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Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.

I’ve called Greenpoint, Brooklyn home for the better part of a decade. This is the neighborhood that welcomed me into Brooklyn 11 years ago and continues to be the only place I feel truly at home in this big, bustling city. For all the wonderful parts of Greenpoint (trees, parks, amazing Polish food and great people), there are some less desirable aspects like major pollution, overpriced rents and a lack of fresh seafood. Seafood? I know, it’s not the biggest issue in the world, but when you’re married to a cookbook writer who loves healthy (and sustainable) food, you notice these things. So when Julia and I found out we were getting new neighbors – and that they were a sustainable seafood shop – we were thrilled. We were fortunate to connect with the shop’s owners, Vinny Milburn and Adam Geringer-Dunn, before the shop opened and we’ve been beyond excited to see the design elements come together to create a beautiful new store.


This week, after months of hard work, Vinny and Adam opened Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. on Nassau Avenue. The shop is a clean, bright and beautiful space that uses nautical and seafood-themed decor cleverly, alongside details like vintage barstools and tin oyster trays and maps of the shop’s fishing spots as wallpaper. We’re so happy to have a new place to shop for (or stay and eat) dinner in the neighborhood and are delighted that Vinny and Adam took the look of the shop into consideration, too. We would have been happy to just have the option to buy sustainable seafood locally, but to have it available in such a stunning space is a real bonus. Thanks so much to Vinny and Adam for welcoming us into their space and telling us all about the design elements. And, from all of our North Brooklyn-based team – welcome to the neighborhood!

All photos by Maxwell Tielman

[Images above: a hand-painted logo on the store's back wall, the main bar with a gorgeous marble top and table inset with shells painted gold]

Click through for the full tour of Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. after the jump!

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past & present by 0

Past & Present: Behind Mud Cloth

I don’t think that I ever really gave textiles much of a second thought until I was in graduate school at Parsons/Cooper-Hewitt. I grew up, like most of you, in a house filled with textiles; plenty of blankets for the bed, curtains on the windows, comfortable upholstered furniture and cushy rugs underneath my feet. I was so surrounded by textiles that it didn’t register that this wasn’t always the case. When in fact, for much of human history, textiles were the most precious and valuable item a person could own. (This topic was covered beautifully by a recent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum: Interwoven Globe. The exhibition is now over, but you can see see much of it online.) Even though today we live in a textile-filled world, the appreciation of textiles and the cultures they come from is one of my favorite things about design. Textiles express the individuality of a place in a way that is completely unique, like the wedding blankets from Morocco, kilims from Turkey, and rugs woven in the Andes of Peru. Today, we are traveling to Mali to look at mud cloth or bogolanfini, which is one of the best known African cloth traditions. Bogolanfini is a handmade Malian cotton fabric dyed using a process of fermented mud that dates back to 12th century. -Amy

(Max created mud cloth inspired downloadable frames drawn from a visit to the Adams Morgan museum in DC.)

Image above: Bogolanfini wrapper in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

How Bogolanfini is made
Traditionally, the men were responsible for weaving the narrow strips of plain fabric that were then pieced together into a larger rectangular cloth.
1. The cloth was first dyed in baths of the leaves and branches of trees (this dye acts as a mordant).
2. The now-yellow cloth is sun-dried and patterns were painstakingly painted with a special mud, which had been collected from ponds during the previous seasons and left to ferment.
2. As the cloth dries, the dark black mud turns gray and the cloth is washed to remove excess mud. This process is repeated numerous times and with each application, the mud-painted area of the cloth becomes darker. The yellow areas are painted with a bleach, which turns the yellow patterns brown. The cloth is left to dry in the sun for a week. When the bleach solution is washed off with water, what remains is the characteristic white pattern on a dark background. (If you want to get a sense of the mud cloth making process, check out this amazing site from the Smithsonian where you can virtually design your own mud cloth.)

Image above: bogolanfini from the collection of the British Museum

Read more about the history of mud cloth and see modern examples after the jump!
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diy by 14

DIY Papier Mache Cacti

David Stark DIY Cacti for DesignSponge
David Stark is the king of FUN. Whenever I want to feel inspired or get creative “outside of the box” ideas for my home or a get together, David’s site is the first place I look. From huge events that turn shoes into a tornado to parties that showcase colored pencils as centerpieces, David knows how to deliver a dose of humor and good fun with decorating and entertaining. Today he and his team are sharing a creative DIY Papier-Mâché Cacti project inspired by pieces that created for a recent event. They loved the stylized, hyper real quality and thought they would also double as great everyday dinner table decorations, entryway flowers or household plants that you’ll never (ever) have to water. Thanks so much to David, Chris and Corrie (who masterminded this project with David) for sharing this with us today! And good luck to the team as they plan the last gala that will take place in The Breuerr Building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan before the Whitney moves to its new home in the Meatpacking district- what a wonderful honor to work on such a special event. xo, grace

Photographs by Susie Montagna

Click through for the full how-to after the jump!

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diy by 7

Upholstery 101: 10 Projects to Get You Started

There was a moment a few years ago when I seriously considered signing up for upholstery school. I’ve always loved textiles and am constantly looking for ways to incorporate them into everything. But at the end of the day, I decided to leave the major projects to the pros and instead embrace more manageable projects that I could do over a weekend. So today I thought I’d round up 10 projects that will get your summer upholstery projects going. Whether you’re brand new to the idea of sewing or just need some creative upholstery ideas to fill your summer vacation, these projects are guaranteed to teach you skills you can continue to use (and adapt to different projects) for years to come. For me, these projects aren’t so much about creating the perfect chair or bench, so much as they are about learning skills that will allow you to easily and affordably create a space around you that speaks to your style. So the next time you see a great chair upholstered in an old blanket, you can create your own rather than having to save up to buy something new. Happy upholstering! xo, grace

*If these projects inspire you to keep going, check out our full Upholstery Basics series right here. Amanda Brown of Spruce in Austin worked so hard to share the nuts and bolts of her incredible skill set and her ideas are both creative and fun. Be sure you check out her tool list, too!

Click through for all 10 DIYs after the jump!

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DIY Marbled Coasters

DIY Marbled Coasters by For the Makers for Design*Sponge
I’ve never been someone who was very precious with their things. I like to save up and buy things for my home that mean something to me and have stories behind them, but I also believe that objects were meant to be used and lived in, so stains and little scratches aren’t my biggest concern. That said, I do like to protect high-quality pieces when there’s a big chance of major damage, like during a party or event when a high volume of people will be using something. Tablecloths and coasters can be your best friends when you want to protect your surfaces from heavy traffic, so today we’re sharing a beautiful (but surprisingly easy) DIY coaster project from Janet Crowther and her team at For the Makers. For The Makers delivers DIY tutorials (and materials) to your doorstep via a subscription service, so they know a thing or two about projects that work well every time. This is one I’m definitely going to add to my repertoire, because it would be easy (and affordable) to change out with trends as they come and go. Thanks so much to Janet for sharing this with us! xo, grace

You can sign up to receive the next collection from For The Makers using the code DESIGN20 to receive 20% off your first collection! Sign up by August 4th to receive their next collection featuring marbling tutorials and techniques.

Click through for the full how-to after the jump!

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best of by 4

Our 10 Favorite California Homes

Even though I now call Brooklyn home, I have a soft spot in my heart for the architecture of my birth state. I love the tiny beach bungalows, the ranch homes in South California, the Victorian apartments of San Francisco and the Spanish-style architecture throughout the state. There is just something about the quality of the light that makes even the tiniest home feel special. Living is a casual, outdoors/indoors prospect and that extends to the decoration of the homes. I love the bright, happy and relaxed feeling in these homes from the Golden State -Amy

Image above: The San Francisco home of Yellow Owl Workshop founders is filled with color and pattern. See the full home here.

Image above: In sunny Southern California, designer Betsy Ginn of SMID gave her childhood bed a new lease on life with a bright pop of yellow. See her amazing home here.
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