, which is so satisfying to play with and it is around $5. You can get them at Home Depot and I love them. They are so easy to paint with. They make it really easy to cut in lines and skip the tape, which saves you time and is way more eco-friendly. So if you don’t have a favorite yet, go try this little Wooster angled brush for five bucks at Home Depot. I will link it in the show notes. So have the best time painting and let me know what you think.

connect with phoebe & roxy:

instagram: @pandrdesignco // website: pandrdesignco.com

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