DIY Abstract Picture Frames

DIY Abstract Picture Frames

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Every now and then, we come across a project in a home tour that inspires not only our team, but readers, to request a DIY version we can all try at home. After last week’s Hudson Valley home makeover ran, we got so many emails asking about how to create similar “deconstructed” abstract picture frames. So we invited Jessica Goehring to create a project inspired by the gold frames in her home tour and I love the final result. Jess will walk you through the how-to after the jump! xo, grace

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A San Francisco Home Built for Play

Design*Sponge Home Tour

A San Francisco Home Built for Play

What would happen if the kids’ playroom turned into the entire home? It would look a lot like the San Francisco home Julia Busenitz shares with her husband Dennis, two sons Rune and Sepp, and dog Gucci. They were already living in the neighborhood — just a little over a block away — when the family fell in love with this house. They saw the potential even though it was “tiny, dark and stinky,” as Julia says. They knew they could make it their own with a lot of work and love. Fast-forward seven years and the house is transformed into a light-filled, lived-in, kid-friendly space.

It wasn’t easy to transform the home. There have been challenges along the way, lots of projects built just to be torn down again, but that’s just part of the process, Julia says. Their biggest objective, though, was to make sure the space was not precious at all. They wanted their home to be fun and inspiring: a place where their kids would bring their friends over to play, while still being comfortable enough to host big dinners.

Details such as the net lofted above the living room to the “porthole” above the boys’ bunk beds are proof of the family’s dedication to make every detail of the house playful and experiential. Julia’s husband Dennis built much of the furniture, making everything feel special and truly one-of-a-kind. His custom woodwork pieces are complemented by fabulous Craigslist scores (the oven, and a brand new bathroom sink and toilet). Outside, they are surrounded by a riot of lush greenery, their chicken coop, and Julia’s studio. Aside from being the coolest parents in the neighborhood, Julia runs a textile design business, Luca Jackson, and Dennis is a professional skateboarder. Thanks to both Julia and Dennis for demonstrating that a space for kids and a space for adults don’t have to be two separate things. —Shannon

 

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DIY Tissue Paper Art

DIY Tissue Paper Art

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One thing my home is sorely lacking is art. I’ve been so consumed with furniture, soft furnishings and far too many hanging planters, that I’ve neglected to extend the decoration to the walls. The pieces I do have are slowly collected and sparsely dotted around my home, and although each of these pieces holds some significance to me, I do feel that a few “filler” frames could bring them all together a little more. Along with looking for prints from local artists, I want to DIY a few pieces to add to the mix, and I felt like this tissue paper art was the perfect place to start. The bright colors, combined with a minimal design, creates an eye-catching piece that can fit in any sized wall space that you need to fill. —Fran

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Umbra Shift: Functional, Familiar, and Forward-Thinking

Umbra Shift, on Design*Sponge

Umbra Shift: Functional, Familiar, and Forward-Thinking

Many an organized life has been enhanced by the use of Umbra items over the past 30 years, and the Toronto-based product design company continues to innovate with a new line of designer items that incorporate contemporary aesthetics on top of their clever functionalities. Umbra Shift first launched at ICFF last year and had a strong second showing recently, giving talented young designers the ability to create the everyday objects that they themselves would be proud to display at home. Lots of clever ideas have emerged, like the desk lamp anchored with a pencil cup to free up valuable real estate on the average working desk surface, a folding chair with a hanger head that suggests its ideal storage spot, and a shelf that can support displayed items either horizontally or vertically. Bonus points for the rad packaging, which unites the dissimilar devices under one common visual language. —Annie

Photography via Umbra Shift

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National Stationery Show: Ferme À Papier

Ferme A Papier at the National Stationary Show.

National Stationery Show: Ferme À Papier

There are many elements of my personal style that can be traced in a straight line back to my time spent in Paris. From stripes, to luxe linens, to crown molding, these design details have sunk themselves deep into my life and ethos. My francophile affinity was well matched when I met Cat Seto of Ferme À Papier at the National Stationery Show this year, a San Francisco based design studio. It was her time in Paris two years ago that gave impetus to her company, whose literal translation is Farm to Paper. Days spent watching “Parisian hipsters” and visiting biodynamic farms in the countryside carry through in all of her work today. Upon walking around her dark navy booth, I was taken with the mix of styles she uses — abstract landscapes blended with gold foil typography, gestural illustrations of sweet couples in love, and hand drawn marble patterns that she said took forever to make.

For this year’s collection, Cat drew inspiration from the golden ratio, hoping to create “harmony and balance” in her designs. Although very modern in aesthetic, this ratio can be seen in the work of countless artists from Leonardo Da Vinci to Salvador Dali. I found these golden elements to be beautiful and compelling, mixing mathematical lines with the fluid shapes of nature.

In the end, I found myself lingering at the Ferme À Papier booth for far too long, sharing stories about hot french baguettes and romantic side streets. The following 10 images capture the feeling I had after leaving Cat’s booth, a dreamy wanderlust for a time stood still in a classic French parlor, stripes and all. X, Emma

Photography by Emma Tuccillo

 

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An Artistic Home & Studio in an 1850s New England Church

An Artistic Home & Studio in an 1850s New England Church | Design*Sponge

An Artistic Home & Studio in an 1850s New England Church

Searching for the perfect home can take some creativity in where to look — especially if you aren’t looking for a traditional house. When the Little family was looking for studio and living space in the midcoast Maine area, commercial listings won out over residential real estate and they found this 1852 church to call home.

Erin, a wedding and editorial photographer, Mark, a fine artist, and their daughter, 8-year-old Elisabeth, moved into this church building three years ago. Before they owned it, it had been transformed into several businesses, but never a home. Erin had to work to get it zoned for residential use and luckily found a small local bank that could help. “Both being artists, Mark and I knew we needed a place to house a home and studio in one. That was a tall order,” says Erin. “We also wanted to stray from the normal idea of a home and instead looked at old railroad stations and churches. It is perfect and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. It didn’t pop up on any of the searches because it wasn’t listed residentially. It was my husband who suggested we go look at it because he had been driving by it for years. All it took was 10 steps inside before I turned to my realtor and said, ‘I’ll take it.’ The light was enough to make me swoon!”

Erin, Mark and Elisabeth’s art can be seen in almost every room of this charming space. Their passion and talent for creating can be seen in their photographs and paintings and also in the way they have shaped and transformed their home. “Our only decorating goals were to have our space reflect us as a family. We put a lot of thought into everything that comes into our house and it has to be meaningful. I tend to be more of a minimalist, while Mark loves all things funky, loud, and colorful. So we have blended the two and I think it’s really worked.” While nothing about this building was residential before, it is a house perfect for the Littles with all the elements of an artistic, beautiful home. —Lauren

Photography by Erin Little

 

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Life & Business: Bethan and Joe of Decorator’s Notebook

Life & Business: Bethan and Joe of Decorator’s Notebook

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Bethan and Joe are a brother and sister team from England on a mission is to prove that design, quality and ethics can go hand in hand. Together, they run Decorator’s Notebook, an online shop offering home accessories sourced from fair-trade groups, artisan co-operatives and social enterprises from around the world. Decorator’s Notebook is a win-win: It gives their customers access to unique global accessories and provides income to talented artisans in developing countries.

Before their launch, Bethan worked as a design journalist for various magazines in the UK and started a blog as a way to collect her interior design inspiration and share independent makers. Joe was working in e-commerce, and as the blog grew, they decided to pursue it further and join forces. Though they’ve weathered some bumps along the way, including the hurdle of how to work together successfully as siblings, they’ve learned a ton about how to create a successful start-up. Today, Bethan is opening up about their business and sharing some important and poignant nuggets of wisdom gathered along the way. –Sabrina

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Life & Business: Jane Sachs of HS2 Architecture

Life & Business: Jane Sachs of HS2 Architecture

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Building a business is hard, and sustaining one for 5, 10, or even 20 years is no simple feat. But Toronto-native and architect, Jane Sachs, has done just that. In fact, she just celebrated 20 years of business success last year — but Jane’s strong creative vision and mastery of materials didn’t come without a lot of hard work and a humble beginning. Jane sharpened her teeth at University in the 90s, where she received a degree as a Bachelor of Fine Arts before attending architecture school in her 30s. After graduating, she opened a small pottery studio in New York City producing custom dinnerware, and it was there that she met her partner, Thomas Hut. Together, they launched HS2 Architecture in 1994.

Having gone from a duo to a collaborative team of nearly a dozen, they continue to create unique buildings and interiors with a deep appreciation of visual arts and responsive design, and have created some of the most recognizable buildings in New York City — including Ralph Lauren’s flagship stores, Gramercy Park Hotel and Palazzo Chupi. They take their clients from pie-in-the-sky design and high-level thinking to the actual construction of the projects. Regardless of budget or scale, they guarantee a high level of creativity, commitment to quality and attention to detail, and it’s this level of care that continues to elevate them to new levels of success.

Today, Jane is taking us through her impressive journey from producing dinnerware to where HS2 is today, exploring the importance of listening carefully, enjoying your work, considering diverse points of view, and more! Sabrina

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Chiang Mai, Thailand City Guide

Chiang Mai, Thailand City Guide

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For the past four years, Chiang Mai, Thailand has been home to Alana Morgan. It was also the spot she called home after moving out for the first time, and where she accomplished many other milestones from learning to ride a motorcycle to teaching English to backpacking for two months with a stranger. She’s explored Southeast Asia extensively over this time, but no matter where her travels take her (which she documents on her travel blog, Paper Planes), she lands back in Chiang Mai where she feels most at home — and she doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon! As an expat, Alana has had a diverse experience from living with locals to staying in hotels to sleeping in tents, so her guide features a great mix of spots and suggestions that range from more general recommendations so you can customize your trip, to specific places you must check out. –Sabrina

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Anna Karlin Furniture + Fine Objects

Anna Karlin Furniture + Fine Objects, on Design*Sponge

Anna Karlin Furniture + Fine Objects

Anna Karlin dreamed up one of the most engaging booths at ICFF this year, featuring multiple layers of intrigue. The complete work showcased her expertise in digital and print media art direction (not to mention interior and set design), built around a line of irreverent original furniture and lighting products that were a highlight of the show. Our favorites included the colorful experiments in pattern projected upon rugs and stools, the various plumb and bulb pendants that appear to balance just so but actually stem from sturdy metals, and the porcelain vases squashed to resemble spent cigarette butts. Karlin relishes the process of working across all mediums and allowing inspiration from one discovery to inform ideas about another. She believes that each of the design disciplines are interrelated, and they should all be explored simultaneously or else risk leaving some essential piece of information undiscovered. That, and literally playing chess with her furniture arrangements. —Annie

Photography via Anna Karlin Furniture + Fine Objects

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The Only Things You Need To Know About Your Storefront Display

The Only Things You Need To Know About Your Storefront Display

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If you’ve been following along over the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing some tips and tricks for creating the best storefront display for your brick-and-mortar and online shop. And yes — big exhale — it’s a lot to take in!

Whether you’re a start-up or you’ve been in business for decades, learning from the wisdom of others in the field is invaluable. So today we’re sharing insights from industry professionals who range from businesses as large as Big Cartel, Etsy and Shopify to individual shops run by independent merchants. We asked all of them: What’s the one thing you should know and keep in mind when creating a storefront display/window, whether online or in a physical space? Without further ado, here are their answers! —Sabrina

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A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights

A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights | Design*Sponge

A Grown-Up Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights

It’s easy for me to keep things because they’ve been useful or good enough in the past. Or because it feels like a waste to buy something new (that I like) to replace something that I already have (that I probably was given secondhand in college). Just this week I got rid of a bookshelf that tilts to the right, which I’ve been moving from place to place for the last eight years. I honestly should have let it go a while ago. There’s nothing wrong with being selective when it comes to big pieces and purchases, but it’s also okay to pull the trigger and to make it a priority to be intentional with a space. For me, an intentionally designed home – even on the cheap – just feels inspiring, refreshed and mature. This Brooklyn Heights brownstone apartment wasn’t just moved into – the new tenants made it a place that reflects their taste and spirit by starting fresh with furniture and hiring a designer.

Ebonie and Dave, both attorneys, wanted to be closer to friends and better transportation to and from work. When they moved from Sunnyside to Brooklyn Heights, they decided to really settle in and make their new apartment into a home. The dingy paint, rough walls and older kitchen were worth the natural light and layout in this 850-square-foot brownstone. “We love our jobs, but we spend a ton of time in sterile office environments. We wanted a home that felt the opposite of that environment – interesting, expressive, calming, and casual,” Ebonie says. Designed by Jill Danyelle and executed by Ebonie and Dave, this home is the inspired, layered and sophisticated apartment that can take them away from the office completely. There are bits of mid-century, coastal and global elements coordinated perfectly throughout the space.

With Jill’s design and direction, Ebonie and Dave have created a refined space they love. “It took quite a bit of work to turn this apartment into a place that felt like home. We moved in during the summer and spent many a weekend painting when we would have rather been hanging in the park. Working with Jill was amazing and I really learned a ton about how to put a room together and the importance of measuring and planning before making any purchases,” Ebonie says. “I really wanted this apartment to feel like home. I think we really accomplished that. I think something about turning 30 makes you want to get it together and get a coffee table! This is our first apartment that has felt grown-up and complete.” —Lauren

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Best of the National Stationery Show: Pizza

Hartland at the Naitonal Stationary Show.

Best of the National Stationery Show: Pizza

Can we all just agree on something? Pizza is pretty great. As a New Yorker, I have a very strong connection to pizza and a sense of pride to go with it. For me, pizza elicits an immediate sense of joy — countless happy memories of greasy paper plates dripping with cheese and sauce. I was overjoyed to see the friendly face of pizza on tons of designs at this year’s National Stationery Show. Everyone had different interpretations, from The Seapink’s neon print to Wishbone Letter Press’ festive Christmas card. These seven designs are perfect for your fun-loving friend or to keep as a constant reminder for your love of the all and mighty — pizza. X, Emma

Photography by Emma Tuccillo 

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Helen McCullagh for Fleurt + Best of the Web

Helen McCullagh for Fleurt + Best of the Web

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All week I’ve been relishing the spring flowers that have popped up all over town. Whether we’re driving down the street and seeing purple wild flowers appear or watching the butter yellow irises in our yard bloom, it feels like fresh flowers are everywhere. There are few subjects I love more in artwork than flowers, so I’ve always been a fan of artists that focus on floral still-life subjects. One of my favorites is Helen McCullagh, who has some incredible new paintings on display at Fleurt, a group show at Saint Cloche gallery in Sydney dedicated to flowers. Nine artists, from photographers and painters to ceramicists, will show their work starting this Saturday through Sunday, June 7th. Click here for more info on the show and check out some of Helen’s latest pieces above and below. If you’re in Sydney, send us some pics if you visit in person! It looks like it’s going to be an amazing show. Until then, best wishes for a safe and happy weekend. xo, grace

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