Jenna’s Bedroom Makeover

Jenna’s Bedroom Makeover

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I will never fail to be amazed by the power of molding and decorative woodwork. I’ve always had a soft spot for painted wood paneling and wainscoting, but when you combine them and throw in a beautiful wooden floor, I’m sold.

This master bedroom makeover comes from Jenna Sue, who blogs about her home renovation projects in California. While her bedroom started as a simple space with beige carpeting, it has become a beautiful and cozy escape. I really think all of the incredible wood detailing happening in this space (along with rich, grey paints) makes it a knock-out. I love the way that Jenna added a wide mix of textures (faux sheepskin throws, sisal baskets and wool bedding) to create warmth and add a nice contrast to all the new wooden construction. Click through to see more of Jenna’s master bedroom makeover after the jump! xo, grace

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A Rural 1800s Barn Becomes a Modern Home

"The fireplace is based on a Finnish design and acts as a furnace to heat the entire main floor," Bill says. "The top oven is ideal for baking bread or stewing in cast iron."

A Rural 1800s Barn Becomes a Modern Home

After spending several years living within the concrete confines of Manhattan, designer Bill Hovard began to get the itch that befalls many a longterm New Yorker—the desire to uproot to greener, quieter pastures. In 2002, Bill began his search by drawing a 90-mile radius around the city and eventually followed the country’s siren call to the quiet town of South Kortright, NY. Nestled deep within the Catskills, South Kortright features breathtaking mountain views, hillsides filled with grazing livestock, and the zen-like comfort that can only be found when one travels beyond the realm of cellphone reception. Although Bill had originally envisioned settling in a Federal-style farmhouse, his path led him to a derelict, but charming, nineteenth century barn. Despite its disrepair, the structure was solid and featured hand-hewn, old-growth post and beam construction, a bluestone  foundation, and dazzling natural surroundings. “It was love at first sight,” Bill says.

Once he settled on the location for his country retreat, it was time to get to work. Over the course of eight years, Bill renovated the barn into a beautiful, comfortable, and fully-functional living space. “It was important to strike a balance between old new” Bill notes, “and no attempt was made to hide or mask renovations or additions. Ultimately, it was preserving the past and creating a dynamic space with 21st century amenities.” For Bill, this meant sourcing materials that were regional and appropriate to the home: locally quarried bluestone, repurposed oak fixtures salvaged from other structures, and milled cherrywood for the floors and cabinetry. Filled in with antique and Modernist furniture, the home is a balanced, timeless mixture of Bill’s tastes and regional flavor.

Today, Bill has vacated the city permanently to focus full-time on Hudson Made, a lifestyle brand that features artisanal wares from regional artists and makers. “In late August, the western field on the property is in full bloom with milkweed and offers nourishment to monarch butterfly on their migration South,” Bill says. “This is how the property was suitably named. ‘Milkweed Barn’ has subsequently gone from weekend retreat to full-time residence. It is now home.” —Max

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The Changing Pay Rates for Creative Talent

The Changing Pay Rates for Creative Talent

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This year’s radio season is just about over, so for our 99th show, I wanted to address a complicated, controversial and crucial topic affecting our community: The Changing Pay Rates for Creative Talent in the Internet and Pinterest era. This topic is one I’ve wanted to discuss and have struggled with myself over the years. While I think most people would agree that anyone doing work should be compensated for their time and skills, these days the amount and method of compensation seems to be changing rapidly, and the idea of paying for creative talent seems less popular than ever.

So I invited Susan and William Brinson of House of Brinson, Sarah Brysk Cohen of Blossom & Branch and interior designer Emily Henderson to join me on-air to discuss the topic. Their insight on the idea of “free” work was both important and eye-opening. I so appreciated their honest and candid thoughts on what creative work is worth, why people seem to expect more for less these days and how best to counteract the trend and educate people on the value of experience and creative skills. If you only listen to a few shows this year, I hope you’ll make this one of them, because this topic is something that affects all of us, whether we create or consume creative content on any level. xo, grace

“It borders on irresponsible to start to take work for free. Exposure only gets you so far. The word ‘exposure’ gives me chills these days.”
-Sarah Brysk Cohen on After the Jump

“You can’t ever ask somebody to go out of pocket. If somebody goes to you – that’s one thing. If you have a business, you should be covering other people’s expenses for your business – bar none.”
-Emily Henderson on After the Jump

To Listen: Click here to listen online or click here to listen on iTunes.

Recycled Jeans Become a Comfy Lounge

Recycled Jeans Become a Comfy Lounge

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Most of the before & afters we share here on the site start out with the same materials: paint, wood and metal. But every now and then we see something fun and outside of the box. Or should I say bag?

Today’s makeover comes from KT Doyle in Australia, who turns old jeans into comfy, bean bag-style chairs. The process involves collecting old denim (KT gets hers from the Endeavour Foundation, which supports people with disabilities, and the RSPCA, whose mission is to protect and care for animals through advocacy and shelter), washing and cutting it and turning it into patchwork lounge chairs that people can use in their homes. I love when any group can tie their source materials into supporting a charity in some way, so this project was right up my alley. KT shares her full process and sourcing details after the jump! xo, grace

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DIY Branch Ladder

DIY Branch Ladder

DIY Branch Ladder by Mandi of Vintage Revivals for Design*Sponge
Natural elements have the power to make even the best spaces look a little bit better. There are endless ways you can bring some of the outside in, but one of my favorite ways is working with branches. This simple ladder project would be a great way to display blankets, treasured pieces of vintage fabric or just your daily bath towels. For the holidays, I decided to string the ladder with lights to add a more festive feel, but you could add just about any detail (garland, small wreaths or ribbons) and it will look fantastic. -Mandi of Vintage Revivals

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15 Gift Subscriptions for the Holidays

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15 Gift Subscriptions for the Holidays

Nothing will ever beat a handmade gift or experience in my book, but gifts that continue throughout the year are a close second for me. I love the idea of something do-it-yourself that a friend or loved one can redeem well after the holidays, but not everyone has the spare time to put those packages together. So today I decided to select my top 15 gift subscription packages for design goods, music, books, coffee and everything else in between. If you’re looking for something quick and easy you can order online that keeps the holiday spirit going well after December, these are great options. I made a conscious effort to focus this guide primarily on independent companies, so anyone concerned can shop and order away but still support small, indie businesses at the same time. xo, grace

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In the Hudson Valley, Room for Work and Play

DesignSponge

In the Hudson Valley, Room for Work and Play

One thing I love about writing Sneak Peeks is the occasional opportunity to revisit the home of someone we’ve featured in the past. It is not unusual, of course, for a space to have changed dramatically, as many design-oriented individuals are in a constant state of collecting and trying out new ideas in their homes. What is even more interesting, however, is to see how one has adapted one’s style in a completely new home or context. With this, we are able to see how style evolves through time, space and even lifestyle changes. That happens to be the case today as we check back in with Kevin Burke and David Kimelman, a mere year and a half after we featured their Clinton Hill home.

This peek is a powerful testament to how much life can change in a short amount of time, as they have since moved out of New York City, are raising twin baby boys, and running their new business, BURKELMAN, out of their home. While they’ve certainly carried over some of the overall aesthetic of their previous space—described by them as 60s science, magic and the natural world— their new Hudson Valley home is decidedly more grown up and kid-friendly. Pre-parenthood, Kevin and David were hosting lively parties that included such things as caviar, potato vodka shots and everyone dancing to Robyn. Since becoming parents, however, they’ve swapped out the ragers for intimate dinner parties with the neighbors.

As if family life isn’t keeping them busy enough, their other labor of love is BURKELMAN. The online shop offers a unique collection of home decor and accessories with a focus on quality craftsmanship. David works on the photography and graphic design while Kevin is the buyer and stylist. As the business grows, so does the amount of space it takes up in the house, as it started on the garden level and has now made its way to the attic and other rooms throughout their home. Who knows what the next year and a half will bring, but it’s apparent that this space will allow their family plenty of room to grow. -Shannon

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25 Inspiring Collections

Inspiring Photos from the #DSCollections Hashtag Challenge at Design*Sponge

25 Inspiring Collections

I haven’t been able to put down my copy of Collected: Living with the Things You Love since it arrived a few weeks ago. While I tend to be a fan of anything former Martha staffers do, this book is especially inspiring for me. I’ve been trying to learn to live with less for a while now, but I always have a soft spot for people who know how to collect and display their favorite things creatively at home. So for our last hashtag challenge of the year, we decided to ask people to share their favorite collections with us. From beautiful vintage Swarovski crystals and buttons to vintage baking tins and stamps, the creative community has an incredible eye for displaying collections. So this week I sorted through the nearly 3,000 entries and chose my 25 favorite photos to inspire your next great collection. I love that even the simplest thing (like mushrooms!) can become artwork when framed in a simple box top. Here’s to collections that celebrate the everyday! xo, grace

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Biz Ladies: Your Most Overlooked Biz Success Secret

Biz Ladies: Your Most Overlooked Biz Success Secret

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Running your own business can often feel like a series of  “trial and error” moments. Attempting to find the methods and systems that work best and most effectively can be a bumpy road and leave you questioning your abilities. Jen Louden, a personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement with her first book, The Woman’s Comfort Book, understands better than anyone how self-doubt can plague your biz. She’s the author of five additional books on well-being and whole living, including The Life Organizer, that have inspired more than a million women in nine languages. Jen has spoken around the world on self-care, written a national magazine column, and even sat on Oprah’s couch talking about the power of retreats. She believes self-love + world-love = wholeness for all, and today she offers some advice on how to infuse more instinctual trust and less doubt into your business. Trust in your success and it will happen. -Stephanie  

Read the full post after the jump…

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A Minimal and Liveable New Zealand Home By The Beach

Michelle's open concept kitchen/dining/living space is flooded with plenty of light thanks to the pitched roof, large windows, high ceilings and lighting from Muuto and Eric Therner.

A Minimal and Liveable New Zealand Home By The Beach

I often shy away from super-minimal and/or newer-build homes in favor of the charm and comfort of an older home, but blogger, writer and stylist Michelle Halford’s nest may have me taking that back. Surrounded by mature trees and close to the eastern beaches, her home in Auckland, New Zealand delivers on function, comfort and livability.

At the center of Michelle’s busy world is her husband and IT architect Dean Grimmond, her two sons Roman (7) and Marlow (4), and her career. As someone who works from home with two young boys, Michelle’s life and schedule—needless to say—is busy. So it was important to her that her home worked with her lifestyle, not against it. To her, this meant making the big leap to minimal; stripping everything she didn’t need in her surroundings and focusing on the basics. Nestled in Meadowbank, their home was a new build made just for them by boutique building company Property Partners. As soon as she and Dean picked the lot, Michelle didn’t skip a beat and began excitedly planning the design of the interior. She spent months dreaming up what was soon to become a reality, documenting it all on her blog, The Design Chaser. Her passion project took eight months and lots of planning, but the result is stunning. “Having a clear vision definitely made it easier,” Michelle says. “While it could be a little overwhelming at times, I was very decisive and never agonized over all the choices that I had to make when it came to the interior design.” Michelle’s design injects just the right amount of personality and Scandinavian style while still being comfortable and lived-in. -Sabrina

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Sean Brock’s Cornbread Recipe

Sean Brock’s Cornbread Recipe

Excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards
There is nothing more nostalgic than the smell of food from your childhood. Growing up, I had two favorite corn dishes, spoonbread and cornbread. Both are southern staples, but cornbread seems to be experiencing a real revival across American restaurant menus. I order it just about any time I see it, but none have been as overwhelmingly flavorful and evocative of dinners at my Grandma Nita’s house as the cornbread at Sean Brock’s restaurant Husk in Charleston, South Carolina.

Excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards
Sean’s devotion to heirloom grains, seeds, produce and meat is something I truly admire. Although he’s been famous in the food world for some time now, I learned about him primarily through his stint as a host on my favorite television show, Mind of a Chef. Sean’s recipes are all about bringing back ingredients and traditions of the low country and his beautiful new cookbook, Heritage, celebrates that region’s diverse cooking styles with a reverence and level of research that’s rarely seen. What struck me most about Heritage, in addition to the delicious food, was how much work Sean puts into connecting the traditions we associate with southern cooks with their roots in Africa. To say that the reasons behind those connections are unfortunate would be a massive understatement, but Sean takes an honest look at the way the slave trade affected early food in the south and how those ingredients and cooking styles connect to our contemporary kitchens. Heritage is equal parts recipe and history book and I am so glad to see more southern chefs digging deeper into the roots behind the food we make and enjoy today. Speaking of enjoying, I’m thrilled to be sharing my favorite of Sean’s recipes, his cornbread, here on DS today. It is perfect for the holidays, but it is equally delicious at any other time, day or event. You just cannot beat the crispy edges and soft, pillowy corn center. xo, grace

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Printable Freebie: Woodland Gift Tags

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Printable Freebie: Woodland Gift Tags

Not to send anybody into a blind panic, but it’s officially crunch time: Christmas is less than ten days away. If you’re anything like me, this time of year will find you frantically running around doing all of the holiday shopping you should have been doing months ago like a responsible, level-headed adult. If you’re feeling the pressure of the holidays building—both temporally and financially—don’t worry. We gotchu. While we can’t foot the bill for your holiday presents (that’s on you, dear reader), we can try to lighten your load with a fun lil freebie—gift tags! Download the template for these woodland-themed cuties, print them out on some card stock, and you’re one step closer to finishing your holiday to-dos like a CHAMP. Happy wrapping! —Max

Gift wrap from Linda & Harriett’s 2015 Gift Wrap Calendar.

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We Bought a Home!

Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The "Before" Photos

We Bought a Home!

Last Friday, Julia and I packed up our tiny car with as many essentials as we could fit and we drove upstate to sign the contract on our new home! It’s tempting to insert about 10,000 exclamation points here, but I’ll leave it at this: the process taught us a lot about patience, the emotional nature of buying (and selling) a home and how much you have to leave things to fate to see how they turn out. But after all was said and done, we are both thrilled (and scared and excited!) to call this incredible old house our home.

Earlier this year, after spending a lot of time in and around the Catskills for vacation and our honeymoon, we decided to consider looking for a home upstate. We planned on casually looking, but what happened was a (wonderful) whirlwind that led to our dream home. After seeing a promising listing, we called an agent who was highly suggested by our friends and drove upstate with Julia’s family to look around. We saw five houses the first day, and the fifth ended up being the home we would eventually call our own. It needs a lot of love and some work, but we can’t wait to get started. (Read on for the full story, photos and the history of our over 150-year-old home) xo, grace

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Postwar Construction Meets Prewar Charm in Victoria

The dining room.

Postwar Construction Meets Prewar Charm in Victoria

I have a moderately unproven and probably not-all-that-accurate theory that shopkeepers and restauranteurs are preternaturally adept when it comes to the task of homemaking. If you think about it, the skill set and networking needs of both vocations are strangely similar—you need to know how to entertain, how make people comfortable, how to arrange a beautiful centerpiece, and who to call when you need something fixed or built. This is why, when it came time to purchase a home for their growing family, Carey and Erv Salvador seemed enviably cut out for the job. Carey is the owner of a charming vintage clothing and homewares shop called Pigeonhole and Salvator is the restauranteur behind two Vancouver-area restaurants—The Whip and Lucy’s East Side Diner. Like a pair of decor-inclined Planeteers,  the couple’s biz-savvy powers were able to combine to transform a 1952 Victoria, BC house into a show-stopping, timeless home with aesthetics and references that span centuries.

With a little help from their contractor friend Mack Kurtz, the couple was able to swiftly expedite the renovation process, making the home move-in ready over the course of just one summer. Afterwards, it was all about adding a little charm! Beautiful hardware, vintage pieces, and objects culled from Carey’s store add old world character to the home and spaces have been creatively reinvented to maximize comfort and entertaining possibilities—an unused room was transformed into a miniature espresso bar; the kitchen and dining room combined for a warm space perfect for small parties. Overall, with four bedrooms and beauty to spare, the home is the perfect abode for a growing, creative family. —Max

Photographs by Kelly Brown

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