Materially Crafted: A DIY Primer for the Design-Obsessed

Materially Crafted: A DIY Primer for the Design-Obsessed

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I love a good DIY book. Primarily because they remind me (hopefully over and over again) that beautiful design isn’t something you have to buy in a store or take down from a shelf. Sometimes the best things you can decorate your home with are the ones you make with your own two hands. Victoria Hudgins of the blog A Subtle Revelry has a brand new DIY book out and I’ve already dog-eared a few pages to tackle this spring when it starts to thaw outside. Her book, Materially Crafted: A DIY Primer for the Design-Obsessed, focuses on materials and great ways (including 30 main projects) to transform them into something special. I think material-based projects are the best to tackle, because they leave you feeling comfortable and proficient with something you can now carry over and try again in a new way. Victoria has been kind enough to share a full project from the book today — one that is perfect for pre-spring. This hanging orb planter (don’t worry, the pot is attached!) lets you show off your favorite plants and turn them into a dramatic hanging display — or just a single bold strand of statement. Thanks so much to Victoria for sharing this with us today and a big congrats on her new book — you can check it out and pick up a copy right here. xo, grace

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Architectural Charm in the Suburbs

The dining room is what Jami calls the "hub" of the home. The natural light, exposed beams and hardwood floors make this room stunning. The Nato Family's simple and significant decorating decisions in this room allow the space to be shown off.

Architectural Charm in the Suburbs

Moving to the suburbs can be hard – especially if the home being left behind in the city is a 100-year-old house with incredible charm. The odds of finding a home with character in a newly developed area are slim. When Mark and Jami Nato needed to find a home quickly (Jami was eight months pregnant when their old house sold) in the suburbs of Kansas City, they were thankful to find a house they could make a month’s worth of changes to and feel at home in. They’ve lived in their 1980s Cape Cod colonial for just six months and have turned it into a refined, beautiful space with architectural personality throughout.

Mark works in surgical sales and Jami is a blogger and stays home with their four kids, Layne, Lila, Penelope and Pruett. “We moved from the city to the suburbs for our special needs kiddo to have a good educational opportunity. In the suburbs there is so much new construction,” Jami said. “We thought we would end up in something generic, but when we saw this home, we fell in love.” To get the home ready for the new baby, Jami and Mark narrowed down their priorities. Carpet removal, a kitchen update, and fresh paint on the walls and trim were the most important to get done first.

They’ve decorated and designed their home perfectly for the way they intend to use it. “We want to live here, really live here. I never want my kids saying they were afraid of certain rooms or that they didn’t feel welcome where they lived. Basically, we just wanted a home that exudes hospitality, for ourselves and for others,” Jami said. Each piece is special and loved by the Natos, complementing the beautiful structure it lives in. They have turned this unusual suburban house into the best of both worlds – what they need and what they love. -Lauren

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Studio Tour: Souda

A Mitre Stool sits atop a platform in the Souda studio.

Studio Tour: Souda

It’s easy to feel slightly envious of Souda, the Brooklyn-based design collective founded by Parsons alumni Shaun Kasperbauer, Luft Tanaka, and Isaac Friedman-Heiman. When we first covered their work in early 2013, the ink on the trio’s undergraduate degrees was still drying, their collection consisted mostly of thesis work, and they were still laying the groundwork for their business. In the subsequent two years, Souda has already achieved the type of success and accolades typically reserved for old pros. From winning a New York Design Award and the title of ICFF’s Best New Designer to features in Dwell, Vogue Living, The New York Times, and Wallpaper, their star only seems to be rising.

It’s not really any surprise why. Since their debut collection, Souda has been consistently pushing aesthetic and formal boundaries, expanding upon their already experimental ethos. With an oeuvre that now includes seating, shelving, lighting, and large-scale ceramics, the trio has branched out while remaining true to their style and message. Beautifully crafted using unusual methods like leather slip casting, each piece is as much a treat for the mind and the hand as it is for the eyes. A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of stopping into Souda’s Bushwick studio, a space that the friends have been renting since their Parsons days. With an impeccably appointed office and a massive workspace overflowing with creative energy, it’s hard to believe that this remains —more or less— a three-man operation. Check out all of the photos from my visit in the slideshow! —Max

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Life & Business: Taylor & Elaine of Local Wanderer

Life & Business: Taylor & Elaine of Local Wanderer

Life & Business: Taylor & Elaine of Local Wanderer

Craving more freedom and fun than they had in their careers, two Canadian pals, Taylor Loren and Elaine Rystead, hopped in a car, quit their jobs and started driving. They knew they were headed for Mexico, but figuratively, they had no idea what they were chasing other than what made them happy and what felt right. And, as is often the case, doing what they really love is what ended up being the most rewarding business they could have ever imagined. Today, the lovely lasses of Local Wanderer are taking time out of their globe-trotting lives to chat about business, localism vs. tourism, what a career in social media means, copycats and more. –Sabrina

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Trend Watch: Modest Minimalism

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Trend Watch: Modest Minimalism

When one thinks of minimalism, the capital “M” design movement that came to prominence in the late 1960s typically springs to mind. From visually austere work by artists like Donald Judd to the spartan interiors and home decor championed by brands like Muji, the term Minimalism has heretofore been associated with distinctly Modernist forms and materials. If recent shifts in design currents are any indication, though, people are becoming interested in reinvestigating and reinterpreting the meaning of this term. With ventures like The New Minimalism or shops like The Primary Essentials coming to the fore, we are now seeing a new way in which artists, designers, and homeowners are engaging with the less-is-more impulses of minimalism; one that places emphasis not on industrial materials or luxurious appointments, but the storied imperfections of the handmade and handed-down. What seems to be a rejection against the “pile it high and sell it cheap” mentality of modern life, this development showcases a desire to live with less by assigning more meaning and consideration to a small collection of important, treasured objects. Check out the slideshow for some beautiful takes on this new trend! —Max

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Life & Business: Marketing Can Be Beautiful By Michelle Fifis

Life & Business: Marketing Can Be Beautiful By Michelle Fifis

Marketing Can Be Beautiful by Michelle Fifis

After leaving her corporate textile design job in 2010, Michelle Fifis wanted to keep her momentum going, stay up with the trends and industry news and keep track of her inspiration and resources, so she created the blog Pattern Observer. Today, Michelle is a successful textile designer who has worked with such clients as Lucy Activewear, Columbia Sportswear, Jantzen Swimwear, Pendleton and P&B Textiles. On her blog, she continues to write about business and textile design and her membership community, The Textile Design Lab, offers learning and networking opportunities to hundreds of designers worldwide. She’s chatting with us about that seemingly icky word that doesn’t have to be: marketing! –Sabrina

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City Guide: 24 Hours in Grand Rapids, MI

City Guide: 24 Hours in Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids, Michigan City Guide

Libby VanderPloeg is an illustrator, letterer and designer who grew up on the edge of the Great Lakes dunes in the lovely Grand Rapids, MI. Though she’s since moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, her affinity for storytelling, music, letterforms, printed ephemera, and wildlife has remained with her. Libby’s charmingly witty and beautifully descriptive 24-hour guide is filled with all the goodness in life, from food and drink to art and antiques. Click through to read her short-story-esque city guide! –Sabrina

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A Kansas Home Filled with Color and Pattern

Tobe and Eric's master bedroom is the most recent space to be decorated. "Which is strange if you think about it, because it's so important to have that zen space to wake up in and fall into at night. It's made all the difference to us to finally have it finished. We love the serene, casual vibe. The vintage Tole sconce adds a bit of drama in matte black," Tobe explained.

A Kansas Home Filled with Color and Pattern

Every once in a while, people luck out and find their dream home on the first try. Other times, it takes years to find the perfect space. For Tobe and Eric Reed, they had to look at over 200 homes until they found one that was just right. Convinced that they originally wanted a fixer-upper, the Reeds spent a long time looking for the perfect makeover project. But after three failed offer attempts, they expanded their search to see more move-in-ready homes. The home they would eventually call their own was outside of their budget range during the majority of their search process, but as luck would have it, it fell into their range toward the end of their hunt.

Eric and Tobe loved the home’s mid-century character and the fact that it was centrally located in their hometown of Overland Park, KS (the couple works on opposite ends of the city). So three years ago they moved in and they’ve worked on making it feel like their home ever since. Tobe, a bloggershop owner and graphic design/social media manager for Hallmark Cards and Eric, a Fire Protection Engineer, share their home with their daughters Ava and Grace and a rescue cat named Tucker. Their family has worked together to create a space that not only welcomes their friends and family, but makes each member of their family feel comforted and at home. I love all of the family pieces they’ve incorporated into their space, along with cherished artwork by friends. Tobe explained, “It’s so important to love where you live, and we’ve taken great care to surround ourselves with things that we love and that serve our lifestyle. While I may never be content to just leave things alone for awhile (or even five minutes), I think it comes from a need to move and shift to best reflect the people that live here and how we need our home to function.” I think they’ve done just that and I’m so thrilled to peek inside their beautiful home today. xo, grace

Photographs by Jane Kortright

 

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Dusen Dusen Home + Aidy Bryant

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Dusen Dusen Home + Aidy Bryant

Sometimes, when two equally wonderful things collide, something even more spectacular results. For me, that is exactly what happened when Dusen Dusen collaborated with SNL cast member Aidy Bryant for the debut of their first home collection.

Designer Ellen Van Dusen’s clothing line, Dusen Dusen, has been a smash hit since its debut in 2010 and now Ellen has teamed up with her friend, buyer Ada Egloff, to create a collection of home goods for fall 2015. The collection continues with Ellen’s trademark style of bold primary colors brought to life in the form of whimsical patterns and prints. The debut collection includes rugs, pillows, towels, bedding, throws and poufs — all modeled expertly by Aidy and the official canine mascot of Dusen Dusen, Snips the dog. Aidy’s sense of humor is a perfect match for the fun, upbeat mood of the collection and I love seeing them all wrapped together. The photoshoot basically looks like my ideal slumber party fun, complete with an adorable dog and funny friends. Dusen Dusen Home won’t be in stores until August, but today we’re thrilled to share an exclusive look at the full collection. I can’t wait to get my hands on those towels — those have summer written all over them. Thanks so much to Ellen and Ada for sharing this peek with us today! Click here to check out more Dusen Dusen online. xo, grace

Photographs by Brian W. Ferry

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A Collector’s “Menagerie” In Portland

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A Collector’s “Menagerie” In Portland

It’s fitting that when Casey Shagena decided to open her first business, a boutique housed in a beautifully refurbished Airstream Trailer, she chose to name it “Menagerie.” The term typically refers to a collection of unique specimens — wild animals usually — but for Casey, it acts almost as a guiding principle. The impulse to hunt, to find, and to collect beautiful things is something that extends well beyond the small-batch goods sold at Casey’s shop, all the way down to the Portland apartment that she shares with her boyfriend, graphic designer Lou Medel.

“Lou and I are collectors,” Casey says. “We’re both very sentimental people, so even though we wanted to get rid of a lot when we moved to Portland, the majority of our treasures came along.” Located in an old Victorian house, the couple’s apartment is a veritable menagerie of treasures, from thrifted curiosities to vintage textiles and mid-century furnishings. Different time periods and historic styles rub elbows with each other, creating a patchwork of memories and stories to be saved. With classic architectural details, great light, and views of downtown Portland, this charming home seems the perfect place to kick back, dream, and be inspired. —Max

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17 Inspiring Photos of Texture

Photo by dittohouse_  from #DSTexture

17 Inspiring Photos of Texture

It’s hard to predict what will inspire people the most when it comes to photography online. Sometimes the most specific concepts yield the most impressive results and, other times, something more open and vague, like the idea of texture, can produce the most incredible images. Texture was this month’s DS Hashtag Challenge and I was blown away to see the over 5,000 images that were shared in less than a month. From stunning still-life photos of mushrooms and flowers to the tiniest cat whiskers and footprints, you all were able to capture moments in time that were not only beautiful, but showed just how big of a role texture plays in art and design. This was one of my favorite challenges to date and I can’t wait to keep watching this feed as it grows along. Thank you so much to everyone who shared these photos, and more, with us. xo, grace

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Megan Williamson + Best of the Web

Megan Williamson + Best of the Web

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It’s incredible how much environment can shape and inform the work we do. Since moving to a small town upstate, I’ve found myself less interested in the highly linear and graphic artwork that I typically prefer and more interested in watercolor, pastels and gouache in a way I never was before. I feel like my mind is adapting to a bit more open space and no matter what the reason is, I’m happy to be exploring work that feels fresh and new to me.

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Megan Williamson is a Chicago-based painter whose work reminds me of my favorite Fauvist painters combined with a nod to contemporary pattern and textile design. I love the way she uses bold brushstrokes, big swaths of saturated color and works in bits of pattern here and there. (Her work has even been turned into wallpaper!) I thought it would be a beautiful way to end the week, surrounded by so much color and life. Click here to check out more of Megan’s work (you can buy her originals online). Until Monday, have a safe and happy weekend! xo, grace

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Valery Rizzo’s Caprese Recipe

Valery Rizzo’s Caprese Recipe

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On this column we strive to always share recipes that are simple and seasonal. Based on the Instagram pictures I’ve been seeing of the icy Hudson River, and emails from home, however, I thought I would give our friends suffering from the cold weather something to look forward to when the sun finally comes. Photographer Valery Rizzo is sharing with us this week her very simple recipe for a caprese salad. The beauty of the salad lies in its simplicity. Seek the freshest ingredients to maximize the flavors of the salad, which marry perfectly. If you’re in the southern hemisphere, you can try it out now with your finest local ingredients. -Kristina

About Valery: Valery Rizzo is a Brooklyn-based portrait, food and lifestyle photographer with a passion for telling stories. Her work appears in print, web and exhibition across the globe, as well as in the Brooklyn Navy Yard Archives. Clients include Bon Appétit, Edible Brooklyn, Kinfolk, Organic Gardening, Télérama, Interior Design, New York Magazine and many more. In addition to her commercial work, Valery is also working on a number of personal contemporary photography projects, one of which is a series for a book focused on the rapidly changing borough of Brooklyn, where she was born. She lives in Park Slope and can often be found photographing urban farming, chefs, restaurants, and makers. Find her on Instagram, Twitter, her website and her blog, Eating Brooklyn.

See how to make Valery’s salad after the jump!

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Home Ec: How to Clean Upholstered Furniture

COTTON & LINEN: Let's start with materials before diving into pets. Cotton and linen are some of the most common upholstery fabrics and can be the toughest to protect (from animals, especially). If you have slipcovers, you can machine wash them on a gentle setting. Be sure to follow the tag instructions. Linen/cotton blends can often be machine washed, but pure linen slipcovers should be dry cleaned. I clean ours twice a year. In between I spot clean with a dry cloth first, followed by a damp towel. Regular dust-busting  (every other week or so) can help prevent food or dirt particles from being embedded into the fabric. (Photo from Sisse's home)

Home Ec: How to Clean Upholstered Furniture

One of my major design struggles is balancing my love of upholstered anything with my love of animals. Whether it’s Turk scratching up the side of our sofa or Hope tracking in dirt or carrying her food onto the chair, we’re always dealing with some sort of upholstery clean-up. Even if your home doesn’t include pets or children, regular use of any upholstered furniture will require cleaning and touch-ups at some point. I try to prevent anything major with semi-regular cleaning, but for today’s Home Ec post I wanted to share a guide to cleaning upholstered furniture and protecting it from pets. xo, grace

*Click here for even more in-depth pet-proofing ideas!

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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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Artwork by Helene Comeositos

Artwork by Helene Comeositos

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On last week’s episode of Broad City (which, by the way, if you are not watching, stop what you are doing immediately and do so), we found our protagonists Abbi and Ilana falling into a trap that befalls many in today’s day and age — the inexplicable dissolution of time that happens when one falls down the black hole of The Internet. One second, you’re checking your Facebook, and the next, 10 hours have gone by, you’ve consumed every Top-10 list that Buzzfeed has to offer, and you’ve forgotten how to walk and speak in complete sentences. Looking back, today’s all-you-can-eat Internet culture makes once cutting-edge films like The Net and You’ve Got Mail seem downright quaint.

 

That massive preliminary digression aside, though, the Internet — while admittedly a massive time-suck — can lead to some pretty awesome things. For instance, on one such trip down the good ol’ Internet black hole, I stumbled serendipitously upon the artwork of Helene Comeositos, AKA Monochrome. Based in Helsinki, Helene works as an illustrator and updates her Instagram with daily black and white sketches in her signature irreverent, creep-tastic style. Simultaneously unsettling, witty, and funny, these drawings have become one of my favorite things about my Instagram feed — and certainly make all the photos of coffee that fall in-between more tolerable. So, yes — I might need to taper back my rampant Internet consumption a bit. But for all the headache that the addictive cacophony of Pin-twit-agram-book causes, little treats like this definitely make it worthwhile. Continue after the jump for more bits of Helene’s work. —Max VIEW MORE