A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol

A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge

A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol

Sometimes I see these rules floating around the internet about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to decorating. There are rules on everything from frame size, to how may objects should be grouped together, to buying the correct-sized rug. Generally, they are helpful guidelines, but sometimes I feel stuck or even wrong if the rules don’t seem to work for my spaces. Creating a space that is unique, beautiful and personal takes some rule breaking. Lou and Dan have made their home whimsical, cheery and lovely – and without sticking to a formula.

Lou Archell, lifestyle writer and blogger, and Dan Taylor, painter, decorator and craftsman, moved into their 1890s Victorian home 10 years ago. Since then, they’ve had two children, Charlie (9) and Rufus (7), and have renovated every room in the house. Finding the home was simplified by knowing what area in which they wanted to live. “Our neighborhood, to me, is one [of] the best places to live in Bristol. It is full of independent shops and cafes and has a great community buzz to it. After renting in this area for many years prior to buying this house, we knew this neighborhood was for us,” Lou says. “We chose this house as it lives on a small, quiet street. It was in a poor condition and needed modernization to make it a liveable family home. The price, of course, reflected this and we bought a bargain.” Lou and Dan didn’t just restore this house – in the end, the transformation reflects their family and their creative vision in every room.

The bright accents, vintage pieces and playful arrangement of artwork and decor makes every corner, shelf and wall come alive. “Ten years on, we have completely gutted and renovated every room in the house. I wouldn’t say our home is finished, as there are always projects on the go,” Lou says. “I love decorating, changing rooms around and rethinking spaces. Decorating our home had to reflect our personalities. Dan and I love handcrafted items, furniture, ceramics and also natural elements. Our space has evolved over time.” This eclectic, welcoming home isn’t by-the-book and it is a lovely example of the power of intuition. —Lauren

Photography by Laura Pashby-James

 

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An Australian Home Gets a Pre-Fab Addition

An Australian Home Gets a Pre-Fab Addition, Design*Sponge

An Australian Home Gets a Pre-Fab Addition

Stylist Anna Critchley and her husband Michael firmly believe that a happy home makes a happy family. Because of this, they traded in their new construction for a place where their daughters Eadie and Lilah could flourish. “[Our old house] was nice, but it didn’t inspire us in any way. We found that we weren’t excited to go home. We wanted a home that we couldn’t wait to get back to and spend time in,” the family says. While in between places, the family temporarily stayed in Anna’s parents’ rental. It didn’t take long for the couple to realize that the property’s pastoral view of Hinton, Australia and “quiet lifestyle were perfect for [their] young family.” Before they knew it, the four were putting down permanent roots in the three-bedroom spot.

The 1970s-era house was “nothing exciting or glamorous,” to begin with, but with guts and a little patience Anna and Michael decided to “create a house that [they] loved as much as the block and location.” Their biggest undertaking was the pre-fabricated addition they attached to the front of their home. The Critchleys chose to contrast the existing traditional facade with über-modern new construction that would help it stand out amongst the other houses on the block. After about seven weeks of development under the guidance of architect Jodie Dixon and Timberline builders, the new structure finally left the factory in three pieces and was craned into place. “A central, light-filled hallway,” was added to seamlessly connect the pre-fabricated portion to the existing structure. As you’ll see when you click through the full tour, this new wing of the home holds the entry, kitchen, dining room and open living area.

This all seems quite enough for one pair to undertake, but the family didn’t stop there. New flooring throughout the entire home, paint jobs around every corner, and a new deck and garage round out the renovation. All in all, it took 18 months to bring their vision to life, but from the looks of it the challenge was absolutely worth it. You can feel this family’s joy as you comb through the colorful photos. I hope you enjoy taking a peek inside as much as I did! —Garrett

Photography by Nail & Twine Photography

 

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A Uniquely Renovated 1886 Brownstone Nestled in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

A Uniquely Renovated 1886 Brownstone Nestled in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

A Uniquely Renovated 1886 Brownstone Nestled in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

After living in the upper west side of New York for a decade, Melissa Lee, and her husband Keye developed a yearning for a larger space with a more relaxed vibe that would allow them to grow as a family and offer a space for Melissa to run her event, interior design and styling firm, Bespoke Only. They went about the house-hunting process very casually and didn’t take the hunt too seriously, but when the couple stumbled upon this gorgeous Brownstone in the creative and vibrant neighborhood of Clinton Hill that offered a truly blank canvas, they were quick to call it home for themselves and their three cats, Pishkin, Vader and Monkey.

It wasn’t love at first sight, but the space offered plenty of functional space and oozed with potential. It needed a lot of work and, just when they were becoming overwhelmed with it all, Melissa and Keye were lucky to find Sarah Jacoby from Simpson Jacoby Architecture to help them turn it into the home of their dreams. “There were phone calls from the crew every other day about some unforeseen issues inside of this over 100-year-old house,” Melissa says. “Roof leaks, unexpected load-bearing walls, electrical that was not up to code, the kind of renovation horror stories that we all have seen on TV — you name it and we had it.” Though the six-month-long process was stressful and had them crashing on family members’ couches most nights, the process wasn’t without some unforeseen perks as well — they learned patience and the value of living more simply. The constant moving forced them to shed a lot of their belongings, and they came to realize that a lot of their possessions weren’t necessities. “There are many things that we can actually live without and life still goes on,” Melissa explains, “It’s become a lighter way of life.” Of course, in the end, the result was also worth the wait and one they are forever grateful and thrilled with: a truly unique home, renovated and finished to their taste and lifestyle. –Sabrina

Photography by Ty Cole Photography
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Happy 4th of July + Best of the Web

Happy 4th of July + Best of the Web

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The 4th of July holiday totally snuck up on me this year, because we’re deep in planning mode for our new book. Kelli and I have become email/Google doc/photoshoot scheduling machines, so this weekend she’s flying out to New York to finish up our master travel schedule in person (we’re planning over 100 photoshoots in 2 months!) and hopefully catch a little R&R time by the pool, too. I hope all of you celebrating the holiday have a safe and happy weekend and for those of you not celebrating, we’ll see you right back here on Monday with beautiful homes and much more inspiration. Until then, here are some great, July-4th-perfect grilling recipes, cocktails, decorating ideas and the history of the American Flag– just in case you were curious! xo, grace

*Image above from Jen Altman’s home tour.

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In the Kitchen With: Casey Barber’s BBQ Pulled Pork Pierogies

In the Kitchen With: Casey Barber’s BBQ Pulled Pork Pierogies

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Casey Barber, cookbook author and editor of Good. Food. Stories, is no newcomer to the column. She has already shared recipes with our readers over the years, including Drunken Spaghetti with Clams and Coconut Cherry Suzy Qs. In honor of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, she is sharing a recipe for BBQ Pulled Pork Pierogies from her upcoming book, Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food. Having just returned from a quick trip to Nashville — where I did manage to get one pulled pork sandwich in — I must say these pierogies are a great option to have available at your holiday festivities. As Casey notes, you will have a lot of pulled pork left over, which means plenty of sandwiches for later! Happy Fourth! —Kristina

Why Casey loves this recipe: The cliché is that bacon is the gateway meat, but I feel like I could make a pretty good case for pulled pork. It’s just as intoxicatingly fragrant, it’s tender and juicy, and you get much more bang for your buck with a pork shoulder than a belly. This pierogi is much easier to eat than the Pulled Pork Pierogi Stacker, a sandwich served at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ ballpark. Instead of trying to squish pierogies on top of a pile of pulled pork on a sandwich, why not just put the pulled pork directly inside and eat it in one bite? So much simpler, and SO satisfying.

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Margherita Pizza Recipe from Moby’s in East Hampton

Margherita Pizza Recipe from Moby’s in East Hampton

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It’s a holiday weekend, so I couldn’t resist doubling up on recipes today, in case anyone needs some extra ideas for backyard cooking. Julia and I have been grilling just about every meal outside lately (I really want to try this idea for breakfast), so I’ve been wanting to set up a simple pizza we could try on the grill. Thankfully chef Gary King and the team at Moby’s in East Hampton came by with a recipe for simple but delicious Margherita Pizza that’s just what I’m looking for. So if you need a fun meal that you can work your summer garden ingredients into, this pizza is perfect. Thanks so much to Gary for sharing this with us! xo, grace

Photograph above by Nicole Franzen

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Before & After: Bronson Canyon Home Makeover

Before & After: Bronson Canyon Home Makeover, on Design*Sponge

Before & After: Bronson Canyon Home Makeover

Just a few months after Mimi and Brenden purchased their Bronson Canyon, CA home, the couple approached ModOp Design to help prepare the residence for their next major life change — baby Mia’s arrival. Firm principals Alexandra Becket and Greg Steinberg, who focus on the architectural restoration and mindful updating of mid-century modern structures, were excited by the possibilities for the 1946 2,200-square-foot Hollywood Hills house. During the course of the job, the team fully overhauled a bonus room above the garage (affectionately nicknamed “the barn”) by exposing the pitched roof, and adding skylights and larger windows to create a spot brimming with sunshine. Additionally, custom seating was crafted with the utility of a built-in storage bench. They also covered a spiral stairwell in spirited wallpaper with help from the good folks at Hygge & West, who were kind enough to scale up a Julia Rothman wallcovering pattern to better suit the area’s generous height. Finally, the dirty work — three bathrooms were gutted and finished with Heath Ceramics subway tile in different colorways, giving each space a distinctive personality, but sharing a common thread throughout.

With a six-month timeline before the family’s newest member would arrive, the design duo’s biggest challenge was staying on top of the contractor and crew to get the project finished before her birth. They began the fast-paced task by proposing how best to reconfigure the bonus room and bathrooms to make use of their square footage and maximize available daylight. Pinterest was an essential tool in exchanging images amongst the group. Becket and Steinberg would use it to propose ideas, which they pulled from their inspiration boards, their own previous projects, and from online searches of visual stimuli. The designers created boards for each room that would include pins for layout suggestions, vanity options, tile schemes, and products from which to choose. They then sorted through collections with the homeowners and edited down to the final selections.

Once construction began, the upstairs bathrooms were remodeled first so the occupants could live downstairs temporarily. When that work was mostly finished, the downstairs guest bathroom took center stage, as did reviving the bonus room and stairwell. The designers were thankful to have clients who brought a lot of their own creative ideas to the table, and who were very collaborative in the project’s development and decision-making processes. This close partnership, along with the presence of a bubbly resident infant, compel the proud new parents to say, “What was once a house now feels like our home.” —Annie

“After” photography by Charmaine David

 

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A Chicago Family’s Victorian Cottage

A Chicago Family's Victorian Cottage, Design*Sponge

A Chicago Family’s Victorian Cottage

Andersonville is one of my favorite neighborhoods here in Chicago, IL. The Swedish community not only has some of the most fabulous design shops in town, but my friends and I look forward to its Midsommarfest every year. The family-friendly and artistic neighborhood north of downtown is not only perfect in my eyes, but turned out to be the perfect spot for Angela, Gene, Enzo and Luca when they decided to move eight years ago. Their quaint cottage is a master class in how good things can come in small packages. According to Angela, the lots in Andyville – as my friends and I call it – are so close together “you could honestly pass a cup of sugar to your neighbor.” This presented a unique set of design challenges that Angela and Gene attacked head-on after moving in.

Determined to make the home feel larger and brighter, the family decked out their entire 1890s Victorian in shades of barely-there grey. Before this, “each room was painted a different color and every room had a different colored floor,” creating a disparate and uninvitingly dark feel. This new paint job, however, was just the beginning. From the get-go the family wanted a Scandinavian aesthetic with light floors, a lot of candles and a fireplace, but how exactly that would come together was up to the home itself. Angela let the home speak to her for a year before making any big decorating decisions. I have seen the results and think you’ll agree that a year’s worth of design development has resulted in a refined and warm place to call home. Click through to check it out. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Amber Hampton

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An Artistic Couple’s Toronto Home

"The first thing we did was have my cabinet maker put in our custom built-ins for the library/office/studio space. Michael has a substantial collection of books and we needed storage and a place for us both to work," says Lori. "We were coming from an apartment where we each had separate working spaces so this was a bit of an adjustment. Luckily the room is spacious and with the wrap around desk - it works really well."

An Artistic Couple’s Toronto Home

Relationships in which both people encourage each other’s passions and dreams just seem to work a little better. When Lori stepped out of the 9-to-5 to become a full-time artist, her husband Michael couldn’t have been more excited. Finding a home that would give them the studio space and creative vibes they were looking for was challenging but they have found a home that supports both of them well.

Lori Harrison, artist, designer and entrepreneur, and Michael Clark, organizational designer moved into this home 3 years ago. The building had been a co-op in the 1950s and transformed into apartments in 2010. “After looking at a dozen other condos when I saw our home, I instantly knew this was the one,” says Lori. “It was so different than all the others, it had just recently been renovated and was done so beautifully and so me.” From there, Lori and Michael have used their combined creativity to make a space that is minimally designed with lovely personal accents throughout. “My goal was to create a home that reflected both Michael and my aesthetic and a space that honored our treasured things. The process of making our space a home is one of my favorite things to do. I love nesting.”

Like any form of creating, there is a trial an error process in making a space into a home. “One challenge we had was with art. We have quite a collection and in our old apartment we created an art wall which worked beautifully to minimize less desirable pieces and highlight others. We thought we would try a similar effect in our new hallway area,” says Lori. “We spent most of the day hanging something like 25 pieces of art all measured and spaced out perfectly and when we were finished we looked at it, looked at each other and said, ‘crap, it totally doesn’t work!’ So we spent the next day taking it all down, filling all the holes and painting the entire wall. Sometimes there is just no way to know for sure unless you try it.” Their gorgeous home is beaming with creative energy and seems to be a place they can both live and work to the fullest. – Lauren

Photography by Stacey Brandford and Courntey Lee Photography

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DIY Printed Table Runner

DIY Printed Table Runner

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I’ve always liked the idea of fabric printing and painting, but being a lover of a somewhat more muted color palette, I’ve more often than not been put off by the limited color choice of readymade fabric products.

With this method, you can create any color you choose simply by mixing it with acrylic textile medium; a product that makes acrylic paint suitable for use on fabric and is fixed by heat. Awesome, right?

I wanted to add a little something extra to a perfect dove grey linen cloth I recently found, so, taking inspiration from the potato printed wall I did in my daughter’s room (you can spot my favorite colors there, too) I decided to mix up my colors and use the method once again to create this simple, scalloped printed table runner. —Sarah of Lapin Blu

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How to Create a Summer Garden-Style Arrangement

How to Create a Summer Garden-Style Arrangement

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When looking at a florist’s life through the filter of Instagram, it can sometimes seem that flower arranging and flower growing go hand in hand. I have to admit to being a little envious of the jaw-dropping flowers that some grow, arrange, and then scatter beautifully across my feed. Despite desperate attempts to step up and grow myself, I’m afraid to say that the ongoing results have been decidedly poor. Think dead snails, cat poo, children-trodden, bug-eaten, not-so-pretty florals.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present myself honestly as the non-green-fingered, non-gardening florist.

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So when the opportunity came to work with flowers grown at Chatsworth House, I jumped at the chance. Chatsworth itself is astonishingly beautiful. The 105-acre gardens have evolved over more than 450 years, set in amongst the rolling hills of Derbyshire — you could not wish for a more epic or typically English setting.

My good friend Becky is a gardener in the cutting garden and she and the team there very kindly agreed to let me cut and arrange flowers on site. One frightfully stormy June evening, with no plan or strategy, I grabbed my old cast iron urn and without my floppy sun hat or vintage floral dress (I was so un-prepared), I set off to live the Insta flower-grower/florist dream.

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When choosing flowers for an arrangement my usual instinct is to stay simple, subtle, selecting one or two main shades. However, the sheer choice of flowers in the cutting garden was overwhelming. Like a child let loose in a sweet shop I was jumping for joy at the chance to pick flowers I had never before been able to get my hands on: bearded iris, cerinthe, fennel, Himalayan blue poppy and angelica, to name a few. Subtlety blew out of the window on the wild peak district winds — I wanted to use everything! We took the collected bounty across to one of four 50-foot glasshouses, (built in 1890) to create the arrangement. —Anna of Swallows & Damsons

All photographs by India Hobson

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Check Out the Cook Republic Kitchen and Home, Designed to Share

Sneak Peek: Check Out the Cook Republic Kitchen Designed to Share, on Design*Sponge

Check Out the Cook Republic Kitchen and Home, Designed to Share

Kitchen renovations allow homeowners to customize their setups with open floorplans for entertaining, upgraded finishes in quirky color palettes, or even obscure built-in appliances to perfect favorite dishes. When lifestyle photographer and Cook Republic blogger Sneh Roy revamped her own Sydney kitchen, she did it with social media in mind. Everything created in the space is potential content for her site, so she considered the different nooks and styles she would need in order to bring variety to her work on the web. From crisp shots on white marble countertops, to dark and moody looks by the black chalkboard wall atop raw timber tables, to a light café feel with industrial furniture by the big glass doors, Roy’s idea was to create distinct zones in order to facilitate versatile looks for all of her popular food imagery.

The kitchen is an essential part of a real 3,700-square-foot 1960s brick-and-tile bungalow that feeds Roy’s loving family. Her husband Nick, an IT director, “is the caramel to my salted,” she says sweetly. Together, the pair enjoy having food adventures with their two boys Rivan (11 years old) and Rish (age 7), as well as caring for the many chickens and bunnies residing on the property.

The family appreciates the rarity of this moody, forest-like setting in their residential Sydney suburb. It was worth the seven years Roy spent coping with the home’s original kitchen, whose mustard cabinets had severe water damage, and warped countertops made it impossible for a chopping board to sit flat without rocking. During an eight-month renovation, the family camped out in the garage, boiled water in a kettle, and used the garden hose to do dishes in tubs through fall and winter. They missed sitting at a table and chairs to eat their meals. The resulting eclectic mix of old and new offers modern functionality — while keeping a mysterious feel — that ties into the rest of the house. It is the one adventure they are most glad to have completed. —Annie

Photography by Sneh Roy

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Photography Basics: Easy, Fool-Proof Considerations for Making the Most of Your Photos

Photography Basics: Easy, Fool-Proof Considerations for Making the Most of Your Photos

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They say a photograph is worth a thousand words. This could not be truer for anyone who runs a small business whose sales rely on photographs of their products or services — which, in the age of Instagram, applies to nearly any business. The photos you use on your social media channels or website can make or break a sale, and are not only forms of expression, but become representations of your business. Like any art form, photography is subjective and there are no right or wrong ways to take a photo, but by following some technical basics when using a camera, you can affect a photo’s mood, the story it conveys, and the tiny details that can help a photo go from good to great.

Today, studio potter and still-life photography enthusiast Ayumi Horie is joining us to share some of the easy-to-overlook technical camera basics that can impact a photo. Inspired by her own passion for photographing the art of making pots (which she documents on Instagram), her approach focuses on still objects in real-life contexts. Whether you use a DSLR or an iPhone, her tips are helpful for beginners, business owners who rely on product photography, or anyone who wants their photos to tell a story or convey a message. –Sabrina

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Life & Business: Adrienne Arieff

Life & Business: Adrienne Arieff

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The start-up story for so many entrepreneurs and business owners begins with: I just started and figured it out as I went. Though starting a business can be scary, this truth is also liberating and encouraging, and certainly proved to be for Adrienne Arieff, whose business launched out of many late-night Craigslist searches, backed by pure determination. Adrienne is the Managing Director and Founder of Arieff Communications, a PR, marketing and social media firm which has been transforming lifestyle brands into household names for decades. In addition to running a successful company with offices in New York and San Francisco, she has also penned three books, runs a business mentor program for 20-somethings and teens, and is an Advisor to UniversalGiving® and Accountability Council. Though her path to self-employment wasn’t a straight one (before AC, she worked as an Editor for Vogue, in-house at Burberry and at UNICEF), she attributes the sum of all of her life’s experiences to her continued success. Today, we’re thrilled to have Adrienne share some of her background, insight and wisdom into the world of business and self-employment. –Sabrina
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D*S Essay Contest: $500 Prize

D*S Essay Contest: $500 Prize

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After last week’s essay about finding a quieter version of myself, I started thinking about how I was much more interested in hearing other people’s voices and stories these days than my own. So I thought to myself, why not open up the floor to all of you to share your experiences and memories on Design*Sponge, just like our team does every week?

This summer, from now until August 15th, we’ll be accepting YOUR own personal essays related to the idea of HOME. These can be personal stories of decorating, moving, what you’ve learned from living with someone else or special collections you’ve been building over the years — any topic or theme that connects to what HOME means to you. The only rules? 1) It needs to be your original writing 2) It needs to come with at least one photo of your own and 3) The maximum limit is 2,500 words. Please note: your essay may be published on Design*Sponge, so please do not submit writing you do not want published.

We can’t wait to hear from all of you and listen to what YOU have to say and learn from your stories. And, to encourage anyone who may be shy about sharing their voice online, we’ll be awarding the top 3 essay-writers (which YOU will vote for!) with a $500 prize. So write away and send your essay to SUBMISSIONS AT DESIGNSPONGE DOT COM (Subject title “Essay Contest”) by August 15th, 2015. xo, grace

*Image above from Matt and Rita’s home tour.