Our Living Room Update + West Elm $2,000 Giveaway!

Our living room today! Click through to see where we started and how we ended up here...

Our Living Room Update + West Elm $2,000 Giveaway!

Over the past few months I’ve shared some peeks inside our home in upstate New York and it’s been so fun to hear everyone’s feedback, suggestions and ideas for what we should do (or consider) next. I shared a pretty detailed look at our upstairs the other week and then a partial peek inside the downstairs. I was waiting to share a full update on our main living room because we got to work with West Elm to furnish this room and really bring it to life. Julia and I both dreamed of having a real “grown up” living room without a television and two sofas where we could sit with friends and family in front of the fire and talk for hours. Now, thanks to some help from the West Elm team, we can finally settle into this room and welcome our loved ones comfortably. The room is still a work in progress, but I’m excited to share a peek at what it looks like now… and to announce that West Elm is going to be giving away $2,000 to one lucky D*S reader in the US! In my 10 years of blogging, this is the first time I’ve ever had help from any brand to makeover a part of my home, so I felt it was only right to extend that gift to everyone else. I can’t wait to see what one of you does with this prize! xo, grace

CLICK HERE to enter the giveaway and click through for a peek inside the process of decorating our living room!

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DIY Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

The finished product. Read on for the full how-to!

DIY Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Samin Nosrat for the first time and it felt like we all became instant great friends. She is one of the most delightful people in the food (and all-around) community and I’m so thrilled to welcome her for a special holiday DIY. Take it away, Samin!

I grew up celebrating Nowruz, or Persian New Year, where one of my favorite traditions was dyeing eggs to symbolize fertility and abundance for the new year table, or Haft-Sin. Now, as a professional cook, I marvel at the myriad ways food affects our lives and traditions beyond the dining table.

A few years ago, I met Kristine Vejar, whose passion for fiber-based arts is wildly apparent from the moment you step into her beautiful Oakland shop, A Verb for Keeping Warm. I began wondering — could she come up with a dyeing method that would yield delicious, properly cooked eggs with vibrantly colored shells? Does it always have to be one or the other? The answer is a resounding no!

On a recent morning, we invited friends, photographer Terri Loewenthal and artist and stylist Aleishall Girard Maxon, to lend their talents to this tutorial. Terri shot everything on medium format film, and the light was ethereal that day. Aleishall’s delicate touch made everything look even more beautiful than we could have imagined.

These eggs will thrill your eyes and your tastebuds. Use them to make egg salad, radish + egg and butter sandwiches, egg and anchovy toasts, or just snack on them with a little flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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The New Bohemians by Justina Blakeney

The New Bohemians by Justina Blakeney

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I sometimes have a hard time pinning down what my personal home style actually is. It started out wildly colorful and polka-dot-filled and has become more and more minimal as I’ve gotten older, with the emphasis more on texture than pattern, but it always seems to be changing. So I really envy people who seem to have been born with an innate sense of personal style that is so strong that it’s easy to identify their work/home in an instant. For me, one of the people I most admire for their bold and recognizable style is designer, blogger and author, Justina Blakeney. Justina’s Instagram feed is my go-to source of color, pattern and overall inspiration on a daily basis, and when I started to see pictures of the book she was working on with yet another of my favorite bloggers, Dabito of Old Brand New, I hit “pre-order” right away.

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The New Bohemians, Justina’s new 300+ page book, is both an ode to her childhood in Berkeley, CA and the contemporary community of creative individuals who embrace color, pattern, texture, whimsy and all-around open-mindedness when it comes to their homes. Justina grew up in a family that traveled around the world constantly, and she’s brought that explorer spirit and love of international style to her own home, which she refers to as the “jungalow.” “It was actually my own home, my ‘jungalow,’ that inspired the book,” she says. “The way my family and I live in our home is so multifunctional and always in flux: sometimes it’s studio, sometimes it’s a daycare, sometimes it’s a pop-up shop. We are constantly moving things around, adding and editing, painting, working and reworking this little rental. It occurred to me one day that this creative way of living wasn’t just about getting somewhere. There was no end-goal here. The home is always a wet canvas. Our home grows and changes as we grow and change and it was actually the creative process that we loved. There is a free-spirited-ness to they way we decorate and I wanted to explore other homes like ours — multi-functional, layered, creative homes that were forever works-in-progress.”

Along with the help of beautiful, saturated photos taken by Dabito, The New Bohemians is definitely my favorite new book of 2015. Divided into different style chapters (like Earthy Bohemian, Folksy Bohemian, Nomadic Romantic Bohemian), the book showcases 20 homes that embody Bohemian style, along with DIY projects and a plant encyclopedia designed to help you build your own version of bohemia at home. I think this is destined to be the most read, loved, Instagrammed and “photographed on people’s coffee tables” book of the year, so if you’re looking for some new inspiration for spring decorating, check out Justina’s new book right here. Copies start shipping on April 14th! xo, grace

All photos by Dabito. From The New Bohemians, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2015

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Alea Toussaint Pattern Download: Day Three!

Alea Toussaint Pattern Download: Day Three!

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I love when artists can make me look at the most everyday objects and see them in an entirely different way. All week artist Alea Toussaint has been sharing handmade patterns with us that she’s turned into desktop wallpapers you can download for your phone or computer, and today she’s back with another pattern inspired by tea. Dried rose petals, cloves, dandelions and lemongrass make up the ombré fade of this pattern and it makes me want to tear open my tea packages in the kitchen and make something beautiful. But if you’d prefer to drink your tea instead, you can download Alea’s pattern for today RIGHT HERE.

If you missed the last two days of patterns, click here for Monday’s and here for Tuesday’s!

Alea Toussaint Pattern Download: Day Two!

Alea Toussaint Pattern Download: Day Two!

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Yesterday we shared the first of seven handmade patterns created for us by artist Alea Toussaint. I fell in love with Alea’s pattern work on Instagram and it’s a dream come true for me to have so many of her custom patterns on DS this week to download for free! You can use them on your computer desktop, table or phone screen — or just to download for inspiration. If you missed yesterday’s citrus/floral pattern, click here to download the zip file. Thanks so much again to Alea for creating these beautiful, natural patterns for us. I’m hoping these (or other patterns from her collection — I love the bobby pins!) might turn into actual wallpaper for homes one day… xo, grace

To download today’s veggie pattern, CLICK HERE!

Life & Business: Cassie Pyle of Veda House

Life & Business: Cassie Pyle of Veda House

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When you start your own business, surrounding yourself with — and seeking out — like-minded individuals is oh-so important, not only in peers, but in clients as well. When graphic designer Cassie Pyle first took the leap to freelancing full-time, her already-established network of online friends through her blog, Veda House, helped make the transition seamless. And it was only after she received a few fun (and paying!) jobs through her blog that she realized that people wanted her; they wanted to hire Cassie and loved her signature work. Even though it meant diving into the unknown and mysterious world of uncertainty, Cassie knew that she needed to pursue and explore this opportunity and has never looked back. Today Cassie’s chatting with us about the importance of just doing, the scary jump into sole-proprietorship, and life as a freelance designer where no two days are alike — and that’s the way she loves it. —Sabrina

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Life & Business: Tuckbox

Life & Business: Tuckbox

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After spending nearly a decade behind a desk at a UK architectural firm, Dan de Groot was itching to get his hands dirty and dive back into the land of power tools and sawdust. His passion for the handmade, derived from his education at Queensland University of Technology where he specialized in Industrial Design, quickly led him to up and move back to his hometown of Melbourne, Australia with his wife, Prue.

In 2008, Dan started collecting old timber machinery and gleaning wisdom from local craftsmen in an attempt to better understand the craft of furniture-making. Inspired by his newfound appreciation for the materials, machines and processes, he started creating furniture pieces in their backyard shed, and it wasn’t long before his backyard projects became a business. Together with his brother, Ant, and Prue, they launched Tuckbox, a contemporary furniture line with a focus on craftsmanship. From afar, their pieces look simple, but like their story, the beauty is all in the details. Today, on behalf of the talented team at Tuckbox, Dan is sharing the inside scoop behind their business! -Sabrina

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Shanghai, China City Guide with Liza and Claire of LuRu Home

Shanghai, China City Guide with Liza and Claire of LuRu Home

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The thought of moving to another country (where you don’t know the language!) and starting a business is as terrifying a thought as it is exhilarating. And that’s exactly what childhood friends Claire Russo and Liza Serratore did. After college, Claire and Liza both moved to Asia and happened to cross paths in Shanghai. They quickly fell in love with the city and, upon discovering the ancient 3,000-year-old process of Nankeen textile dyeing, they launched LuRu Home, which aims to bring hand-printed Nankeen fabrics and art to homeowners across the world.

When they first moved to China in 2009, Georgia’s Shanghai Guide was a huge resource for them, but as with any quickly-evolving city, Shanghai has since seen hundreds of new shops open and close. So today, Liza and Claire are thrilled to share their updated guide (written by Liza), which is overflowing with the best in food, fashion, design, entertainment and culture, all broken down by neighborhood! –Sabrina

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A Georgia Home Filled with Love, Art and Plenty of Pets

The master bedroom has a beautiful quilt hanging on the headboard, which was an excellent eBay find. The photograph above is by Abby Powell.

A Georgia Home Filled with Love, Art and Plenty of Pets

Today’s home tour felt like the perfect follow-up to Caitlin’s essay about learning to love and embrace your home for all of its quirks and imperfections. Artist Sarah Neuburger of The Small Object and her wife, Edurne Sarmiento, chose their Decatur, GA home because of its proximity to Edurne’s new career. After leaving their Savannah apartment, Sarah and Edurne found this 1949 home and loved that it would allow Edurne to walk or ride her bike to work every day (she is an RN in a medical intensive care unit) and have enough space to give Sarah a home studio with a separate entrance where she could welcome clients. Neither Sarah nor Edurne were ready to settle down and choose a forever home, so they embraced this space as their somewhat temporary home and turned it into a bright, open space that suits all of their needs. “We know we’ll probably need to move again in a few years, so that means that we’ll live with cabinet knobs that aren’t our favorite, or wallpaper we’d rather replace or flooring that should be swapped out. But when you know you’re not changing everything, you learn to work around it.”

Sarah and Edurne have lived in their Decatur home for four years now and, despite some early difficulties like hanging chairs that ended up falling out of the ceiling and a giant hallway closet that holds a huge unusable tub, they love the space they’ve built together for their family (which also includes four adorable pets, Chloe, Charlie and Oscar Pants (cats) and Milton (their dog). “We aren’t fussy people,” Sarah says. “We want our home to function and be comfortable. We want to look around and see the things that remind us of each other, where we’ve been and who we love.” It’s easy to see how much love, family and friends have played into the creation of their beautiful home and I’m so happy to share it here today. Stay tuned for a peek inside Sarah’s home studio later this week! xo, grace

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Living With the Imperfect

My Peach door - hands down my favorite faux-pas in my home. Eat your heart out, stylists everywhere!
P.S. I feel like this slideshow should have a warning like "The following photos contain unprofessional, graphic images of my home. This material may not be suitable for all readers." Just sayin'.

Living With the Imperfect

Most people who knew me in the past all tended to mention the letters OCD one or twice during our relationship — especially when it came to my home. Yep, I’m the one who organized my own 30th birthday party at home with a tight, eight-person limit. When everyone arrived I handed them an agenda and a two-choice dessert menu. I kind of took the fun out of it for my guests, but I had a great time. And clean-up was a breeze. It was a lifetime of moments like that led me to be a chronic planner and constantly exhausted.

Then I left New York City. I didn’t have a specific reason for deciding to move back to my hometown. 9-11 happened. I left a longterm relationship. My big corporate days were over. I was just finished with the city, so off I went, back to the oldest town in West Virginia on the Potomac River with all its majesty and all its mud.

I learned to live with calling everyone older than me “Miss Janey” or “Mr. Scott.” I learned that when a bird flies close to your car it is not a legitimate reason to swerve into the other lane. I learned and accepted these things and more. But what was the hardest thing to get used to were the apartments and homes in my small town.

 

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Pattern Downloads from Alea Toussaint!

Pattern Downloads from Alea Toussaint!

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Since I started today with inspiration from Instagram, I thought it was the perfect time to introduce a special weeklong guest series with an incredible artist I found through Instagram: Alea Toussaint!

Alea is a talented graphic designer based in Minneapolis who works for Colle+McVoy. When she’s not creating beautiful work for them, she’s running one of the most creative Instagram feeds online. Alea makes patterns from real, three-dimensional objects, like bobby pins and vegetables. It was her bobby pin picture (which she kindly shared in the #dspattern hashtag challenge) that caught my eye and turned me into an instant fan of her work. So I wrote her an email, crossed my fingers and lucked out that she was game to collaborate with us for a week on a special series of custom patterns! Every day this week (including Saturday and Sunday!) Alea will be joining us to share a beautiful handmade pattern that you can download to use for your computer desktop or phone background. I’m so excited to show you what she has coming up! Thanks again to Alea for creating these for all of us! xo, grace

To download today’s wallpaper, just CLICK HERE!

*Please note these patterns are for personal use only.

16 Beautiful Wallpapers from Readers

Photo by instagram.com/shibori_textiles

16 Beautiful Wallpapers from Readers

Wallpaper has always been one of my favorite design elements for a few different reasons. First and foremost, it’s one of the fastest ways to transform a room dramatically in just a few hours. Second, it’s a tool for makeovers that can be effective in even the smallest of pieces (like to line drawers or the back of a bookcase). Last but not least, like textiles, it has the ability to combine all of the major elements of design (texture, color, pattern) in one fell swoop. So for this month’s hashtag challenge, we invited readers from across the globe to share their favorite photos of wallpaper at home and “out in the wild.” The results were a mix of bold, colorful, sophisticated and wonderfully worn-in papers, each one perfect for its chosen space. If you’ve ever needed inspiration to try a little bit of wallpaper at home, hopefully these photos will be the nudge to give it a try. Thanks so much to everyone who took these photos of their living rooms, morning coffee spots and museums around the world — they brightened my morning every day of this month. xo, grace

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The Oh Joy! Book + Ombre Cake How-To

The Oh Joy! Book + Ombre Cake How-To

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To do any job for the better part of 10 years is both a challenge and a privilege. No matter what field you’re working in, the conditions, rules and people around you will change — and when it comes to the field of blogging, the landscape is constantly changing. So today I’m happy to celebrate one of my oldest blogging friends, Joy Cho. I’ve known and followed Joy’s blog, Oh Joy!, since the beginning and it’s been, well, a joy to see her achieve so many great successes in both her personal and professional life. I remember when Joy was engaged and living in Philadelphia and to see her now, living happily in Los Angeles with her two beautiful daughters and her husband, Bob, is a happy reminder of just how much life can change in a decade.

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Joy has written and contributed to several books about creativity and blogging, but on April 7th she’s releasing her first book dedicated to what I see as the true core of her blog — finding ways to create and share happiness with others. Oh Joy!: 60 Ways to Create & Give Joy is a colorful, upbeat guide to simple projects that will bring a little smile into the lives of the people you love. From sweet treats you can make and package for friends to home decor projects like customized neon signs, Joy’s new book is all about finding time to do something for someone you care about — even in the smallest way. I think we’re all busy these days and finding time to do projects like this can be difficult or nearly impossible. But what I love about Joy’s book is that the vast majority of these projects can be done in 30 minutes or less, and require very little that you can’t find around your house already. This will be a wonderful handbook for anyone who wants to have some ideas on hand to use for special events, holidays, anniversaries or just moments when you want to make someone you love feel how appreciated they are. Today Joy is sharing a simple Striped Ombré Cake recipe from the book that would be a fun way to spruce up any spring or summer get-together. Click here to check out Joy’s new book online and click through to read the full recipe after the jump. Congrats, Joy! xo, grace

[Below is a highlight of this week’s posts and our favorite links from around the web]

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See how to make Joy’s Striped Ombré Cake after the jump!

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In the Kitchen With: Nicole Hunn’s GF Apple Fruit Pies

In the Kitchen With: Nicole Hunn’s GF Apple Fruit Pies

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I have the extreme pleasure this week of sharing another recipe with you by Nicole Hunn, one of my absolute favorite gluten-free bakers, and author of the Gluten-Free on a Shoestring blog. All of her recipes are crazy easy, and so good, I can’t get enough of them! An extra bonus is that the recipe is from her most recent book, Gluten-Free Classic Snacks. Her book shows you how to make gluten-free versions of some of your favorite classic sweet treats from childhood. Today’s recipe is a gluten-free version adapted from Hostess’ classic apple pie. As with all of Nicole’s recipes, it is only deceptively long. The narrative is what makes the recipes so easy to execute. You can see Nicole’s recipe for gluten-free sweet potato pie here, and her gluten-free lemon cream éclairs here. Enjoy! Kristina

About Nicole: As the personality behind the wildly popular Gluten-Free on a Shoestring blog and cookbook series, Nicole firmly believes that gluten-free eating should be both enjoyable and affordable! Nicole has written about gluten-free eating for Parade magazine, Living Without, and Gluten-Free Living and she has appeared on Sirius/XM Radio, The Better Show, and ABC News. She has also been featured in the New York Times, Better Homes & GardensParents Magazine and Epicurious.com. Nicole lives with her family in Westchester County, NY.

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Peek Inside World’s End Farm + Saipua Plant Sale

Plants enjoying the extra humidity near the tub.

Peek Inside World’s End Farm + Saipua Plant Sale

Over the course of my time on the Internet, I’ve seen a lot of really incredible businesses come and go. Some have stayed the course for the better part of a decade and continue to inspire me with their dedication, passion and quality. Saipua is one of those businesses. I remember first discovering Sarah Ryhanen’s floral business back when she had a small shop on Van Brundt Street. I was an immediate fan of Sarah’s loose, garden style and was excited when she agreed to join us here as a guest blogger and then as a weekly blogger for her column, Weeder’s Digest. Since then, Sarah’s floral business, which she shares with her partner Eric Famisan, has gone on to produce some of the most breathtaking weddings, events and photoshoots I’ve seen — not to mention inspire an entirely new generation of floral designers.

Four years ago Sarah and Eric decided to move to upstate New York and buy a home and farm where they could grow their own flowers and, eventually, support their floral work entirely from their own crops. The shift from Brooklyn to the farm inspired a major shift in the business, too. “Our mission has really galvanized in the last year,” Sarah says. “We now aim to use flowers as a catalyst to inspire people to pay attention to their natural environment; ideally inspiring them to take some action to tend to and preserve the bits of nature that remain intact around us in the city.” I’ve been so inspired by seeing Sarah and Eric work to turn their once-dormant farm into a working, breathing home for their passions and hard work. It’s easy to become separated from the process of growing and to forget just how much work goes into the flowers we see in stores. I really appreciate that Sarah and her team are working hard to explain the full life cycle of how flowers come to be in a sustainable way. I think it’s part of a bigger, shared mission we all have to know where our belongings come from.

This weekend Sarah is having a HUGE plant sale at their Brooklyn shop to support the farm and the building of their first hoop house. I’m so sad to miss this for the first time this year, but if you’re in the NYC area, this is definitely worth visiting. The sale starts at 10 am and will end when they’re sold out. For those of us who can’t visit in person, Sarah has been kind enough to share some photos of their stunning farm and house, World’s End. If you’ve ever wanted to take a mental escape somewhere beautiful, here is your floral daydream material. Thanks so much to Sarah for sharing this with us. Click here for more info on the sale! xo, grace

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