A Stylist’s Historic Beach Home in Oysterville, WA

Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge

A Stylist’s Historic Beach Home in Oysterville, WA

The “Captain Stream” house was originally built in 1869 by Captain A. T. Stream in what is now the historic walking village of Oysterville, WA. Home to a small community that has diligently preserved a host of original buildings as well as the pioneer cemetery, Oysterville’s off-the-beaten-path location on the Longbeach Peninsula means many miss out on its charm — but not Martie Kilmer, a Portland, OR-based interior stylist. Martie’s family ties to Oysterville have allowed her the opportunity to spend much of the last 25 years enjoying the quaint village with its carefully preserved history, natural setting, views of the bay, and of course, oysters.

With Oysterville being one of just a handful of towns in Washington state to be wholly registered as a historic site, available properties are few and far between. Once it became known that the Captain Stream house would be going on the market, Martie and her husband, Steve Romero, made the decision to purchase it. After spending a few years in the home as-is, an addition to the kitchen was planned and got underway after the long process of consulting with the Oysterville Historic Preservation board and all the conditions that entailed. With plans from Seattle architecture firm Res Loci in hand, construction began and it didn’t take long for a devastating discovery to be made: the home was infested with dry rot and powder post beetles. The infestation was so bad, it was a wonder the house was still standing, and it was promptly considered condemned. Faced with the choice of abandoning her home, or rebuilding an exact replica, Martie thankfully chose the latter.

With years of interior design and styling under her belt, Martie wanted to honor the historic charm of the home without turning it into a period replica. Antiques, she says, aren’t quite her thing. Instead she decided on a homemade / craft approach to the design with a focus on custom and one-off items, many produced by local artisans in Oregon and Washington. To complete the heavenly family retreat, the house gardens include an expansive croquet lawn as well as a potager, otherwise known as a French-style kitchen garden. The very definition of “bright and airy,” the end result is so stunning, there’s no doubt in my mind that Captain Stream himself would approve heartily. —Allison

Photography by Allison Burt-Tilden; photos 7, 8 and 16, 17 by Mikola Accuardi 

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DIY Pounded-Flower Tote

DIY Pounded-Flower Tote

DIY Pounded Flower Tote on Design*Sponge

Have you ever heard of flower pounding? Until recently, it wasn’t on my radar at all! The technique is similar to pressing flowers, but instead of flattening and preserving the blooms, you place them face down onto fabric, cover with a towel, and use a mallet to pound them flat. When you remove the flowers, the fabric is imprinted with the colorful pigments!

DIY Pounded Flower Tote on Design*Sponge

It was a lot of fun picking flowers of different shapes and colors to experiment with, and then arranging them on the fabric. I definitely recommend testing flowers before arranging them for your final product — some flowers that looked like they would leave beautiful colors didn’t shed much pigment at all, while others released too much and the color bled and looked splotchy. After some trial and error, though, I’m really satisfied with the results and can’t wait to carry my floral tote bag around all summer! —Kathleen

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Studio Tour: Play Clan

Play Clan Studio Visit on Design Sponge

Studio Tour: Play Clan

Having established a reputation for bright, irreverent and folksy design products inspired by Indian storytelling, Delhi-based Play Clan was established in 2008 by Himanshu Dogra, a fashion design graduate from National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi. 

From collaborations with prestigious names like Sir Paul Smith, Maharaja of Jodhpur, Gwalior Museum, Royal Bhutan and nine stand-alone stores across India, Play Clan has come a long way from the experimental platform it started out as.

Storytelling and playfulness form the foundation of all products, and the brand looks to India for inspiration — traditional colors and silhouettes, fusing graphics with craft to narrate visual novellas. Combining hand-drawn work with artisan workmanship and an illustrative style, collections are created across fashion, home, accessories and art, unraveling traditional folklore with a contemporary interpretation. 

Play Clan’s version of playing cards, for example, were inspired by the Mughal era of in India. The Mughal-e-Azam series features the four important rulers of the Mughal dynasty (Akbar, Shah Jahan, Jahangir and Humayun) and their respective queens and the “jacks” responsible for getting them into power. 

A stroll through their workspace which houses a team of 20 people, including artists, designers, copywriters and technicians, feels like walking across an idea bank. Decor choices include natural elements, which are the center of their inspiration. The design is open and simple, characterized by wood, stone and metal, which add an earthiness to the space. An abundance of potted plants and trees lends color and freshness. And ever so fitting to their brand ethos, the walls are adorned with a number of Play Clan artworks that have been intricately hand embroidered by local artisans. —Rohini

Photography courtesy of Play Clan

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Jolts of Color Restart an Old New Orleans Home

Jolts of Color Restart an Old New Orleans Home, Design*Sponge

Jolts of Color Restart an Old New Orleans Home

If there’s one city in the United States with pizazz, it’s New Orleans, LA. It’s fun, it’s bold and it’s vibrant. But the city itself can’t take all the credit. Much of New Orleans’ flair and fabulousness is thanks in part to its creative and inspiring residents. One of them being seamstress, designer and artist, Merry Lake. She and her home are as lively and colorful as the city she lives in.

The early-1800s gem Merry owns struck her the moment she walked in six years ago. It radiated with a palpable energy that told Merry she was definetly standing in her next home. Twelve years of sitting vacant had left the home with its fair share of issues, but there was character in its bones, so she went for it — and she got it. With the keys in hand, she gleefully stepped up to the plate to clean up this diamond in the rough.

Now completed, the house is a masterful example of bold design. It lets you know the moment you set eyes on it. Vibrant dashes of copper, blue and orange highlight the grooves and swoops of the house’s exterior architecture. It’s an unexpected mix, but one that ensures this beauty can’t be missed. Step inside, and it becomes clear that choosing the right piece of artwork is one of Merry’s gifts. Her den’s gallery takes up an entire wall and features an eclectic mashup of artists and styles. The pieces entrance you, make you smile, and immediately you realize you’re someplace special.

What most draws me to Merry’s house, though, is how each room has a distinct personality. Each room boasts a wall color of its own and a signature mix of traditional and modern furniture that gives off a slightly different vibe. Under anyone else’s watch that method could be sporadic and disorienting, but clever Merry’s found the cohesive sweet spot. She’s made them all work together like I’ve never seen before. Click through to see how she’s done it. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Sandy Soohoo

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8 Bedrooms That Offer A Retreat From The Heat

Cara Scarola's bedroom has a crisp, clean hotel feel. The mid-tone grey and bright orange help keep the room bright without the sun, since the heavy blinds block out the harshness of its rays.

8 Bedrooms That Offer A Retreat From The Heat

With the intimidating “Heat Dome” bearing down on most of the country, having a cool, comfortable room in which to retreat is a godsend. Think crisp white sheets, a beverage with lots of ice, and a powerful fan on high, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what room many of us are spending ample time in this week.

These bedrooms with a breezy, beach vibe should help you go to your happy (and nicely chilled) place in this sweltering heat. Sit back and imagine the gentle ocean breeze at the seaside keeping you cool as you relax on a well-deserved day at the beach. Click through to see all of these chill spaces, and a few things that can help make a heat retreat of your very own. —Caitlin

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Using Your Power For Good

Using Your Power For Good

Using Your Power For Good
Each of us holds an innate power to do great things, and as creatives, we have a unique set of skills for putting that power to work. Whether your talent is rooted in words, images, organization, persuasion or just plain having an audience, it is both a manifestation of that core ability and a method to harness it.

Part of recognizing your power is acknowledging your obligation to use it to stand up for what’s right. There’s so much in the world that needs our attention. Some things could simply benefit from a little compassion. Other issues are more complex and require deliberate steps towards change. Remember that you have the ability to create impact of some kind, and when your power is rooted in communication, your silence speaks volumes. You have the tools to do at least something, so please try. Use your power for good. –Adam J. Kurtz

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Comfort Zone: Afiya Francisco

Comfort Zone: Afiya Francisco

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Afiya Francisco spent her early adulthood cutting her teeth in the publishing industry where she worked as editor for top magazines such as Flare, House & Home, and LOULOU. On the outside, life seemed glamorous: she often appeared on TV as a style expert, she attended numerous events, and was constantly saturated with the latest design and style trends. However, during this time, she was still living with her parents. So for all the design skills she gleaned, the only area she had to experiment with and impose her style knowledge on was her humble childhood bedroom.

It wasn’t until years later (which also welcomed the addition of her two children as well as a new on-TV role as resident Style Expert on The Morning Show) that she and her family purchased a house to call home — and one that finally offered Afiya the freedom to unleash her skills. Afiya and her husband Aaron renovated their Toronto home top to bottom, transforming it from a space that they once thought of as temporary, to one where they’re happy to raise their two rambunctious boys. Needless to say, for Afiya, good things in life are worth waiting for, and today she’s joining us to chat more about her career path, the process of fostering her own home, and her fears for the future in light of recent global tragedies. –Sabrina

 

Photography by Anna Lisa Sang
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10 Rooms Flaunting the Depth-Enhancing Wonder of Deep Teal

10 Deep Teal Rooms to Die For, on Design*Sponge

10 Rooms Flaunting the Depth-Enhancing Wonder of Deep Teal

When I was a 90s kid growing up in the gardeny part of New Jersey, teal-and-raspberry was the hot suburban decorating color combo plastered all over asymmetrical window valances, geometric ultrasuede sectionals, and so much formica. Once in a while I still wince thinking about this strong, unapologetic high-contrast motif revealed in jagged compositions — pitched to my unassuming parents by designers with complex hairstyles and shoulder pads.

Despite our rough start, I’ve grown to love teal, especially in its deepest variations just on the verge of being distinctly blue, green, and even black. It has a hidden richness that changes in different lighting throughout the day, and also depending on the materials with which it’s paired. Here are 10 gorgeous settings from the archives that boldly bring teal back into the 21st century. —Annie

 

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A Stylishly Eco-Friendly Home in the Second City

A Stylishly Eco-Friendly Home in the Second City, Design*Sponge

A Stylishly Eco-Friendly Home in the Second City

In most cases, the passions of the homeowners we feature influence the look of their homes. Chef’s kitchens, for example, are typically enviable, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more interesting greenhouse than that of a plant lover. In recent years, however, a different type of passion is influencing homes all over the world: being eco-friendly. I hadn’t thought about it until recently, but it has its own unique way of coming to life through decor and style. Such is the case with Green Lifestyle Expert Ashlee Piper’s rental in Chicago’s Roscoe Village neighborhood.

The 100-year-old space brims with recycled goods, vegan products and secondhand finds, the last of which holds the utmost importance to Ashlee. She simply couldn’t have her green home contributing to the creation of any more “things.” In fact, she’s so dedicated to the Earth-friendly movement, a staggering 95% of the Craftsman-style home’s furnishings are either from Craigslist or the garbage! All of this scrounging around doesn’t mean this home is a mish-mash of styles and random finds, though. Ashlee has taken her time to really forage for eye-catching pieces from Urban Outfitters, IKEA and more to give the space a modern and clean personality.

While it took time to make sure her space was affordably decorated while doing right by our planet, Ashlee would do it all over again if she had to. That’s how much she adores the cozy feel of her space. But looks aren’t everything. There’s something more to her house that really gets her every time she walks through the door. Her home reflects her values, and she couldn’t be more proud. Click through to see more. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Amy Mokris

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Crowns of Color + Best of the Web

Crowns of Color + Best of the Web

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All week I’ve been running back and forth between the city and upstate NY for exciting fall projects related to our new book (out on October 4th!), and all I’ve wanted to do this week is collapse into the sofa with Julia and our pets. This morning, I indulged in a little bonding time with our first dog, Hope, and ended up goofing around on Snapchat attempting to put the silly crown on her head. I ended up snapping a pic with the flower crown, but no luck with the regular one. But that got me thinking about an old series of prints I loved from Andrea Pippins called Crowns of Color. These screen prints celebrated women of color looking regal and amazing, surrounded by beautiful patterns and colors. The series isn’t available for sale anymore, but this series still makes me smile and feels like a positive image to focus on when the world news is anything but. Here’s hoping everyone has a safe and happy weekend. xo, grace

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In the Kitchen With: José Pizarro’s Spinach Croquetas

In the Kitchen With: José Pizarro’s Spinach Croquetas

Spinach and Goat Cheese Croquetas by Jose Pizarro photo Laura Edwards

One of the chapters I loved most while working on Tasting Rome was the “Starters” chapter. Once I finished developing those recipes, however, I conveniently stashed the fryer at a friend’s place so that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat fried food all the time at home. After a year’s hiatus, I have my fryer back and I am super enthusiastic about the Spinach and Goat’s Cheese Croquetas from Spanish chef José Pizarro’s most recent cookbook, Basque: Spanish Recipes from San Sebastián & Beyond.

This is the perfect party food because you can form and freeze the croquetas ahead of time, then defrost and fry them when you’re ready. A note: If you are planning on serving these the same day you make them, be sure to leave yourself a couple of hours for the mixture to cool in the refrigerator before you roll them up. —Kristina

Basque cookbook cover (Hardie Grant)

Photography by Laura Edwards

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11 Gorgeous Spaces Belonging to Skilled Ceramicists

11 Gorgeous Spaces of Ceramists | Design*Sponge

11 Gorgeous Spaces Belonging to Skilled Ceramicists

The different styles and forms of pottery and ceramics being produced by artists lately are extremely broad. From rough, raw and organic pieces to glazed, polished and smooth textures and lines — not to mention the use of color or an affinity for neutrals — there are endless combinations and designs these artisans can create in their skilled hands.

When looking through the Design*Sponge archives, at first I was surprised by the variety in home decoration styles of some of the ceramicists we’ve featured on the site. Industrial, rustic, colonial, mid-century and global-eclectic aesthetics all popped up in my search. So it seems quite fitting that in this roundup of 11 rooms belonging to ceramicists and potters, each artist’s space is as unique as their hand-crafted ceramics. –Lauren

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In Salt Lake City, Channeling a Big-City Feel With Promising Potential

An Entrepreneur's High Rise in Salt Lake City Sneak Peek on Design*Sponge

In Salt Lake City, Channeling a Big-City Feel With Promising Potential

Perhaps living in one of New York’s high-rise buildings is nothing special to some, but trying to find that same experience in Salt Lake City, UT is nearly impossible. In an area surrounded by traditional homes, Heidi and Colin found the antithesis of that style in a stately mid-century building.

Heidi Jube is the owner and creative force behind Monokle Candles and co-owns the gallery and dwell shop, Arte Haus. Her husband, Colin, works as a financial planner in downtown Salt Lake City. They were in the market for a good view and a low-maintenance living space with big-city charm when they found their condo. Captivated by the floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto a blend of mountain scenery and cityscape, they made the leap and purchased the condo — untouched since the 60s.

In what appeared to be a diamond in the rough at first, the couple saw past the work and focused on the potential of this remarkable high-rise gem. Renovating while attending school, maintaining full-time jobs, and launching businesses took time and patience, but in the end they were able to truly transform their space.

For a small condo, Heidi and Colin packed in a lot of character — from industrial vibes with a concrete floor to traditional touches with wallpaper and wainscoting. The mid-century accents and furniture tie it all together while paying homage to the exterior aesthetic of the building. “We were going for [a] minimalist look, but we still wanted to personalize it and make it feel like home,” Heidi says. “So far, we’ve done a complete cosmetic makeover to the condo, but it’s still a work in progress and will probably always be. I have a lot of ideas spinning in my head about what I’d change in this place.”

Heidi and Colin might have big plans for their condo in the future, but in the meantime they can enjoy their well-balanced home of inspiration. And, who knows, maybe we’ll see their dream remodel in years (hopefully months) to come! –Tawnee

Photography by Tawnee Madlen Walker

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10 of Our Favorite Summery Kitchens

10 of Our Favorite Summery Kitchens, on Design*Sponge

10 of Our Favorite Summery Kitchens

While we love a good, all-white kitchen as much as the next blog, there’s something about a little unexpected bright color, an earthy texture, or some quirky accessorizing that stands out from the pack of conventionally beautiful designs. In the same carefree, adventurous spirit as the summer season, these 10 designs feature a warm, inviting cheer courtesy of their vibrant florals, dusty solids, rustic finishes, energizing accents, and even a vegetable metaphor or two. We can only imagine the pleasure of cooking in any of these summery rooms year-round. —Annie

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A Light-Filled Oakland, CA Home For a Photographer & Her Family

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A Light-Filled Oakland, CA Home For a Photographer & Her Family

If you follow Abi Q on Instagram, you know that not only is she hilarious, but her candor and honesty about the joys — and occasionally less-than-glamorous moments — of parenting are both endearing and incredibly relatable. She is a talented wedding and portrait photographer with an eye for candid moments and capturing light in the shadows. Abi’s more serious side is a deep-rooted passion for activism, educating children (and adults) on race, and making sure that her kids always have art, toys, and people around them that make them feel represented.

Abi and Ryan’s Oakland, CA home is, for one, clean — which she assures me is not always the case. It’s also minimal in a storied way, where each trinket and detail comes from a trip or sentimental moment. The house itself is a beautiful 1920s Spanish-style home with pristine parquet floors (the better on which to scooter around and enact epic Star Wars battles) and little architectural details that make your heart skip a beat. Hello, over-the-fireplace nook!

It’s obvious that kids live (and play) in this house, but there’s no question that it’s still a space for adults to enjoy themselves. Choice furniture pieces are stylish and beautiful, while still being durable enough to have tiny little fingerprints easily wiped off of their surfaces. After previously living in an apartment for six years, and more recently having three small children running around, Abi and Ryan knew it was time to look for a bigger space. Their advice for finding the perfect place in such a competitive rental market? Search right before the holidays because, “No one wants to move then!”

Now the family has a home with a backyard where they can draw chalk people to their hearts’ content, a basement with the perfect light for snuggling up and watching “Master Yoda” (as the kids refer to him), and a view of the bay — which rivals that which you would see landing at the Oakland Airport. –-Rebekah

Photography by Abi Q

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