Peek Inside World’s End Farm + Saipua Plant Sale

Plants enjoying the extra humidity near the tub.

Peek Inside World’s End Farm + Saipua Plant Sale

Over the course of my time on the Internet, I’ve seen a lot of really incredible businesses come and go. Some have stayed the course for the better part of a decade and continue to inspire me with their dedication, passion and quality. Saipua is one of those businesses. I remember first discovering Sarah Ryhanen’s floral business back when she had a small shop on Van Brundt Street. I was an immediate fan of Sarah’s loose, garden style and was excited when she agreed to join us here as a guest blogger and then as a weekly blogger for her column, Weeder’s Digest. Since then, Sarah’s floral business, which she shares with her partner Eric Famisan, has gone on to produce some of the most breathtaking weddings, events and photoshoots I’ve seen — not to mention inspire an entirely new generation of floral designers.

Four years ago Sarah and Eric decided to move to upstate New York and buy a home and farm where they could grow their own flowers and, eventually, support their floral work entirely from their own crops. The shift from Brooklyn to the farm inspired a major shift in the business, too. “Our mission has really galvanized in the last year,” Sarah says. “We now aim to use flowers as a catalyst to inspire people to pay attention to their natural environment; ideally inspiring them to take some action to tend to and preserve the bits of nature that remain intact around us in the city.” I’ve been so inspired by seeing Sarah and Eric work to turn their once-dormant farm into a working, breathing home for their passions and hard work. It’s easy to become separated from the process of growing and to forget just how much work goes into the flowers we see in stores. I really appreciate that Sarah and her team are working hard to explain the full life cycle of how flowers come to be in a sustainable way. I think it’s part of a bigger, shared mission we all have to know where our belongings come from.

This weekend Sarah is having a HUGE plant sale at their Brooklyn shop to support the farm and the building of their first hoop house. I’m so sad to miss this for the first time this year, but if you’re in the NYC area, this is definitely worth visiting. The sale starts at 10 am and will end when they’re sold out. For those of us who can’t visit in person, Sarah has been kind enough to share some photos of their stunning farm and house, World’s End. If you’ve ever wanted to take a mental escape somewhere beautiful, here is your floral daydream material. Thanks so much to Sarah for sharing this with us. Click here for more info on the sale! xo, grace

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This Ranch-Style Home Brims with Nostalgia

The Living Room: Suzanne and Josh's home is full of mid-century touches. Since their home was built in the 50s, they let that era influence the decor they chose. The owner was 100 when she moved out and had impeccably maintained the home's vintage look, setting the couple up with this perfectly-retro backdrop.

This Ranch-Style Home Brims with Nostalgia

Cora was a perfectionist. 100 years old, she never let a cobweb linger or a spill last more than a few seconds. Dedicated to immaculately maintaining the integrity of her 1950s charmer in Grand Rapids, MI, she left its second owners — Suzanne and Josh Brandsen of Selected & Collected — with a perfectly preserved home to call their own. The couple has always had an eye for retro, but it wasn’t until they bought the home from Cora that they really let their love of vintage flourish. The ranch-style house is filled with some of their favorite pieces, as well as overflow from their online store.

Seven years ago, when Suzanne and Josh moved into the home, they weren’t exactly sure what influences they should turn to when styling. While some decorators like to play against a home’s architecture, the couple decided to let the mid-century touches influence the furniture and accessories they chose for each room. The outside of the home was just as important to Suzanne and Josh as the inside. The two love spending time in the garden, and they even started a raspberry patch with shoots from Suzanne’s grandpa’s batch. This love of plants and greenery can be seen inside the home as well; hanging plants and potted pretties are abundant throughout. While they love the vintage theme of the space, their goal is for their home to be ever-evolving. Since the two have a passion for selling vintage and mid-century furniture, the look of each room is in flux. “Our friends and family laugh at us because there is always something new or different when they come over,” Suzanne says. “We like change, and there are few pieces of furniture in our house that we won’t sell when something better comes along.”

I totally relate to Suzanne and Josh’s desire to always keep their home’s style “on the move” with new pieces here and there. In a time when various decor options are more accessible than ever, I rarely keep my home’s look stagnant for too long. So take a peek at this gorgeous home as soon as you can, because it may be your only chance to see it as it stands now. While some items have made a mark on Suzanne and Josh’s heart, it sounds like this house’s look is fleeting, making this peek that much more special. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Suzanne Brandsen

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DIY Clay Platters

DIY Clay Platters

Design Sponge DIY Clay Platter

As I’m getting older, I’m beginning to discover how much I enjoy entertaining, whether it’s bringing friends and family together to celebrate special occasions or just making an everyday meal into more of a memorable moment. When I have plenty of preparation time it’s wonderful to put together decorations and create a beautifully styled table. But when time is limited to style the room, styling the food can turn an everyday meal into something really special.

Design Sponge DIY Clay Platter

Having beautiful and interesting plates and crockery make all the difference when you’re styling your food. Showing a meal at its best will highlight the time and effort put in and immediately create a sense of occasion. Platter boards are a great way to present your meal on the table in a clean and inviting way, and your guests will gladly help themselves. They’re also really simple to make from air-dry clay. Perfect for your next dinner party. —Fran

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Hidden Potential in a Four-Story Michigan Home

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Hidden Potential in a Four-Story Michigan Home

I love hearing stories about people finding a passion they never knew they’d have, and it changing their paths completely. I can’t get enough of it, really. There is so much more to us than we realize or can know. When Veronica and Jeremiah Hamlet discovered an interesting house that needed a good dose of renovation and design, the home got a new look and Veronica found a new career.

Veronica, an interior designer, and Jeremiah, a professional basketball coach, were looking for a large home with a small budget. They were shown a four-story foreclosure in an unfamiliar neighborhood and realized it was too much of a gem to pass up. “We found this diamond in the rough that no one wanted to take on because of all the work it needed,” Veronica says. “High ceilings and beams, tongue-and-groove paneling, brick in the den, high ceilings upstairs, and paneled ceilings in the top bedroom — it was these interesting features that made us choose this home.” It took eight months to renovate and design and it is now a beautiful home with plenty of room for their four children, Isaiah, Hadassah, Saraiah, Israel, two dogs and frequent guests. And Veronica kept going.

The home’s mix of industrial, bohemian, traditional, vintage and global pieces makes Veronica’s natural knack for interior design evident. “We renovated it top to bottom in the interior and some exterior work,” Veronica says. “It was loads of work and we won’t do it again for a while, but now have learned amazing things about homes and the process of renovating. Upon completion of renovating I had requests to help others decorate and design their home. It was this hidden passion that hadn’t come to full surface yet.” Veronica now runs her own interior design business, Hamlet Interiors, and works as a head designer for another company. Veronica and Jeremiah’s home is hospitable, cozy and gorgeous. The house has changed and they have changed because of it. I love that.

Photography by Dave Kingma

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Home Ec: Moving Day Tips + Ways to Save

Thinking Beyond the Box: Boxes are a great way to pack things, but they aren't the only way - and they can be expensive. Try visiting your local grocery or liquor store to see if they have any extra boxes they're throwing out that you can take off their hands. But also remember to use suitcases, tote bags, laundry bags and - my favorite - IKEA bags! That way, you're using things you already need to move and cutting down on packing costs. [Photo from Morgane's home]

Home Ec: Moving Day Tips + Ways to Save

Tomorrow, Julia and I are back in Brooklyn, packing up what’s left of our apartment and heading out on Friday to start our full-time life in the Catskills. It’s both exciting and sad to say goodbye to a space we loved so much, but it feels like the right time to try something new. I’ve long been someone who enjoyed switching apartments and getting to decorate a new space, but the packing part has always (always) been the worst. So I decided to dedicate this week’s Home Ec post to our task this week: tips for moving and saving while you do it.

Whether you’re moving yourself or hiring someone to help, moving costs can add up quickly. From boxes and packing materials to repairing the things left behind in your old space, those little expenses turn into big ones, so today I’m sharing tips for turning any move into a less stressful and costly experience. From tips on filling nail holes for free (hint: Dove!) to prepping a “next day” kit, these ideas will hopefully save you a few dollars and any headaches that may come with lifting heavy boxes. I’d love to hear what moving tips and tricks you swear by (which room do you unpack first?). So please feel free to share them below. Don’t have a tip? Maybe we could learn from anyone’s moving horror — or success! — stories. I’ll share my favorite moving disaster in the comment section below, too. Yikes, it was a rough day. xo, grace

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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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A Stone Farmhouse With Room to Roam

Emily and Max don't own a television, so they oriented the room's furniture to face the wood-burning stove and the French doors.

A Stone Farmhouse With Room to Roam

I always wonder, when it comes to older homes, what the original owners would think of the present-day families living inside. I imagine some of them would be surprised to see how we live and decorate today, but when it comes to this beautiful stone house in Western Massachusetts, I feel confident that the original owners would be thrilled to know who is living there now.

Artist Emily Billings and software engineer Max Shay recently moved from a small, fifth-floor apartment in Boston to the tiny town of Cummington, MA (population 800), where they now rent an incredible home with a rich artistic history. Their new house used to be the home of The Cummington Press (an influential literary printing company) and the Cummington School of the Arts, which housed artists like Diane Arbus, Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning from the 1930s until the 1990s. The basement still holds the remnants of a darkroom and the main house originally held both a printing press and a photo studio. The barn next to the house dates back to the 1800s and once held the school’s painting studios and wood shop and a tiny building deep in the property’s woods was once devoted entirely to sculpting. The home’s history of such incredible creative energy and talent makes it the perfect place for a young, artistic couple to work and live.

Emily and Max are taking their time decorating their space and are excited to let their home evolve as they live there. Their goal is to fill their space enough to make it welcoming and comfortable, but not too much to distract from the architectural details and history of the home. I can only imagine how inspiring those views are for both Emily and Max’s work and I’m thrilled that we get to take a peek inside such a special place today. xo, grace

Photographs by Max Shay

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Life & Business: Erin Dollar of Cotton & Flax

Life & Business: Erin Dollar of Cotton & Flax

Life & Business: Cotton & Flax

In a digital age, it’s so refreshing to find brands that still value the tangible and putting pencil to paper. Every piece from Cotton & Flax begins as an ink drawing using a brush and sumi ink before being transferred to a silkscreen and printed on natural fabrics with eco-friendly inks. I first found Erin Dollar, the founder and designer behind C&F, on Instagram and double-tapped nearly every photo she’s shared of her studio process since her launch in 2012. Though she may not have a lot to work with (her LA studio is only 72 square feet!), she uses this to her advantage and employs a small-batch approach to her textile goods, coming out with a new design and palette every season! Today Erin’s discussing how she got to where she is today, the importance of not taking business personally, asking for help, and getting out of your head. —Sabrina

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Life & Business: Jonna Twigg of Twigg’s Bindery

Life & Business: Jonna Twigg of Twigg’s Bindery

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When I was in art school, I wrote and illustrated a science fiction novel for my graduate thesis. It was a huge undertaking and I had plans to finish it off by hand-binding the pages into an elaborate hardcover book. As it turned out, I ran out of time (and energy, given it was my fourth year and final month of school, gah!) and ended up printing it through Blurb. Though it turned out great, to this day I wish I’d had the time to bind it myself into something I could be proud to call all my own creation. If only I had known of Jonna Twigg back then!

Artist and owner Jonna Twigg is the creative force behind Twigg’s Bindery, a Brooklyn-based lifestyle book and journal company which offers a line of authentic, luxury book products that are eco-conscious and only use materials from the United States. Jonna first began Twigg’s Bindery as a custom order-only business for local New York galleries and artists, and they now make ready-made tomes for anyone in need of a place to write, journal or draw. But Jonna’s passion for books doesn’t end with Twigg’s Bindery; she also works with leading New York museum conservators to house collections and preserve paper-based objects for myriad exhibits around the world. Today Jonna is chatting with us about prioritizing your ideas, the self-transition from artist to business owner, and the world’s most beautiful, useful objects: books, duh! —Sabrina

 

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24 Hours in London, England With James Greig

24 Hours in London, England With James Greig

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James Greig is a graphic designer turned writer who (on most days) can be found spilling his guts out to strangers on the Internet and helping people who want to freelance with his free email guide. After moving around for the former part of his existence — a time which included two months spent traveling across the USA by train after having a meltdown and quitting his job — he’s since moved back home. James has spent the last six years in London re-finding himself, which has led to rediscovering this beautiful and iconic city. Check out James’s 24-hour guide to London after the jump! Oh, and ever the meticulously forward-thinking dude, James has also set up a web page for D*S readers complete with more info and an interactive map of his guide. —Sabrina

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A Collaborative, Creative Home in the Midwest

Casey and Evan have created a home that mixes textures, materials, styles and finishes to reflect both of their tastes.

A Collaborative, Creative Home in the Midwest

Interior design gets good when it’s pushed – when it’s challenged to solve problems and get personal. Anyone can pick a style and stick with it to make a room look finished, but it takes collaboration, skill and even trial and error to come up with a unique design perspective based on different views. For me, it’s this kind of design that feels the most authentic and telling of the people who live in it. This Midwestern home highlights the best of each person who lives there, while also maintaining a cohesive, welcoming environment.

Casey, a freelance interior designer, and Evan Bovee, a touring guitar technician for Prince, were looking for a bungalow when they found this 2005 home in Springfield, MO with older home details. It had all of the charm (plus larger rooms) without the risks you find with older homes. Since moving in three years ago, Casey and Evan have been working towards making it a home that expresses their aesthetics equally. “We really wanted to create a space that reflected both of us completely – which is harder than it seems! So any time there was a decision to be made, both of our needs and opinions were heavily considered,” Casey says. “When we come home, we want it to be balanced and real.” Rustic, traditional, modern, glam, industrial and elegant styles have all found their places in this home harmoniously, with hard work along the way.

The process of decorating a space, no matter if it’s incorporating seven styles or just one, generally comes with some setbacks and changed minds. The Bovees have taken it all in stride. “There have been a lot of mistakes made, but the first one was painting a lot of our rooms dark colors. I really love that look, but I can’t live in it. The past year has been dedicated to painting,” says Casey. “Not only to fix my mistakes, but to correct all the cream trim and doors. Now everything is light and bright. We are still working on our home. I think by the time everything is completely finished (if that ever happens), it will be time to move.” If you ask me, it’s a pretty great work in progress. —Lauren

All photography by Matt Douglas

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A Hint of Bohemian Austin in Historic Virginia

DesignSponge Sneak Peek

A Hint of Bohemian Austin in Historic Virginia

Jennifer Elsner and her family moved into this townhouse in Richmond, VA just over a year ago from Austin, TX. It’s fair to say that these two cities are different in many ways, but especially in terms of architecture and interior design. How does one take the best from Austin and merge it with the best of Richmond? Jennifer says, “Having moved from Austin, where horizontality and the line between inside-outside space is blurred, we’ve brought along our Barbara Bestor ‘Bohemian Modern’ vibe. However, we’re sensitive to the architecture and history of a place. Being in Richmond, VA now, there’s a conservatism (and verticality) that we’ve incorporated.”

After a five-month gut renovation, Jennifer and her husband David have created a space that is the best of both worlds. The newly renovated space reflects the open-plan approach they loved in Austin, allowing for ample light to pour in and great air flow. At the same time, it still maintains the grandeur of a historic home, with its sweeping ceilings, charming pocket doors and copious (if not functioning) fireplaces. David loves the way the house lights up at sunset, “We’re at the top of a hill so we get a lot of sun — for a long time.” Jennifer loves their tiny powder room downstairs, “clad with Scalamandre’s classic zebra wallpaper in red. It’s a jewel box.”

Jennifer is a creative director and artist and David is the Chair of the Department of Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University. They love spending time in their new home, either hosting parties (celebrating anything from Passover to the Earl of Sandwich’s birthday) or relaxing in their pajamas on a lazy Sunday. Most importantly, Jennifer, David and their son, Sam, created a home that balances what they loved about Austin with the character of their new city of Richmond. —Shannon

Photography by Chelsea Fullerton of Go Forth Creative.

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A Home Rooted in Hawaiian Heritage

The cottage-style bedding, "goes hand in hand with a place to sleep." Bedding by Serene & Lily, Muji and Les Toiles du Soleil. Monoprint by Rebecca Mendez.

A Home Rooted in Hawaiian Heritage

Darren Namaye of Ideas on Purpose needed to create a space that would be warm and relaxing not only after a long day, but after a long flight. Splitting his time in his home state of Hawaii and New York City has Darren racking up the frequent flyer miles, and means his aesthetic is a truly unique mix of breezy influences and modern, clean design. A friend of Darren’s discovered Concord Village — what most people consider the last great deal in NYC — and he was hooked. The location was perfect, but Darren knew he would have to start from scratch when he moved into the one-bedroom unit. He just couldn’t resist the Manhattan views, though, and saw the potential the second he stepped foot into the space. A new coat of floor stain, a custom banquette and a totally updated kitchen brought the 50s-era home to this century in a snap. It was no easy feat, however. While design setbacks were minimal, it was the home’s decor that Darren found challenging. “I second guessed everything: Paint the walls white? Grey? Should I go Scandinavian? All neutrals and minimal? I went with my gut and…while I love Scandinavian and minimal interiors I also love the idea of warmth and coziness; a space that would help me relax after a day in the city,” Darren explains. “Growing up in Hawaii, I was influenced by water and I have always gravitated towards a cottage aesthetic and coastal vibe. I also wanted touches of Hawaii here and there coupled with Japanese farmhouse influences.”

At 27 years young, I still haven’t been to the Hawaii that Darren so lovingly speaks of. Having grown up so close to the Mexican-American border, it was always those beaches that called my family when it was time for a little R&R. What draws me to Darren’s home is that it gives me a glimpse into a culture and style that I am not knowledgeable about. One that’s far more subtle and restrained than the stereotypical “Hawaii” we mainlanders think is the standard. With a breakfast nook you’ll never forget, the most envy-inducing indigo gingham I’ve ever seen, and nods to Darren’s childhood in Hawaii, this apartment proves that you may be miles away, but you never truly leave home. Enjoy! —Garrett

All photos by Robert Kato and Anna Tan

 

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How to Shop for Fabric on Etsy

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How to Shop for Fabric on Etsy

Last week I shared some unedited and un-styled updates from the upstairs and downstairs of our new home upstate. I can’t begin to describe how much it meant to me to hear your feedback, comments and questions, and also to see the conversations that came from that post, both here on the site and on social media. I have a big list of questions and requests that came from those posts and today I wanted to start with one that was asked a lot: How did I find the fabrics I used for our DIY headboards on Etsy and what’s the best way to search and select fabrics from the sea of sellers there? So today I’m going to walk you through my tips and tricks for shopping (and saving on) fabrics on Etsy. I’m also going to share my favorite shops to pick up small and large pieces of fabric, for upholstery and other around-the-house craft projects. Fabric is pretty much all I seem to buy on Etsy these days, so I hope this will come in handy! xo, grace

*If I missed any type of fabric or area of the search/find that you need help with, just let me know and I’ll add it in the post or the comment section right away!

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Abigail Borg Wallpaper + Best of the Web

Abigail Borg Wallpaper + Best of the Web

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I’ve been on a wallpaper kick all week. It seems like everyone is gearing up to launch new collections at the big design shows this spring, so social media has been full of great previews and sneak peeks. One of my favorite lines that I’m hoping to see in person belongs to British designer Abigail Borg. Abigail’s work takes its inspiration from the world outside. Whether that’s a beautiful Fritillaria flower, Dahlia or Foxtail, Abigail’s wallpapers feel like a lush field of flowers that’s come to life on the wall. I love the slightly retro color palette she’s working with, too — it’s the perfect combination to create a larger-than-life version of the flowers and plants we see around us in real life. Abigail uses her patterns for textiles and stationery, too, so if you’re interested in checking out her work or ordering online, click here to visit her site. Until Monday, have a wonderful weekend! xo, grace

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In the Kitchen With: Valeria Necchio’s Spaghetti with Clams and Agretti

In the Kitchen With: Valeria Necchio’s Spaghetti with Clams and Agretti

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Not too long ago, London-based food photographer, Valeria Necchio, shared a quick and easy Venetian recipe with us for Polpette di Baccalà. Cruising through her Instagram feed last week, I saw a picture of her lunch of spaghetti with clams and agretti (Monk’s beard), and asked if she might share the recipe with us. Monk’s beard is the edible leaf of Salsola soda. It is a green succulent plant that grows in warm coastal areas in the spring and early summer. It has a mineral, savory flavor reminiscent of spinach or samphire, but its crisp, crunchy texture really sets it in a league of its own. Venetians used to treasure it for its ability to turn into soda ash when combusted – an essential raw material for the production of precious Murano glass. A very interesting fact for such a delicious vegetable! If you are unable to find it in a market or the grocery, you can try buying seeds (US here, UK here) and planting for next year!  Kristina

About Valeria: Valeria Necchio is a food and travel photographer and writer of Venetian heritage. A curious eater and keen home cook, she shares her cooking endeavors on her blog, Life Love Food, punctuating her stories with bright images shot in her tiny, yet very well lit, London apartment. Valeria’s work has been featured on a number of online and print publications, including Food52, Kinfolk, Die Zeit and Chickpea Magazine. She is a food columnist for leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. Find her on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

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