Design*Sponge

Your home for all things Design. Home Tours, DIY Project, City Guides, Shopping Guides, Before & Afters and much more

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Design*Sponge 10th Anniversary

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10 years ago today, I was working on the ground floor of my boss’ home office in Brooklyn about to hit “publish” on a blog that I had no idea anyone else would ever read. I picked a name, wrote about some of my favorite things (an Eames chair and vase by the Bouroullec brothers) and took my first, and only, selfie to set up my user account on Blogspot. People always say that if they knew what something would turn into before they started it, they would have done things differently. But I can honestly say that after a decade of running Design*Sponge, I wouldn’t change a thing. Every mistake I’ve made has led to a valuable lesson and every success has been a team effort that I’ve been honored to share with an incredible group of co-workers and friends. This site has given me some of the happiest and most challenging moments of my life. It’s introduced me to my best friends, endless inspiring collaborators and even led to me meeting my wife. This blog has allowed me to repair and nurture a sense of self-confidence and has taught me to discover my own voice and find ways to use it to empower the people around me in the community I love. I quite simply wouldn’t be who I am without this site and it is a complete and total joy to be able to celebrate it’s 10th birthday.

If Design*Sponge was a real baby (and not just the metaphorical baby I pour my heart and hard work into), she would be entering 5th grade and just starting to figure out who she is. And in some ways, I feel like this year we’re doing the same thing. As the landscape of the online community changes more and more quickly, we’re learning to ride each wave and find more momentum and motivation to use these changes to make us better and more efficient communicators. Whether we’re sharing photos on Instagram, writing personal essays on the blog or shooting videos to share with people halfway across the world, every single piece of content we put into the world is done with the same amount of enthusiasm, curiosity and passion that we’ve had since day one. It’s not always easy to keep up the same pace, but I truly believe the people I work with here at D*S are the best in the business. And I think our readers and this creative community at-large represent some of the kindest and most incredible people in the world. It’s your voices, your input and your friendship that’s kept us going over the years and we want you to know just how much it means to all of us. Your emails, comments and even your hugs at events are the energy we use to keep pushing harder to find more (and better) ways to share ideas that we hope will help and inspire all of us to create homes – and lives – that represent who we are.

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This week our team is getting a well-deserved break from the internet so rather than go on too long, I want to just take a moment to thank everyone who has read, supported or talked with us here at Design*Sponge. You’ve made this the best job anyone could ever have. To be able to talk about the things we love on a daily basis is truly a privilege and each and every one of us look forward to the next 10 years of celebrating the incredible talent and inspiration the creative community has to offer. Thank you for continuing to talk, share and work with us all. xo, Grace and the entire team at D*S.

*To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, photographer Julie Lee has created two beautiful images inspired by our D*S color palette of pink and grey (that’s one above!). Using all natural materials, she created these gorgeous collages that you can download here to use as desktop or phone wallpaper. Thanks so much, Julie!

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Delicious Non-Alcoholic Drinks

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Earlier this year I decided to stop drinking. I was never much of a drinker in the first place, but after seeing an allergist I realized that all the things I felt when I drank even the tiniest bit of something alcoholic were signs of an alcohol intolerance. Nothing was severe enough to send me to the emergency room, but every time I had the occasional beer, my nose would immediately stuff up, my throat would start itching and my skin would get flushed so much that I felt like something was wrong with me. It turns out there was something wrong and that, shockingly, this wasn’t something that everyone else was feeling. So I decided to cut it out of my life and haven’t looked back since. That said, I still enjoy the act of having a festive “drink” when I’m out with friends celebrating something. So instead of drinking what everyone else is having, I have learned to ask bartenders about mocktails or anything they can make easily without adding alcohol. Those requests have led to some of the most delicious drinks I’ve ever had (the blood orange mocktail at Lola in Cleveland is amazing), so I decided to share some of my favorite non-alcoholic drink recipes for anyone looking to mix up something special for end-of-the-summer celebrations. Served in a punch bowl, these can be great drinks for anyone at a party (including younger guests) but you can easily dress them up in a fancy coupe with a garnish for older guests who want something that looks a little more sophisticated. I hope you’ll enjoy these drinks as much as I do! xo, grace

Image above: Chelsea Fuss’ Elderflower Drink is as summery as it gets. The post includes a version you can add alcohol to, but it is not required for the recipe.

Click through for all of my favorite mocktails after the jump!

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Fire Up The Grill: Our Favorite Grilling Recipes

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If you live in a city and don’t have access to a backyard like a lot of us, you probably share my love of being able to cook (or just eat) near an actual grill. It’s illegal for us to put a tiny grill on our fire escape, so I relish any chance to visit our families outside of Brooklyn who have room for outdoor cooking. Julia and I are spending time with my family in Virginia this week to celebrate my mom’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!), so we’re preparing a special all-grilled menu for her party. In honor of cooking outside and making something under the stars, I rounded up my all-time favorite grilling recipes. From Yotam Ottolenghi’s grilled bread with spinach to an incredible chai tea s’more recipe, there’s something in here for every meal and taste bud. Happy grilling! xo, grace

*Image above: This is my favorite grilling recipe we’ve ever posted. It’s Green Kitchen Stories’ delicious take on a grilled Portobello burger (with peaches!). Vegetarian, fresh and super tasty, it’s my go-to for summer grilling when I visit my family in Virginia.

Click through for all of our favorite recipes after the jump!

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15 Inspiring Kitchen Transformations

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I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing quite as satisfying as witnessing a real, good kitchen renovation. Whether it’s on a cheesy daytime home and garden show or an in-person tour at a friend’s house, a brand-spankin’-new kitchen has the ability to give me chills and send my heart beating in envy. Self-closing drawers, you say? Ohhhh. Custom cabinetry? Shut up right now. Marble countertops? Let me just run my hands across them—that’s not creepy, right? If a fancy-shmancy new kitchen does it for you like it does for me, you’re quite in luck! Today, we’ve hand-picked 15 of some of our favorite, most awe-inspiring kitchen transformations from our Before & After archives—all for your viewing pleasure! May they excite you, thrill you and inspire your own kitchen renovation projects! —Max

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23 Brilliant Ideas & Projects For Your Home Office

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I don’t know about you, but even though my school days are long over, the onset of September still gets the butterflies in my stomach going and I suddenly feel the urge to buy pencils, notebooks and fresh new planners. This yearly stirring presents a great opportunity to turn over a new leaf at home, too—a second January, if you will. September usually finds me clearing out desk drawers, reorganizing my filing cabinets, and sprucing up my at-home workspace. If you get in a similar mode when the fall mood sets in, we’ve got some snazzy, handy-dandy tips, ideas and projects to get your back-to-school/back-to-work workspace in tip-top shape! Check out all 23 after the jump! —Max

Above: Take a page from Yield Design Company’s book and turn a large portion of your office’s wall into a peg board—you’ll find endless uses for it, from organizing to a place to hang inspirational artwork!

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Radio Hits: Your 10 Favorite Episodes of After the Jump

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Every year the radio station from which my radio show, After the Jump, is broadcast takes a two-week break to gear up for fall programming. This year I’m using my radio break to think BIG about the show and try to reimagine the format to include new and exciting features, more interview clips with people from across the globe and more resources to help people get inspired and stay motivated with their creative businesses. One of the ways I try to learn what people want more of is to take a look at what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t. While I was digging into my stats to see what shows had been most successful, I thought it would be fun to share the shows that people have enjoyed the most so far. It can be tougher to figure out these stats than you’d think, as there are so many ways and places people can listen to shows (on this site, on other sites, through iTunes or other apps like Stitcher). I used a mix of all these stats to calculate your favorites and I am so excited to see how I can integrate more of these ideas you liked into shows going forward. If you have any requests for the fall season, please feel free to leave them below. So many of my shows come from direct listener requests, so feel free to request to your heart’s content – I’m listening. xo, grace

Click through for the 10 most popular shows of all time…

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