Design*Sponge Book Tour: NYC + Best of the Web

Design*Sponge Book Tour: NYC + Best of the Web

itcow_booktour_promos_cities_ny
Today I am thrilled to announce the details for our first book tour event in NYC to celebrate the release of In the Company of Women! On Wednesday, October 5th in NYC, I will be joined on stage by four incredible women to discuss life, work and everything in between.

collage
Jodie Patterson (of DooBop and Georgia NY), Tina Roth Eisenberg (Tattly, Swiss Miss, Friends Work Here and Creative Mornings), Anna Bond (Rifle Paper Co.) and Malene Barnett (of Malene B. Studio) will be joining us at The New School to share their stories of finding their paths, figuring out their goals and how they work to achieve them — and how they deal with the bumps along the road.

Come join us on Wednesday, October 5th from 7-8:30pm at The New School in NYC for a panel discussion and book signing to follow. Each ticket includes a copy of the book, a limited-edition tote bag (while supplies last) and an amazing evening of conversation, new friends and fun. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

*Thanks so much to The Strand for hosting this event!

bestof_web_923

bestof_ds

In the Kitchen With: Jen CK Jacobs’ Selfoss Cake

In the Kitchen With: Jen CK Jacobs’ Selfoss Cake

The Selfoss Cake by Jen CK Jacobs

Iceland has emerged as a popular destination on my Instagram feed, making me want to hop the next plane up to visit. I sometimes daydream about the dramatic landscapes, but haven’t seen many images of the food. Photographer and author Jen Jacobs, however, traveled to Iceland and brought back her own take on a fantastic desert she has named the Selfoss Cake, after the town in which she first encountered it. Meringue is an integral part of some of Iceland’s most popular desserts, including this meringue cake, which is akin to whipped cream sandwiched between two pavlovas. —Kristina

Why Jen loves this cake: Iceland is another planet. A moonscape of ice blue, jet black, and neon green. While co-leading a visual storytelling workshop last year, we spent the days on the road exploring. One of our first stops was the small town of Selfoss for coffee and a cocoa-whipped meringue pie studded with chocolate-covered raisins, boiled peanuts and a drizzle of honey. As we traveled through the West Fjords and the southwest coast, we found meringue cakes in nearly every café we visited, but I fell hardest for the slice in Selfoss. This is my interpretation of that dessert.

Iceland landscape by Jen CK Jacobs on DesignSponge

Photography by Jen CK Jacobs | Wood props by Odyssey Woodshop

VIEW MORE

My Plywood Interior Hunt Inspired by the charming Noboru Nakamura

flinders-lane-space-efficient-apartment-clare-cousins-architects-1

My Plywood Interior Hunt Inspired by the charming Noboru Nakamura

flinders-lane-space-efficient-apartment-clare-cousins-architects-1

I recently bought my first home and, as the stars would have it, it came complete with a lot of brown paneling. It was built in 1975 and has a wonderful pyramid or hip roof with a huge 5′ x 5′ skylight right in the middle and an open floor plan. Yes, that means I can literally lie in my living room, kitchen or dining area and watch the clouds go by. As for the paneling, I’ve decided it has to go.

While researching online alternatives that would fit my budget and would marry well with the clouds and sky, I came across this video from IKEA that features an interview with one of the designers of the famous POÄNG chair, which celebrated its 40th anniversary at the beginning of this month. Noboru Nakamura speaks in the video with modest, heartfelt words about the origins of the chair and the importance of movement in design. It’s definitely worth the watch. What struck me about the video, beyond Noboru’s fond reminiscing, was his home. Its minimalist design seems to hold so many secrets of a productive and peaceful life — exactly the type of feeling I’m looking for in my own home. And the best part of Noboru’s interior? The plywood covering the walls. It’s exactly what I was looking for. Thank you stars!

Click through to a slideshow with 10 more beautiful plywood interiors + some lovely images from the updated POÄNG series, especially if you need a quick dose of calm. –Caitlin

P.S. There’s some pink involved with the updated POÄNG series!

Images above from The Lunchbox Architect and IKEA; Video below from IKEA

20134_poang_pe369436

VIEW MORE

Heirlooms & Thrifty Decorations Enrich a Century-Old Victorian

Heirlooms & Thrifty Decorations Enrich a Century-Old Victorian, Design*Sponge

Heirlooms & Thrifty Decorations Enrich a Century-Old Victorian

It was a chance encounter that brought interior designer Anne Hulcher Tollett of Hanover Avenue and her strategist husband Rad together. One day at school she entered the bathroom as he was leaving, and their eyes met. Dates and courtship followed, and soon the two were living together in Richmond, VA’s historic Fan District. Boasting the nation’s largest collection of intact, Victorian row houses, the area immediately won the college duo over. They cherished their time walking the charming streets and soaking in the picturesque homes. Graduation loomed, though, and the pair knew they’d have to reluctantly leave the neighborhood. So they made a pact. Both agreed that one day they’d return to the neighborhood where their love bloomed to raise a family.

In 2007 they got that opportunity. A charming, 106-year-old home came on the market, and the two snagged it. Located two blocks from their college rental, the house stands three stories tall and provides Anne with enough space to decorate to her heart’s content. Each room features an eye-catching collection of decorations from yesteryear and today. In some spots, antiquities from the pair’s families sit next to Design Within Reach furnishings. In others, ancient statues handed down through generations seem right at home next to affordable finds. It’s a design strategy that Anne says works for her family. “I wanted to honor the memories in the inherited pieces we love so dearly while buying new things that will become a piece of the fabric of my daughters’ upbringing,” she tells us.

While Anne designed the majority of the home, their daughters had a hand in designing their respective rooms, and each one has ended up featuring some of the home’s boldest design decisions. In Anne and Rad’s youngest daughter Kennon’s room, a kaleidoscope of butterflies swarm over the bed. Some of the critters even glow in the dark, twinkling against the room’s pale pink paint job. While Kennon wanted a soft, delicate room, eldest daughter Langdon asked for a totally different style. She wanted her space to embody her love of science and exploration. That being said, Anne and Rad have stocked it with encyclopedias and magnifying glasses so she can carry out her experiments with ease.

Clearly the family has done a bang-up job bringing this old house into the modern era, but Anne says the home’s look will never truly be complete. The space is simply too inspiring and her ideas for it are endless. After seeing what she’s done so far, we can only imagine what design tricks she has up her sleeve and can’t wait to see how the home evolves as time ticks on. Click through to take it in, and enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Anne Hulcher Tollett

VIEW MORE

Finding Calm Outside of Manhattan

Finding Calm Outside of Manhattan | Design*Sponge

Finding Calm Outside of Manhattan

Living in the midwest, it can be shocking to hear what real estate goes for on the coasts. Whenever I get dreamy-eyed about moving to New York or California, I just have to remember one thing: the money I save from living in Des Moines, IA not only gets me a giant apartment, but it also allows me to travel to the cities I love. Jeff, a gallery archivist, book collector and writer, and Emily Alford, an interior designer, were renting in the North Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY when they started talking about buying a house. “After many long discussions, spreadsheets, and professional-forecasting we decided it was time … only to realize that the Brooklyn we called home was way too expensive for us to even consider,” Jeff says.

“We discovered Ditmas Park, which managed to be a familiar sort of Brooklyn but also projected this illusion of suburban living. We now own a 1BR in a giant co-op building on a tree-lined street full of stunning, single-family Victorian homes. When we leave Manhattan at the end of the day and arrive here, it’s a whole different world: Your neighbors say hello, in the summer you can hear lawnmowers in the distance, and people don’t have stoop sales — they have garage sales. You can escape the busy-busy Manhattan mindset pretty easily here.”

One of the challenges that Jeff and Emily have found in their home is finding a place for all of their books and mementos. “We moved in about a year and a half ago, and I still consider our home as in-progress,” Emily shares. “I think as long as you’re still enjoying finding quirky new things, coming up with projects, etc., it’s a continuing process and your home will grow and evolve along with you. That means editing just as much as you add, and I think we’ve learned how to do that pretty effectively.” According to Jeff, this editing has a lot to do with his book collection. “Generally speaking, we have an ongoing challenge of finding a way to filter my passion for rare books and collecting through Emily’s more refined design sensibility,” Jeff notes. “Because of my reviewing, novels consistently flow through the apartment, so there’s a lot of stuff for us to manage. To avoid milk-crates and bowing shelves, we designed a floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelf and took all their variable heights and depths into careful consideration.” The combination of literature, art and beautiful furniture turns their challenge into a lovely design aesthetic.

Emily and Jeff’s home is filled with gorgeous collections and rare finds. The eclectic, sophisticated design is Emily’s talent on display. She has taken their work, passions and hobbies and has created a beautiful home that reflects those concepts. They plan to change parts of their place as they continue to live there, but for now, this space they own outside of the busy city and away from their jobs is perfectly suited for them to find peace and calm. “We’re most thankful that somehow our adult lives in New York City have cosmically aligned in a way that allowed us to buy something here,” Jeff shares. “This is such an inspiring city and it’s unbelievable that we get to call it home.” –Lauren

Photography by Ryan Muir

VIEW MORE

6 Travel Skincare Essentials

Dr. Jart+ Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask ($7.50): These masks are like magic. I splurged on them earlier this summer when my skin started to feel dry from being out in the heat so much and they've become a favorite bath-time ritual now. They look a little scary on (I think I freaked myself out in the mirror) but they really do an amazing job of re-hydrating. I even use the leftover serum in the package and add it into my nighttime moisturizer for extra oomph.

6 Travel Skincare Essentials

When it comes to beauty products, there’s only one category in which I allow myself to indulge: skincare. For as long as I can remember, I’ve cared about my skin health more than anything else. Maybe it’s growing up in a beach town where we all spent too much time in the sun or perhaps it’s just another way for me to exercise my control issues, but keeping a close eye on my skin and skincare regimen has always been a calming thing for me. So when it comes to skincare products, I’m something of an obsessive tester.

I’ve tried just about everything on the market, from everyday drugstore finds (usually my favorites) to high-end, multi-step Korean skincare systems. When I hit the road this fall for our book tour, I’m taking these six pieces with me because they’ve proven to be super successful all summer and they’re worth making room for in my carry-on. So if you’re in need of some great travel-sized skincare essentials, meet your new best friends. xo, grace

VIEW MORE

Design*Sponge Book Tour: CHICAGO!

Design*Sponge Book Tour: CHICAGO!

itcow_booktour_promos_cities_chicago

Back in 2011 we had SO much fun on our book stop in Chicago, Illinois. I’m so happy to be heading back for In the Company of Women for one heck of a great event taking place on Sunday, October 16th!

I’m going to be joined on stage by some of my favorite women in business who I admire so dearly. Come meet these incredible business owners: Jocelyn Delk Adams of Grandbaby Cakes, Dawn Hancock of Firebelly DesignLauren Ash of Black Girl in OmSusie Daly of Renegade Craft FairMaya-Camille Broussard of Justice of the Pies and Patrice Perkins of Creative Genius Law. It’s going to be SUCH a great conversation, I promise you won’t want to miss it!

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE! Thanks so much to The Book Cellar for all their help!

chicago

Each ticket includes a copy of In the Company of Women, the panel discussion, a book signing afterwards and a limited-edition illustration tote, while supplies last. See you in Chicago! xo, grace

*Click here to pre-order the book (worldwide!) and check out the other dates on our book tour!

Design*Sponge Book Tour: Rhinecliffe, NY!

Design*Sponge Book Tour: Rhinecliffe, NY!

itcow_booktour_promos_cities_rhinecliff

I am so excited to announce my new hometown event for our In the Company of Women book tour! This winter will mark our second year living in the Hudson Valley full time and I couldn’t be happier to celebrate that, and our new book, with an event with one of my favorite local book stores,Oblong Books.

On Saturday, October 22nd, I’ll be joined by some of my favorite local female business owners to talk about everything from mentors and business plans to social media, leaving the city and what it’s like to find your voice as a boss. Come join me and meet these incredible women: interior designer Sheila Bridges, potter Paula Greif, chef and restauranteurs Elise Kornack and Anna Hieronimus of Take Root and Tracy Kennard of Kennard & Daughters and Brunette Wine Bar.

I’m so excited that this event takes place on a weekend, because it’s a great excuse to book a hotel and make a weekend of it! This time of year is just breath-taking upstate, so come join us for a great night! *If you’re coming from NYC, you can easily take the train from Grand Central!

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE! Thanks so much to Oblong Books for all their help!

rhinecliffe

Each ticket includes a copy of In the Company of Women, the panel discussion, a book signing afterwards and a limited-edition illustration tote, while supplies last. See you upstate! xo, grace

*Click here to pre-order the book (worldwide!) and check out the other dates on our book tour!

Studio Tour: Fuzzco

The two pieces hanging on the wall are linen beach towels that Pretend Store created in collaboration with Todd Heim. Also pictured on the table are E.d'E. Perfumes, lanterns, and t-shirts.

Studio Tour: Fuzzco

For Helen Rice and Josh Nissenboim, every day is steeped in creativity and culture. Partners in both life and work, together they launched Fuzzco, a full-service creative agency that partners with clients to design influential brand experiences. “Rather than framing our work within a traditional marketing approach, we draw inspiration from the broader world around us,” Helen begins, “the visual and performing arts, fashion and architecture.” To help bring that mission to life for their clients, it was paramount to have a centrally-located space that could echo that manifesto and offer their growing team a home base that was both inspirational and comfortable.

When they discovered this derelict metal warehouse that had been built in the 70s, the upside was the same as the downside: the sheer amount of space. With 7,692 square feet to work with, they had more than enough space to accommodate a sprawling office with lots of breathing room, a photography studio, a games room and library, and ample room for storage, but knowing how to best organize the space was stunting at first. In addition, while the location was just two blocks from where Helen and Josh live in an up-and-coming neighborhood in Charleston, SC the building needed plumbing and HVAC, all new electrical, a new roof and — needless to say — a design transformation of both the interior and exterior.

To help execute their vision, the couple worked with architect David Thompson to create a modern, gallery-like space that would also allow them to open up a product studio and retail shop, a dream they had conceived long ago. With a goal to craft “something that we could style differently year to year as our interests and tastes change,” Pretend Store was born and became just as important to the renovation as the second-floor office.

After installing six large skylights in the roof which immediately transformed the upstairs studios, the rest of the space came together thanks to a talented and helpful cast of local artists and makers: Michael James Moran built the entryway pieces, benches and side tables using shou sugi ban (charred wood) from local pine trees; Helen and Josh designed standing desks with Peyton Avrett; Billy Compton outfitted details such as the plywood Judd tables in the craft room and the whiteboards; and Workstead provided lighting and helped come up with a solution for hiding the insulation under the roof using peg-boards. As a final touch, they installed a honey bee observation hive. “The hive sits inside and you can look into it through panes of glass,” Helen explains. “The bees fly through a tube in the wall to get in and out to gather food and water. They are amazing to watch.”

A collaborative effort from start to finish, it took Helen and Josh two years to find, plan, and fully renovate Fuzzco, but, as Helen says, “We’re really happy with how it turned out — and two and a half years later, it still feels fresh.” –Sabrina

Photography by Fuzzco’s in-house photographer, Ben Jack

VIEW MORE

10 Overlooked Wedding Gifts to Add to your Registry

10 Overlooked Wedding Gifts to Add to your Registry

registery-header

A few weeks back, we were lucky enough to share our team member Lauren’s beautiful outdoor wedding. So many of you reached out to thank her for the inspiration that we started to think about how hard it is to tackle the wedding registry process, between choosing flowers, a venue and all of the other details for the big day. We thought we’d share some of the most overlooked pieces that don’t end up on the list in hopes that any of you out there planning (or helping plan) a wedding find it helpful in the throes of wedding planning stress.

Take a peek and let us know what you’d add to the list so we can incorporate it into our upcoming wedding series that will come with a printable guide of tips from us here at Design*Sponge and you, our readers! We’re teaming up with Macy’s who has mastered the registry process, making it quick, easy and stress-free with nice surprises like really good price points on big-ticket items. I registered with Macy’s years ago and everyone literally thanked me for keeping it down to one registry venue. I wish I would have had this list, though! Not a day goes by that I don’t long for a fancy vacuum to battle my daily pet hair clean-up ritual. —Caitlin

*Image above from our team member Lauren’s beautiful outdoor wedding this summer in Iowa.

No. 1: A Great Vacuum

This is a must-have, especially if you’re a pet owner! Laying out a small fortune is often not in the newlyweds’ budget, so getting a little help from family or friends for a reliable (and powerful) vacuum is a huge help. Our favorite is the Dyson Animal Canister vacuum.

vacuum

 

*This post was created in partnership with our sponsor, Macy’s. All images, words and opinions are from Design*Sponge for our readers. Thanks so much for supporting partners like Macy’s who help us bring you original content three times a day! Enjoy an extra 15% off your wedding gift purchase with code WEDDING. Shop now at macys.com! Valid 9/1-9/30

VIEW MORE

A Modern, Light-Filled Home Softened with Textiles

A Modern, Light-Filled Home Softened with Textiles

A Modern, Light-Filled Home Softened with Textiles

After falling in love with the creative spirit of south Austin, TX, Ryan and Beth Vanderkolk knew exactly where they needed to put down roots. With raising their adorable toddler in the forefront of their minds, they found the perfect neighborhood with all the amenities – a spacious park, pool, and mature trees – and decided to build their dream home.

Starting from scratch, the couple was able to design a home that completely matched their wants, needs, and personal style. “We wanted the house to feel super open and airy, with a ton of natural light,” Beth shares. They used large windows and high ceilings to make the home feel “… as close to living outside as possible,” with a beautiful view of trees and sky.

However, the abundance of natural light paired with white walls, expansive concrete floors, and an open-concept layout created a cold canvas that Beth needed to warm up. Using contacts she made in Istanbul, she found textiles in all the right sizes to fill her space. After she was done finding what she needed for her home, she continued sourcing pieces she loved and launched her own shop, Vander Interiors.

The Vanderkolks also wanted a home that’s designed around cooking, entertaining, and gathering. With an open-concept floor plan and a large backyard, it’s easy for their guests to feel welcome in their space and socialize. —Tawnee

Photography by Alysha Rainwaters

VIEW MORE

Design*Sponge Book Tour: Philadelphia!

Design*Sponge Book Tour: Philadelphia!

itcow_booktour_promos_cities_philly

I have been feeling anxious and excited for our Philadelphia book tour event for In the Company of Women because it feels so amazing to be organizing an event celebrating strong talented women during an election with the first female candidate on a major party ticket ever. Regardless of your politics, this is a huge moment and this panel talk, right after the election, is certainly going to be an especially meaningful discussion.

I’m thrilled to be joining these amazing women for a panel discussion on Thursday, November 10th at Moore College of Art and Design along with the AIGA. Come join me to talk about life, work and how to work on achieving your career goals with: artist and designer Veronica Corzo-Duchardt, chef and author Klancy Miller, florist and event designer Sullivan Owen and artist and designer Kimberly Glyder

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE! Thanks so much to AIGA and Moore College of Art and Design for having us!

philly

Each ticket includes a copy of In the Company of Women, the panel discussion, a book signing afterwards and a limited-edition illustration tote, while supplies last. See you in Philly! xo, grace

*Click here to pre-order the book (worldwide!) and check out the other dates on our book tour!

The Beauty of Self-Care: Lesson 3 – Practice

The Beauty of Self-Care: Lesson 3 – Practice

ds_floral_pink_instagram_1800x1800-668x668

Here we are with our third installment of our Self-Care series, and we’re humbled by all of the comments, emails and notes we’ve received from readers. I didn’t realize how empowering it would be to share these posts and exercises with you all. It’s made my own self-care a seriously happy endeavor simply because I know there are so many of you out there in the world working alongside me. Today I thought it was appropriate to share some tech solutions I use when I am waiting for things in life that really try my patience (Lesson One), like waiting in my doctor’s waiting room and standing in a sea of parents when I pick my daughter up from school and feeling guilty for not chatting it up. It’s times like those when I struggle with my breathing and sinking into a calm place, so I tend to rely on technology for a little help. I don’t consider this a bad thing or in opposition to device-free time. In fact, I’m grateful these apps exist because they help me realize my phone isn’t evil — it’s simply a tool for many different things and I can choose what I need from it at any given time.

This week’s lesson is focused on Practice. I’m actually not referring to the type of practice that yoga practitioners refer to. I’m talking about good, old fashioned practice as in doing something again and again! That’s why technology is helpful at the beginning of a self-care routine — it actually helps guide you and reminds you to practice. So don’t feel like you’re cheating when you whip out your phone to get into some self-care. You won’t need it forever!

Please click through for my favorite digital tools that help me remain in the moment and keep me smiling. I’d also love to know if you have any favorites that I haven’t included, so feel free to add them to the comments. –Caitlin

Image above by the talented Alea Toussaint.

VIEW MORE

10 Must-Read Books for Women in Business

In the Company of Women (online, in store): I am so proud of this book that we are putting out into the world. It tells the stories of 107 incredible women who have overcome odds, blazed their own trails and inspired the next generation by following their dreams and starting their own businesses and creative practices. What means so much to me about this book is that we focused on women who are underrepresented in traditional books: women of color, LGBTQ women, differently abled women and women with greater life experience.

10 Must-Read Books for Women in Business

All summer long I devoured business book after business book, looking for some last-minute inspiration and motivation as I hit the road to celebrate our new book, In the Company of Women. There are so many incredible business books on the market, but I really enjoyed focusing on books that were meant to address some of the unique issues facing women. Whether it was a firsthand account from a mother who had given birth and headed back to run her company the next week, or the stories of women who work to overcome and combat sexism in the workplace, their stories gave me the courage and strength to head out this fall and talk about all of these issues across the country with some of the most inspiring women I know in business.

So today I’m sharing 10 books I think any woman in business should have (whether you’re an established pro or are just hoping to launch one day) on their shelves or pick up at their local library. Here’s to more women in charge of their own amazing businesses! xo, grace

*Some of these books are older, some newer. Some are business-focused and others are more outside of the box, but I promise you’ll find inspiration in each one.

VIEW MORE

13 Airy and Open Floor Plans We Love

13 Airy and Open Floor Plans We Love | Design*Sponge

13 Airy and Open Floor Plans We Love

From a design standpoint, it can be easier to decorate a home’s main living spaces when they are separate, divided rooms. Couches have designated places to go, the wall color can differ room by room, and the mess in the kitchen doesn’t have to affect the company hanging out in the living room. An open-concept living space means that the aesthetic has to be fairly consistent throughout, but when it’s done well, it’s gorgeous.

The common living area is designed for community. We love that these spaces aren’t closed off, but instead encourage visual engagement from area to area. We’ve seen so many lovely open layouts over the years on Design*Sponge and we’ve selected a few of our favorites to share here today. Find inspiration for creating a cohesive and comfortable look in these 13 large, open living areas–Lauren

VIEW MORE