Pattern Downloads from Hannah Lee: Day 2!

Pattern Downloads from Hannah Lee: Day 2!

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All week we’re joined by designer and illustrator Hannah Lee, who created custom pattern downloads for all of us! You can use them to decorate your computer or phone background, or to spruce up any tech background you want to add a little more color and pattern to. Yesterday Hannah shared her first pattern and today she’s back with a second, a green/black/gold print with hands. CLICK HERE to download Hannah’s second pattern! xo, grace

Inside a Century-Old, Contemporary Colonial

Inside a Century-Old, Contemporary Colonial, Design*Sponge

Inside a Century-Old, Contemporary Colonial

Four years ago, Kelley of Hunt & Gather and her husband, Troy, were both done with grad school and ready to settle down. Grand Rapids, MI was the clear choice, as it would not only provide the inspiration Kelley needed to run her shop, but it would also allow Troy to make his mark at a local nonprofit group. “I wanted a home that had at least one special characteristic, and in this house we found a lot of gems,” Kelley says. The 1915 colonial located in the historic Heritage Hill district of the city had great bones. The stained-glass windows, tall ceilings, wood floors and a fantastic yard were what immediately bewitched the couple. It did take some work, though, to bring out the old looker’s full potential.

The process started with identifying the key areas that the two wanted to update the most. “We started with the main floor — kitchen, dining and sun room — as they were where we entertained most, plus it made the most visual impact.” While the overhaul was fairly drama-free, it proved to be a test of the couple’s perseverance. Over 100 hours went into sanding and refinishing the kitchen cabinets and built-ins alone. Tack on a custom daybed for the sunroom, new carpet and fireplace, and you’ve got a family with a newfound appreciation for the DIY process. All of this hard work was undertaken to achieve one simple goal: To create a space that the couple, their dog, and guests felt was beautiful, yet comfortable. “We have had numerous house guests stay with us for varying lengths — from one month to one year — in the two guest bedrooms. We love having a place where people can come short- to longterm and feel welcome… a place to really express who [we are] creatively and to share meals and experiences with friends and family.”

The construction phase was just the beginning. Then came styling and choosing paint colors. Frequently one of the most irksome of design decisions, picking a home’s hue can quickly eat up some serious time and leave you with a bothersome case of design overthink. Not for these two. Having an extensive collection of quirky accessories inspired Kelley and Troy to paint the entire home white. Leaning on their treasures’ details — and adding a personal touch through styling — provided a major boost of personality to the fresh, white base. “We have a lot of art/special pieces that we like to pop and speak for themselves,” Kelley says. A shift in the couple’s taste from “industrial and vintage to a more refined, polished look,” has created a space that’s welcoming and casual, yet refined and easy on the eyes. Look out for their gorgeous lucite bookshelf and a mixture of cultural styles, both of which make this peek one of my all-time favorites. —Garrett

Photography by Jill DeVries

 

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Step Into an Illustrator’s Sunny, Spanish Flat

Step Into an Illustrator's Sunny, Spanish Flat, Design*Sponge

Step Into an Illustrator’s Sunny, Spanish Flat

I have been daydreaming about Spain a lot lately. With a co-worker who travels there regularly to visit family and a best friend anxious to run with the bulls, I seem to be a magnet for España-talk lately. Hopefully it’s a sign, and an impending escapade overseas is on my horizon. When the country first started springing into my daily conversations, I feverishly sat and researched the markets, festivals and food that I’d hopefully get to enjoy very soon. It didn’t take long for me to leave the logistical, travel research behind for a wormhole of Spanish design. I have always been drawn to the Mediterranean’s unwavering use of color, distinct architecture and flare for the bold. It was in one of those very wormholes that I came across Blanca and Jos’ glowing home in Madrid.

Blanca, an illustrator, and Jos, a personal cook, have called this beautiful flat “home” for a little over a year. Having been built in the 1950s, however, it was not exactly dreamy from day one. Some serious sweat has been put into making it an open, airy and comfortable space. “When I first found the flat it was almost in a ruinous state,” Blanca explains. “Everything had to be (re)done from scratch.” The home’s asymmetrical shape, rounded corners and crooked walls were no small obstacle to overcome, but the two were determined to make it work as its location was ideal. “I came across the neighborhood out of chance about 10 years ago and from the very first moment, I knew I wouldn’t want to move out,” Blanca says. “So [this] new house is less than five minutes walking from the old.”

Six months of hard work with the close tutelage of an architect and the results are exactly what the homeowners were hoping for. They’ve created a place where they can comfortably entertain and get work done, all while basking in Madrid’s brilliant sunlight. With personally curated touches and a clever use of open concept, there’s so much to love about this couple’s spankin’-new pad. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Thipi CC and Blanca Gómez

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An Art Director At Home in Park Slope

Ashima's bedroom, with its homemade headboard from a rescued chalkboard. The pendant light and bed frame are West Elm. Finally, the only successful non-succulent houseplant that has survived in Ashima's care for more than three years pokes out by the window.

An Art Director At Home in Park Slope

Whenever art director Ashima Jain isn’t glued to her computer or critiquing the typography in Dr. Zizmor ads on the subway (a frequent sight for any New York subway rider), she can be found playing soccer in the park or riding her favorite folding bike about town. Ashima has lived in this colossal (by Brooklyn standards) 1,200-square-foot 1931 Park Slope row house apartment for nine years now, and Frankie, her 14-year-old pit whippet mix, helps hold down the fort. A happy and frequent host, Ashima makes use of her space for entertaining as much as possible — a favorite being annual birthday parties that accommodate over 100 guests. Despite being in the midst of a career shift, Ashima feels, “grateful that my home has been a sanctuary.”

Years ago, good friends on the building’s garden level tipped Ashima off to the vacant top floor unit she now inhabits. Ashima plowed through 17 apartment showings in 10 days, and even though this one needed lots of work after sitting vacant for eight months, she could feel the potential upon seeing its morning light and interior skylights, transoms and glass pocket doors.

“It has been a long process. It took about two years to furnish the apartment in a livable way,” she shares. Armed with only her computer, a bicycle and a couch, Ashima slept on an air mattress for her first four months until she found a suitable bed. Crafty neighbor Lauren Shields rescued a chalkboard from P.S. 39, and another friend (who happens to be a bridge engineer) helped Ashima fashion it into a headboard. “It feels like a great design project,” Ashima says, “and I promise to keep seeking beauty and inspiration from near and far.”

Photography by Poul Ober

 

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Free Pattern Downloads by Hannah Lee

Free Pattern Downloads by Hannah Lee

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Two weeks ago we were honored to have pattern designer Alea Toussaint join us for a full week of free pattern downloads for your phone and computer. And this week, designer/illustrator Hannah Lee is treating us to downloads again!

Based in Baltimore, Hannah started making daily pattern designs for a 365-day project, Pattern Per Diem, almost two years ago. She is an avid printmaker and is currently working on a line of textiles for upcoming pattern designs. This week she has designed seven custom patterns for DS readers that you can easily download (for free!) to use for your phone, tablet and computer screens! You can download today’s pattern below and see more of Hannah’s work online right here. xo, grace

DOWNLOAD TODAY’S FREE PATTERN FROM HANNAH LEE RIGHT HERE! (*Patterns are for personal use only*)

NEW: Design*Sponge + ILIA Lipstick + Best of the Web

NEW: Design*Sponge + ILIA Lipstick + Best of the Web

Today I’m beyond overjoyed to announce a special collaboration with my all-time favorite beauty company, ILIA. It’s no secret that I’m not a big makeup wearer — it’s something I talk about pretty regularly, so when I commit to wearing any sort of skin or face product, I don’t take it lightly. For the past four years, the only thing I’ve ever worn when I feel like dressing up a bit is ILIA’s “Arabian Knights” lip conditioner. I love it so much I’ve bought it as a gift for every woman in my life and it’s the only lipstick I put in our gift guides over and over every year.

So when Design*Sponge had it’s 10th birthday last summer, I sat down to dream big about all the projects I’ve ever wanted to do. At the top of that list was to collaborate with ILIA on a special limited-edition lipstick. And today, our lipstick, “Pink Moon” is live! The color was inspired by fresh raspberries and the way they stain your lips in the summer, so Sasha and I worked together to create the perfect shade that would flatter a wide range of skin tones and be light enough to feel like a balm, but rich enough to bring color and warmth to your face. I got my first sample last month, and this week I mailed out my 10 samples to friends and family to see how it looked on them. Today I’m so excited to share a fun little video I made with their photos. My friends, family and favorite designers are the most beautiful people I know, so I couldn’t think of better people to debut “Pink Moon” on. Thank you so much to my mom Elaine, my mother-in-law, Rochelle, Llubav Duerr, Joy Cho, Sara, Rose and Henry Jensen, Karen Young, Jonna Twigg, Sawyer DeVuyst and Julia Rothman for being the most beautiful test models ever. If you’re interested in picking up a lipstick from our limited edition collaboration, you can order online right here! xo, grace

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In the Kitchen With: Jean and Jessie’s Icebox Cake

In the Kitchen With: Jean and Jessie’s Icebox Cake

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I am always excited to read recipes for icebox cakes. I don’t know why, but they transport me back to my childhood. However, I think the only icebox cake we ever had in our house was a type of banana pudding, if that even counts! This week we have one of the most delicious-looking icebox cakes I’ve seen, called the Old School, by Jean Sagendorph and Jessie Sheehan. It’s a cake made up of whipped cream and chocolate wafers, topped with chocolate shavings, and it comes from their book Icebox Cakes: Recipes for the Coolest Cakes in Town. The recipe takes careful reading before you embark on making the cake (which is actually quite simple), and it will take some time to pull together, but the outcome is worth it. Kristina

Why Jean and Jessie love this recipe: What’s not to love about the Old School? The combo of thin, crispy, uber-chocolatey wafer cookies and billowy, vanilla-flavored whipped cream kind of can’t be beat. Once the cake has spent some time in the refrigerator, it’s like a moist chocolate layer cake with fluffy vanilla frosting. And the Old School truly is the quintessential icebox cake, the one that inspired us to write our book, Icebox Cakes, and the one we kind of think of as the gold standard.

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Photography by Tara Donne

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Behind the Bar: Yvette and Vianney’s Ponche a la Romana

Behind the Bar: Yvette and Vianney’s Ponche a la Romana

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Sometimes, I get to the end of a hard day and I just want something simple, cold and refreshing to sip, like this week’s Ponche a la Romana, by bloggers Yvette Marquez and Vianney Rodriquez. Their cocktails — featuring fresh-squeezed juices and homemade mixers — have been so popular that they decided to devote a whole book to them! Latin Twist: Traditional & Modern Cocktails is the first book to celebrate the signature cocktails of Latin America and Spain in one volume. They all look so incredibly good! With the temperatures rising in Rome as we move closer to summer, this cocktail is definitely one I will enjoy drinking this weekend! Kristina

Why Yvette and Vianney love this cocktailFor us, champagne and sherbet scream spring! We love the simple combination of sherbet and bubbles and the addition of pineapple is so refreshing. This festive, fizzy punch, brimming with fresh pineapple, is usually served in a punch bowl. We love an excuse to entertain and this recipe makes a great punch bowl — and you’ll have something ready to pour as soon as guests arrive. Plus, they can help themselves to refills, leaving you free to enjoy your fiesta.

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Photography by Jeanine Thurston

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Home Ec: 12 DIY Ideas for Earth Day

DIY Kitchen Garden: Turn any old box or drawer into an indoor herb garden. You can grow your own herbs and save a trip to the store - and save an old piece of furniture or storage from being tossed!

Home Ec: 12 DIY Ideas for Earth Day

Next Wednesday is Earth Day, so for this week’s Home Ec, I thought I’d focus on some ideas you can try around the house to conserve water, energy and materials. “Green” lists these days are often about buying more/new/better products, but for me, the best thing you can do for the planet is use more of the things you already have around you and find smarter ways to make them last longer or do double duty around the house. So these projects will be focused on reducing consumption, reusing what you already have, and recycling or upcycling things that may have otherwise been thrown away. I hope these help inspire some Earth Day projects around the house — and if you prefer to get outside and do something, the official Earth Day site has a great list of events happening all across the world if you want to get involved. xo, grace

*If you want some fun ideas of what to do for Earth Day in your own backyard, check out these great ideas for exploring what’s near you.

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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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Dispatches from Japan: Day Five

Dispatches from Japan: Day Five

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It’s been such a pleasure having Ayumi Horie join us all week with photographs from her trip to Japan during Cherry Blossom season. If the gorgeous trees and strands of origami weren’t enough, all of these photos of tiny deer in Nara Park are making me want to pack up and leave right now. Today Ayumi is sharing one last set of photos with us, including a breathtaking shot of Kasuga Taisha in Nara Park, above. That sort of peace and quiet is the best way to start the day. Thank you so much to Ayumi for sharing her trip with us all week. You can check out more of Ayumi’s photos right here on her Instagram feed and check out her “Pots in Action” feed here, too. xo, grace

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Images above, top to bottom: A tiny deer and ice cream cones in Nara Park; cherry blossoms at Itokutenman-gū; Kinpusen-ji in Yoshinoyama; and double torii gates at Fushimi Inari in Kyoto.

Before & After: An A-Frame Cottage Gets an A+ Renovation

Before & After: A-Frame Cottage, on Design*Sponge

Before & After: An A-Frame Cottage Gets an A+ Renovation

If you’re someone with a huge imagination, everything you’ve ever wanted can fit in a dream home that’s quite small. Case in point: Astrid Insieme and her husband Brian, who whipped their seasonal 1969 New England A-frame cottage into permanent-residence shape with their own gloved hands. In only 800 rustic square feet, the couple envisioned a home that felt “global, a little chic, and very cozy,” and yet also appropriate to its surroundings in the remote town of Sanbornton, within New Hampshire’s Lakes Region.

The building was not originally equipped for year-round living, so a comprehensive scheme addressed both functional and cosmetic issues, inside and out. Installing proper insulation for frigid winters and reworking the floorplan (including a weekend bedroom for Brian’s 11-year-old daughter, Bella) were fundamental to the plan. Astrid, an interior decorator and stylist, and Brian, an interactive graphic designer and musician, did all of the work — except plumbing and electrical — entirely themselves. This is especially impressive considering they went beyond the basics to revamp the kitchen and bathroom with tons of amenities, and design clever built-ins that make use of wasted nooks and crannies. Most remarkably, the couple also added a stately, barrel-vaulted foyer addition onto the kitchen entrance of the structure.

However powerful the sense of accomplishment feels, Astrid admits that DIY has its drawbacks, like a three-year timeline for a project that was expected to take one at the outset. Going into the job, the couple knew that renovating any home was guaranteed to be rife with challenges. But as Astrid recalls, living in a construction zone inside “a tiny home with wonky, angled walls presents a whole array of unexpected ones.” In the end, Astrid and Brian are so glad they put a personal stamp on the home they created together. -Annie

All photos courtesy of Astrid Insieme.

 

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Before & After: A Garage Becomes a Beautiful Studio Space

Before & After: Garage Becomes a Beautiful Studio Space, Design*Sponge

Before & After: A Garage Becomes a Beautiful Studio Space

I love when purely functional spaces become incredibly inspiring ones. It takes vision and a lot of hard work to see a full transformation. When we last popped into Dear Hancock’s creative space four years ago, it was their living room. Gwen and Earnest recently moved to Idyllwild, CA and decided to turn their new garage into an illustration and inventory space for their sweet stationery company. Starting with a bare-bones garage, Dear Hancock rewired the electrical, finished walls and installed custom carriage house doors. They left the cement floor and the exposed wooden beams, which I can’t stop staring at. The space is now bright, organized and styled with beautiful, minimal pieces. The duo can create, manage orders and store inventory without having to take over the living space. The renovation has allowed Gwen and Earnest to separate their work from their home in order and style. —Lauren

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Before & After: Sage’s Entryway Makeover

Before & After: Sage's Entryway Makeover, Design*Sponge

Before & After: Sage’s Entryway Makeover

Changes to a small space can be tedious, but also well worth it. When Sage Ruth moved into her new home in the greater Boston area last fall, she knew she wanted to brighten up the front hallway and that it would take a lot of steps. The walls were stark white and the banister, stairs, flooring, paneling and built-ins were all variations of light, yellow wood. Sage started by painting the walls, trim and doors. She removed the doors off of the pantry at the end of the hall to create open shelving. I love the great use of pattern on the stairs, where Sage applied fabric to the stair risers with decoupage to save money (and work) on wallpaper. The last projects involved replacing the light fixtures and styling the space. After all is said and done, Sage has completely changed the feeling of this area. I love how color, white and wood are used in this entryway — it’s so cheery and welcoming. —Lauren

Photography by Sage Ruth

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Dispatches from Japan: Day 4

Dispatches from Japan: Day 4

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After three days of Ayumi Horie‘s breathtaking photos from Japan, I’m convinced that I need to start a little savings fund to eventually travel there one day. Between the tiny deer and blooming cherry trees, it looks like heaven. Today Ayumi is sharing more photos from her trip, including these beautiful Meoto Iwa, or the “married couple” rocks (below) on the coast of Japan. xo, grace

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Image above and top: Painters painting the bright pink blooms of cherry blossom trees; trees lit by lanterns below in Ueno Park in Tokyo.

DIY Faux Bed Frame

DIY Faux Bed Frame

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When Julia and I moved into our new (but very old) home, we knew that a good deal of our decorating projects would be DIY-based. With a mortgage and plenty of repairs on our hands, buying a ton of brand new furniture just wasn’t going to happen. So over the past four months we’ve ripped out old tiles, created benches from old countertops, floating bedside tables from leftover scrap wood and headboards from inexpensive plywood. And, in a stroke of DIY genius, Julia came up with a cheap-and-easy DIY bed frame idea that not only looks great, but is infinitely customizable (and easy on your wallet). So today I’m sharing the how-to for anyone who wants to neaten up their low-lying mattress without spending a fortune. xo, grace

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