In the Kitchen With: Ruby Tandoh’s Meatballs with Sticky Blackberry-Anise Sauce

In the Kitchen With: Ruby Tandoh’s Meatballs with Sticky Blackberry-Anise Sauce

Meatballs with Blackberry-Anise sauce by Ruby Tandoh | DesignSponge

A few weeks ago, I made one of my favorite meatball recipes. It sent me on the search for more wonderful meatball recipes outside of the common flavor combinations with which I was already familiar. The first recipe I came across in my search was one by British food writer and cookbook author Ruby Tandoh for Meatballs with Sticky Blackberry-Anise Sauce from her most recent cookbook, Flavour. The meatballs have a great flavor profile for combining with winter’s berries to make a slightly thick sauce, perfect for mixing with other roasted root vegetables which may be on your plate — or mopping up with a nice, thick slice of bread. —Kristina

Flavour by Ruby Tandoh | DesignSponge

Food Photography by Charlotte Bland | Portrait by Nato Welton

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13 Wallpaper Designs to Swoon Over

13 Wallpaper Designs to Swoon Over | Design*Sponge

13 Wallpaper Designs to Swoon Over

Styles, trends and tastes change in the course of a few years, or even decades. We see cycles of homes with beige and bold colors to homes with white or light grey walls, and then more color and interest again. It’s why trends that die out eventually come back around. They offer something that the status-quo can’t quench. Wallpaper is a trend that I’ve been so happy to see make its way back to the home goods market. Removing 1950s wallpaper is a huge headache, and it can be a pain to even put up, but wallpaper can be the perfect addition of color, texture and pattern that will bring a room to life.

Wallpaper products are more sophisticated this time around with easier applications, removable options and a broader range of designs to choose from. Surface and textile designers are including wallpaper in their shops, graphic and pattern designers are releasing sponsored collections, wall treatment companies are updating their stock and trendy start-ups are offering large-scale murals and removable wallpaper in every pattern imaginable. We’ve rounded up 13 of our favorite wallpaper products that feel fresh, sophisticated and full of personality. Wallpaper will be sticking around for a while (literally and figuratively) and if you can find a pattern and colorway you love for your space, it might be worth the trouble of putting it up. –Lauren

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In Arizona, a Couple Turns a Small House into Their Dream House

In Arizona, A Creative Couple Turns A Small House into Their Dream House | Design*Sponge

In Arizona, a Couple Turns a Small House into Their Dream House

In recent years, I’ve often come across “the small house movement.” Essentially, it’s the idea of downsizing your living space to less than 1,000 square feet in return for increased self-sufficiency, reduced carbon footprint and lower costs. I was intrigued, but I hadn’t come across anyone who had personally taken on that lifestyle. When I found out that Chelsea and Scott Goodson, a creative couple based just outside of Phoenix, AZ, had recently moved into their new “small house,” I couldn’t wait to hear their story.

When Chelsea, an influencer marketing expert and blogger at Chelsea-Bird.com, and Scott, a real estate analyst and owner of home decor business Citizen Home Decor, began looking for a place they could call their own, they too found the idea of trading square footage for coziness, efficiency and convenience appealing. They began researching different options, from tiny houses of no more than 399 square feet, to homes over 800 square feet. Eventually, the couple ended up choosing a barebones 650-square-foot prefab house that they could customize to their own liking.

After taking the plunge into home ownership, it was time to choose where the couple wanted to live. Although their home is technically mobile, they still needed a home base, a spot where the house could be delivered. Passionate about their local community and wanting to stay close to their families, Chelsea and Scott jumped at the opportunity to live on a portion of their family’s 10-acre property in a quiet area of Chandler, AZ. “We’re super close to our city’s downtown area that has the best coffee shop, restaurants and community events. We truly couldn’t have picked a more perfect area for us!” Chelsea shares.

From start to finish, Chelsea and Scott’s house took eight weeks to build. In order to make their house feel bright and more open-plan, the couple made some structural changes at the drawing stage, like moving windows around and getting rid of a half-wall. When the house was delivered, it was a complete blank canvas. “Scott started by installing engineered hardwood flooring throughout the house, and then we moved on to installing our appliances and lighting,” Chelsea recalls. One month after the house was delivered, Chelsea and Scott moved in. The following months were spent rearranging furniture, hanging pictures and making each room feel like their own. By decorating with plenty of white and choosing mid-century style pieces that appear lightweight, the couple has made their small house feel bright, spacious and beautifully thought-out. Click through to see how Chelsea and Scott have turned this small house into their dream house! –Sofia

Photography by Rennai Hoefer from Ten 22 Studio

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10 Handmade Vases for Winter Flowers

I've never met a Frances Palmer vase I didn't immediately want. Her work is beyond beautiful and worth investing in, without a doubt. I have a small but growing collection of her work that I use daily, and her pieces always make me smile. Black & White vase $295 here.

10 Handmade Vases for Winter Flowers

Just about anything can be a vase in our house. Tin cans, mason jars, water pitchers, old perfume bottles — anything that can hold water and a tiny stem or two gets put to work. I tend to pick up old odds and ends at antique stores and thrift shops for vases, but every now and then I find myself coveting something new online. Lately on Pinterest I’ve been pinning flower vase after flower vase, perhaps as a way to capture the last fading blooms of fall, before everything gets covered in snow upstate. So today I’m sharing 10 of my favorites that are handmade by some great ceramicists and potters. xo, grace

Need some ideas for end-of-fall flowers? Check out some fall floral inspiration and ideas here

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2016 Gift Guide: Babies, Toddlers + Kids

2016 Gift Guide: Babies, Toddlers + Kids

baby-gifts2Whether you’re a parent, an aunt or uncle, a guardian, or even if you have close friends with little ones, chances are you might be needing some gift ideas for kids this season. Kids, no matter the age, crave exploration — maybe that’s a fun play gym for an infant, a bath time fishing pole for toddlers, or a cooking kit or art set for children age 5 and up — and there are a lot of great gifts on the market that stimulate learning while still being fun.

Each year, I’ve enjoyed taking time to find unique and special gifts for my daughter, and it’s always a bonus if the item is made by a small business, or something that encourages her creative side. Taking cues from my own curious kid, I’ve created this gift guide for babies, toddlers and kids so you can celebrate the little ones in your life. —Kelli

Image above, clockwise from top left: felt ball baby mobile, $89 | organic wooden teether, $8 | solar system activity gym, $109 | Goodnight Moon book, $12.99 | plush bear, $17 | raglan onesie, $38 | wooden heart rattle, $18

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2016 Gift Guide: Trimming + Decorations

Trimming, clockwise from top left: Pineapple ornaments $31 for set, Dog ornament $39, Pom Pom strand $28, JOY mat $11.69, Hen ornament $18, Cactus ornament $18, Tree Skirt $191.

2016 Gift Guide: Trimming + Decorations

There are few things that make me happier than decorating for the holiday season. Whether it’s Julia’s annual DIY menorah (click here for more Hanukkah ideas), gathering branches from the yard to make wreaths or picking a fun assortment of ornaments for our tree, getting in the holiday spirit always makes me happy. Something about the extra greenery around the house and a few extra candles and decorations just makes everything feel a little happier and warmer. So today I’m sharing some of my favorite holiday trimmings, from ornaments and tree skirts to garlands and swag. Enjoy, and happy decorating! xo, grace

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10 Times a Bathtub Stole the Show

10 Times a Bathtub Stole the Show, Design*Sponge

10 Times a Bathtub Stole the Show

Temperatures are dipping here in Chicago, and the winds are starting to whip. What’s a guy to do? Hunker down, of course! While I wish I could do so in a warm bath, the fact is I’m still a renter, and finding an apartment with an enviable soaker is not an easy task. Luckily for me, when I want to get that bubbly, pruny-fingered feeling, all I have to do is imagine I’m in any one of these 10 tubs that refuse to blend in.

Some are modern, others are hundreds of years old, and each one is swoon-worthy in its own way. What makes them all so fabulous isn’t only their shape or inherent design. It’s what their owners have done with them that makes these tubs so wonderful. As you’ll see, not a single one was simply plopped into a space. They were all positioned to stand out, and made to be the star of the room. So click through, close your eyes and let this collection of soakers whisk you away. Enjoy! —Garrett

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11 Modern Menorahs

Menorahs, clockwise from top left: Ceramic Menorah by Paula Greif (Handmade, $425), Gold Olive Branch Menorah by Michael Aram $275, Apatosaurus Dinosaur Menorah by Lisa Pierce $100, Noah's Ark Menorah by Acme Animal $375, Ascalon Menorah $275.

11 Modern Menorahs

Every year, Julia makes us a new DIY menorah that involves some sort of clever woodwork. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with this year, but in the meantime, I’m excited to share some of my favorite modern menorahs for anyone looking to change up their family’s Hanukkah routine. From gold dinosaurs and blooming brass designs to handmade ceramic versions and styles made from marble, these designs will offer up a modern spin on a traditional holiday. xo, grace

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Lesson 9 – Sensing Your Body

Lesson 9 – Sensing Your Body

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One of my favorite mediations is a full-body scan where I systematically focus my attention on each area of my body, starting from my toes and continuing all the way to the crown of my head. When I first started doing this meditation, I was underwhelmed. If you’ve been following this series, patience has never been my strongpoint. The only part of my body I could actually feel, in a “distinguished” way, were my calves, which seemed to have a few twitches each time I did this particular meditation. Of course, I clung onto those twitches with thoughts of diagnosing myself with restless leg syndrome, to thoughts of when I actually went to the gym daily and spent a considerable amount of time pushing up from the balls of my feet to exercise my calves. The point is that there’s a difference between traditional exercise and simply sensing your body.

My favorite meditations now are the ones that allow me to focus on parts of my body. I actually wiggle my toes and thank them for keeping me balanced when I walk. I also visualize my skeleton and become curious about how this part is connected to that part. This is then followed up with an anatomy Google search post-mediation. Once you start to “sense” your body and really focus on different parts of it for 5 minutes every day, you will be amazed at how interested (and grateful) you’ll become — and how proactively protective you become of it.

Thinking about the body as a set of cooperative, working parts makes self-care very personal, and over time, helps you make better choices naturally. Saying “yes” to taking on a project you aren’t fully excited about becomes way less tempting because you now know that the spot at the base of your skull will not be happy and will ache until the project ends. It will probably even ache for a few more days as you recover from making that bad choice. The image above reminds me of how beautiful things, like better choices, are offshoots of a larger, well-cared-for body.

Today, we’re going to do another 5-minute exercise that will hopefully inspire you to spend some quiet time with your body. Click through to get the details on this exercise. –Caitlin

Image above: Helen Dealtry for Design*Sponge downloads

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Studio Tour: Estelle Briedis

Studio Tour: Estelle Briedis, Design*Sponge

Studio Tour: Estelle Briedis

At only 22 years of age, surface designer and screen printer Estelle Briedis is slowly proving to her fellow Australians, and the world, that she has a serious knack for creating gorgeous and mesmerizing patterns. The detail, colors and their handmade nature makes each one appear so polished, you’d hardly believe they all start with simple ink drawings of architectural elements.

As she begins a new creation, Estelle will wander through New South Wales’ museums and galleries, getting inspiration from structural details such as archways and other flourishes. She looks up, down and all around, her eyes squinting through the peephole of her favorite tool: a teleidoscope. As she moves around each space, the device creates reflective patterns out of what she sees through a small hole. (The process is similar to how a kaleidoscope creates imagery out of the beads inside it.) It sounds simple, but it’s vital to every one of her creations.

Once she finds a tessellation she loves and the ink drawing of it is set, the final design is repeated through a screen-printing process before it’s given touches of watercolor to truly make it stand out. And stand out they do. From housewares and fashion accessories in pink and fucsia to curtains in salmon, her hard work sure does yield great results. Click through to take a closer look at her process and the space where she brings it all together. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Estelle Briedis

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12 Pretty & Functional Ways to Style Your Bedside Table

A Stool As A Side Table Perfect For Small Spaces On Design*Sponge

12 Pretty & Functional Ways to Style Your Bedside Table

Good bedside styling is two-fold. First comes the art of deciding what essentials you want on display and which ones you want to tuck away. Do you opt for beautiful packaging for your lip balm and face cream so they can be proudly out all the time? Or, does that feel excessive, and you instead love the comfort and ease of shoving anything you don’t want out in the open into a drawer or basket? Once you’ve decided what you want to leave out as part of your bedside vignette (it doesn’t have to be complicated, “vignette” sounds fancy, but it’s really just a little scene) we’re onto what type of bedside table style best suits you and your space.

If you’ve got the room, you can go as big as you like! We’ve gathered some of our favorite options that offer more than enough storage (we’re looking at you, vintage medicine cabinet with luxuriously suede-lined drawers!) and even some with enough room to function for multiple purposes. If you’re in a more compact space, we also have found shelf bedside alternatives, a fold-down table option, and even skipping the table altogether and opting for a tray. We’re also sharing examples of how to make your table look less crowded (hint, limited color palette), and great ways to use baskets to extend your bedside essential area. —Rebekah

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A Historical Townhouse Filled with Charming Details in Columbus, OH

Serial renovators and DIYers, Catherine and Bryan share their project-filled historic home in Columbus, OH.

A Historical Townhouse Filled with Charming Details in Columbus, OH

Excited by the bustling development in Columbus, OH’s downtown area, Bryan and Catherine Williamson decided to make the move from NYC. The couple loved the big city amenities that Columbus had to offer, but still felt it was “small” enough to make their own mark in the area. Daydreaming of brick city streets and sidewalks and perfectly preserved homes, they kept a close eye on German Village – a historic neighborhood right outside of downtown.

Once their previous home was listed, they knew they had to take the plunge. “When this townhome came on the market, we knew it was the perfect next step for us,” Catherine shares. Updating, remodeling, renovating, and even just maintaining a historic home can be an overwhelming and daunting task, but for renovating fanatics like Bryan and Catherine, it’s a way of life.

Over the past three years, the couple found their calling in home renovation and design. After documenting their first remodel in 2013 on their blog, Beginning in the Middle, they fell in love with transforming spaces and have since renovated half a dozen homes and tackled a few client projects before taking on their historic early-1900s townhouse. Using creativity in their design projects and savvy shopping skills to stay within a budget, they always manage to keep their designs inspirational, relatable, and full of unique characater.

For those of us with an affinity for historic homes, there is always a sigh of relief when one falls in the hands of respectful and responsible stewards. Each design choice from Bryan and Catherine comes from their genuine love for their home’s history. “We were inspired by what was already there – the woodwork, transoms, 10-foot ceilings, and other original details,” Catherine shares. Throughout their home, the couple worked to highlight the charming details while still managing to add their personal touch to each space. –Tawnee

Photography by Esther Jung

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2016 Gift Guides: Donations + Supporting Causes and People You Love

2016 Gift Guides: Donations + Supporting Causes and People You Love

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Every year when gift guide season rolls around, I feel a bit uneasy sliding into a sea of shopping posts. We’ve tried to slowly shift D*S away from buying new and toward DIY and vintage for a while now, but I know that gifts and products are a big part of this season and we have a few great posts lined up to help you find well-made, high-quality pieces to give to your friends, family and loved ones this year.

This year I wanted to start the holiday shopping season with a few ideas for anyone that is foregoing traditional, product-based gifts and would like to focus on experience gifts, donations, handmade ideas or giving back in ways that don’t involve a trip to the store. I’d love to hear any suggestions or favorite ideas you might have. I’m always looking for new ways to give meaningful moments, objects or donations to people and causes that matter to our community. I hope these ideas will come in handy! xo, grace

*Photo above and below by India Hobson and Swallows & Damsons

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Autumn Flowers by Swallows & Damsons

Autumn Flowers by Swallows & Damsons

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For the past 12 years, I’ve started today by sitting down at my desk to write a Thanksgiving note. Like every year, I am so very thankful to have this place to express my gratitude and thanks for this community and the people here at DS that make this place possible. We are all so lucky to get to work with and talk to amazingly talented, kind and special people like all of you every day.

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But unlike previous years, this year I am genuinely struggling to find feelings of hope and promise while so many others are struggling to find safe spaces to live, enough food to eat and to provide basic care for their families. So today I wanted to take a moment and share a few links for anyone who would like to take this time to give back, in any way, to those in need. Whether you open your home and table to someone in need, volunteer at your local food bank, donate to a cause (like the ACLU or supporting American Indians in the Dakota Pipeline protests) or group of people in need or take a moment to make and share appreciation for those in your community who need your support, I hope you’ll join us in making sure this holiday and the idea of giving thanks are the focus.

If you’d like to make something to bring to people in your area who could use your support, love and help, here are some things you can make and bring. Below is an idea for a floral arrangement you can make using autumn clippings that would be great to deliver to a local shelter or center that is caring for others this holiday. Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday to everyone. Love, grace

Photos by India Hobson, text and flowers below by Swallows & Damsons

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12 Reasons to Embrace Velvet at Home

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12 Reasons to Embrace Velvet at Home

Whenever fall rolls around, I start transitioning from lightweight summer fabrics to something richer and heavier. I swap out soft cotton throws for heavier wool ones, and a little part of me is always tempted to invest in jewel-toned velvet upholstery that looks and feels like a rich, textured hug. I’ve been eyeing jade- and emerald-colored sofas online for years now, so today I thought I’d share some of my favorite velvet sofas, chairs, ottomans and other home accessories that will help bring a little warmth, texture and color into your home this season. Don’t miss the hot pink velvet bench — that one is too pretty for words. xo, grace

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