This season before spring is the least exciting in my book, but the cold, rainy days turn out to be a great chance to tackle indoor projects or spend time in a good book. As a kid, I could read anywhere — on the floor, in bed, or my favorite spot outside — but lately, I’ve found the need for just enough light, quiet and lots of pillows. Coziness is essential to block out distraction and let my mind settle into a story or study. Grey skies are a chance for imagination to come alive, and these 16 reading nooks from the archives seem like just the spaces to let that happen. —Bethany
In 2015, Tom’s company gave him and his wife Gumi the opportunity to pick up their lives in London and embrace the bustling, bright-colored streets of Bangkok, Thailand. Without hesitation, the duo was in. With a rich expat community and apartments that come fully or semi furnished, the spot they set out for and the transition there seemed made for ease. And thankfully both have been.
After a stint in another apartment, the couple ended up snagging this stellar pad in Sukhumvit, Bangkok. The building is lovely and modern, full of light and life as nearby restaurants and shops are go-go-going all the time. “It’s so exciting!” Gumi says of their new area. She’s found this exuberant Thai vibe so infectious it’s even had a major impact on her personal style. When it came to interior decor, Gumi used to favor kitsch and mid-century design enriched with a vintage touch. Nowadays, however, her home is more pared back with parts of it decorated in finds from the street vendors that sell right outside her front door. Plants, traditional Thai sarongs and patterned pillows are just a few of the local accoutrements she’s come to love.
But nothing has had more of an impact on the look of Gumi and Tom’s apartment than their little boys Keo and Sami. They’re both under the age of five, and their toys have managed to sneak into nearly all nooks of the home’s 1,000 square feet. At first, this nagged at Gumi. Her newfound aesthetic and contemporary taste weren’t made for messiness. In hopes of finding a compromise between form and function, she and Tom installed a big toy box in the living room with low shelves the boys could reach and boxes to keep all the toys visible and easy to access. That way there’s no unnecessary digging and cluttering. They also got their children’s artwork off of the table and onto the walls, making the boys proud and the apartment’s surfaces that much tidier.
While working to combat the clutter once and for all, Gumi and Tom had a realization. Yes they could work and work to make their home camera-ready all day every day, but in the end these strewn-about playthings give their home something they could never buy in a store. Each one is a tiny reminder that they have two little ones loving them daily. And that’s worth more than any spic-and-span home. Click through to check out how this family has embraced the compromise that is messy kiddos and crisp living. Enjoy! —Garrett
Photography by Gumi Matsumoto
This week has been a whirlwind of work behind the scenes here at D*S as we work on an exciting new launch (stay tuned in the next week or two!), plan a new print project and finalize details for some in-person events later this year. All this planning has been distracting me from the mountains of snow covering us at home and looking at the calendar for dates in April, May and June have been helpful reminders that warmer (and more colorful) days are ahead. Until then, Anna from Swallows & Damsons is here today with a beautiful, late-winter floral arrangement to cheer us up and bring some bright colors into our winter palette. Read on after the jump to learn about three beautiful arrangements she made using this season’s most vivid florals. xo, grace
- This brass hardware is so, so beautiful.
- Hooray for wallpapered rooms!
- This Sardinian modern treehouse is my dream come true.
- Bold colors in tiny bedrooms are always a great idea.
- Jeff Provan and Mariko have the most amazing Australian home.
- These vintage kitchen details are heavenly. I love the mix of old and new.
I have a soft spot for artists that work in a color palette that celebrates pinks and peaches. Those colors always speak to me and when you combine them with great texture, I’m sold. Artist, illustrator, designer and prop stylist Ashley Mary creates beautiful paintings that highlight my favorite color (pink) and details like gold leaf and mixed-media paper cuts. If you need a little pick-me-up today, head over to Ashley’s website or Instagram feed to check out more of her work. It’s a wonderful celebration of color, pattern and texture. xo, grace
It’s no surprise here on the column that I love dumplings, and that dumpling overload is a priority when I visit London and New York City. One of New York’s celebrated dumpling houses, Dumpling Galaxy, has just published a book by the same name, co-authored by its chef and owner, Helen You, and Saveur‘s Executive Digital Editor, Max Falkowitz. For those of you, like me, who can’t make it to Dumpling Shack on a regular basis, these Spicy Beef Dumplings with Raw Garlic Sauce are a small taste of what you’re missing. Use the dough recipe below to improvise with your own fillings until you get your ticket to visit Queens! —Kristina
Photography by Ed Anderson
Having a fireplace is on the must-have list for most people I know that are house-hunting. It’s a focal point around which to anchor a room — other than a television. It welcomes conversation and encourages guests to stay a little while longer. Depending on the shape they’re in, the era they were built and the materials used, not all fireplaces are automatically cohesive in a space. While they seem untouchable and hard to transform because of their size, character or style, there are actually several ways to update and make-over such a prominent element of a space. These 10 Before & Afters showcase what some imagination can do to create cohesion between a homeowner’s style and the fireplace. –Lauren
As the snow continues to pile higher and higher around our house (poor Hope got stuck in the snow in our yard last night and I had to come get her out!), I find myself dreaming of sunny vacations at the beach and bright patterns to go with them. As much as I’ve tried to embrace winter whites and cozy neutrals, these colors just feel like the jolt of energy and sunlight I need on this long stretch of cold winter days. Hopefully these cheerful patterns and hues will pick you up, too! xo, grace
Image above, clockwise from top left: Josef Frank Spaces Book $35, Key Strap $16, Wild Confetti Clutch $98, Jeweled Bugs Scarf $375, Palomitas Mini Backpack $158, Indigo Tray $550, Round Cushion $160, Mipo Fountain Pen $25
I have this thing with shop decor — how shops merchandise, decorate for the seasons, what they do with their windows — I love it all. It goes back to when I was nine and traveled to New York City for the first time. I remember being so taken with shops there. It was January and even though it was cold and rainy outside, all the shops were so inviting and warm, because of the effort they had put into decorating for the season. The restaurants took that same road, from the art on the walls to the arrangements on the tables, each place where we ate paid attention to how the customer felt when they walked in. These retail spaces fostered a special environment, a warm place, one that you wanted to return to, over and over.
I’ve rounded up 10 places that give me that same sort of feeling I got when I was a child in NYC. Spots from London to Los Angeles, shops and restaurants, that all pay special attention to the feeling they will leave you with — or maybe something that draws you in, in the first place. —Erin
Seeing potential in a new house can be challenging. As fun as it is to watch real estate shows where a virtual mock-up of what could be accompanies each home showing, it’s not real life. Even for interior designers and decorators, inspiration isn’t going to come immediately. It takes work to uncover the design possibilities each space holds. For Vanessa Francis, the task was even harder because she and her daughter were moving into a much smaller house after her husband passed away last year.
Vanessa, an interior decorator, purchased a home five months ago in Milton, Ontario. Its smaller footprint compared to her previous house in the same town meant Vanessa had to get creative with utilizing the space well. “Since the home is over a thousand [square] feet smaller than our previous home, it was a challenge to lay out the furniture, especially in the open-concept living and dining room which runs parallel to the kitchen,” Vanessa explains. She started imagining and redesigning the space to serve her and daughter Maya well. “I really wanted the home to be more us and have our stamp on it. It was a typical builder home with next to no upgrades and it felt dark and sad. I wanted to lighten and pretty it up for my daughter and me. I know it sounds corny, but I wanted our new home to be a peaceful and happy haven for us after our devastating loss.” For the kitchen, that meant white cabinets, glass upper cabinets and a large blue island with plenty of room for Maya to do homework or for dinner guests to congregate.
Scraping the ceiling, installing new flooring, painting the walls and the cabinet installation all happened in three weeks before Vanessa and Maya moved in. “When we first saw the home, all the walls were a dark grey, the kitchen cabinets were dark brown and there was a combination of dark laminate and cheap floor tiles throughout the space. I wanted to brighten and simplify the space. Getting the shell right — floors, walls and ceiling — was important,” Vanessa shares. Once they moved in, Vanessa finished the kitchen remodel with drapes, stools and accessories. The kitchen before the makeover was short on counter space and cabinets because of a small eat-in dining area competing for square footage. Vanessa knew that expanding her workspace, increasing the pantry size and creating a more beautiful space would serve her better than an extra eating nook.
The result is a beautifully designed space. The blue-green island, moldings, and built-in look of the wall-to-wall white cabinets give the once dark and cut-off kitchen a new and lovely life. “I am most thankful that my daughter and I have a warm and peaceful home where we can heal and be happy again.” –Lauren
Photography by Ashley Capp
There are few things in the world of business that delight me more than a mother-daughter team. There’s something so special about intergenerational duos that are able to bring so many different layers and levels of wisdom and creativity to the table. And when it comes to Maya and Teta Gorgoni of Royal Jelly Harlem (above left and right, respectively), the wells of creativity and wisdom run deep.
Inspired by the richness and diversity of African design and prints, Maya decided to launch her own collection of fashion and home designs in 2011. Working with her mother, Teta, Maya launched her first series of designs from her home neighborhood of Harlem, New York City. The vivid colors and bold patterns in her work have created a devoted following of fans across the country, including some well known names in entertainment. Maya and Teta’s loyal customers come back time and again to support their eye-catching work, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll continue to expand into the home furnishings world, too. I’d love to see more of these amazing patterns on chairs, sofas and more. Until then, read on after the jump to learn more about Maya and Teta and catch an excerpt of their interview from In the Company of Women! xo, grace
Lifelong Midwesterners, Jaime and Tyler Rovenstine love the character and architectural details of older homes. As an artist and museum professional, Jaime’s eye for thoughtful contrast and composition is evident in each room of their early 20th-century home and her dreamy work spills color onto the walls. Tyler is an award-winning barista and coffee consultant, so it’s no surprise that the space is full of vintage furniture and soft light to enjoy a cup of comfort. The active couple also owns a coffee bar called Monarch, opening this spring in Midtown, Kansas City, MO. Evenings are often spent at home painting, planning and enjoying time with their spunky two-year-old, Frances, and Merle the dog.
While expecting their daughter, they searched for a longterm space that would provide a studio for Jaime and something within proximity to their jobs and friends. “Because we share one car and often bike to work, we wanted to shrink our circle of living.” They landed a 1900 “Shirtwaist” style house — a residential architectural term that is unique to the Kansas City region. Shirtwaists are marked by a first level made from brick or stone with wood siding on subsequent levels, a steep roof and symmetrical layout, built between 1900 and 1920. This house had all the details they wanted; hardwood floors, wood molding and original pocket doors. But owning an old home isn’t all historical charm and beauty. Jaime and Tyler would love to replace the old windows to improve the energy efficiency of the house and renovate the bathroom that had been added as an awkward addition to the original structure. After painting almost every room, tiling the kitchen backsplash, updating fixtures and a handful of other necessary home improvements like replacing gutters, they still feel like they are in the process of creating a home and have tried to tackle projects at a slower pace that allows them to prioritize time with Frances.
Jaime’s workspace is nestled in only one room, but her palette is carried throughout the house with blushing pinks and a keen balance of shapes and forms. Her goal for every room was to craft a space that reflected their personalities, while generating warmth and comfort for hosting friends and raising Frances. Each object has been carefully sourced from antique stores, handed down, or created by an artist they know to collectively show who they are. Jaime and Tyler love how these meaningful pieces tell their story and wouldn’t mind living in this house forever. “We have a great front porch that overlooks an active block in the middle of the city. The first week we moved in, we ate outside every night and just grinned because we were so excited to be there. We still feel the same way.” —Bethany
Photography by Kaley Cornett
Every winter I find myself wandering around our house, trying to add an extra blanket or candle to each room to make things feel warmer. Coziness is essential when temperatures start to dip, so I’ve been thinking about all the ways you can cozy-up a room without doing anything too major. It all comes down to soft fabrics, warmer lighting and scents and textures that make you feel comfy. So if you’re looking to make your home a little cozier this winter, click through to check out some of our go-to tricks and finds to warm up any space. xo, grace
One of my favorite elements of our home tours is the final slide where people share what they love about their home in their own words — a singular statement that encapsulates what makes their home so special to them. Keep in mind they “built” their home, arranging all the furniture, objects and even colors, to create a series of spaces where they, and their families, can relax, thrive and love. It just doesn’t get better than that.
We made it our mission in the past few years to showcase all types of homes, not just those with the latest must-haves in home décor. Our search for real homes, real families and signs of everyday life have brought more warmth to our own hearts and we are so thankful for all of those who have boldly shared their spaces (and families) with us. We’ve learned that color and pattern can transform a room and that small details make a house a home. We’ve also learned that you, our readers, enjoy and take as much inspiration from a home that looks lived-in as you do from a styled, well-lit and professionally photographed home. And we couldn’t agree more. Here’s to the love that goes into homes across the world! –Caitlin
Click through the slideshow above for a sweet collection of “What I Love About My Home” images. You’ll walk away smiling.
As February rolls around, hearts start popping up in every store, restaurant and coffee shop around town. And while I’m normally not a fan of holidays taking over long before they actually start, I have a soft spot for hearts and the general pink-and-red color palette that happens with Valentine’s Day. So to honor this year’s holiday, I’m sharing 14 of my favorite heart-themed designs for your house, office and wardrobe. Here’s to love! xo, grace
Image above: 1. Heart Door Mat $10, 2. Heart Marquee Light $29.99, 3. Heart Studs $345, 4. Heart and Arrow Measuring Spoons $54, 5. Heart Stickers $4, 6. Heart Puzzle $15, 7. Emoji Heart Cards $48, 8. Miniature Panton Heart Chair $335, 9. Heart Lollipop Patch $12, 10. Heart Rug $249+, 11. Heart Dish $75, 12. Heart Gloves $79, 13. Heart Sneakers $120.
Image above: Neon Heart Table Lamp $129
It isn’t unusual for people to test out products before buying them — glasses, clothing, cars — but buying a house is usually a leap of faith. For Stephanie Hayward and her husband Brandon Pence, renting a house for four years was how they found their home in Columbus, OH.
Stephanie attended Ohio State University in Columbus and Brandon moved shortly after completing his graduate program at University of Michigan. They fell in love with the city and chose to live in a developing neighborhood close to downtown with a lot of new restaurants and shops and only a short bike ride to work. Both Stephanie and Brandon are trained architects, but Brandon found his path in web design and development three years ago, while Stephanie practices architecture as part owner of a local firm. They rented a two-bedroom house for four years until one Sunday morning their landlord, who was working on repairs that had broken the night before, offered to sell the house to them. “We thought it was an outrageous idea at first, but then realized that it’s not every day you get to test drive a house for four years before deciding to buy it.” With experience under their belt, Stephanie and Brandon knew exactly how they wanted to transform their rental into a home. They dove right in with a construction loan and a six-month deadline from the bank. The house was completely gutted and they had to move out for a portion of the renovation. “Even though we met our deadline and the contractors were out in six months, it probably took a full year before the house really started to feel like home.”
Stephanie and Brandon have been thoughtful with distributing their space. At just over 1,000 square feet, every inch counts. In the rental, a half bath and laundry took up over half of the kitchen. During the renovation, they increased the size of the bedroom closet, adding in a stacked washer and dryer, and moved the half bath under the stairs, making each of the spaces more useable. While out of the house during the renovation, they took time to assess what they needed and what they could live without. “We have been very conscious of keeping clutter to a minimum. Part of the reason our house feels so much bigger now is because we got rid of so much stuff!” These simple changes maximized the living space and transformed the house into exactly what Stephanie and Brandon had envisioned. —Bethany
Photography by Megan Leigh Barnard
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