24 Hours in Beaune, France

24 Hours in Beaune, France

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I have always pined to visit France (who doesn’t dream about spending a day there?), and today we get a taste of that through the eyes of mother and daughter, Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini, of The Cook’s Atelier. Located in historic and charming Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy, Marjorie and Kendall combine their passions for food, wine and French lifestyle, offering an epicurean centre, a wine shop, and cooking classes that bridge the gap between farmer and cook. Rooted in history, authenticity, family, and tradition, Beaune continues to make its mark on the map with people flocking from all over the world to enjoy its world-famous wineries and more. Centred around arguably some of the greatest things in life — seasonal food, wine, local markets, and flowers — today’s guide from Marjorie and Kendall features a taste (quite literally) of what beautiful Beaune has to offer through the lens of their business, all in support of small and local. –Sabrina

Photography by Emily Johnston and The Cook’s Atelier

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A Verdant Green and Golden Birmingham Craftsman

A Verdant Green and Golden Birmingham Craftsman, on Design*Sponge

A Verdant Green and Golden Birmingham Craftsman

On their honeymoon in France four years ago, Holly Carlisle developed a passion for photography after tinkering with husband Scott’s charming old film camera. She’s now a pro who, in addition to running her floral design business Rosegolden Flowers, shoots travel, editorial, and still life work regularly. Holly’s favorite photographic explorations involve documenting her own journeys around the world, as well as the 1927 craftsman house in Birmingham, Alabama filled with mementos from adventures had with Scott. The couple also share their 1,500-square-foot Crestwood area abode with energetic blue dog Bella and yellow dog Sam, who are lucky enough to have doting parents and plenty of space in which to play. The Carlisles sourced stylish but reasonably-priced furniture so they don’t feel too worried about wear from puppy playtime.

When they first moved in two and a half years ago, Holly and Scott discovered another shared interest – interior design. The pair renovated their kitchen and master bathroom, but lost steam when it came time to decorating. They knew they wanted the residence to feel and function a bit like a studio, and the plan was to fill it sparsely for ease of moving around items against the soft backdrop of Benjamin Moore White Dove-painted walls. Eventually, hosting a New Year’s Eve party provided a push needed to finish the decor. They framed and hung artwork, reworked their shelves and bookcases, and turned the sunroom into a cozy spot for their houseplants, as opposed to its previous role as a storage unit for Holly’s floral supplies. The home is perfectly positioned to receive multiple sources of bright filtered side light throughout the day, which is an ideal setting for both flora and fauna alike. —Annie

Photography by Holly Carlisle, except where noted

 

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A Plant Designer and DJ’s Easy-Going Brownstone

A Plant Designer and DJ's Easy-Going Brownstone

A Plant Designer and DJ’s Easy-Going Brownstone

After working as a Visual Effects/Animation Producer for nearly a decade, Lisa Muñoz turned a new leaf (pun intended) and launched Leaf and June, an Interior Plant Design company, bringing greenery to New Yorkers’ homes, retail spaces, events and offices everywhere. Her boyfriend, David Azzoni, is a Partner at Turntable Lab, a New York-based DJ Shop (and is also a DJ himself, who’s been making people dance for over 16 years)! Together, Lisa and David are partners in life, love, music “and eating pasta and tacos,” adds Lisa.

After living with three roommates for years in and around Brooklyn, Lisa set her sights on this Brownstone on a tree-lined street in the Clinton Hill neighborhood. “This apartment won my heart when I saw that it had six large windows facing East and West,” Lisa says, “and also had an extra space for an office!” When Lisa moved in, there was just enough room for her things, but with the addition of David after a few months, they began to feel the limitations of 930 square feet. It forced them to play Tetris with their things, and free themselves of furniture they weren’t completely in love with. As a result, their current space is only filled with their absolute favorite and most-loved pieces. Lisa says of the downsizing experience: “It’s really incredible how much stuff you can accumulate in your life and how little you actually miss once it’s gone.” They’ve happily called this space home for nearly five years, and despite the limitations they face living in a rental — they have to restrain from their dream of renovating the kitchen — they’ve found work-arounds and practice compromise to make their space work for them, using casual and easygoing decor and — you guessed it — oodles of plants to breathe life and warmth into their space. –Sabrina

Photography by Erica Gannett

 

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New Construction with Curated Charm in Texas

New Construction with Curated Charm in Texas, Design*Sponge

New Construction with Curated Charm in Texas

Rollerblading on Peachtree Lane until the streetlamps came on, swimming until dusk on Stagecoach Drive; my childhood homes in Texas hold many of my fondest memories. I may not live there anymore, but the Lone Star State will always be with me. That being said, I am always extra excited when we get to feature the homes of fellow Texans.

Ryan and Cary Ray completely overhauled their 3,500-square-foot Highland Village, TX home. “It needed so much work,” Cary says. “It was built in 1999 and had seashells everywhere; tile, sinks, sconces, hardware — everywhere,” Cary says. The two were able to see the burgeoning potential under all those questionable designs, and were eager to take on the fixer-upper. New flooring, paint jobs, demolishing walls and from-scratch bathrooms took up the majority of the four-year renovation. It was quite the undertaking, but the since neighborhood was so great, the couple charged through.

Decorating the space took time as well. Waiting for deals, scouring Craigslist, and hunting at estate sales were just some of the ways that the young couple was able to achieve the “welcoming, collected” home they had always wanted. “I see so many beautifully decorated spaces that feel so rigid… I never want to take my home that seriously,” Cary explains. A little bit rustic, a little bit modern — I adore the interplay of the home’s various styles. Take a closer look and you’ll see how this couple has fit two brand headquarters, vintage finds and various collections into their charming Texas abode. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Ryan Ray

 

 

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Pattern Download from Frances Macleod Day 1

Pattern Download from Frances Macleod Day 1

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Pattern design is one of my favorite areas of the design community and I’ve been so thrilled to work with some of of my favorite designers this summer to bring free downloadable patterns to DS. This week I’m excited to share the work of artist and designer Frances Macleod, who found inspiration in a family wedding.

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Frances recently traveled to Istanbul for her sister’s wedding and was greatly inspired by the art and architecture of her new brother-in-law’s home country of Turkey. Whether she was taking in beautiful tiled floors, a garden courtyard or the scrollwork of ancient buildings, Frances kept photos of inspiring moments and turned them into these patterns for us here today. She says, “These patterns turned into quite the labor of love. I’m so happy with how they turned out and grateful for how they represent the growth of our family.” I love when beautiful art and design has a personal connection and these patterns are a great example. Thanks so much to Frances for sharing these with us this week! You can check out more of her work online right here. xo, grace

Download today’s pattern (above) right here (please note these are for personal use only).

Behind the Scenes of Book #2 + Best of the Web

Behind the Scenes of Book #2 + Best of the Web

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In less than a month, we are almost halfway done with the photographs for the next Design*Sponge book and I couldn’t be happier about the way they’re turning out — or the process of meeting these amazing women in person. Working alongside Sasha Israel on the east coast has been a total dream and the even bigger dream has been having a team that’s so hardworking and helpful that I’ve been able to take a brief pause from writing to travel for these shoots and be present for this amazing process. It’s rare that my mind isn’t already “on to the next one” during any given moment, so to be able to step away from my laptop to plan, enjoy and live in these photoshoot moments has been monumental. These are memories I will hold on to for the rest of my life and I cannot wait to share them with you in book form next Fall! In the meantime, I wanted to share a few behind-the-scenes peeks at this week’s shoots, from San Diego to NYC. xo, grace

Images above: office dogs from some of this week’s shoots, a mirror selfie moment with Hana, and Caroline photographing Jasmine Wright in California.

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Sasha out on a tiny NYC balcony in 90-degree weather, getting the best shot.

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In the Kitchen With: Diana Leahy’s Rosewater Pancakes

In the Kitchen With: Diana Leahy's Rosewater Pancakes, on Design*Sponge

In the Kitchen With: Diana Leahy’s Rosewater Pancakes

Breakfast is the most important meal of any day. Kicking off the morning with good nutrition can enhance the way you look and feel and give you the right energy to start your day on the right foot. Diana Leahy knows this better than anyone; as a home cook with food sensitivities and founder of the all-encompassing wedding consultancy Freeheart Project, she can attest to the many mental and physical benefits of a natural diet. Whether you’re following the autoimmune protocol like she is, eating paleo, raw, gluten- or sugar-free, Leahy’s rosewater pancakes are full of real ingredients that will support your biggest and smallest activities alike. —Annie

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Taking Control of Change in Life and at Work

Taking Control of Change in Life and at Work

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve felt more excited, awake and like myself than I have in a long time. Mainly because I’m working on a project that means so much to me and feels so timely and important. While I’m normally a major homebody and highly affected by stressful schedules with a lot of travel, all of my back and forth (via train, plane and bus) for our book’s photo shoots has made me feel alive.

Moments like this call attention to all the times you realize you aren’t feeling that way. And having this recent moment of energy and focus has helped me pay better attention to what I need to work harder on to change at home and at work.

I realized that this book project only happened because I recognized a moment where I was unhappy and needed to make a change. I wasn’t inspired or moved by our old book topic and, with some major help from Julia, sat down to create a new proposal that captured what I was truly passionate about right now. That moment of inspiration and honesty lead to the excitement I’m feeling now and reminded me that I needed to do this everywhere in my life.

So, last week, I sat down and looked at the parts of my day and life that aren’t working the way I’d like them to. I took a good, hard look at what was making me happy — and what was bringing me down — and decided to take the first step toward changing all of them into something new. The first big step was a difficult one, but after a year of being unhappy in my own body, I joined Weight Watchers.

Image above by Molly Jacques Illustration

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Before & After: A Logan Square Stunner for the Color-Averse

Before & After: A Logan Square Stunner for the Color-Averse, on Design*Sponge

Before & After: A Logan Square Stunner for the Color-Averse

“When you’re looking for a fixer-upper, there’s less of that struck-by-Cupid’s-arrow feeling,” admits Lauren Ross, who recently updated every last surface of her 1895 frame house in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. With the help of handy boyfriend Kevin and his expert contractor father, the past 9 months were spent DIY-ing major renovations like expanding and gutting the kitchen, moving and replacing a deathtrap of a stairwell, laying all new hardwood flooring, installing a gas fireplace, and adding additional closets.

Throughout the process, Ross geeked out on the building’s long history. “I felt good about inheriting a house that had been home to the previous family for 40 years,” she shares. Every aesthetic decision she made, from selecting doorknobs to moldings, was influenced by what would have been there in times past. The ceiling medallions fixed above nearly every hanging light also work within this historic framework, but Ross reveals she acquired them to cover unpatched electrical holes when she needed to focus on more pressing matters.

Ross took a more minimalist approach in decorating the refreshed space. “I am fanatical about not accumulating meaningless or useless stuff. This meant having super-human self control in the décor aisles of Target,” she jokes. Luckily, she was able to repurpose almost all of her furniture from previous residences. The homeowner is inherently more comfortable with grey, black, white, and wood tones, but wanted to prevent the space from becoming a sea of neutrals. Claire Staszak of Centered By Design helped her color-averse client choose furniture, art, paint colors, and vibrant, eclectic furniture pieces to enhance the existing collection. Despite being a lean and mean construction crew of three, the team completed the renovation at once instead of maintaining an indefinite work zone. Though it was a whirlwind, the excitement they felt at seeing it come together, knowing that it was a result of their own hard work, just can’t be beat. —Annie

“After” photography by Joe Tighe

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Our Favorite Floors: 25 Reasons to Look Down

Image above from wearemaven_ on Instagram

Our Favorite Floors: 25 Reasons to Look Down

Living in the city, I was constantly reminding myself to look UP. So much of my time was spent trying to dodge people and cars and bikes on the sidewalks that I rarely deviated from looking straight ahead. Now that we live in the country, I’ve learned to look up more, but this month’s hashtag has been a wonderful reminder to look down, too. From incredible wooden plank floors and cement tiles to messages written in mosaics, this month’s hashtag challenge photos were nothing short of spectacular. I was happy to see such a great mix of materials (and shoes!) as well as a few furry friends enjoying cool tile floors and soft rugs. Thanks so much to everyone who shared their photos with us this month. Enjoy the floor show! xo, grace

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For the Love of Blue + White: Contemporary Clerkenwell Dishes

For the Love of Blue + White: Contemporary Clerkenwell Dishes

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When it comes to tableware, I’ve developed a major love of blue and white. Luckily, when Julia and I combined our belongings, it turned out I wasn’t the only one. I grew up eating dinner on Spode-style plates (here they are at our home now) and Julia’s family also had a beautiful collection of new and old plates, like the blue (sort of) splatterware her parents gave to us when we got married. When we moved upstate I decided to turn some of our favorite pieces into a plate hanging/wall display in the kitchen, so we could look at them every day and take them down whenever we need them for entertaining. I’m always keeping my eye out for great, old pieces to slowly add to our collection, but when I saw these new pieces from Clerkenwell at House of Folk, I was smitten.

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Clerkenwell has a long history of fine bone china and this new collection has a slightly more minimal feel with more whitespace on the plates and the addition of sweet little animals, like rabbits and foxes, on the plates and bowls. I’m itching to buy one of these plates for our wall, but in the meantime, I’m pinning them and adding them to my dream list. That little fox is too cute for words. Click here to check out the full collection and shop online. xo, grace

DIY Stencil Pattern Beach Towel

DIY Stencil Pattern Beach Towel

DIY Stencilled Beach Towel

Getting to the beach is a rare luxury for me. So when I do make it down to the coast I like to make the most of my stay there and spend as much time as I can next to the sea. As much as I love going for a quick dip to cool down, what I’m really there to do is cover myself head-to-toe in sunblock, relax and have nothing to do but read and watch the world go by. So of course when I have all that time on my hands my mind wanders back to work and the ideas come flowing (isn’t that always the way).

So even though I’m far from the beach right now, what better time to make some holiday DIYs for next time I’m sunning myself? —Fran

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A Red House Legacy Way, Way West

A Red House Legacy Way, Way West, on Design*Sponge

A Red House Legacy Way, Way West

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, we’re able to visit interesting homes throughout the country and around the world. This blogger’s Anchorage, AK abode happens to be a little bit of both. Mera Matthews and husband Chester Gilmore are a couple of attorneys who work together by day, and reside at the 1944 home in which Chester grew up. Mera joined him eight years ago, and then came three-year-old daughter Opal, along with four beloved rescue pets – dogs Cora and Winifred, and cats Cromwell and Wolsey, who complete the family. (“Adopt, don’t shop!,” the pair insist.) To indulge her visual side, Mera co-writes the blog Red House West with her best bud Katie, who inhabits a similar structure in faraway Eugene, OR.

Chester’s parents bought their house back in 1972 just before he was born. In 2006, once the senior Gilmores retired and decided to leave the state, they were able to sell this ideally-located downtown home directly to the kids. It’s one of the oldest residences in Anchorage, and is situated one block north of access to over 100 miles of maintained ski trails, and one block south of a favorite bakery. Mera has always felt passionate about decorating, but it took some time before she felt comfortable making changes to a home that held 40 years of her husband’s family history (through no fault of her in-laws, who have been supportive in watching the young brood make the space their own). She managed to complete a major kitchen remodel about five years ago, and since then has felt more at liberty to put her own stamp on the interiors.

That is, when she can see them. Due to its northern geographic location, the city receives only four hours of daylight in the winter. In the summer, it’s showered with almost 20 hours of sun each day. Residents adapt their decor to facilitate normal waking and sleeping conditions as much as possible. Mera’s eyes get hungry for color in the snowy season, and the bright pinks and yellows in her decorating feel to her like a little bit of sunshine. Chester’s parents did their own remodeling years ago, and one of the things they accomplished was adding a south-facing window to every room but one, which maximizes available natural light. The renovation also left rooms with lots of quirky angles and unique charm, which will allow Opal to experience the personal history of the place as she grows. —Annie

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MINE: Vintage Trim & Notions

The colors in this color story, not to mention grosgrain and rick rack, are the hues of my imaginary world from childhood. I had a Garanimals pantsuit in these shades of red and pink, complete with knee and elbow patches woven into the polyester. I absolutely adored it!

MINE: Vintage Trim & Notions

This past week I’ve been tackling some familiar boxes in my basement re-organization project. They’re actually not even boxes. They are all sizes of clear, zippered bags that held comforters, pillowcases and the like from friends and family that I solicited over the years for my massive trim and ribbon collection. And yes, you could find me around the Christmas tree sorting the recyclables and stuffing zippered plastic bags in my loot bag.

With all of the trim and notions, one would think I was a master seamstress who could be found adding delicate lace trim to Cinderella-like gowns and preppy grosgrain to customize whiter-than-white Keds. This is not the case. I do have a few sewing machines, one in actual working order, but I rarely use it. The others I’ve taken apart to see exactly how the machines work.

Going through my bags upon bags of ribbons, zippers, trim and beyond, with my sewing machines staring me down in the background, it occurred to me that I’m not a maker — I’m a conceptor — although I’m pretty sure that’s not really a thing since I haven’t heard about a new Conceptor movement or read any “I See Finished Things In My Brain” headlines.

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A Beloved Family Home in Washington, D.C.

The family's downstairs powder room has a bold dark paint color. But the mirror makes sure enough light reflects in the room to keep it open and bright. "The mirror in the powder room was the very first thing I purchased for the home and one of the last things that we hung up. It's a perfect fit for this tiny little space", explains Ibie.

A Beloved Family Home in Washington, D.C.

One of the things I love most about sharing people’s homes here is that these stories live on the internet for years to come as a wonderful archive of a particular time, place and stage in people’s lives. Whether circumstances change because of a new job, a new member of the family or any other major life event, it can be fun to go back to these posts and remember what that time and place in life was like. Such is the case for today’s home tour with the Falcusan family in Washington, D.C.

Ibie, the Export Control Counsel for a leading aerospace company, and her husband Jeff, the Chief Program Officer of an affordable housing trade association, have lived in this beautiful Washington, D.C. area home for the past five years. But next month, they’re packing up and moving to Arizona. It will be a big change in both climate and lifestyle, but they’re excited for the move. So getting the chance to document and celebrate the home they’ve built here with their son, Jude (who I got to hold when he was just a baby at the D*S Book Tour event in DC!) is something really special.

Ibie and Jeff knew their 1941 brick colonial was “the one” when they saw the rear garden. “Its potential for entertaining was immediately obvious,” Ibie explains. And while the couple didn’t have a child yet when they purchased their home, they both envisioned raising a baby there. Now, five years later, they have a home filled with great design details, loads of character and a happy 4-year-old to enjoy that backyard garden they fell in love with years ago. Ibie shares, “I am so thankful that this home has been a comforting stalwart in our lives. It has shielded us from physical and proverbial storms. This is the home where we entered one of the most important phases of our lives and became a family of three. I will always remember this home with fondness because of the joy it brought to us.” Read on to hear more about their design journey at home. xo, grace

Photography by Ibie Falcusan

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