Wallpaper has always been one of my favorite design elements for a few different reasons. First and foremost, it’s one of the fastest ways to transform a room dramatically in just a few hours. Second, it’s a tool for makeovers that can be effective in even the smallest of pieces (like to line drawers or the back of a bookcase). Last but not least, like textiles, it has the ability to combine all of the major elements of design (texture, color, pattern) in one fell swoop. So for this month’s hashtag challenge, we invited readers from across the globe to share their favorite photos of wallpaper at home and “out in the wild”. The results were a mix of bold, colorful, sophisticated and perfectly worn-in papers, each one perfect for its chosen space. If you’ve ever needed inspiration to try a little bit of wallpaper at home, hopefully these photos will be the nudge to give it a try. Thanks so much to everyone who took these photos of their living rooms, morning coffee spots and museums around the world- they brightened my morning every day of this month. xo, grace
To do any job for the better part of 10 years is both a challenge and a privilege. No matter what field you’re working in, the conditions, rules and people around you will change — and when it comes to the field of blogging, the landscape is constantly changing. So today I’m happy to celebrate one of my oldest blogging friends, Joy Cho. I’ve known and followed Joy’s blog, Oh Joy!, since the beginning and it’s been, well, a joy to see her achieve so many great successes in both her personal and professional life. I remember when Joy was engaged and living in Philadelphia and to see her now, living happily in Los Angeles with her two beautiful daughters and her husband, Bob, is a happy reminder of just how much life can change in a decade.
Joy has written and contributed to several books about creativity and blogging, but on April 7th she’s releasing her first book dedicated to what I see as the true core of her blog — finding ways to create and share happiness with others. Oh Joy!: 60 Ways to Create & Give Joy is a colorful, upbeat guide to simple projects that will bring a little smile into the lives of the people you love. From sweet treats you can make and package for friends to home decor projects like customized neon signs, Joy’s new book is all about finding time to do something for someone you care about — even in the smallest way. I think we’re all busy these days and finding time to do projects like this can be difficult or nearly impossible. But what I love about Joy’s book is that the vast majority of these projects can be done in 30 minutes or less, and require very little that you can’t find around your house already. This will be a wonderful handbook for anyone who wants to have some ideas on hand to use for special events, holidays, anniversaries or just moments when you want to make someone you love feel how appreciated they are. Today Joy is sharing a simple Striped Ombré Cake recipe from the book that would be a fun way to spruce up any spring or summer get-together. Click here to check out Joy’s new book online and click through to read the full recipe after the jump. Congrats, Joy! xo, grace
[Below is a highlight of this week’s posts and our favorite links from around the web]
- Dabito from Old Brand New rounded up beautiful kilim pillows under $25.
- Tips for getting decor deals on Craigslist.
- Bold embroidery artwork from one of our favorite Instagrammers.
- Garrett loves this gorgeous German glass tea kettle.
- Glass and resin doors with a dried flower inlay? We love this Japanese home inspired by teepee structures.
- We’re big fans of Johanna Basford’s work and her coloring book for adults just sold 1 million copies!
- Inside a Breaking Bad star’s colorful home.
- Beautiful and bright “carpets” made from forks, chocolate and straws.
- Must-Reads: How to shop for fabric on Etsy, Ways to Save on Moving Day
- Sneak Peeks: A Home Rooted in Hawaiian Heritage, A Historic VA home with an Austin Twist, A collaborative, creative home in the Midwest, A stone farmhouse with room to roam, Hidden Potential in a Michigan Home, A Ranch Home Brimming with Nostalgia, Peek Inside Saipua’s World’s End Farm.
- Recipes: Gluten-Free Apple Hand Pies
- City Guide: 24 Hours in London!
- Life & Business: Jonna Twiggs of Twiggs Bindery, Erin Dollar of Cotton & Flax
- DIY Projects: DIY Clay Platters
See how to make Joy’s Striped Ombré Cake after the jump!
I have the extreme pleasure this week of sharing another recipe with you by Nicole Hunn, one of my absolute favorite gluten-free bakers, and author of the Gluten-Free on a Shoestring blog. All of her recipes are crazy easy, and so good, I can’t get enough of them! An extra bonus is that the recipe is from her most recent book, Gluten-Free Classic Snacks. Her book shows you how to make gluten-free versions of some of your favorite classic sweet treats from childhood. Today’s recipe is a gluten-free version adapted from Hostess’ classic apple pie. As with all of Nicole’s recipes, it is only deceptively long. The narrative is what makes the recipes so easy to execute. You can see Nicole’s recipe for gluten-free sweet potato pie here, and her gluten-free lemon cream éclairs here. Enjoy! —Kristina
About Nicole: As the personality behind the wildly popular Gluten-Free on a Shoestring blog and cookbook series, Nicole firmly believes that gluten-free eating should be both enjoyable and affordable! Nicole has written about gluten-free eating for Parade magazine, Living Without, and Gluten-Free Living and she has appeared on Sirius/XM Radio, The Better Show, and ABC News. She has also been featured in the New York Times, Better Homes & Gardens, Parents Magazine and Epicurious.com. Nicole lives with her family in Westchester County, NY.
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
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
This Sneak Peek is brought to you by Rove Concepts – offering high quality, affordable furniture and home décor that pays homage to iconic classics of the past. See their full range of mid-century style pieces here.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
YOU'RE ON OUR LIST.