Podcast, Episode 15: Gen Sohr of Pencil and Paper Co

How to Decorate podcast with guest Gen Sohr of Pencil & Paper Company

Photo: Leslee Mitchell

Our guest this week has seriously enviable style that blends vibrant colors with doses of white and black. We love the way she uses vintage pieces but creates rooms that feel totally fresh and modern. Gen Sohr is one half of the husband and wife team at Pencil and Paper Company, and we had to pick her brain about decorating with kids, color, pattern, thrift shopping, and how she and Ben manage to do it all, and together no less!

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Taryn tells us about her fun new find
  • I shopped my house to redo my living room mantel
  • Karen tells us about the mysterious dots all over her kitchen and den and her clever solution to her tray which scratches her coffee table
  • We talk favorite paint colors and color palettes with Gen
  • What it’s like working with her husband, how they met, and when they decided to open their business
  • We talk about her new hometown of Nashville and how the city has changed since they’ve moved there
  • Does she have any pet peeves when she visits friends’ homes
  • Her go-to white paint color
  • What she loves most about helping her clients with their homes
  • How she has and hasn’t comprised her home decor for her two young kids
  • Renovations, moving, and why there’s always something on the horizon
  • We talk about her love for thrift shopping and scouring the flea market
  • She talks about her son’s love of design

Decorating Dilemmas:

Hi there!  My husband loves cowhide rugs.  I don’t hate them but also don’t know how to add it to a room and not have it overtake the style or make it look too masculine.  We haven’t been in our house long so it isn’t decorated/stylized well yet, though the walls are mainly grey and we like an eclectic style.  Also, we have 2 small kids and need things to be durable so I’m afraid of how to clean/maintain it.  Can you give me some suggestions on how to add this kind of rug to a room?  I’m open to layering it over another rug and/or putting it into our master bedroom, office, or family/fireplace room.  

Thank you!



There are so many different colors of cowhide rugs that you can find. Maybe look for a gray, tan, or solid white one that you can layer over a natural fiber rug. We don’t think it will overtake the style of your room, depending on the color, what you have around it will set the tone. It’s true that you won’t clean them like you would any other rug since they are skin, but I think you’ll find they’re more durable than you expect. Liquids tend to puddle on top and the gradient in the hair does hide dirt! Since your husband likes them, we suggest working it into your space as this is a versatile piece. Good luck!


Hi there Podcast Team, 

My question is about drapes.  Moving into a new construction home with 9ft ceilings on main and upper levels with lots of windows.   I’m completely overwhelmed. What are the rules when hanging curtains?  When do you hang curtains to ceiling or when do you start at top of window?  When are you supposed to puddle (does flooring matter, carpet vs wood) and when not too?  Are there certain rooms where curtains should hit floor vs. end at the window sill such as master bedroom or dining room.  And a half bath with a small window in the middle of the wall…seems weird to have curtains hang…is that where you use cafe curtains or just a valance?   I’ll be adding blinds to the upstairs windows but probably not the main floor since I want lots of light.  Thanks for all your help!  Love listening to the podcast.  


The height and length of your curtains really depends on your style and preference. Maybe look through the photos you’ve pinned on Pinterest and notice the curtain length. You might find that you’re usually drawn to one style or another. It’s never a mistake to hang your curtains close to the ceiling or crown moulding. It’s a timeless style that works in nearly any space. The same goes for the curtains grazing the floor. As for puddling, I’d reserve that look for a room that has a more formal style. My curtains puddle because I did not get them hemmed, and in a very high traffic area, they’ve gotten extra dirty on the bottom. Learn from my mistake!

As for your bathroom, a roman shade, woven blind, or cafe curtain would be a great choice. Depending on the location of your window, if it’s too close to your bathtub or shower, it may get wet which probably isn’t ideal.

Hopefully this gives you a little guidance. Best of luck!

The sculpture Caroline won in our office raffle

Mentioned in This Episode:

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    May 23, 2017

    Your podcast is a favorite of mine. And to hear from Gen – love her style!

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      May 24, 2017

      Thank you so much. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy the podcast. You’re right — Gen is fantastic and so talented!