NEW: Design*Sponge + ILIA Lipstick + Best of the Web

NEW: Design*Sponge + ILIA Lipstick + Best of the Web

Today I’m beyond overjoyed to announce a special collaboration with my all-time favorite beauty company, ILIA. It’s no secret that I’m not a big makeup wearer — it’s something I talk about pretty regularly, so when I commit to wearing any sort of skin or face product, I don’t take it lightly. For the past four years, the only thing I’ve ever worn when I feel like dressing up a bit is ILIA’s “Arabian Knights” lip conditioner. I love it so much I’ve bought it as a gift for every woman in my life and it’s the only lipstick I put in our gift guides over and over every year.

So when Design*Sponge had it’s 10th birthday last summer, I sat down to dream big about all the projects I’ve ever wanted to do. At the top of that list was to collaborate with ILIA on a special limited-edition lipstick. And today, our lipstick, “Pink Moon” is live! The color was inspired by fresh raspberries and the way they stain your lips in the summer, so Sasha and I worked together to create the perfect shade that would flatter a wide range of skin tones and be light enough to feel like a balm, but rich enough to bring color and warmth to your face. I got my first sample last month, and this week I mailed out my 10 samples to friends and family to see how it looked on them. Today I’m so excited to share a fun little video I made with their photos. My friends, family and favorite designers are the most beautiful people I know, so I couldn’t think of better people to debut “Pink Moon” on. Thank you so much to my mom Elaine, my mother-in-law, Rochelle, Llubav Duerr, Joy Cho, Sara, Rose and Henry Jensen, Karen Young, Jonna Twigg, Sawyer DeVuyst and Julia Rothman for being the most beautiful test models ever. If you’re interested in picking up a lipstick from our limited edition collaboration, you can order online right here! xo, grace

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In the Kitchen With: Jean and Jessie’s Icebox Cake

In the Kitchen With: Jean and Jessie’s Icebox Cake

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I am always excited to read recipes for icebox cakes. I don’t know why, but they transport me back to my childhood. However, I think the only icebox cake we ever had in our house was a type of banana pudding, if that even counts! This week we have one of the most delicious-looking icebox cakes I’ve seen, called the Old School, by Jean Sagendorph and Jessie Sheehan. It’s a cake made up of whipped cream and chocolate wafers, topped with chocolate shavings, and it comes from their book Icebox Cakes: Recipes for the Coolest Cakes in Town. The recipe takes careful reading before you embark on making the cake (which is actually quite simple), and it will take some time to pull together, but the outcome is worth it. Kristina

Why Jean and Jessie love this recipe: What’s not to love about the Old School? The combo of thin, crispy, uber-chocolatey wafer cookies and billowy, vanilla-flavored whipped cream kind of can’t be beat. Once the cake has spent some time in the refrigerator, it’s like a moist chocolate layer cake with fluffy vanilla frosting. And the Old School truly is the quintessential icebox cake, the one that inspired us to write our book, Icebox Cakes, and the one we kind of think of as the gold standard.

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Photography by Tara Donne

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Behind the Bar: Yvette and Vianney’s Ponche a la Romana

Behind the Bar: Yvette and Vianney’s Ponche a la Romana

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Sometimes, I get to the end of a hard day and I just want something simple, cold and refreshing to sip, like this week’s Ponche a la Romana, by bloggers Yvette Marquez and Vianney Rodriquez. Their cocktails — featuring fresh-squeezed juices and homemade mixers — have been so popular that they decided to devote a whole book to them! Latin Twist: Traditional & Modern Cocktails is the first book to celebrate the signature cocktails of Latin America and Spain in one volume. They all look so incredibly good! With the temperatures rising in Rome as we move closer to summer, this cocktail is definitely one I will enjoy drinking this weekend! Kristina

Why Yvette and Vianney love this cocktailFor us, champagne and sherbet scream spring! We love the simple combination of sherbet and bubbles and the addition of pineapple is so refreshing. This festive, fizzy punch, brimming with fresh pineapple, is usually served in a punch bowl. We love an excuse to entertain and this recipe makes a great punch bowl — and you’ll have something ready to pour as soon as guests arrive. Plus, they can help themselves to refills, leaving you free to enjoy your fiesta.

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Photography by Jeanine Thurston

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Home Ec: 12 DIY Ideas for Earth Day

DIY Kitchen Garden: Turn any old box or drawer into an indoor herb garden. You can grow your own herbs and save a trip to the store - and save an old piece of furniture or storage from being tossed!

Home Ec: 12 DIY Ideas for Earth Day

Next Wednesday is Earth Day, so for this week’s Home Ec, I thought I’d focus on some ideas you can try around the house to conserve water, energy and materials. “Green” lists these days are often about buying more/new/better products, but for me, the best thing you can do for the planet is use more of the things you already have around you and find smarter ways to make them last longer or do double duty around the house. So these projects will be focused on reducing consumption, reusing what you already have, and recycling or upcycling things that may have otherwise been thrown away. I hope these help inspire some Earth Day projects around the house — and if you prefer to get outside and do something, the official Earth Day site has a great list of events happening all across the world if you want to get involved. xo, grace

*If you want some fun ideas of what to do for Earth Day in your own backyard, check out these great ideas for exploring what’s near you.

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This post and the Home Ec section are brought to you by Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. Visit the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Home-Grown Inspiration section featuring 20 DIYs, including seven from Design*Sponge!

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Dispatches from Japan: Day Five

Dispatches from Japan: Day Five

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It’s been such a pleasure having Ayumi Horie join us all week with photographs from her trip to Japan during Cherry Blossom season. If the gorgeous trees and strands of origami weren’t enough, all of these photos of tiny deer in Nara Park are making me want to pack up and leave right now. Today Ayumi is sharing one last set of photos with us, including a breathtaking shot of Kasuga Taisha in Nara Park, above. That sort of peace and quiet is the best way to start the day. Thank you so much to Ayumi for sharing her trip with us all week. You can check out more of Ayumi’s photos right here on her Instagram feed and check out her “Pots in Action” feed here, too. xo, grace

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Images above, top to bottom: A tiny deer and ice cream cones in Nara Park; cherry blossoms at Itokutenman-gū; Kinpusen-ji in Yoshinoyama; and double torii gates at Fushimi Inari in Kyoto.

Before & After: An A-Frame Cottage Gets an A+ Renovation

Before & After: A-Frame Cottage, on Design*Sponge

Before & After: An A-Frame Cottage Gets an A+ Renovation

If you’re someone with a huge imagination, everything you’ve ever wanted can fit in a dream home that’s quite small. Case in point: Astrid Insieme and her husband Brian, who whipped their seasonal 1969 New England A-frame cottage into permanent-residence shape with their own gloved hands. In only 800 rustic square feet, the couple envisioned a home that felt “global, a little chic, and very cozy,” and yet also appropriate to its surroundings in the remote town of Sanbornton, within New Hampshire’s Lakes Region.

The building was not originally equipped for year-round living, so a comprehensive scheme addressed both functional and cosmetic issues, inside and out. Installing proper insulation for frigid winters and reworking the floorplan (including a weekend bedroom for Brian’s 11-year-old daughter, Bella) were fundamental to the plan. Astrid, an interior decorator and stylist, and Brian, an interactive graphic designer and musician, did all of the work — except plumbing and electrical — entirely themselves. This is especially impressive considering they went beyond the basics to revamp the kitchen and bathroom with tons of amenities, and design clever built-ins that make use of wasted nooks and crannies. Most remarkably, the couple also added a stately, barrel-vaulted foyer addition onto the kitchen entrance of the structure.

However powerful the sense of accomplishment feels, Astrid admits that DIY has its drawbacks, like a three-year timeline for a project that was expected to take one at the outset. Going into the job, the couple knew that renovating any home was guaranteed to be rife with challenges. But as Astrid recalls, living in a construction zone inside “a tiny home with wonky, angled walls presents a whole array of unexpected ones.” In the end, Astrid and Brian are so glad they put a personal stamp on the home they created together. -Annie

All photos courtesy of Astrid Insieme.

 

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Before & After: A Garage Becomes a Beautiful Studio Space

Before & After: Garage Becomes a Beautiful Studio Space, Design*Sponge

Before & After: A Garage Becomes a Beautiful Studio Space

I love when purely functional spaces become incredibly inspiring ones. It takes vision and a lot of hard work to see a full transformation. When we last popped into Dear Hancock’s creative space four years ago, it was their living room. Gwen and Earnest recently moved to Idyllwild, CA and decided to turn their new garage into an illustration and inventory space for their sweet stationery company. Starting with a bare-bones garage, Dear Hancock rewired the electrical, finished walls and installed custom carriage house doors. They left the cement floor and the exposed wooden beams, which I can’t stop staring at. The space is now bright, organized and styled with beautiful, minimal pieces. The duo can create, manage orders and store inventory without having to take over the living space. The renovation has allowed Gwen and Earnest to separate their work from their home in order and style. —Lauren

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Before & After: Sage’s Entryway Makeover

Before & After: Sage's Entryway Makeover, Design*Sponge

Before & After: Sage’s Entryway Makeover

Changes to a small space can be tedious, but also well worth it. When Sage Ruth moved into her new home in the greater Boston area last fall, she knew she wanted to brighten up the front hallway and that it would take a lot of steps. The walls were stark white and the banister, stairs, flooring, paneling and built-ins were all variations of light, yellow wood. Sage started by painting the walls, trim and doors. She removed the doors off of the pantry at the end of the hall to create open shelving. I love the great use of pattern on the stairs, where Sage applied fabric to the stair risers with decoupage to save money (and work) on wallpaper. The last projects involved replacing the light fixtures and styling the space. After all is said and done, Sage has completely changed the feeling of this area. I love how color, white and wood are used in this entryway — it’s so cheery and welcoming. —Lauren

Photography by Sage Ruth

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Dispatches from Japan: Day 4

Dispatches from Japan: Day 4

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After three days of Ayumi Horie‘s breathtaking photos from Japan, I’m convinced that I need to start a little savings fund to eventually travel there one day. Between the tiny deer and blooming cherry trees, it looks like heaven. Today Ayumi is sharing more photos from her trip, including these beautiful Meoto Iwa, or the “married couple” rocks (below) on the coast of Japan. xo, grace

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Image above and top: Painters painting the bright pink blooms of cherry blossom trees; trees lit by lanterns below in Ueno Park in Tokyo.

DIY Faux Bed Frame

DIY Faux Bed Frame

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When Julia and I moved into our new (but very old) home, we knew that a good deal of our decorating projects would be DIY-based. With a mortgage and plenty of repairs on our hands, buying a ton of brand new furniture just wasn’t going to happen. So over the past four months we’ve ripped out old tiles, created benches from old countertops, floating bedside tables from leftover scrap wood and headboards from inexpensive plywood. And, in a stroke of DIY genius, Julia came up with a cheap-and-easy DIY bed frame idea that not only looks great, but is infinitely customizable (and easy on your wallet). So today I’m sharing the how-to for anyone who wants to neaten up their low-lying mattress without spending a fortune. xo, grace

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A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home

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A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home

Hawaii native Andrew Mau accepts that this historic Warren, RI apartment is a temporary stop on a much longer journey. What brings him to town is a one-year stint with local maker O&G Studio, where Andrew is collaborating on a new collection that will soon debut at ICFF in New York. For eight months now, the prolific furniture and product designer, creative director, and consultant (among other things) has nested in a 650-square-foot rental that occupies half the second floor of the 1809 Federal-style Samuel Randall House. The place is so legit it even has a dedicated website.

Andrew and his girlfriend, the quilter Meg Callahan, had previously taken a yearlong roadtrip with stretches in Oklahoma, San Francisco, and Hawaii. Even with so much experience setting up temporary dwellings, the concept of a longer short-term stay still posed a challenge to the designer. He needed to avoid any redundant purchases, as he maintains a storage unit full of “good stuff” elsewhere, though Meg brought some of it to her new spot in Seattle. In a residence without an expiration date, Andrew tends to rearrange, collect, and sell items often as his personal tastes evolve, and he enjoys experimenting with arrangements of objects in space. However, in the Warren apartment, Andrew had to be more strategic, and relied on lots of thrifting, IKEA for bedding, and borrowed items from friends. His employers even hooked him up with some choice sample pieces.

Living in an older home of this caliber has its obvious charms, but also poses its own set of obstacles: Andrew had to work around the relatively fewer number of outlets, the slanted floors, and old plumbing in the building. However, as someone who makes things for a living might know best, “Generally speaking, things that don’t work can often be fixed.” Everything, that is, except the old toilet in a “Harry Potter” bathroom under the staircase. “It flushes what seems like 45 gallons of water with a success rate of 40%.” This is a small price to pay when a 360º lookout room sits atop the house, from where you have an uninterrupted view of the coves and bays nearby. Additionally, Andrew appreciates the mission of the Warren Preservation Society, which is the town’s nonprofit historic conservancy that acts as his landlord. “It’s a beautiful project, and I’m so lucky to have been able to support it. It’s a magical house,” he shares, similarities to fictional wizard’s residences notwithstanding. -Annie

Photography by Andrew Mau, except where noted.

 

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Studio Tour: Loyal Supply Co.

Studio Tour: Loyal Supply Co. on Design*Sponge

Studio Tour: Loyal Supply Co.

Growing up, I thought tool sheds and workshops were pretty magical spaces. There was something about all of those neatly organized tools on pegboards that felt like the key to infinite possibilities. Learning to use each and every one of them was (and still is) a goal of mine and when we moved upstate, Julia utilized existing pegboards in the garage to create the beginnings of our own little workshop wonderland. Kimberly LaFoy and Ryan Habbyshaw of Loyal Supply Co. share our affinity for pegboard workshops so much that they used that classic organizational tool as inspiration for their design store and studio in Somerville, MA.

Working together with Mark Lewis from Unlikely Creatures, Kim and Ryan set out to create a space that functioned like a classic machine shop, with their large printing press at the center of the room, surrounded by smaller tools and functional home and office goods. I love the combination of “for work” and “for play” goods that they carry, and it turns out the curation of the shop was inspired by the owners’ own personal goals: “We work hard, but we also value our time away from the office. So our collection reflects that notion, offering the required materials to literally go fly a kite. Our compilation of items is always evolving, changing with seasons, needs and community interests.”

In addition to Loyal Supply Co.’s retail space, they have a workshop downstairs that acts as the production space for the prototyping and producing of all of their in-house product designs. Upstairs is the company office where Kim and Ryan research and design their goods. Now that I’m away from the “big city,” I find myself really appreciating stores like this that combine form and function well. This fusion makes the drive to visit feel worthwhile and, if you’re not in the Boston area, definitely worth a visit to their new online shop. Today, Kim and Ryan are taking us on a virtual tour of their shop for anyone who can’t visit in person. I know I’m going to be looking at pegboards much differently after this tour — it makes me want to line all our walls with this so we can create impromptu shelving anywhere we want. Thanks so much to Loyal Supply Co. and Joyelle West for sharing this tour with us today! xo, grace

All photography by Joyelle West

 

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Dispatches from Japan: Day Three

Dispatches from Japan: Day Three

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All week, potter Ayumi Horie has been sharing photos from her trip to Japan during cherry blossom season. We’ve already gotten a glimpse at the beautiful trees, sleeping deer and origami cranes, and today Ayumi is showing us more of Hanami season, when the entire nation is glued to news about where and when plum, cherry, apricot and peach blossoms are budding and falling. In the picture below, the moon pokes through a vast canopy of pink and white flowers and above you can see a detail of one of the vivid hana-momo, or peppermint peach trees (in the Waseda neighborhood of Tokyo). Thanks, Ayumi! xo, grace

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Life & Business: Hammocks & High Tea

Life & Business: Hammocks & High Tea

Life & Business: Hammocks & High Tea

Karen Young started Hammocks & High Tea (arguably two of the best things in the world) to capture the vision that the two words muster: a warm, sleepy, summer breeze and the understated luxury of a comforting beverage had in a small, beachside town. Inspired by her upbringing in South America, Karen launched Hammocks & High Tea from her apartment and has since brought these high-quality, thoughtfully crafted heirlooms to New York and beyond — but it hasn’t all been so romantic. Today Karen’s chatting with us about how scaling is easier than starting, the most important two P-words, her Incremental Growth Schedule (which we should all follow!) and how when life shakes you up, sometimes the best thing to do is shake it up harder. –Sabrina

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Life & Business: Liza Michelle Jewelry

Life & Business: Liza Michelle Jewelry

Life & Business: Liza Michelle Jewelry

Sometimes, it’s in those dark moments when you feel like everything’s going wrong that you notice the beauty that surrounds you and you’re given the opportunity to make a change — whether you realize it at the time or not. It’s happened to the best of us, and it was in one of these defeated moments where jewelry maker Liza Michelle’s business bloomed from.

Her handcrafted jewelry line, Liza Michelle Jewelry, is all about taking notice to the things around you, literally and figuratively. Inspired by Mother Nature, Liza Michelle handpicks berries, twigs and pine cones from nature and casts them in metal to ensure a unique and organic piece each time, whether for a bracelet, necklace or ring. She uses 100% recycled metals and ethically sources her semi-precious and precious stones.

Today, Liza Michelle chats with us about her business and the perfect storm of ingredients for success: discipline, freedom and hard work. —Sabrina

 

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