d*s book

d*s book preview: home tours

by Grace Bonney

Now that we’ve gotten a look at how the outside of Design*Sponge at Home came together, it’s time to dive inside the book! Over the new few weeks, I’ll be sharing first looks inside the book and all of the chapters, from home tours to makeovers. Today I’m starting with the first chapter of the book: home tours!

*Photos above and below from Kin Lee’s Brooklyn home, shot by Johnny Miller

When I first thought about writing a book, I knew I wanted home tours to play a big part. But I didn’t want to simply recycle home tours that we’d already run on the blog before. I wanted to make sure that well over half of what we ran was brand new and hadn’t been run anywhere (including on D*S) before. So when I signed the book contract, I immediately started calling and emailing around like crazy. Within two months, we were able to gather, shoot and edit over 40 new houses and apartments to include in the book. We ended up editing those down a bit and combining them with our all-time favorites from the D*S archives to complete the first giant chapter of the book: 65 gorgeous homes.

Once the editing was done, I didn’t stop there. I wanted you to get as much as possible out of every single home, so Amy and I set out to write sidebars for each home that included design history “lessons,” decorating tips, shopping/sourcing tips and — my favorite — floral arrangements (with how-tos!) inspired by rooms in the book. No matter what form your inspiration takes, I wanted everyone reading to have multiple ways to experience, enjoy and interpret these home tours. After the jump, I’ll show you a preview of more beautiful homes and the sidebars we created for each. xo, grace

*You can pre-order Design*Sponge at Home (including internationally) right here.

More homes and book page previews after the jump . . .

Lynda Gardener is one of my favorite design personalities from Australia. So when I started thinking about home tours, I knew her homes would be on my must-have list. Lynda is blessed with not one but TWO gorgeous homes, and we were excited to feature both in the book. I wanted to crawl inside all of the beautiful bedrooms in her home and take a nap, but I also wanted to do about a million projects inspired by her home decor. So her home inspired our first sidebar type: floral how-tos!

If you look at the actual book page scan above (the last image above), you’ll see the sidebar of home story has a tiny flower arrangement. We were inspired by the vintage trophies she had in the bedroom, so we worked with Sarah Ryhanen from Saipua to create an easy arrangement that anyone reading could make on their own. I love flowers as much as the next person, but for me, this was really about showing people how many different ways you can be inspired by the decor in someone’s home. It’s not always about literal translations or copying — maybe you’re inspired by a pattern and decide to turn it into your own custom wallpaper (like Adam’s home below), or maybe you pull inspiration for a color palette to create a flower arrangement that reminds you of their space. Anything can be a jumping off point for a new idea, so I wanted these home tours to give you as many ideas and tools as possible.

Genifer Sohr’s home is a favorite of most people I know, so I knew it had to be one of my “best of” choices for the book. We re-shot her beautiful space with the help of Tec Petaja (you can see Tec’s home here), and I immediately fell in love with one of my favorite color combinations: gray and just about any other color. Her gray kitchen dining area with pops of hot pink, red and yellow inspired me to dive back into my favorite color of all time. I love how neutral gray can be depending on its undertones. She chose a wide variety of grays for the house, and each one feels fresh and modern with the surrounding decor.

What I also loved about Genifer’s home was the “modern cabin” feel she nailed so perfectly. She didn’t fight the home’s natural cabin style, but she also didn’t give up on modernizing it a bit and finding ways to inject color and pattern (like the Orla Kiely wallpaper and sweet pink plaid blankets). We loved the girly cabin feel so much we decided to have Sarah make an arrangement inspired by this home as well (with a birch-wrapped vase how-to), which you can see on the page scan above.

Adam Silverman of Atwater Pottery and Heath Ceramics LA is one of my favorite artists. His home tour is a personal favorite of mine and is a great example of how two talented artists can live together in the same space and combine styles successfully. I love all the dark paneling in the room and the decorative molding — Adam and his wife really stayed true to the architectural details of their LA home while still adding touches of their personal style to every room.

I loved that their dining room included a wallpaper design that Adam’s wife created on her own, so for this home tour’s sidebar, we researched custom wallpaper sources where you can turn your own drawings, patterns and photos into wallpaper for your home. I included my favorite resources in the page spread above in the hopes that someone else would be inspired to customize their home the way Adam and his wife did.

Rosie O’Neil’s described her home as a real-life Barbie Dream House, and I couldn’t agree more. I love the way she celebrates pink, purple and other “girlyness” in a way that feels contemporary and cool and not cutesy and juvenile. Her dining room showcases a stunning Moroccan wedding blanket that inspired a great design history sidebar from Amy. We knew that pieces like this one (along with other classic design icons) were interesting to most young homeowners/renters, but we don’t all know the history and importance behind these pieces. So for homes like this that feature great antique or vintage pieces, Amy researched the item and provided an easy-to-understand history “lesson” in the sidebar, so you can walk away from the home tour knowing everything you need to know about these pieces that often pop up in homes. My goal was to have people not only walk away inspired by beautiful homes, but educated about them, too.

Design*Sponge at Home features over 65 amazing homes from small to large, and from as far away as Singapore and as close to our home as my very neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. It was such a pleasure to really celebrate all of the different ways people create a home that speaks to their style, and I hope you’ll enjoy this section as much as we did. (I also hope you’ll enjoy how flippable this section is; almost every tour has a call-out to another section of the book where you can learn more or make something inspired by the home.)

You can pre-order and read more about Design*Sponge at Home right here. xo, grace

Suggested For You


  • So many things to like about that place, but I especially love the metal-back chairs and the platform next to the bathtub.

  • I really like the concept of taking one piece of inspiration from someone’s home in the book and finding a creative way to incorporate into your own. It’s the perfect way to decorate with style when you’re on a budget.

  • I desperately need the name of that brown paint in the Adam Silverman photo. That’s the exact shade of brown I want for my living room.

  • Oh oh oh. I love the education part of it! So many design-minded people just expect you to know what this-and-that vintage item is or where it originated… And some of us need a little background info! Love love!

  • The book looks so fabulous, I have pre-ordered it and can’t wait. But, please, please Grace don’t show too much of it here! I think it will spoil the anticipation and joy of opening the book for the first time. An interiors book was recently released by another high profile blogger and by the time I received my copy I felt that I’d already seen the entire book. It left me feeling a little let down.
    Maybe I should just skip these posts in future.;)
    Congratulations the book looks truly gorgeous.

  • Grace, this is amazing! I am so excited about this book. I am from Penang, Malaysia and a big fan of this blog :) Please let me know when you will launch this book. I might need to get my friend in San Francisco to grab one & bring it back for me in August.

    Cheers, Joanne

  • As soon as I see desks + books I think . . home.(love the library here!!)
    I would love to tap into the trigger elements that make most of us like the “feel” of decor and house style.
    There must be common pieces we all are swayed by seeing – no matter how different we all are.

  • Ohhh big congratulations Grace! I have also pre-ordered the book and this sneak peek only makes me even more excited! Those photos are just so beautiful, and I love the level of detail/thought that has gone into creating the sidebars for each home. Wonderful. I can only imagine the amount of work that has gone into this book. Well done, you should be so proud.

    • Hi Carolyn! We’ll be in Philly on December 1! Hope you can come out and say hi! amy :)

  • Well I really admire this post..really beautiful…… It’s not always about literal translations or copying — maybe you’re inspired by a pattern and decide to turn it into your own custom wallpaper (like Adam’s home below), or maybe you pull inspiration for a color palette to create a flower arrangement that reminds you of their space. ..

  • It’s funny, at first when i looked at these pictures i didn’t think they where that special, and i thought to my self that there have been posted plenty of more fabolous homes here, but i was doing other stuff at my computer as well and every 10 minutes i reopened this post, and this home began to amaze me more and more. Now it’s been an hour since i opened this for the first time, and now i absolute love it, one of the best homes ever been posted here.

    I love the details (because they are everywhere! without being too much) and the fact that it is obviously a comfortable place to live. I love it!

  • Is there any way to find out where the black and white shower curtain in the little green bathroom came from? I need it in my life.