Weekend Pattern Downloads from Hannah Lee!

Weekend Pattern Downloads from Hannah Lee!

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This weekend Hannah Lee spoiled us with two extra pattern downloads for Saturday and Sunday. I’m heading down to Philly this weekend, so I’m sharing them both today! Best wishes for a great weekend everyone- and thank you so much again to Hannah for sharing all of these patterns with us this week. If you missed any, you can download them here and you can check out more of Hannah’s work on Instagram right here. xo, grace

CLICK HERE to download the teal pattern!

CLICK HERE to download the yellow pattern!

Naps, Bubble Baths, The Company of Loved Ones + Best of The Web

Naps, Bubble Baths, The Company of Loved Ones + Best of The Web

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This week I’ve really been thinking about the importance of work-life balance. Between raising a 4-month-old puppy who has the energy of four dogs (something I’m sure is mutually felt by Grace as well, with the addition of her adorable Winky!), commuting 3+ hours each day over the last few weeks for work, and watching my house/yard to-do list grow with each passing weekend I spend working or attending events instead, I’m craving some serious downtime. On one hand, I’m thrilled to be so busy, given that it’s not a guarantee when you’re self-employed, but I’m also exhausted and starting to notice the effects of living to work rather than working to live. So I’ve started making it a priority to set aside time to just be (no phone, no TV, no work). Life really is too short to not be chasing after and doing what you want — even if that’s taking a short bath or snuggling with your pet. So TGIF and cheers to taking the weekend off (okay, maybe the yard work will have to be done and the vacuum will have to make an appearance!), enjoying the beauty of the afternoon spring sun, taking advantage of naps and being in the company of loved ones. –Sabrina

Below is a summary of this week’s highlights from DS and around the web:

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  • Eliot Rausch, one of my favorite filmmakers, just released this moving short titled El Pescador, which follows a conversation between an American investment banker and a Mexican fisherman about work and life. He also grabbed footage of the real fisherman singing. (via Vimeo)
  • The opening weekend of the documentary Dior and I cannot come soon enough, which explores Creative Director Raf Simons’ labor of love through the creation of his first collection, to be done in just eight weeks. (via Dior and I)
  • When I have a lot of work to accomplish, I grind it out with the help of podcasts (this week’s favorite came from Death, Sex + Money where W. Kamau Bell chats about rebuilding his career) and music (here are a few playlists).
  • These darling wooden cities would make the perfect desk or office accessory! (via McKean Studio)
  • It’s Friday, and it’s 5 pm somewhere! With spring in the air, summer around the corner, and the work week behind us, sit back and enjoy this Mango Ginger Fizz cocktail. (via Designlovefest)

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In the Kitchen With: Janet Fletcher’s Lamb Meatballs

In the Kitchen With: Janet Fletcher’s Lamb Meatballs

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I go through cookbook phases periodically. At times, I really want varied recipes from someone whose writing and food tastes are interesting to me. Other times, I really seek out books based on a single theme.  This week’s recipe for Lamb Meatballs in Warm Yogurt Sauce with Sizzling Red-Pepper Butter comes from the latter category. It appears in the most recent book by author Janet Fletcher, Yogurt: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. I chose this recipe because it is simple, yet a bit more complex in flavors than what we usually run on the column. It is truly versatile and can be eaten alone, or served over grains (as pictured) or egg noodles, as Janet recommends. The recipe also makes me daydream about taking a trip to the Eastern Mediterranean to eat more really great food!  Kristina

Why Janet loves this recipe: A gem of a recipe from the Eastern Mediterranean kitchen, these succulent meatballs bathe in a sauce that will have you scraping the bowl. I have seen similar recipes for whole lamb shanks or chunks of shoulder, but meatballs cook more quickly. They are browned first, and then simmered in broth, but the magic happens just before serving, when yogurt and a beaten egg are whisked in to thicken the juices. Sizzling red-pepper butter provides a final flourish. Serve with bulgur or rice pilaf, or with egg noodles.

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Photographs (c) 2015 by Eva Kolenko

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Home Ec: Open Storage Solutions

Home Ec: Open Storage Solutions, Design*Sponge

Home Ec: Open Storage Solutions

Recently, I went through my closet… again. No matter how diligent I am about not letting “stuff” accumulate, my apartment somehow always gets back to a state of bursting at the seams. After doing a serious evaluation and determining that I simply cannot get rid of anything else, I am forcing myself to seek out new, clever storage solutions. In the past at Design*Sponge, we have focused a lot on beautiful objects you can use to contain your collections. These gorgeous pieces look great on a shelf and are treasures in their own way. For today’s Home Ec, however, we’ll be taking a look at some open storage solutions.

What I love about open storage solutions is that they’re perfect for showing off your belongings. As a curator, I like flaunting my thrift-store finds and vintage goodies. They were meant to be seen and enjoyed by me and my guests, not shoved in a box in the closet. Many of you can relate, I am sure. Being a renter, I am also always hunting down smart ways to make a visual impact without compromising the bones of my space. Today’s fun and easy solutions check both of those boxes, so no need to worry about upsetting those crusty landlords. Once you’ve taken a look, don’t forget to leave your own tips in the comment section below. I am sure you guys have even more great insights, so let’s all help one another out. Enjoy! —Garrett

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This post and the Home Ec section are brought to you by Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. Visit the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Home-Grown Inspiration section featuring 20 DIYs, including seven from Design*Sponge!

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Pattern Download from Hannah Lee: Day 5!

Pattern Download from Hannah Lee: Day 5!

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We’re coming to the end of Hannah Lee’s awesome week of free downloadable patterns, and before we head into the weekend (Hannah drew pattens for this weekend, too — so stay tuned!), I wanted to share today’s beautiful geometric print. I love the combination of textures and the small, hand-drawn geometric elements — it’s the perfect bit of color and print to decorate your phone and computer backgrounds. Thanks so much to Hannah for today’s design! xo, grace

CLICK HERE to download today’s free pattern from Hannah Lee.

Our First Before, Before & After: The Front Parlor at Fairview

A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge

Our First Before, Before & After: The Front Parlor at Fairview

Since I live in the oldest town in West Virginia and a mere 10 minutes from the Antietam Battlefield, I tend to stroll around at night hoping for a glimpse inside the historic 18th- and 19th-century homes that line our tiny streets. On the weekends, I’m usually found driving the backroads of the eastern panhandle of WV, admiring the grand estates and sturdy farmettes that dot the countryside. After 17 years in pricey, cramped NYC apartments, like many city dwellers, I longed to get out and realize the dream of living in a home outside of the confines of the city.

When my architect friend Abby told me her cousin and her family had relocated from Fort Worth, TX and bought an estate in the farthest reaches of Jefferson County and there was an old schoolhouse on the property, I begged to drop by the house with her to get an inside look at the type of home I’d been long admiring.

When I met owners Megan Carpenter and Dan Gloyd, they graciously showed me around their 1830s Federal-style home they share with sons Jackson (16), Harland (2), and cats Sergio and Goose. After the grand tour, they brought out several binders which documented the home, dating back to the early 1900s. (See some of the old photographs in the slideshow above!) We leafed through at least three binders in the front parlor which Megan, a law professor, and Dan, a designer, were using as a makeshift home office and library while they decided on how to adapt the room to their needs. While they loved the history behind their new home and the surrounding area, they found their city life sensibilities lingering and craved the variety and unexpected sights and sounds their former metropolitan lifestyle provided. The family was searching for the perfect balance of both worlds and turned to a single room to experiment with bringing some of their old life to their new forever home. —Caitlin

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Before & After: Paige and Todd’s Kitchen Renovation

Before & After: Paige and Todd's Kitchen Renovation | Design*Sponge

Before & After: Paige and Todd’s Kitchen Renovation

In my home growing up, we had the tiniest kitchen. It had been an add-on to the house in the 1950s, but apparently the previous owners thought they shouldn’t add too much — it was teeny. The rest of the house wasn’t huge, but it was open. It flowed from room to room until you got to the kitchen and then you were cut off from all other activity. When I first saw Paige and Todd’s kitchen, I was instantly excited for them to have a beautiful space, but more so for them to have connection to the rest of their Boulder, CO home. It makes being in the kitchen so much more enjoyable. Plus, the result really is gorgeous.

Paige and Todd Hooper took six months to renovate their kitchen and did most of the work on their own. They tore out the upper and lower cabinets, broke down a wall and refurbished what was left. New cabinets, tiling (that Todd learned to cut himself, which is amazing), countertops, fixtures, flooring and appliances went in. They left the pantry and painted it and the walls white to open up the kitchen even more. The feeling in this space is so inviting and fresh. It is modern and lived-in and lovely. The Hoopers have created an incredible space in their home. —Lauren

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Tasha Tudor’s Garden

Tasha at work in her garden. (Photo by Richard Brown via the Tasha Tudor website)

Tasha Tudor’s Garden

Growing up, there were few things more important to me than books. I collected them and read them with such excitement and was always happy to end my day reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with my parents. I remember going through so many stacks of books as a child, but sadly I don’t remember ever coming across a book by the wildly prolific writer and illustrator, Tasha Tudor.

Tasha illustrated over 100 books and won the Caldecott award for her book, Mother Goose. And while I greatly admire her achievements in writing and illustration, I find myself drawn even more strongly to the fairytale home and garden she created for herself in Marlboro, Vermont.

Over the weekend I met with a garden consultant to teach me about the existing plants and flowers in our yard upstate. I’ve never had this much outdoor space to work with (or this many deer to deter), so I’ve been working on a personal Pinterest board of my dream garden images. During my search process I came across images of Tasha’s almost-magical garden, and I couldn’t resist sharing it here today. Whether you’re looking for natural garden inspiration of your own, or just want to escape somewhere beautiful for a few minutes, these photos are bound to transport you somewhere lush, green and relaxing. xo, grace

*You can also take a video tour of her garden here (the voiceover is in Japanese)

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Pattern Download from Hannah Lee: Day 4!

Pattern Download from Hannah Lee: Day 4!

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I’ve been in pattern heaven all week with these custom designs from designer/illustrator Hannah Lee. So far we’ve seen a colorful hand print, a modern eye/shape pattern and a cheery cactus-style print; and today Hannah is back with her fourth pattern. Maybe it’s the fact that I had my first dentist check-up in years yesterday, but this looks like the happiest little group of teeth to me — hopefully without all the cavities mine had. Download today’s pattern RIGHT HERE. xo, grace

DIY Hanging Half Frame

DIY Hanging Half Frame

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Ever since moving into our flat two and a half years ago, I’ve really enjoyed gradually filling all the blank, white spaces on our walls. It’s so satisfying to bring a bit of life and personality into the home with prints I’ve painted or bought, as well as photos of special moments. Recently, however, I’ve been looking for new and exciting ways to hang my pictures, as the same old box frames all over the place get a little repetitive. When Grace and Fran contacted me I was eager to create a hanging half frame to really show off a large print. I’ve been out and about more now that the weather is warming up, and I’ve been snapping away with my camera everywhere I go. I blew up one of my photos to A2 and had it printed at my local print shop to use as the focal point for my frame. Framing large images can often be very pricey, but this tutorial certainly won’t break the bank. —Teri @ The Lovely Drawer

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In Madrid, Respecting the Old and Embracing the New

DesignSponge Sneak Peek

In Madrid, Respecting the Old and Embracing the New

For the past two years, jewelry designer Olivia Terrell and her husband Andrew have lived in this apartment in the Malasaña neighborhood of Madrid, Spain. They have moved a lot during their five years of marriage, but they’ve lived in this space the longest. Olivia says it has always been a challenge to make each new place feel like home, but that was especially true when they moved into this apartment.

The space was new to them, but very old. Built in 1873, it was oddly shaped and had no straight lines or right angles to speak of. Hardly a blank canvas, it came partly furnished with a variety of white IKEA furniture. Olivia, who leans more toward neutral earth tones and antiques, decided to embrace a modern, albeit quirky, white-washed look. She and Andrew sourced a variety of found objects and furniture to infuse the space with their personal aesthetic. They love objects with history and revel in the occasional dumpster find, declaring, “People throw away some amazing things!” This eclectic approach to decorating works for them, especially since Olivia feels unattached to any particular style at this point in her life. This open-minded point-of-view informs her work as well. As her life changes, so does her jewelry design. While the general aesthetic remains, she has evolved from organic shapes and textures to something more architectural and geometric, which she attributes to her surroundings. These days, Olivia and Andrew truly feel at home. Whether they are watching sunsets on the balcony or hosting American Thanksgiving for their Spanish friends, they love incorporating familiar traditions into their new life in Madrid. —Shannon

Photography by César Perez 

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DIY Bamboo Branch Starburst Mirror

DIY Bamboo Branch Starburst Mirror

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I love it when I see bloggers embrace, champion and even create trends happening in interior design. Over the past few years, the ideas on DIY blogs have been heading towards using interesting and accessible materials to create home accessories. This is a shift that seems to be moving from using bold copper and smooth concrete to repurposing salvaged, textural substances such as clay and wood.

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Starburst mirrors are nothing new, but this is my twist on a classic for 2015. In homes of all shapes and sizes an outdoor influence has crept its way inside. This can be anything from gathered driftwood on a shelf to tea lights made from drilled branches. To create an interesting room, texture is key, as is a minimal aesthetic using decorative focal points. The materials shouldn’t be over-treated or polished, rather left natural with a raw finish. Bamboo is the perfect wood for this project. Straight and smooth, but with an earthy surface tone and easy to work with. Alternatively, you can make this mirror project even more natural by collecting twigs and branches for the mirror frame instead. —Fran

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Free Pattern Downloads from Hannah Lee: Day 3!

Free Pattern Downloads from Hannah Lee: Day 3!

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Maybe it’s all the different plants and flowers blooming right now, but after a winter of minimalism and neutral hues, I feel ready for color and pattern in a BIG way. So today’s pattern download from designer and illustrator Hannah Lee is right up my alley. I keep imagining this pattern as a cute pair of summer shorts and wishing it was warm enough to store away my winter pants. Almost. Until then, I’m going to dress up my phone background with this peachy-pink design and hope for days over 70 degrees outside. Thanks so much to Hannah for today’s pattern! xo, grace

CLICK HERE to download today’s pattern!

Life & Business: The Thrill of the Hunt with Jillian Bremer

Life & Business: The Thrill of the Hunt with Jillian Bremer

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The first 3-5 formative years of any new business are the most critical and can dictate whether you’ll fly or whether you’ll flop. But they aren’t just a giant litmus test to see if your business (and you!) can survive, they’re also a giant opportunity with no ceiling on your potential. You’re not quite committed to certain ways of doing things, you’re flexible because you’re small, and while you can’t really plan (because planning is just guessing in disguise), you can gauge things and adjust as you go, which is a beautiful thing.

In 2011, Jillian Bremer started a style blog. At the time, she worked as a buyer for a new apparel company, but it wasn’t long before that itching feeling to start her own business took over. Fast-forward just four years and Jillian now runs her own business with her father at the helm of sourcing and buying. Inspired by the vintage jewelry pieces her dad would find for her at local flea markets, Sweet & Spark aims to bring the undiscovered gems of the vintage jewelry world to people across the globe. As an entrepreneur and new business-owner, Jillian knows the importance of those first few years of business all too well. Today she’s offering her advice for anyone getting through those first scary years in any business, from how you should approach them to what you should take from them. –Sabrina

Photography by Christine Sargologos and Ashley Batz (last photo)

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Life & Business: Cy Lauz of Chrysalis Lingerie

Life & Business: Cy Lauz of Chrysalis Lingerie

Life & Business: Cy Lauz of Chrysalis Lingerie
Before making her way into the world of fashion design, Cy Lauz worked in interior design, event and set design and prop styling. After moving to New York City, Cy was working as a fashion stylist when she discovered a gap in the market and a need within her own community- and decided to create a solution that was both practical and lovely, balancing form and function.

Using her keen eye for architectural shapes, Cy created her own undergarment line, Chrysalis Lingerie, designed specifically for transgender women. Cy understood the need for a new garment line that would fit and function the way she, and other transgender women, needed, while making them feel confident and beautiful at the same time. Her line is now a huge success and we admire not only her incredible business mind, but her dedication to raising awareness and support for the trans community. Today Cy’s chatting with us about the highs and lows of business, doing what you’re good at — and hiring smart people to do what you’re not good at — and the importance of viewing ourselves as our most valuable resource. –Sabrina

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