Life & Business: Dee Clements of Herron

Life & Business: Dee Clements of Herron

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Finding your own style and voice doesn’t come easy, but what it does come with is time. Doing something over and over again, tweaking and learning as you go, trusting your instincts and gaining confidence — it’s more of a 10,000-hours process. For Dee Clements, it took a decade for her to discover her true calling and hone her signature style. Launched in 2011, Dee’s company, Herron, offers woven textiles and fibers for the home, and installations using responsibly sourced fibers and methods. Each year, Herron produces two limited-edition collections and collaborates with clients to create exclusive collections and installations. Most recently, she launched an impressive line of painterly handwoven rugs for CB2 and The Land of Nod that are almost too beautiful to lay a foot on. Today, Dee is joining us to share an in-depth look at her background and how her business came to be, the importance of trusting your instincts, and how she squeezes every ounce of time out of her days to draw and meditate. –Sabrina

Portrait of Dee: Photography by Paul Elledge

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Martha’s Vineyard, MA City Guide

Martha’s Vineyard, MA City Guide

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Ever since she can remember, Sarah Waldman has visited Martha’s Vineyard in the summer. She has watched the island ebb and flow for 30 years, and together with her young family, took the plunge and moved there three years ago. Sarah is a food writer who just celebrated the publishing of her first book, Little Bites by Roost Publishing, and is already working on her second. Her husband Nick is a designer who is slowly renovating their 1924 cottage.

It didn’t take Sarah and her family long to fall in love with the island’s tight-knit community, laid-back lifestyle, and beautiful landscape. As a mom to two young boys, Sarah values the adventurous spirit of the island (think year-round surfing, fishing, hiking, and pond skating), the focus on local food, and the various entertainment options, from outdoor concerts to film festivals. Today, Sarah shows us that there is “more to Martha’s Vineyard than fancy homes and presidents,” as she takes us through some of her family’s favorite spots off the beaten path. –Sabrina

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A 150-year-old Apartment in Brooklyn Heights

Desirable Original Details in Brooklyn Heights, Design*Sponge

A 150-year-old Apartment in Brooklyn Heights

When I first started my apartment hunt, I immediately knew what would make me fall for a place — a vintage feel, white kitchen, and original details. After finding out that nearly all 12 of my potential properties had been rented before I even got to step foot inside, I took a walk around my favorite Chicago neighborhood to clear my head. On that very stroll, like a gift from a stork, my current one-bedroom on Fremont Street fell into my lap. There is was: a “For Rent” sign tied to a wrought-iron gate. What sold me on the place was not only the serendipitous story of finding it, but how the owners had maintained the charm of their building. 100-year-old moldings, built-in cabinetry and that all-white kitchen seemed to have been waiting, preserved, for me all along.

What frequently catches my eye is when homeowners not only preserve, but amplify, the original parts of a space. Charlie and Megan beautifully did just that after buying this 150-year-old apartment in Brooklyn Heights, NY. Originally, they were intrigued by the increase in square footage they would be getting, but upon closer inspection, the parlor floors, high ceilings, original fireplaces and moldings were what made the place irresistible. Charlie works in real estate and too often finds that new construction doesn’t even make an attempt at protecting the original elements of the “rich history of Brooklyn design and construction.” That being said, maintaining those elements in their home was of the utmost importance. Six weeks of cosmetic changes, including a new doorway, closet rebuilds and rewiring was all it took to bring the century-old place into the present day. Once you take a peek inside, I’m sure you’ll agree that they’ve done a great job crafting a fantastic backdrop for their covetable vintage collection. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Aaron Joseph

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Two Menswear Designers’ Layered yet Orderly Co-Op

Two Menswear Designers' Layered yet Orderly Co-Op, Design*Sponge

Two Menswear Designers’ Layered yet Orderly Co-Op

While I like being able to have final say in what goes into my home, I do sometimes wish that I had a partner to bounce ideas off of; someone opposite me that pushes for ever-unique solutions to design challenges. The most interesting creative work I have ever seen was born out of two un-likeminded individuals working together under a shared vision. One of my favorite examples of this is Dior designers Raf Simons and Pieter Mulier. One blunt, one more of a waffler, one caring, the other brazen — they complemented one another so well, that the final collection they created was truly visionary.

Menswear designers Shaun and Astrid’s Harlem, NY co-op is the perfect example of how styles can converge to create something personal. Having lived and worked in California, Shaun has a soft spot for knick-knacks and a laid-back, coastal vibe. His wife Astrid’s German upbringing, on the other hand, has instilled in her a love for clean lines and minimal aesthetics. When they moved into this one-bedroom spot four years ago, finding the right balance of their two styles was a bit challenging, but ended up organically shaping the space’s look. “It was important that our apartment feel like a home and not like something decorated by a stranger,” the two say. In order to achieve this, they draped each room in elements that remind them of travels together and the people they’ve met along the way. This “visual diary of [their] life together” isn’t only pleasant on the inside. It sits on one of the quietest streets in Manhattan with a rooftop garden that Shaun and Astrid call the best part of their home. Take a peek at the rest of the clean and cozy apartment that they share with furry friends Artos, Chaplin and Sanderson after the jump. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Shaun Crowley and Astrid Hanenkamp

 

 

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Inspiration Makeover: The Portrait Chair

Our inspired finished chair.

Inspiration Makeover: The Portrait Chair

As our Instagram feeds can attest to, we sometimes see an image that moves us and stays in our heads a little longer than most. Taking advantage of those special moments that completely capture our imaginations is something we’re trying to practice on a more regular basis. When Grace clipped and shared a lovely image from Martha Stewart Weddings (above left), it didn’t just end there. A few days later I happened to find what I refer to as a portrait chair at a thrift store for a reasonable six dollars. (If anyone knows the correct name of that type of chair, please share in the comments! We’d love to know its provenance.) 

I imagined this six-dollar chair transformed with some sort of treatment that was reminiscent of the antique chair in the portrait. Instead of walking away with yet another creative idea in my head, I bought the chair and immediately headed to The Home Depot to grab some paint to realize my vision. See the whole hour-and-a-half project in the slideshow above and download the DIY instructions here!

This blog post is brought to you by The Home Depot.

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New: Julia Rothman Wallpaper for Hygge & West

"Dog Park" in blue by Julia Rothman for Hygge & West. 100% of the profits go to dog shelter charities.

New: Julia Rothman Wallpaper for Hygge & West

If there is anything thing I love more than design, it has to be pets. Whether you share your home with a dog, cat, bird, hamster, lizard or anything else in between, I will always have a soft spot for the living things that keep us company. So when I heard about Julia Rothman‘s new dog-themed wallpaper for Hygge & West, I was psyched.

“Dog Park” is a cheerful illustrated pattern that includes portraits of Julia’s own dog, a Wheaton Terrier named Rudy, as well as the team dogs of Hygge & West. The wallpaper comes in two colorways, but my favorite part of this pattern is that 100% of the profits from this design will be donated to Copper’s Dream Animal Rescue in San Francisco and Midwest Animal Rescue in Minneapolis to help dogs find the loving homes they all deserve.

In addition to her dog pattern, Julia also designed two new patterns, Foret (inspired by Indian Chintz wall hangings from the 1600s) and Serengeti (inspired by her recent travel to Uganda). Click through to check them out in detail and to see their fabric counterparts as well! You can also skip here to check out these patterns on the Hygge & West site and order a roll or two! xo, grace

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Pattern Download from Frances Macleod Day 5

Pattern Download from Frances Macleod Day 5

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This week has completely escaped me and it’s already 3pm on Friday! I haven’t had the time to read anything on the web this week so I’m going to skip this week’s “best of” links and make next week’s a bit more robust. But before I head out for the weekend (and another week of shoots next week, in California!), I wanted to share the final pattern download from Frances Macleod. I’ve loved getting a look at her Istanbul-inspired patterns all week and am so thankful she shared them with us here. Thanks so much again to Frances and click here to check out all of her patterns from this week. See you on Monday! xo, grace

Click here to download the final pattern this week from Frances Macleod!

Emily Han’s Cherry Bounce and Balsamic Shrub

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Emily Han’s Cherry Bounce and Balsamic Shrub

Summer is flying by, and with it goes the rich, seasonal fruits we spend the rest of the year awaiting patiently. To extend their turn in her kitchen, cocktail crafter Emily Han whips up a variety of boozy beverages that will keep long into the cold winter months. Emily has perfected two classic cherry concoctions — a liqueur and a drinking vinegar — made from the juicy crimson harvest. Included in her upcoming book Wild Drinks and Cocktails, these cherry bounce and cherry balsamic shrub recipes take their cues from the past, with the present-day goal of sparking an appreciation for provisions “from our own communities, our own landscapes, and our own hands.” For those monitoring sugar intake or avoiding foods treated with chemical preservatives, homemade refreshments are a more wholesome alternative. So enjoy your fresh fruits for a little while longer, and start planning the delectable drinks they’ll soon become in the fall. —Annie

Why Emily loves these recipesCherry season is fleeting, so each summer I devote some time to capturing their essence in the form of drinks like cherry bounce and cherry balsamic shrub. Come autumn and winter I’ll open up the bottles and happily remember those sunny moments strolling through the farmers’ market and pitting cherries in the backyard. In addition to their luscious flavors and colors, sweet and tangy drinking vinegars like shrubs were historically used to slake thirst and promote digestion. And when you make your own drinks, you know exactly what’s going into them, from the fresh, seasonal produce to the sweetness you can control. Although these recipes call for sugar, feel free to experiment with any refined or unrefined sweetener you like. Both of these drinks are versatile and can be mixed with seltzer water or used in cocktails. The bounce is also delightful on its own.

*These recipes are part of our healthy summer series, focusing on recipes that are good looking and good for you!

This post was brought to you by Mouth.com, your online shop offering indie snacks, summery spirits and wine and tasty gifts produced by independent American makers.

For a limited time, Design*Sponge readers can enjoy 20% off discount sitewide using the code: 20DS at checkout.

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Before & After: South Street Philadelphia Pop-Up Garden

Before & After: South Street Philadelphia Pop-Up Garden, on Design*Sponge

Before & After: South Street Philadelphia Pop-Up Garden

When the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society asked designer Karen Regan of Tallulah&Bird to create a pop-up warm weather garden on a vacant South Street lot, she imagined how the public gathering space would feel if it had developed organically over time. The temporary installation for special events, as well as sampling food and drinks from local vendors, is only open from June until October of this year. Regan began the design process in the dead of last winter to prepare for a quick 24-day installation during the month of May. With help from Jeff Regan of Regan Construction (also her husband), she was able to reuse found treasures like barn wood, old factory parts, and vintage receptacles from flea markets in new ways.

As the garden’s infrastructure developed, Karen played in the dirt, carefully deciding where each plant would go, and potting up vessels to create a bohemian atmosphere. She devised a series of smaller, more intimate environments within the site’s large open expanse, which include a central trellised pavilion, covered cabanas, a private cottage, wine bar, and long picnic table seating under quaint market lights. While utilizing interior layout principles in some of these outdoor living spaces for maximum comfort, the exterior rooms are constantly changed by living, growing plants. In this way, returning visitors are encouraged to discover new details or engage with different zones at each visit. As for the style of her latest project, Karen describes the concept as petit a petit l’oiseau fait son nid, or, “little by little the bird builds its nest.” It’s her dream of a secret garden for everyone in the heart of the city. —Annie

“After” photography by Julia Lehman

 

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A Photographer Couple’s Beachy “Treehouse” in Melbourne, Florida

A Photographer Couple's Beachy "Treehouse" in Melbourne, Florida | Design*Sponge

A Photographer Couple’s Beachy “Treehouse” in Melbourne, Florida

I love when work means travel. I value getting to take in new places and experiences whenever possible, but I need a home base. There’s nothing like coming home to my peaceful house after being gone. This photographer duo has created a bright, beachy space that allows them to find rest and calmness in between trips and projects.

Beulah Anne Ekkelenkamp is a fine art photographer, fashion photographer and online shop owner and her husband, Alex, is a fine art wedding photographer. They contract separate clients and also own a destination wedding photography business together that takes them all over the world. Their home is an important touchpoint for them when their weeks are full of projects, people and new places. “The size is perfect for the two of us; it’s spacious but not too large to feel empty. It’s low maintenance, so it’s perfect for two people who are constantly traveling and on the go. As self-employed newlyweds, renting this apartment has truly been a pleasure,” says Beulah. The home’s white backdrop, natural textures and minimal amounts of furniture keep the space low-maintenance, yet inspiring. “My husband and I chose our home because it was a more private town-home style apartment surrounded by a lot of lush greenery. I am most thankful for the natural light, high ceilings, and the trees right outside our windows. We’ve nicknamed our home The Treehouse because it feels as if we’re up in the trees.”

They’re currently based out of Melbourne, FL but Beulah is originally from Brooklyn, NY and Alex recently moved from Alberta, Canada. Their beachy home reflects both where they are and where they’re from. “My decorating goals were to create a type of coastal living atmosphere that was clean, open, and minimal, but still cozy and welcoming, and not sterile. We live 10 minutes from the beach, so I wanted [to] incorporate that feel, but I’m a native New Yorker, and didn’t quite want to live in a typical beach house,” says Beulah. “I rented the apartment before my husband (then fiancé) moved here from Canada. He thought he was arriving to stacks of boxes and beige walls. I surprised him by having the apartment painted and decorated before he arrived! With immigration, visas, and packing and moving everything he owned, he was so relieved to move into a finished space.” Their simplistic, sweet space allows Alex and Beulah to retreat whenever they are home without having to worry about clutter or upkeep. –Lauren

Photography by Beulah Anne Ekkelenkamp

 

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Pattern Download From Frances Macleod Day 4

Pattern Download From Frances Macleod Day 4

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Kelli, Sasha and I woke up in Detroit this morning and we’re on our way to a very special interview and photoshoot for the new book. Before we head out, I wanted to share another beautiful pattern designed by Frances Macleod that’s available for free download today! Whether you use this to brighten up your desktop, laptop or phone, I hope this will bring a little color and brightness into your day. xo, grace

Click here to download Frances’ day 4 pattern!

DIY Mirrored Box

DIY Mirrored Box

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I’ve always thought perspex (the same material as plexiglas or lucite) was a great material to work with. I remember back in school we made protective handles for plastic carrier bags — cutting, sanding and melting the sheets until they formed smooth, glass-like curves. Light, strong and elegant. I’ve been a fan ever since, but didn’t realize I could be creating simple structures in perspex from my own home with just a few inexpensive tools. This mirrored box is a great example of taking a cheap product and making it look much more expensive, and it’s much easier than it looks! —Fran

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The Big Picture: The Rise of Statement Art

The cobalt blue in this print by Minted artist Alexandra Dzh adds an unexpected color pairing that transforms this pink + neutral dining room into a modern gallery café. Enlivened by a large, singular piece, this room's new mood elevates dinner conversation from the traditional "daily recap" to more inspired exchanges about the best parts of the day.

The Big Picture: The Rise of Statement Art

When it comes to adding wall art to one’s space, there are a few schools of thought. We’ve watched the rise of the collection approach — which provides the cohesive interest of a salon wall — and now we’re seeing the return of statement art that boldly sets the tone of the room in a single, large piece. The singular, oversize approach is on the rise perhaps as a way to calm the mind and provide an aesthetic refuge from the image overload stream that our digital lives have become. Whether it’s an inspirational piece like a colorful map or a painterly floral, a single piece in a communal space like a living room or dining room can have the effect of focusing everything within the space, from the conversations that take place within to the arrangement of the furniture.

With a modern nod toward minimalism, homeowners are finding expansive ways to adopt some of the less-is-more tenets of minimalism with the adventurous and colorful imagery they’re consuming on their screens every day. These bold wall pieces can transform a wall and a space in ways that a micro approach generally can’t. There’s no up-close examination, no wondering what the frame holds — there’s simply a wash of emotion that sets the tone for how one perceives the room and what happens within it. In oversize art’s uncomplicated simplicity, it’s a comfort to feel like we’re not missing anything — it’s all layed out before us and we can simply enjoy the room and people within it! —Caitlin

Checkout the slideshow above for some of our favorite spaces outfitted with a single piece of art!

 

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This post is brought to you by Minted. The Minted Art Marketplace features limited edition art by independent artists. Large format prints are now available in sizes up to 44″ x 60″.

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Pattern Download From Frances Macleod Day 2 + 3

Pattern Download From Frances Macleod Day 2 + 3

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All week I’ve been in NYC with Kelli and Sasha for photoshoots and to celebrate Julia’s birthday. Today we’re all heading to Detroit for another quick shoot and in all the scheduling I forgot to post yesterday’s pattern from Frances Macleod! So today we’re getting not one but two new patterns to download, inspired by her recent travels in Turkey. Thank you so much to Frances for sharing this with us today! xo, grace

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Click here to download Tuesday’s pattern files (yellow/blue image above- for personal use only)

Click here to download Wednesday’s pattern files (red and blue image at top- for personal use only)

Life & Business: Nilea Alexander of Cafe Rue Dix

Life & Business: Nilea Alexander of Cafe Rue Dix

Life & Business: Nilea Alexander of Cafe Rue Dix
Figuring out exactly what you want to do when you posses a variety passions is difficult (and something I personally struggle with. Sometimes, the best way to find out what you really want to do is to try many things and see what you naturally come back to. After over 15 years of working in retail, starting various design businesses, and selling vintage pieces at flea markets, Nilea Alexander‘s destiny began revealing itself. Shortly after she married her husband, Lamine, they both decided to make a career leap and open a cafe that fuses French and Senegalese food (inspired by Lamine’s native heritage to Senegal, West Africa). In 2013, Cafe Rue Dix opened its doors to the people of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, offering a twist on traditional West African food with a hint of French influence. More than a restaurant, Cafe Rue Dix embodies everything Nilea and Lamine enjoy, right down to the eclectic decor for which we have Nilea and her on-going love for design to thank. After a year in business, her inclination for creating an experience took a more serious form. During the winter of 2014, the Rue Dix name expanded and Marche Rue Dix, was born, a retail shop offering everything from vintage clothing to travel gear to artisan home goods. There’s no saying what’s next for Nilea and Lamine, but one thing is for sure: if it’s rooted in something they love it, they’ll make it happen. Today, we’re thrilled to chat with Nilea about their two businesses, the value of ideas, the importance of hiring well, and how fostering a connection between product and people is always a key ingredient to any successful business. –Sabrina

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