How to Create a Spring Garden Mantelpiece

How to Create a Spring Garden Mantelpiece

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[Fireplaces and mantels are stunning focal points in the winter when they’re filled with a roaring fire, but what about spring and summer? Today, Anna Potter of Swallows & Damsons joins us for a clever centerpiece idea to make the most of your fireplace or decorative mantel in warmer weather. -Grace]

This spring garden mantelpiece is a great excuse to dig out my collection of pots, vases and bottles that I hoard behind every closed door in the house. It requires little technical floral skill; instead the focus here is color, tone, texture and the room that you’re working in. For this arrangement I asked to use my friend Camilla’s Victorian fireplace. She is an incredible textile designer and never shies away from using bright and bold color. I don’t actually have a fireplace at home, but this idea would also work nicely on any kind of sideboard or equally well down the center of a table.

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I was inspired by Camilla to be bold with my choice. Instead of blending everything subtly into the background I would go for broke, it is spring, after all; sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, etc. After the jump I’ll walk you through creating your own version of this for everyday use or a special occasion! Anna of Swallows & Damsons

All photos by India Hobson

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DIY Gold Foil Confetti Pillow

DIY Gold Foil Confetti Pillow

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Gold foil confetti cushion
Cushions and pillows are some of my favorite interior decor items to DIY for many reasons. I always feel like the details give the room its personality, so I regularly change up the smaller elements, like soft furnishings and artwork. It’s an easy way to update and refresh a room. Another reason I enjoy updating pillow covers is because they are a blank canvas to unleash your imagination onto. You can paint, sew, weave, quilt, bead, tassel, print, knit or crochet (and the list goes on) any design you like! Mix patterns with more patterns or with block colors or monochrome grids. And perhaps the best of all — add a little shine to any room with this DIY gold foil confetti design. —Fran

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Clay:shop at Hey Rooster

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Clay:shop at Hey Rooster

Now that Julia and I live in a tiny town (a hamlet, actually), I’m always tempted to open up a little shop on our main street and sell all of my favorite things in one place. But foot traffic is pretty nonexistent here and retail is notoriously tough, so I think I’ll have to keep living vicariously through some of my favorite brick-and-mortar shops and retail locations. One of which I wanted to profile today, because of its excellent interior and a fantastic pop-up dedicated to potters and ceramics.

Hey Rooster General Store in Nashville, TN is a modern shop inspired by and dedicated to the idea of building community. Owner Courtney Webb spends her days not just curating her shop, but, “working to connect artists, makers, bakers, and farmers to our neighborhood and online friends through workshops, summer flower CSAs, pop-up shops and general friendliness in the shop.” Hey Rooster sells only American-made goods and they have regular pop-up shops to focus on particular regions and materials. Right now they’re having a great show, clay:shop, that’s featuring the work of not just local designers but over 50 potters from across the US (each one sent two pieces to include in the show). The majority of the 96 pieces for sale will be one of a kind, limited edition or signature pieces, and Courtney created a special space for them in the store that is basically my version of heaven. I so wish I was in Nashville to see this, but in the meantime, I’m going to take a virtual tour with this slideshow. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. If you’re in town, be sure to check it out in personxo, grace

*Great “small world” moment: Courtney said Rebekka Seale’s home tour on DS was one of the things that inspired her to move back to Nashville from NYC! She even spotted Rebekka in town after moving back and the two became fast friends. 

All photographs by Hannah Messinger (Instagram)

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Free Pattern Downloads from Kelsey Orseid: Day 3!

Free Pattern Downloads from Kelsey Orseid: Day 3!

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This week the sun is finally out and we’ve been opening up the windows to watch the plants and flowers come back to life upstate. We’ve got a small patch of cone flowers growing in one part of the yard and it reminded me so much of today’s pattern download from Kelsey Orseid. After patterns that showcase insects, birds, flowers and swallows, Kelsey is back with a sunny, floral print that looks to me like a mix between sunflowers and cone flowers. If you need a little pick-me-up for your work day today, this pattern is perfect. Just click below to download! xo, grace

Download day 3 of Kelsey’s patterns right here!

Life & Business: Katie Thurmes of Artifact Uprising

Life & Business: Katie Thurmes of Artifact Uprising

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How many times do you take a photograph that never sees the light of day? If you’re anything like me, it’s a lot. The current photo-count on my iPhone is over 2,000. That’s over 2,000 memories that I always intend to get printed or do something with, but in this digital time and age, it’s far too easy to forget and let the story fade.

The question “what are we leaving behind?” is exactly what prompted Jenna Walker to quit her job and pursue photography. And it wasn’t long before her sister Katie Thurmes and husband Matt joined her, and Artifact Uprising was born. They didn’t exactly know what they were doing, but they knew why: to capture the “disappearing beauty of the tangible,” pushed forward by the truth that everyone has a story to tell. It took years to develop their impressive line of premium photo books, prints and gifts, but by staying the course, they were able to go from launching their business from a basement in late 2012, to a team of 14 and an acquisition by VSCO.

Creatively-driven and committed to celebrating the authentic, Artifact Uprising urges you to get off your device and into your life, something we should all make a priority. Today, we’re thrilled to have Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Katie Thurmes share some insight into their business; from the desire to create the next bigger thing, to believing in what you’re building, to the importance of giving your creativity room to breathe. –Sabrina

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Life & Business: What To Do If Your Dream Put You In Debt

Life & Business: What To Do If Your Dream Put You In Debt

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Talking about money isn’t easy. In fact, talking about money was once so hard for Sandra Hanna that when she was invited to be on Oprah to share her financial story, she broke out in nervous hives so badly that a makeup artist had to airbrush her entire face, neck and chest! It’s so great to see more and more conversations being had around this once taboo topic that everyone experiences and struggles with — even Sandra.

Just a few years ago, Sandra was a complete financial disaster. Together with her five girlfriends, all of whom were also in debt, they set out to fix it. Inspired by Oprah’s Debt Diet series, they formed a money group and developed a system to get out of debt once and for all. And it worked! Sandra has not only paid off her debt, but has made hundreds of thousands in income, and, along with her friends, she launched Smart Cookies to help others do the same. Since their start, they’ve published two books, have a TV series under their belt and have been featured on OprahThe Today ShowCNN, Anderson CooperABC News and in the New York Times. Today, we’re thrilled to have Sandra joining us to share her knowledge and expertise on what to do if your dream put you in debt. —Sabrina

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Crown Heights, Brooklyn Guide

Crown Heights, Brooklyn Guide

Crown Heights, Brooklyn Neighborhood Guide

I’ve been to New York exactly twice: once for the Society of Illustrators show and again for a wedding. Each time, I’ve only been able to spend a day or two in the city, so I’ve barely scratched the surface of seeing everything New York has to offer. When Taylor Swaim, who works in J. Crew’s Creative department, offered to do a Crown Heights, Brooklyn neighborhood guide, I was totally on-board. Inexperienced though I may be with NYC, the differences in culture and personality from one block to the next in this city is palpable, so it seemed a natural fit to share a neighborhood guide of this gorgeous borough, bursting at this time of year with cherry blossoms.

On top of working as a self-described “librarian of clothes” by day, Taylor is a photojournalist by night who lives in a great apartment in the diverse and beautiful Crown Heights neighborhood. Like any other community in NYC, it would be impossible to list every awesome spot to check out, but today, Taylor is here to take us through her tried and true Crown Heights favorites, from morning coffee to late-night grub. –Sabrina

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Kelsey Oseid Pattern Download: Day Two!

Kelsey Oseid Pattern Download: Day Two!

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I’m so excited to have Kelsey Oseid back for a second round of beautiful (and free!) downloadable patterns! Today’s print is a deep blue menagerie of plants, animals and insects that would be perfect for your tech backgrounds — and also textiles. I’m crossing my fingers that this one turns into linens one day, because it’s got “summer picnic napkins” written all over it. Until then, you can download today’s pattern at the link below and check out more of Kelsey’s work right here online. xo, grace

Download DAY 2 of Kelsey’s patterns right here!

Scarlette New Delhi

The living room in the Scarlette.

Scarlette New Delhi

One of my biggest dreams is to one day travel to India. One of my best friends worked throughout India for years and I was always so envious of his experiences there and the incredible people, places and traditions he had the honor of getting to know. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to make the trip, so for now I’m traveling vicariously through some of the beautiful homes, blogs and hotels I’ve seen online.

A new guest house that’s been on my radar lately is called Scarlette. Located in the South of New Delhi, Scarlette is a small but sweet guest house that blends elements of traditional Indian design and decor with French style — a nod to the owner’s French heritage. I’m completely smitten with the rooms and overall feel of the space. It’s a clean, modern spin on a guest house and feels like a great place to use as your home base if you’re traveling through town or are stopping in New Delhi on your way across India. If anyone has the pleasure of staying here, please send us some pictures! We’d love to see how it all looks in person. Until then, here’s a tour of Scarlette and its rooms (how cute are those keys?). xo, grace

Photos by Virginia Harnois and Mimi Giboin

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Uncovering Character in Dublin, Ireland

Uncovering Character in Dublin, Ireland | Design*Sponge

Uncovering Character in Dublin, Ireland

Seeing potential and helping something reach its potential are two very different things. It’s easy to appreciate what something can be, but putting the hours and labor into it inspires a whole new level of appreciation and creates something beautiful. Siobhan and Jamie took a risk when they bought this Portobello, Dublin home, but the potential was too great to pass on.

Siobhan Lam, owner of homeware and interior consulting company April and the Bear, and Jamie Hughes, a retail manager, followed a hunch on a vague home listing and it landed them at the door of a house with tons of need and tons of potential. The 1850s house was renovated previously into three separate flats. Siobhan and Jamie decided to transform it back into the home it once was through intense restoration done primarily without the help of professionals. “Once we got the keys, we decided to move into the bedsit upstairs. The plan was we would live upstairs and demolish and then renovate downstairs and then vice versa,” Siobhan says. “The renovation involved a lot — we knocked down walls, replaced doors, removed stairs, knocked down chimneys, plastered ceilings, installed coving, installed new windows and doors and we filled A LOT of skips.” The results are incredible — traditional charm mixed with whimsy. It’s a space that suits them perfectly.

The renovation has slowed down with increased business and wedding planning, but the home is functional, beautiful and very personal. “To be honest, the house is still a work in progress — we’re nearly there, but not quite,” Siobhan says. “The most important thing to us was to create an open, inviting space that we could just relax in and have our friends and families over to. We’re real home birds so creating that kind of home was our top priority.” This home is filled with character, architectural stunners and so much personality — way beyond its original potential. —Lauren

Photography by Mark Scott and Siobhan Lam

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A Lovely and Intentional Los Angeles Loft

A Lovely and Intentional Los Angeles Loft | Design*Sponge

A Lovely and Intentional Los Angeles Loft

Our homes have a way of shaping us and making us grow. Through home challenges and luxuries alike, our behaviors start to conform to what our spaces allow. I mean this in the best way — my tiny closet (2’w x 4’h x 2’d) means I have a clothing rack in my room. It can only handle 45 wooden hangers, so I only allow myself to have 45 pieces of clothing. This includes pants, dresses, blouses, sweaters and my beloved collection of essential tees. It makes buying and wearing clothing so much more intentional. My less-than-practical closet has changed my mindset on what I need. Today’s sneak peek of Valerie and Andy’s loft is the same: they have embraced their loft and its constraints so well and have turned an open space into a lovely home.

Valerie, east coast native, concept designer for a fashion company and founder of Mint + Varnish blog, and Andrew Wildes, west coast native, commercial editor for an advertising agency and filmographer, were looking for a bungalow in Venice Beach when they found and fell in love with this loft in Marina del Rey. “I love that when I come home from work my entire family is immediately visible – creating a really warm welcoming every night,” Valerie says. The long, open loft needed just the right pieces curated for this space. “We didn’t have any furniture before moving in, so we started with a completely clean slate. My top priority was to consider every purchase as an investment, even if that meant building our home very slowly over time. It’s taken about a year for us to collect all of the furniture we need, but I don’t believe our space will ever really feel finished. I like the project of refining our home over and over.” The items they’ve collected over time are minimal — yet beautiful — pieces that reflect the two both individually and as a couple.

Their spaces are clearly defined, which can be a hurdle with any open concept. Valerie and Andy have made each “room” feel complete and separate from the next without losing any cohesion throughout the space. “I wanted it to feel clean, cozy, simple, and intentional. I believe there has to be a reason for everything in the home, especially with a small place like ours,” says Valerie. “It’s taught me that having less stuff is super refreshing, and that’s how I intend on living for the rest of my life.” Their beautiful space has definitely benefitted from such a philosophy. —Lauren

Photography by Elizabeth Kitchens

 

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Pattern Downloads from Kelsey Oseid

Pattern Downloads from Kelsey Oseid

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For all of the things that social media might be contributing to our culture that aren’t great (FOMO, pressure to be perfect, etc.), I find there are thousands of things it contributes to that are wonderful. For me, social media — and Instagram, in particular — is a hotbed of creativity. I am constantly discovering beautiful homes, great DIY ideas and talented new artists and designers who are using their social feeds to spread the word about their work the way blogs were used 6-8 years ago. I’m fascinated by the way people get their work out there online and I bookmark at least 50 people each week to reach out to. One of those talented people is Kelsey Oseid.

Kelsey is a freelance illustrator based in Minneapolis who creates beautiful nature- and folk-inspired patterns. I first discovered her work through one of our hashtag challenges and have been a fan ever since. I love Kelsey’s Instagram feed and am constantly pinning her animal patterns. So I spoke with Kelsey about creating some custom patterns for us, and today we launch the first of five beautiful patterns you can download for free to use for your tech backgrounds and screens! [Please note these patterns are for personal use only.] Stay tuned for patterns 2-5 and keep an eye on Kelsey’s other work right here. xo, grace

DOWNLOAD KELSEY’S PATTERN: DAY 1 RIGHT HERE.

Best of the Web + Meet Our New Puppy!

Best of the Web + Meet Our New Puppy!

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Last week Sabrina introduced us to her new puppy, Piper, and this week I couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to do the same. Julia and I had been thinking about adopting another dog (Hope has been a little lonely upstate) for a while, but we weren’t quite ready to upset the delicate balance we had between Hope and our cat, Turk. So when we heard from Chrissy Beckles, who runs the rescue group who gave us Hope, about fostering, we said yes. Chrissy had an adorable little puppy, Winky, who needed somewhere to stay until she found a good home and we excitedly welcomed her last Sunday. We both fell in love with her the first moment we met her, but it took a few days to figure out if we could create the same balance we had with just two pets. Thankfully, with a little work, lots of playtime and a new cat tree for Turk, our family has found its new — improved — balance, and a new member.

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Yesterday we officially adopted Winky and while we’re technically “foster failures,” we couldn’t feel happier. Winky is now one of us and she fills our home with so much energy, excitement and happiness. She’s completely enamored of Hope (which Hope both loves and hates at times) and the two of them play nonstop throughout the day. It’s exactly what we hoped for and reminded me yet again just how wonderful it can be to bring animals into your family. So, meet our second official D*S pup, Winky the Sato! She’s about 4.5 months old now and we think she’s a Catahoula mix, but we’re never 100% sure with rescues. All we know is she fills our house with 1,000% more love, so we’re so grateful. If anyone out there reading is considering adopting or fostering, we’re such big fans of The Sato Project (and all great rescue groups), so if you’re interested in finding a new furry friend for your home, click here to check out and help. We’re taking the pups out for a long walk today, so until Monday, here’s wishing you all a great weekend. xo, grace

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The Miniature Garden

The Miniature Garden

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I have a soft spot for miniature things. When I was little, I obsessed over my doll house and any catalog that sold tiny versions of normal house goods, like wooden spoons, rugs, lamps and books. So when I found this Etsy shop that makes miniature DIY paper flower and plant kits, I took a few minutes to hyperventilate and then had to come up with a plan to prevent myself from putting each and every one of these kits in my shopping cart.

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Each of these tiny kits, from dahlias and lilies to espalier trees, comes with punched paper petals, paper-covered wires, illustrated instructions and punched paper leaves to create your own tiny green masterpiece. Full-sized paper flowers are, of course, lovely and a great alternative to real plants if they’re not your thing, but these minis are another fun choice. They’d be a fun way to dress up gifts, spruce up a tiny spot on your dresser or windowsill, or just have fun doing something crafty. Click here to check out all of the kits and order online. If anyone makes one of these, please let me know — I would love to see these in a real home! xo, grace

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Kristi Kohut

Kristi Kohut

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The earth and all of its natural beauty is an endless source of inspiration. I love seeing the colors of the ocean pop up in textiles and little hints of fall leaves in wallpaper and ceramics. But few sources of inspiration make me as happy as those that come from rocks, gems and geodes. There’s something about the wavy lines, bright colors and shimmer you find deep within the earth that get me every time. My favorite example of that inspiration has always been Clare Grill, who made beautiful paintings of geographical cross-sections, but now I have another great source: Kristi Kohut.

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Kristi‘s artwork has appeared online, in print and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and now she’s selling a series of stunning prints at Buddy Editions inspired by agate rock formations. I love all the splashes of hot pink and blue — they feel like summer to me and would be a great way to bring some brightness to any rooms around the house that could use some new life. If you want to check out more of her work and order her prints, you can see them right here online (prices start at $50 and range up to $500 for large-form prints). xo, grace