How One Designer Brings IRL Inspiration into Her New England–Style Spaces

published Nov 6, 2018
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Heather Thibodeau and her FUJIFILM instax SQUARE® SQ6 instant camera (Image credit: Heather Thibodeau)

Instagram is great for design inspo, but sometimes we forget that all those digital ideas come from the real world. (Remember the real world? It’s so tactile!) It’s time to stop scrolling and start snapping: Which is exactly what Heather Thibodeau—the DIY-ing, color-loving lady behind The Heathered Nest—is doing for her next projects, all inspired by New England.

Armed with her FUJIFILM instax SQUARE® SQ6 instant camera , Heather is grabbing ideas IRL, mixing rich photos with tangible design elements to create mood boards that inspire. The high-quality prints help bring big ideas back to her work table—and flipping through the prints is a lot more inspiring than swiping through a smartphone album. Check out what Heather captured with her trusty camera and what she’s doing with it.

Mood Board 1: Blue-and-White Transferware-Inspired Dining Room

(Image credit: Heather Thibodeau)
(Image credit: The Noun Project)

This board represents a concept for a dining room redo that’s all about blue, white, and beautiful patterns: a simple palette, but a sophisticated look.

Send photos to the FUJIFILM instax SHARE® SP-3 SQ printer with just a couple swipes from the app! (Image credit: Heathered Nest)

Thanks to the magic of the instax® SP-3 printer, I was able to print out some favorite images that I’ve captured over the years while living and vacationing in New England and stored on my smartphone. Once printed, I could add those memories and elements into my designs in a really tangible way!

The images I printed for this board were captured in Martha’s Vineyard (one of my personal favorite places on Earth): A classic Cape Cod home with cedar shake siding and big blue hydrangeas. An inlet on Martha’s Vineyard with the aging wood dock pilings in the blue water against the blue and white clouds in the sky. The dunes on my favorite Vineyard beach.

A collection of transferware plates will become a gallery wall, and the fabrics scattered in the shot will be pulled into the upholstery and soft finishes. The barn board in the background will be utilized as a ceiling treatment like we have done in other rooms in our home.

Mood Board 2: Cozy New England–Style Fall Living Room

(Image credit: Heather Thibodeau)
(Image credit: The Noun Project)

This board is the concept for a fall/winter living room makeover: A mini-seasonal home decorating refresh that can mainly be accomplished by changing out little things like pillows, blankets, and the like.

Pulling this board together with my instax shots gave me a great, real-life canvas on which I would work out the concepts. I know a lot of people do their mood boards and room planning on the computer, but sometimes, it’s so helpful to have physical pieces to put down on the floor, and just move around, touch, stack… It really can bring a project to life!

The instax® SQ6 camera and instax® SP-3 printer make it simple to bring things into the mix that would have been REALLY difficult to otherwise incorporate. Things like the facade of a building that I love. A classic Jeep Wagoneer. The side of a New England seafood shack decked out in colorful lobster buoys.

Having lived in New England for many years, there is something super cozy and inviting about the region’s style, especially in the fall and winter. A roaring fire (has to be wood, not gas), Hudson blankets, autumn leaves, prep school plaids. Fabrics like tweed. Patterns like houndstooth, rugby stripes, Burberry-inspired prints, and bow ties. They all bring to mind this quintessential preppy vibe that I’m drawn to throughout the year, but especially in those colder winter months.

PJ Havel’s Instagram account is the epitome of this aesthetic, I think. Vibrant colors mixed with more neutral patterns. Natural elements like leather. Tortoise shell. Your grandfather’s pipe. Stacks of nerdy academic books. It’s such a fun aesthetic to play with! I love the concept for a living room or family room because it creates such a homey, snug, warm, and inviting feel for a space seeking to capture that cabin-y look during the cold months.

Mood Board 3: Outdoorsy, Vintage Camping Boy’s Room

(Image credit: Heather Thibodeau)
(Image credit: The Noun Project)

This board is a play on my youngest son’s current space. He’s an outdoor-loving kid who appreciates a good stomp in the mud and thinks there’s nothing better in life than baiting a hook and sticking his fishing line in the water. All this is rather ironic, as neither my husband nor I is outdoorsy. My idea of camping involves a very highly rated Airbnb that has electricity, running water, and preferably high thread-count sheets.

When I created his space, I wanted to bring the outdoors in so that he could have the camping experience while the rest of us could enjoy the AC, heat, and other comforts of the indoors.

This board is a bit more mature than the design of his original space, as he’s outgrown some of the earlier elements we had included. But the concept is still the same: Earthy tones like olive/army green and burnt orange. All-American patterns like denim (brought in as the wall treatment… it’s a faux paint technique that has outlived the cheesy ’80s sponge-painting craze) and bandana print (used as a material for pillows). Trout watercolors, vintage campy artwork.

The instax photos I incorporated into this design include a couple favorite fishing spots, complete with vivid colored canoes, and snow-capped mountains (very commonplace for a good New England winter), my son dressed for fishing success with his rubber boots and Snoopy tackle box, and a large picture frame holding a vintage-y fishing lodge sign.

(Image credit: Heather Thibodeau)

Grab the SQ6 and some Instax film, and you’ll have all the tools you need to start bringing your dream projects to life: Use macro mode to zoom in on the details, landscape mode for longer distances, and automatic exposure control for darker settings. Plus, the camera comes with three strobe color filters, so you can get creative. (There’s also a front-facing selfie mirror, should you want to pose in front of that glam gallery wall you just spotted.)

(Image credit: Heathered Nest)

With the Share SP-3 SQ printer, you can apply filters, add text, create collages, and share photos instantly—you can even print images from your social media accounts and your smartphone with the Instax SHARE app. So…what’s going on your mood board?

This post is sponsored by FUJIFILM and was created by Apartment Therapy Creative Studio.
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