Home Ec: How to Pick the Right Plant for Your Space

Now, before you run off to buy your new plants, be sure to consider HUMIDITY. If you plant is drying up and the leaves are curling, it needs more water. Consider sitting your plant on a tray with pebbles and water, so the evaporating water can be pulled into the plant to keep it moist.  *Succulents don't need much or any humidity, so be sure not to over water them!

Home Ec: How to Pick the Right Plant for Your Space

Everyone has that one thing they splurge on when they need a little pick me up. For some it’s fancy coffee drinks, others run to makeup or new music. But for me, it’s plants. Whether I’m feeling happy or sad, I always always want to bring home a new little plant to add to my collection. There’s something about having a living growing thing in your home that feels so special and adds so much energy to your space. It’s taken me years to finally figure out how to care for plants and find the right space for them, but it’s a learning curve that has taught me so much about patience, timing and perseverance. Now I have a collection of at least 12 houseplants around me at all times, from tiny Muehlenbeckia vines (my favorite) to huge begonias that seem to have their own personalities. One of the hardest things I learned was how to find the right plant for the right space. Light, humidity and placement have so much to do with the success of a plant, so I decided to devote today’s Home Ec post to the basic placement of house plants. Whether you’re trying out your first succulent or growing a whole family of oxalis on the windowsill, this will help you get started on the right foot. Happy Planting! xo, grace

*Click here to check out some of our favorite plants from homes over the years.

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10 Candles for Winter Vibes

The Sydney Hale company in VA makes my favorite candles, hands down. This scent, Clementine & Clove, reminds me of holiday pomanders. And 10% of the cost goes to support dog rescue! ($30)

10 Candles for Winter Vibes

Even though the blizzard didn’t hit us in Ulster County as much as we worried it would, it still feels like a winter wonderland around here. But unfortunately, it doesn’t smell like one. Between the smell of wet dog and all the wet paint and dust floating around, nothing smells quite as cozy and wintery as I’d like. Now that I can’t get away with having a Christmas tree in the house anymore (oh, the smell!), I want to hold on to some of those vibes with candles that make me feel like everything is warm and forest-y. So if you need a little holiday scent vacation in your home, I hope these candles will help. xo, grace

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DIY Dotted Wall Clock

DIY Dotted Wall Clock

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It’s the time of year when we make ourselves all sorts of promises to be organized, stay on top of tasks and work in a more focused way. For me, that means the age-old technique of timing. I’ve always worked best when up against a deadline as so many of us do. Knowing that a certain task needs to be done — and done quickly — has a way of snapping me into action without getting sidetracked and checking Instagram quite as much. So instead of waiting for allotted deadlines to get things done, I’m imposing my own smaller and much more achievable timed goals. To keep an eye on the time and make sure I am working within the deadlines (without having to look at my phone) I’ve made this dotted clock to help keep me on track. -Fran

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Hyland Mather

Artwork by Hyland Mather from #lostobject

Hyland Mather

Now that I seem to spend a good deal of time working upstate on our home and finding weird old bits and bobs in every nook and cranny of the home, I’ve been thinking about a lot of my favorite assemblage artists. Working with found and recycled materials isn’t a new idea, but so many artists and designers seem to be embracing this method with a sense of renewed excitement. Last week while I was on Instagram I came across the work of Hyland Mather, via a photo that Levi Higgs shared in our current hashtag challenge, #DSShapes. Hyland is an artist and art dealer based in Amsterdam who specializes in beautiful artwork and installations that highlight found materials. We’re still covered in snow up here in New York, so this jolt of color is just what I needed today. These pieces are favorites of mine from Hyland’s #lostobject series, but you can click here and here to check out more of Hyland’s work and here to check out a tour of his home! xo, grace

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Maximalist Style Outside of Chicago

The dining room as seen from the living room. "The walls are decked with works from art school friends and a few family treasures," Peaches says. "The Cesca dining chairs came from a thrift store, and although they were a nostalgic purchase (my parents had Cesca style chairs around their dining table when I was a kid), they are unbelievably comfortable. A good dinner party can last four to six hours easily, but most dining chairs will hurt your back after two. No good. Cesca chairs are the best!"

Maximalist Style Outside of Chicago

There’s a reason, I think, that head-to-toe black has remained a consistently popular sartorial choice throughout time, and bare white walls have been in vogue since the rise of Modernism — they’re easy to pull off. When it comes to dressing yourself or your home, introducing color always comes with a bit of risk; the more that is added, the more chances there are for it to turn out badly. Colors and patterns can clash, things can get lost in chaos, and combinations that might sound wonderful on paper can turn out to be horribly unflattering in real life. One wrong move, and you can be sent spiraling off into the realm of kitsch. This is why I have deep admiration for people who can not only pull off wild excesses of color, but actually take them to a place that is beautiful — a place that doesn’t employ color for color’s sake, but instead uses color to create something deeply unique and personal. Peaches Freund, a freelance designer and the author of the blog Aunt Peaches, is one of these people.

Located on one floor of a 1900 Victorian home in Evanston, IL, Peaches’ home is small in size, but positively gigantic in personality. Walking through this 800-square-foot home, one’s eyes are hardly ever (scratch that, never) at a loss for something to look at. Bright, neon colors brush elbows with bold patterns; white walls are covered floor-to-ceiling with art. Objects that seem to have no place together — miniature disco balls on a crystal chandelier or a leopard-print chair at a polka dot desk — seem right at home, forming unusual friendships that for some strange reason just work. “The ‘spirit’ of the place comes from the fact that nearly everything in my house is handmade, or secondhand,” Peaches notes. “I did a lot of sculpture work in college, and as the result of that, I see every object as carrying a certain sort energy. When you start considering the original composition of things, the spirit with which they were made, you value them much more.” She pauses. “That’s my long-winded way of saying I have hoarder tendencies.”

I think this is what I love the most about Peaches’ home — every single thing in it, no matter how off-kilter or jarring, seems to have been acquired with love and displayed with intention. Although she confesses to having a thing for camp objects (“I’m obsessed with early 1980s sitcom set design,” she says), this love seems devoid of irony — it is earnest, celebratory, and feels refreshingly authentic. “Perhaps it might look cluttered to others,” Peaches says, “but they don’t have to live here! My home makes me happy. I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.” —Max

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16 Unique Valentines For That Special Someone

Create custom-designed temporary tattoos with your Valentine's message using the Makr app.

16 Unique Valentines For That Special Someone

I don’t know about you, but when I’m trying to find that perfect Valentine’s card for that perfect person, the greeting card aisle of the grocery store never seems to cut it. Convenient though it may be, this sea of indistinguishable, dime-a-dozen hearts, teddy bears, and chocolate boxes can leave a lot to be desired — especially if you’re trying to make a lasting impression. If the greeting card aisle is finding you equally uninspired this year, we’ve handpicked a few great Valentines that are sure to get a smile from your significant other. From cards with charming artwork to truly out-of-the-box greetings, these are perfect for when ordinary just won’t do. —Max

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Life & Business: Anna Joyce

Life & Business: Anna Joyce

Life and Business: Anna Joyce

It’s easy to make excuses, especially when it comes to your career and your dreams. Life’s short and it often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day, or that you’re too far behind to start now. And, truthfully, running a business is hard. Excuses can pile up easily for why you’re not chasing after that thing you’ve always wanted, but at its core, often the only thing holding you back is yourself. It’s never too late to start – and Anna Joyce, who could, by all means, give every excuse in the book, is proof of that. Anna’s is a story of resilience and getting back on the saddle, galloping after her passion. On top of being a mother and wife, and having been told “no,” Anna has found the time to build a brand, make all of her pieces by hand and write a book. Today Anna is taking us inside her business to chat about following your passion, trusting your instincts, the value of a great photo and how failure is often another opportunity in disguise. –Sabrina

Portrait photo by Dane Tashima. Photography by Lisa Warniner, styling by Chelsea Fuss.

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Hotel Turned Beautiful, Efficient Apartment in Portland

Casey wanted furniture with open, light frames to keep the space from feeling heavy. She found this couch on Craigslist for $100 and had it reupholstered in a grey wool blend tough enough to stand up to use by Casey and her dog Winston.

Hotel Turned Beautiful, Efficient Apartment in Portland

My first apartment living alone was a 390-square-foot oddity. The door opened into a main room that was more like a wide hallway, too small to fit more than one piece of living room furniture. A curtain turned the front into a makeshift bedroom and dining area and my couches ended up in the technical bedroom. It’s what worked in the strange space and it’s all I could do to functionally — and somewhat beautifully — live there. When Casey Keasler moved to downtown Portland, OR, two years ago, she knew it would be important for her to find a home she could work out of, share with an assistant, find historical significance in and walk easily to and from downtown with her dog, Winston. She found everything she needed, except excess space, in this two-room apartment in a 1914 hotel converted into rental units. Looking at Casey’s Instagram account, you’d never know that her apartment is 365 square feet. Her perfectly proportioned furniture, design solutions and the gorgeous natural light pouring in makes her place feel airier than it is.

Casey is an interior designer who works for herself and from her home. Her use of the space to accomplish all of the various aspects of her life in the main room is pretty remarkable. Her lounge area with her couch and bar flows effortlessly into her small dining area. Since Casey loves to entertain, she’s created a space that achieves her hosting needs, despite the apartment’s small size. “The process is always evolving and organic. Come back in six months and things will have changed. The place is small, so it took me some adjusting to realize what I actually need on a day-to-day basis. I got rid of a lot of stuff,” Casey says. “I wanted the place to be a background for everything that I do. My place needs to have a life that can evolve. Because of my lifestyle, it needs to do many things, but also be a relaxing environment for me to live and work.” It’s one thing to create a functional space, but Casey has created a beautiful home as well. —Lauren

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Life & Business Profile: Karie Reinertson of Shelter

Life & Business Profile: Karie Reinertson of Shelter

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Karie Reinertson is one badass lady. She has worked for environmental nonprofit groups, was an intern and chef for a school in Vermont, and has traveled across the globe as a volunteer for environmental education centers. Today you can find Karie in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, NC with her husband and business partner, Rob, where they run SHELTER COLLECTIVE, which offers product design, event curation, and experimental and experiential projects. On top of this, Karie heads up SHELTER, a stream of SHELTER COLLECTIVE, where she designs and makes handbags from high-quality sustainable materials. As busy as Karie may be, she graciously took the time to chat with us about being multidisciplinary, patience, going with the flow and what to consider before starting your own business. –Sabrina

Portrait photo by Tim Robison, product photos by Karie Reinertson.

Read the full post after the jump!

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Pittsburgh, PA City Guide with Michael of The Urbanist Guide

Pittsburgh, PA City Guide with Michael of The Urbanist Guide

Pittsburgh, PA City Guide

One of the best things about traveling and discovering a new city is stumbling upon that fringe cafe or restaurant tucked away from the main strip — the unassuming spots that locals covet. This Pittsburgh guide is chock-full of those hidden gems, thanks to Michael McAllister, a publisher and editor at URBANIST Guide which produces free, fold-out, full color travel guides. Yes, that’s correct, it’s actually Michael’s job to explore cities, namely his hometown of Pittsburgh, a city with lots of history that’s undergoing a huge revival. The development of Pittsburgh has brought many jobs and, of course, countless new independent businesses and shops that Michael is eager to share with us today! Read on for the best Pittsburgh has to offer, from food and drinks to shopping and art. Sabrina

Photos by Laila Archuleta

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A Texas Home Infused With Organic Style

"If we didn't have to get up," Kelly says, "we would never leave the living room. All three of us [including pup, Ellie] pile on that couch, listening to records, drinking coffee, watching the sun set and rise. Behind the couch is a solid poplar bench with sliding dovetail joints, one of three I built in this room."

A Texas Home Infused With Organic Style

There is a big difference, I think, between so-called “relaxing” interiors and interiors that are “relaxed.” “Relaxing” interiors tend to be the purview of specialists, their soothing qualities (muted colors, soft textures, harmonious symmetry) meticulously orchestrated down to a T. Contrived with deliberation and purpose, these spaces are sort of like the Hannibal Lecters of interiors—well-coiffed, cool, and collected on the surface, but tightly-wound and more than a little off-kilter underneath. Think the intense tidiness of a luxury hotel or the clinical serenity of a hospital. Relaxed interiors, on the other hand, are ones that seem to exude calmness from a deeper level, from the inside-out, if you will. Allowed to evolve gradually over time, they are guided by impulse rather than overthinking, their sense of “rightness” a little more hard to pin down or define.

This is what I think I love most about designer Kelly DeWitt’s Webberville, Texas home. When she and her boyfriend, Travis, moved to this small town on the outskirts of Austin, they were looking for a place that would allow them to unwind after working at their respective businesses (Kelly builds furniture under the name KKDW and Travis works as a steel fabricator under the name TA Norman). “We wanted a space that felt like an escape after a full day of work,” Kelly says, “ostensibly after feeling very stimulated by design, and/or coming home sweaty, dusty, and tired.”

Built from the ground-up by their landlords five years ago, the home was pretty much move-in ready when they signed the lease, little more than a coat of paint needed in order to make it livable. This smooth transition is something that seems to have aided the couple in the long-run, allowing them to approach their homemaking with ease instead of urgency. Thus far, “it has been a pretty organic process,” Kelly says. “The house continues to take on different designs and moods, and every couple weeks, things will start to slightly shift around.” This organicism plays out in beautiful ways across the space, from a large-scale drawing tacked on the wall to a cluster of plants with leaves that spill languidly over their containers. The space is certainly considered, but in a way that allows for effortless change—it’s charming without being precious, beautiful without being ostentatious. “I wanted to create a retreat where I could let my mind wander, where I wouldn’t feel stifled, and where we could both let inspiration filter in naturally,” Kelly says. “I love being in my home.”

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A Bay-and-Gable Home in Ontario’s Arts & Culture Hub

A Bay-and-Gable Home in Hamilton, Ontario's Arts & Culture Hub

A Bay-and-Gable Home in Ontario’s Arts & Culture Hub

The city of Hamilton, Ontario has a tough past, but it is a city that’s increasingly getting attention for its rich, grassroots arts and culture community (watch for an updated city guide coming soon!). Hamilton is slowly becoming the cousin of Toronto and neighbors me in Milton. I’ve actually spent the last few weekends there exploring its vastly different neighborhoods and casually browsing open houses. With countless beautiful streets lined with Victorian homes, hundreds of waterfalls and castles, and a strong arts scene, it’s no wonder why creatives Hollie Pocsai and Mike Jerome chose to call it home. Their early 1900s bay-and-gable style Victorian house is shared with their cats Tanooki and Meatbulb (yes!) and is close to the downtown core, which was on their “must-have” list when they were house hunting just over five years ago.

Hollie owns and runs White Elephant, two boutiques focusing on Canadian-made and handmade goods, and Mike is a graphic and motion designer, so being situated in the heart of the arts and small business community is priceless for them. Complete with all of the dreamy old home features such as pocket doors, super-wide trim, original plaster ceiling medallions and a lush, private backyard, they also discovered some not-so-welcome surprises when they moved in: Walls caked with over eight layers of wallpaper and original hardwood floors that were painted salmon pink! Their home continues to be a work in progress, but it’s a labor of love they wouldn’t trade for anything. “I think I’m closer to striking a balance between everything falling apart and everything coming together,” laughs Hollie. There’s just something about this perfect imperfection that I think makes a home more beautiful. –Sabrina

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Studio Tour: Honeycomb Studio

Studio Tour: Honeycomb Studio

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One of my deepest, unwavering goals in life is to grow into one of those tragically cool older women who have a white, asymmetrical bob and spend their days throwing pots in their home ceramics studio. Maybe I was a potter or an art teacher in another life, but there’s always been a part of me that longs to spend days in a studio working on plates, pots and vases. For that reason, I tend to hang around potters’ studios, hoping one of them will casually ask me to assist them. That day is probably pretty far off, so in the meantime I continue to admire and look up to people who are full-time potters and ceramicists.

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Courtney Hamill is the founder and owner of Honeycomb Studio, a small batch porcelain shop based in Atlanta, GA. We’ve written about her beautiful work before, but I was happy to hear from her last month and get a little peek inside her sunny West Midtown studio. Every piece Courtney makes is handmade, whether it’s cast from an original mold or thrown on her wheel, so each piece is completely unique. I love seeing where her work comes to life, so I’m thrilled to share a glimpse inside her studio today, photographed by Whitney Ott. Thanks so much to Courtney for sharing her space with us! xo, grace

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Beyond The Bed: 12 Tips For The Best Guest Room Ever

A reading lamp and an alarm clock are nightstand essentials, but think about adding a few trays to corral loose items like wallets, change, glasses, and keys.

Beyond The Bed: 12 Tips For The Best Guest Room Ever

When it comes to dressing up your home, the guest bedroom can sometimes get the short end of the stick. While all the other rooms get tended to, the guest room often ends up with a mean case of middle-child syndrome: sad, forgotten, and possibly filled with broken furniture and underutilized exercise machines. It happens, we’ve all been there. A great, usable guest bedroom can be a wonderful thing to have in a home, though — especially if you frequently entertain friends and family. If you’re interested in getting on top of your guest room game — and creating a space that even you will want to spend the night in — here are 12 tips and essentials for making your guests feel right at home. —Max

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William Suran + Best of the Web

William Suran + Best of the Web

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I don’t know if it’s the cold weather or the endless sheets of ice on our driveway, but I’m craving color and freshness right now. I’m so ready for bright spring flowers and the sort of lushness that only comes at the beginning of spring, when everything is that yellow-green color of new growth. Sadly, everything outside will still be iced over for a few more months, but in the meantime I’ve been filling my screen with photos and paintings of beautiful flowers.

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These watercolors I found on Instagram are my absolute favorite right now and it turns out they’re by an artist, William Suran, just around the corner from us in Brooklyn. Whether you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by real versions of these or just need some color and beauty on your screen today, I hope you’ll enjoy William’s stunning watercolors as much as I did. You can follow William and see more of his work on Instagram, his website and at this gallery online. xo, grace

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