Before & After: An Ann Arbor Home with Heart

Before & After: An Ann Arbor Home with Heart, on Design*Sponge

Before & After: An Ann Arbor Home with Heart

After working long days as a dedicated emergency room doctor, all Corey Damen Jenkins’ client wanted was to return to a 5-star hotel respite within his Ann Arbor, MI home. He asked the designer for a “modern luxe” spin on his 1,700-square-foot residence with classic details, built in the early 20th century. Jenkins sought to turn the space into a refined, earthy jewel box borrowing motifs from the homeowner’s travels, cultural interests, and distinct sense of style. He even took his client’s career as inspiration for sourcing the Jonathan Adler flame stitch throw pillows that resemble the screen display of a monitored heartbeat. The home’s bathrooms were gutted to accommodate Jenkins’ towering client, who at 6’5″ required custom-height vanities specified to his comfort. The main living spaces received a decorative update as well, featuring a cohesive palette of colors and textures throughout the home, with individual elements emphasized in different rooms for unique moodscapes in succession. —Annie

“After” photography by Brad Ziegler

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DIY Wooden Planter Boxes

DIY Wooden Planter Boxes

DIY Wooden Planter Boxes

I’ve always been a big fan of the bright, color-blocked look but despite this, I find myself opting for muted shades when I style my home. This is mainly because I’m trying to be sensible, so I base my choices on thoughts like “it will date better” or “this neutral color will go with everything.” But while that might be true in the long run, it certainly doesn’t make for very interesting home decorating in the here and now!

DIY Wooden Planter Boxes

Enter the humble planter. I’ve found that plant pots are a great way to experiment with changing up the feel of a room because while they can certainly be statement pieces, they’re also relatively small-scale so they don’t overwhelm the rest of my decor. So I reached out to Stephanie Lee of Make and Tell (that’s her below!) to have her help us with a planter DIY to bring a little color into our homes. I hope you’ll enjoy her project as much as I did! –Fran

Photos by Diandra Dimic Photography and Milton Gan Photography

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A Colorful and Comfortable Spanish-Style Home in The Heart of LA

A Colorful Spanish-Style Home in the Heart of LA, Design*Sponge

A Colorful and Comfortable Spanish-Style Home in The Heart of LA

The act of creating a space that’s an honest reflection of those who live in it is one of the most rewarding aspects of owning a home. I, for one, am constantly moving things around, re-arranging rooms, and changing my environment to reflect changes in my life. There’s comfort in coming home to a space that caters to your lifestyle. For Tina Miyakawa, her partner Jeff Pickett, and Huckleberry, their adorable 10-year-old Boston Terrier, choosing a house to call home was all about that visceral, gut feeling.

Tina juggles her graphic design practice with being an MFA student at Otis College of Art and Design, and Jeff is a director at a digital marketing firm who shapes surfboards in his spare time under the name Long Swim Home. Having both grown up in Manhattan Beach, CA, location was important when the couple first set out to find a place. Along with the warm fuzzies they got when they first walked through the space, Tina and Jeff chose their house for its potential, central Los Angeles location, and close proximity to both of their families. As creatives, they never bore of their interesting, mid-city neighborhood, which borders Culver City’s Arts District.

Built in 1926, their Spanish-style home felt like a new beginning, and Tina and Jeff enjoyed living in it for months before furnishing it. After meditating for a bit on the space, they decided to undo a lot of cover-up renovations that had been done prior to their possession in order to reveal much of the home’s original 1920s character and charm. This understanding of how they wanted their space to function was deliberate and personal, and even spilled over into their decisions about decor: “We just [surrounded] ourselves with things we love or that have personal significance, [putting them] in places that felt most comfortable to us.” Despite their clutter-free interior, their space still boasts plenty of color and easy, California style, but above all else, their house is their sanctuary. “For us,” says Tina, “knowing that you’re not leaving any time soon is a good feeling.” –Sabrina
Photography by Isabelle Ahadzadeh
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Women to Watch: Vol. 1

Women to Watch: Vol. 1

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The way online publishing is evolving truly fascinates me. Years ago Google told “publishers” (aka bloggers) at a trade conference that we should abandon the idea of our blogs as an all-encompassing homepage and embrace the idea of being content creators/voices that have streams of content that will be published across multiple platforms and on mobile devices worldwide. Back then I couldn’t imagine a day when people would leave beloved homepages and consume content across 5, 10 or even 15 different platforms. But man did that day come- and quickly! Gone are the days when homepages were king and thankfully, my reluctance is adapt is gone, too.

Now most of us get our news, entertainment, inspiration and social updates from a whole slew of websites, micro-blogs, social media platforms and more. I consume most of my online daily inspiration and education from at least 30 different sites/platforms and content producers, so I’ve slowly been changing the way we produce content here, too. For me, the blog here is about embracing longer-form content like essays, home tours and projects that require multiple steps, pictures and detailed explanation to complete. But I don’t want to abandon shorter content all together. I don’t think there’s inherently anything wrong or evil about short lists or roundups, they’re just not what I want to devote as much space to on the blog anymore. So starting this week (and going forward), I’m going to be using our social media feeds (primarily Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) to share quick inspiration in the form of suggested people/businesses to watch, things to read, recipes to try and other general inspiration that benefits most from a quick-click.

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If you don’t follow DS on social media feeds you won’t miss out on these roundups, I’ll always link to them here, too. But for the most part, it feels like a more natural fit to embrace short-form content on a platform that’s more readily sharable and social. I like having this website be a place for reading and more in-depth commenting and really diving deeper into content that takes more than a few minutes to digest. So, to kick things off, I’m going to share a more in-depth version of my first “quick inspiration” post for this week. The theme is “women in charge” and these are just some of the amazing women I follow online for inspiration, ideas and general motivation. Add them to your follow lists and enjoy- they are guaranteed to bring creativity and excitement to your daily feeds. xo, grace

Top photo above, clockwise from top left:
1. Shizu Saldamando (website)
2. Deanne Cheuk (website)
3. Fay Andrada (website)
4. Fatima Robinson (website)
5. Hana Getachew/Bole Road Textiles (website)
6. Jodie Patterson (website)
7. Ping Zhu (website)
8. Veronica Corzo-Duchardt (website)

Second photo above, clockwise from top left:
1. Sydney Alfonso of Etkie (website)
2. Samin Nosrat (website)
3. Carla Fernandez (website)
4. Tanya Aguiniga (website)
5. Ana Serrano (website)
6. Sara Escamilla (website)

Ayumi and Chloe’s Peaceful Home in Maine

Ayumi and Chloe's Maine Home, Design*Sponge

Ayumi and Chloe’s Peaceful Home in Maine

When potter Ayumi Horie was looking for a new space, she decided to return to her home state of Maine to settle down. Ayumi wasn’t searching for just a home, but for a property that would also accommodate her studio and kilns. She’d lived in other homes on the East Coast and knew winters could be brutal, so finding something with a studio building close to the home (to prevent long, snowy commutes) was a huge priority. When she saw this house, a brick Greek Revival with a crabapple-lined driveway, she knew she was home. “I’ve lived in many places and knew that this move would be my last — that I’d grow old in this house and would invest in it in more than just a material way,” she explains. And now, along with her fiancée Chloe Beaven and their dog, Clover, Ayumi has worked to not just restore their family’s historic home, but to invest in their home city of Portland, ME in a way that more deeply connects them to their space, community and the history of the town.

“I firmly believe that warm homes come about through years of looking, collecting, and gathering, just like identities take shape over time,” Ayumi says. “Nothing matches because nothing is more boring to me than matching sets. Things ‘match’ because we like them. Every object has a story to tell, whether the story is instilled by the maker or by an anonymous past the object has carried for years.” When asked about the best part of living in an old home, Ayumi says, “You can ask me again when I’m 80, but the rewards of living in an old house are worth it. The wavy way that early morning light is refracted through leaded panes of glass and the groves of massive, old lilacs and crabapples make an indescribable scent around the house when they bloom. We get a little piece of country pie while being able to get into the middle of Portland in 10 minutes.”

Read on to see their full home tour and hear more about the renovations and history of Ayumi and Chloe’s beautiful home. xo, grace

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Life & Business: Hana Getachew of Bolé Road Textiles

Life & Business: Hana Getachew of Bolé Road Textiles

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“Dwell in possibility.” These words from an Emily Dickinson poem sit in a frame on Hana Getachew’s desk. For Hana — and for many entrepreneurs — the very thought that her dream could be made into a reality was all she needed to launch Bolé Road Textiles. Though leaping into the unknown world of becoming a business-owner was scary, her vision was clear and carried her from the start: to pursue her love of weaving and textiles, all while supporting and celebrating local makers and her home country of Ethiopia’s culture.

All of the ethically-sourced, modern home products by Bolé Road Textiles are crafted with love using ancient weaving traditions that pay homage to Hana’s roots in Addis Ababa. And though her business has flourished, she admits it’s a marathon, not a sprint; a continuous process of learning, tweaking and improving, and one that requires plenty of heart and openness to feedback. Today, we’re thrilled to have Hana join us to chat about her business, the two biggest lessons she’s learned (patience and agility), why feedback is important, and a phrase she repeats often: “remember how Martha started.” —Sabrina

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San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City Guide

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City Guide

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Although Montserrat Cardona was born in Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende has been a close-by and second home for as long as she can remember. A small town with “a passion for beauty in almost every corner,” she has lived in SMA for nearly half a year now and continues to fall in love with its soul, diverse culture and genuine Mexican heart.

For over three decades, this inspiring Guanajuato’s area has attracted artists far and wide — from painters, sculptors, musicians, writers and gallery owners — and continues to draw young expats and entrepreneurs who’ve launched boutiques, hotels, spas, bars, concept stores, gourmet restaurants, and interior design firms. From the moment you check-in at your hotel, to the ingredients local dishes are prepared with, to the cocktails on one of the hundreds of terraces with a magnificent view of the Cathedral, San Miguel is known for its customer service and friendly locals. But perhaps Montserrat says it best: “All the people that live here love this Mexican jewel that (not by chance) is considered one of the best places to live in the world!” and today she shares with us a taste of that. –Sabrina

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Fine Art Focus: Welcome Ana Na

Fine Art Focus: Welcome Ana Na

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Well, it happened. I blinked and it’s suddenly September. This summer flew by like no other summer ever has. I remember my birthday party in June and then the next thing I knew we were traveling around the country to finish up our next book and working on expanding and improving DS. Now after a week off, we’re back and ready to start sharing some of the new content, columns and writers that will be joining us. I’ll write more about our bigger goals here next week, but for now, I want to introduce you to one of our new contributors, Ana Na.

Ana lives in France and has an all-consuming passion for fine art, jewelry and digital art. I’ve been following her on Facebook for months now and this summer I realized every single thing she posted was something I wanted to share on DS. So I reached out to her, asked if she’d like to join our team and, to my delight, she said yes.

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Each week Ana will introduce us to a talented artist and share some of their work, then tell us where we can find and learn more about their work online or in person. The goal will be to expand our world a bit each week with someone that we perhaps haven’t heard of before or an era/style/type of fine art that will inspire and excite us. This column won’t be about where you can shop/buy/replicate something, but instead about sharing something beautiful and meaningful that will hopefully lead to a moment of inspiration, a desire to keep reading and learn more, or maybe even a weekend excursion to find out more about an artist, a movement, a style or another artist connected to the one we show here. So let’s meet our first artist! xo, grace

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Artist: Yuko Nishimura
About: Yuko is a Japanese artist who studied in the Architectural Design program at the School of Arts at Nihon University in Tokyo.
Work: Yuko works primarily with folded paper, creating precise and elegant sculptures that have a strong architectural presence. The texture and shadows created by her intricate folding work are stunning and her work has been featured in advertisements and film, as well as shown prominently at galleries and museums across the globe.
More: You can read more about Yuko’s work here, read about her upcoming exhibitions here and watch an excellent film on her process here.

*Images courtesy of Yuko Nishimura’s website. Portrait still from Keiko Art International’s video, above and below.

D*S Essay Contest Winner…

D*S Essay Contest Winner…

Last week’s essay contest was one of the most moving things I’ve experienced here at the site so far. The emails — not to mention the essays themselves — we received were some of the most thoughtful I’ve ever read. First and foremost, thank you to everyone who took the time to share their voice and their story with us here. Every single entry was a joy to read and I look forward to reading much more of all of your writing. To the finalists, thank you for having the courage to share your stories here in front of such a wide audience. You did so with open hearts and open minds and I think that was exactly how they were received.

Now that the voting has come to an end, I’m happy to announce the winner of our first-ever essay contest…

Liberty Lausterer!

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Congratulations to Liberty and everyone else who was a finalist this year. Liberty will be receiving a $500 prize and we will be sure to continue reaching out to all of the amazing writers who entered to hopefully contribute more here at DS in the future.

We will be back tomorrow with regular content. Until then, please take a moment to check out all of this year’s finalists if you haven’t already! xo, grace

D*S Essay Contest: VOTING! [Now Closed]

D*S Essay Contest: VOTING! [Now Closed]

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After a week of wonderful essays, it is now time to vote for your favorite! First, I want to thank everyone who shared their amazing stories with us. It was an honor to hear about all of your lives, your adventures, your struggles and what home means to you. From all of us here at Design*Sponge, we thank you for sharing so much with us.

Starting today, you can vote for your favorite essay. The winner will win $500 and voting goes through Tuesday, September 1st at 10am EST. Vote below! Thank you to everyone who shared and everyone and took the time to read and vote here today. xo, grace [Image above by Pamela Jaccarino via #dscolor]

[UPDATE: Normal DS posting will resume TOMORROW, SEPT 2ND! We needed one extra day for catching up after the break. Sorry! -grace]

CLICK HERE to read all of the essay finalists here before voting (in case you missed any!)

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D*S Essay Contest: Stacey LaFayette

D*S Essay Contest: Stacey LaFayette

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[Editor’s note: All week we will be posting the finalists for our first D*S Essay contest. The theme was “HOME”. Voting will begin on Friday after all finalists have been notified and posted. Thank you so much to everyone who entered this year’s contest! -Grace]

When I was young, my family would spend every 4th of July at our beach cabin in Manzanita, on the Oregon Coast. Even though we drove west to get there, we always said we were “going down” to the beach, as though we were descending into a simpler world, one with no phone service or wi-fi or cable. Everyone would go down there; aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents – more people than could reasonably fit in a two-bedroom cabin. I don’t even remember where we all slept. We must have been lined up on the floor in sleeping bags, crammed onto couches and bunk beds. On the morning of the 4th we would all walk the five blocks to the main street, set up folding chairs, and watch the parade. It was a small affair at first, with homemade floats and Manzanita residents driving in their cars and throwing candy to the kids. Gradually it morphed into what it is today, a huge ordeal with dozens of floats made by businesses from up and down the coast, an impressive array of vintage cars, more candy than a kid knows what to do with, and a main street flyover from an F-15 jet.

Then we’d walk back to the cabin, where we’d have a barbecue and eat the biggest steaks known to man, my grandpa’s splurge for the family. In the afternoon we’d walk two blocks to the beach, stopping to try our hand at running up an impossibly steep sand dune. It was nearly vertical, or felt so as a small child, and we would have contests to see who clamber up the highest before giving in to gravity and sliding back down. Then there were sandcastles to build, and seashells to collect, and we’d run away screaming and laughing whenever mom would pick up giant pieces of slimy seaweed and chase after us with them. The nighttime firework show on the beach capped off the holiday, the booms reverberating in my chest and the smoke seeping into my clothes and hair.

Our cabin was built by all of us, bit by bit, over the past thirty-seven years. My grandpa bought the lot for $7,800 in 1976, when Manzanita was just another sleepy beach town whose main draw was the sand and the golf course. It was a quarter acre of tough, windblown trees and scrubby salal bushes. He laid the foundation in 1978, with the help of my dad, my uncle, and my grandma’s uncle . For three years they worked on it. My grandpa saved up for each new piece of the cabin so he could avoid debt. He and my grandma would stay down there on weekends and work on it, living out of a tiny travel trailer until the cabin finally had walls and floors. Even then, it didn’t have any carpet – just rugs and carpet remnants, laid out like patchwork on the rough wooden floors. The basement bedroom and bathroom only had bare sheetrock walls for about twenty-five years before we got around to painting them. It was one of the least stylish homes I’ve ever seen – and yet, no one cared. Our experiences down there were so much more interesting than the decor.

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D*S Essay Contest: Susanna-Cole King

D*S Essay Contest: Susanna-Cole King

Susanna-Cole King, Design Sponge Contest
[Editor’s note: All week we will be posting the finalists for our first D*S Essay contest. The theme was “HOME”. Voting will begin on Friday after all finalists have been notified and posted. Thank you so much to everyone who entered this year’s contest! -Grace]

Home is sleeping in on Sunday, sun squeezing tangerine past window shades and blanketing the bed, womb of warmth. It’s a temple for prayers, and late-night eurekas, as much as for brushing teeth, and puttering around in pajamas. It’s barefooted on worn, wide planks of oak that bear the birthmarks of a hundred and thirty years, mottled with eggshell and crimson dribbles of paint; sun fading.

Home is for books, a wisp of cotton clothed flesh in a cocoon of quilts, paperbacks dog-eared on pillow cases, the fragrant aroma of apples in the slow cooker in autumn, the crescendos of cicadas seeping into the marrow of bones in summer. Home is dust jackets dappled with sun spots and toothy tears, cloth-bound, plastic sleeved, the ghost of a coffee cup on one, marbled endpapers on another, faded slate gray annotations in pencil, embraced in cedar bookcases or precariously teetering on window ledges in diamond-edged stacks, guardian angels of sleep. It’s guts and grins and rhythm, and a lump in the throat.

*Photo above by Lindsay Anne Belliveau

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Home is the harbor, the beacon of light plunging through darkness, the anchor on the ocean floor when tossed by tempests and tumultuous seas, that waits when eyelids are drooping into crescent moons, waxing, waning, when feet ache, hearts ache, head aches, never betraying the hiccuping sobs into the pillow, fists pounding, soft echoes on mattress springs. It’s walls that will listen with rapt attention; never say can’t, never laugh at outlandishness, brazenness, unbridled dreams.

Home is healing a bad day, a decade of illness, beating eggs until arms ache, snail trails of clover honey on the table, the hum of cooking wholesome food, and slowly, slowly, a small hope growing. It’s the humble theater for old floorboards aching in their joints, heart pounding, dancing doldrums into joy, always a beat off, never a damn given.
Home is messy-headed, eating cake for breakfast. It’s legs folded on braided rugs, paper tides in a sea of ephemera browned softy as a bruise, faded snapshots swimming at the knees, pulled into pleasing arrangements, and hung bespoke from clothespins. It’s rummaging through desk drawers, heavy with letters and rumpled poems; sweating out everything at a buttery yellow typewriter, in wicker-bottomed chair, tap, tap, tap, ding!

Home is the ecstasy of losing all sense of the hours ebbing and flowing, of no longer being beneath the heel of the small hand that ticks in its dictatorship. It’s belly aching, side splitting laughter swallowed in a breathy silence, when muscles go slack, and not a soul in the room can sit straight anymore, clutching the table, plates of home cooking, devoured over animated conversation. Home is for the loudness of company, and the quiet of solitude.

Home is for the beloved; anything is art, everything on the walls. It’s for the beautiful, the useful, the storied, worn, and already loved. Home is mementos of those who voices once husked warmly around, a fading memory of generations who have come and come to pass, but not been forgotten.

Home is the view from the windows, neat rows of houses squeezed so tightly together that not even a murmur let out in drowsy sleep, could pass between. It’s rowhouses of grand pizazz, neoclassical, Parisian bohemia, red-bricked or glazed in white and robin’s egg blue. Rowhouses hatted with roofs of coal black fish scales that shimmer when it rains, faded cedar shakes, and sloping eaves. Home is rows snaggletoothed, here or there, a house punched loose from its crooked grin, vacantness, abandonment.

Home is where paradise collides with anarchy, gunshots splitting the night over the lull of moonlit fountains, where presidents once roamed, where slaves fled to freedom, where the war on racism roars on. It’s aristocrats and junkies, prostitutes and policemen, doctors and drug dealers, heirs and starving artists; the strange juxtapositions of a small town, big city.

Home is an uncertain world, it’s growing together, as neighbors, as humans, unafraid to put roots in shaky ground, to plant the seeds so that one day there might be a better hope, a future as luminous as golden sunlight through the kaleidoscope of trees grown tall.

Home is folding myself, a head taller, into my mother’s arms after a long time. -Susanna-Cole King

D*S Essay Contest: Kate Schaefer

D*S Essay Contest: Kate Schaefer

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[Editor’s note: All week we will be posting the finalists for our first D*S Essay contest. The theme was “HOME”. Voting will begin on Friday after all finalists have been notified and posted. Thank you so much to everyone who entered this year’s contest! -Grace]

Eight years. Two thousand nine hundred twenty days since I sat on the edge of my bed with a cloudy head.

“I have something to tell you…”

My heartbeat began banging an uneven rhythm in my chest, in my ears, behind my eyes.

BAM. BAM. BAM. A percussionist inside of my ribcage.

I don’t even think I responded. I tensed up, ready for the blow. Sat down. Prepared.

“I have cancer.”

Then some talk about treatment, probably some tears from the other end. To be honest, the conversation is a hazy mist that hangs in the recesses of my memory. It’s the low-lying fog that is only detectable from a distance; stand in the middle of it and the tangible quality it has seems to dissipate. All that to say, I really don’t remember the conversation when my mother told me she had cancer.

Truthfully, it almost never crossed my mind that I could lose my mother at forty-seven years old. I never thought this disease would kill her. She was the most capable person I had ever known and I strived to be half of the person that she is.

But then the chemo began. Generally speaking, she felt fine. But there were days, unnerving days, where she would cry on the phone. Where she would complain of feeling ill. Where she sat on the couch and said she just needed to feel bad for herself.

And then I saw her. Home from photography school for a visit, I saw my newly afflicted mother; cancer-ridden, bald, skin pale & crepe-y.

What happened to the powerhouse I had always known? Where did the strong, able-bodied woman go? The one who had reared two kids like it was effortless? The one who maintained a marriage, a household and an increasingly successful career? She was frail. She was still positive, still herself, just a little bit weaker. She was shadow of herself, the same shape around the edges, but all of the details were a bit dark and blurry.

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D*S Essay Contest: Domenique Osborne

D*S Essay Contest: Domenique Osborne

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[Editor’s note: All week we will be posting the finalists for our first D*S Essay contest. The theme was “HOME”. Voting will begin on Friday after all finalists have been notified and posted. Thank you so much to everyone who entered this year’s contest! -Grace]

Home Is Where You Lay Your Fork

My grandfather was a bricklayer and a baker.

One by trade, the other by passion.

His huge, work-scarred hands would massage and knead and stir, as though he were working a massive drum of mortar. No dough or frosting or sweet, berry filling was safe from his constant ministrations.

Each family gathering starred one of Nonno’s creations: a shimmering blueberry tart. Tins of powder-flecked cookies, piled high like jewels. A kugelhopf, studded with bits of dried fruit. But the grand dame of any gathering was his tiramisu with its extravagant layers of espresso-soaked ladyfingers luxuriating on feathery beds of egg and mascarpone.

When I finally left home for a lovely college on the other side of the state, he was so disappointed that I hadn’t chosen something closer to home.

To him.

The man who had packed up his wife and baby and left his parents, siblings and the sugar-capped peaks of Northern Italy for a new life in the creeping sprawl of Detroit was upset that I was going to college 130 miles away.

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D*S Essay Contest: Liberty Lausterer

D*S Essay Contest: Liberty Lausterer

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[Editor’s note: All week we will be posting the finalists for our first D*S Essay contest. The theme was “HOME”. Voting will begin on Friday after all finalists have been notified and posted. Thank you so much to everyone who entered this year’s contest! -Grace]

Mary Oliver’s poem, “Magellan,” begins:

Like Magellan, let us find our islands

To die in, far from home, from anywhere

Familiar. Let us risk the wildest places,

Lest we go down in comfort, and despair.

I used to think home looked like the 1950’s ranch on a hill in the lush, green suburbs. Man, I swooned over that house. I still do. It had pocket doors, corner windows, a fifteen foot fireplace made of Bedford stone, hand laid from local quarries. There were the thin red oak floors that gave off the most wonderful smell on the first warm day of spring, and the original seafoam green tiles in the bathroom that mimicked an island oasis. On a wall in that bathroom we hung a giant poster of the Susan Constant, one of three ships on the voyage to the Jamestown colony. We were pilgrims after all, this being our first home, colonizing our own bit of land in southern Indiana.

A local doctor had the house built, and I imagined he had a hand in its design. Either because of his sense of humor, or a desire to make something utterly unique, the layout of the house was  topsy turvy. Friends, family, and the local Sears guy would all get lost in it. What’s not to love about a house that invites you to make use of your internal navigation system?

After we moved in we immediately set to tearing up the old carpet, pulling out a million and one staples, and scraping up the linoleum floor in the laundry room using a spackling knife. We tore out a row of yew bushes along the front of the house that hadn’t been trimmed since the 1970’s, unearthing one of two built in planters. Huge stones were dug up and hauled around the yard.

In a short time span we purchased an ax, a shop vac, the world’s largest screwdriver, an industrial sized ladder, not to mention countless rented implements. When we think back to those initial weeks and months we recall feeling superhuman. The adrenaline that coursed through our veins, having acquired our own bit of Eden, was so intense we accomplished near heroic feats.

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