Best of the Webweekly wrap up

Signing Off: My Favorite Posts & A Heartfelt Goodbye

by Maxwell Tielman

When I first started blogging in 2002, way back when unloading all of your teenage angst onto LiveJournal was all the rage, I don’t think I, let alone anybody, could have predicted the way that this medium would transform. Even as I went through high school, uploading photographs, videos, artwork, and musings to my TypePad site, I saw it more as a hobby — something that could be used as a creative outlet and a way to connect with people around the world — but never as an actual career or way of living. Flash forward over 10 years, and I find myself in the bizarre and brilliantly wonderful position of being able to put all of the random skills I had accumulated throughout my awkward teen years to use (who knew that futzing around with Blogger templates could have been so useful?), and in a way that lets me engage with some of the things I love most — art, food, design, and decor.

When I first started at Design*Sponge as an intern, I was thrilled to just be able to meet and talk to people who shared this strange conglomeration of nerdy interests, people who saw the internet and that oh so divisive vocation — Blogging — as something wonderful; a way to share personal opinions, beautiful findings, and creative projects. Throughout my time as an editor at this fabulous corner of the web, I have grown more than I ever thought possible, met some of the most awe-inspiringly talented people I could ever hope to meet, and had the opportunity to do something that is a rarity in this world: to do what I absolutely love and support myself doing it.

There is a moment in every situation, however, when it is time to move on. It is with a deep sadness, but a hopeful optimism that I let you all know that, for me, that time is today. Next week, I will be starting at a new job, as Creative Director at an interior design startup called Décor Aid. While I am so excited for what the future holds, there are no words to express how I am feeling right now; how grateful I am for all of the kindness, generosity, and support that I have received not just from my wonderful coworkers at Design*Sponge, but the entire Design*Sponge reader community as a whole. All I can say is that I see amazing, bright things on the horizon and have all the best thoughts for the future.

To Grace, our extraordinary, visionary Editor-In-Chief; to Caitlin, our tireless, passionate Brand Director; to Kelli, our wonderful Team Manager; to Kristina, Shannon, Sabrina, Garrett, Lauren, Francesca, Stephanie, Amy, Silka, Kate, and any of the other incredible individuals I have had the honor and pleasure of working with during my time here — thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You are all ROCK STARS and I am so happy to have met you.

This is, I hope, not the end of my relationship with Design*Sponge and its readers, but the start of something new. This will be my last post as a full-time member of the D*S team, but I have plans to pop-in to say hi and contribute on a freelance basis whenever possible. I would like to end my time here the way that I started: on a high note. I’ve put together a slideshow of some of my favorite projects that I have worked on while at Design*Sponge, from entertaining stories to home tours. Enjoy! xoxoxoxo —Max

[Editor’s Note: I’ve had the honor of working alongside over 40 writers during the past 10 years of running Design*Sponge. Each and every one of them has been a joy to work with and while we are all so sad to say goodbye to Max, we are so proud of him and wish him the best of luck at his new job. He is a bright and talented writer, designer and photographer and I can’t wait to see what this next chapter brings. xo, grace]

One of my very first posts for D*S, I still love how these electronic "bookplates" for iPads and iPhones turned out.
Throwing parties—even fake ones—is one of my passions. With this Back-To-School party for September 2012, I got to go wild with all my favorite kitschy obsessions.
I guess I have a bit of a thing for school supplies? This feature on the history of Pink Pearl erasers was completed for my old "Art In The Everyday" column, a series that looked into the stories of everyday objects.
One of the things I'm proudest about during my time at Design*Sponge was getting to sing the praises of my favorite city in the world—my hometown, Buffalo, NY. This was the first (and only) city guide that I completed for Design*Sponge and I had an insanely fun time putting it together.
Shortly after starting at Design*Sponge, I took over the long-standing "Living In" column. My first entry to the series featured one of my favorite movies of all time, the brilliant Harriet The Spy.
For a short while, I authored a tiny DIY column geared towards students living in dorms. One of my first entries was this project for washi tape picture frames, a project I am still in love with.
Knitting is one of my favorite things to do on a chilly day, so it was a treat to be able to work with illustrator Caitlin Keegan on this guide to the basics of knitting.
Another favorite "101" feature, this one pertaining to photographing interiors. Whether it's for your Instagram or your personal blog, these timeless tips are a great starting point to getting the pictures you want.
One of my favorite entertaining stories that I did at Design*Sponge. This feature on the cookbook Little Paris Kitchen was photographed at our former Managing Editor, Amy Azzarito's apartment and featured a ton of fun DIYs that I got to make.
I'm not really a football fan, but throwing parties about football? That's a different story. The Design*Sponge team and I had a total blast putting on fake jerseys and jumping around with gold pom-poms for this shoot.
This photo is from my "Current Obsessions for Spring 2013" post. I was really feeling the nautical vibe at that time and really loved the way the photos turned out.
One of my favorite series that I worked on was Design Icons, a collaboration between me and illustrator Libby VanderPloeg.
Another favorite series, this one the Flower Glossary that Grace and I collaborated on. I love the photos!
This entertaining story on putting together an "Old Fashioned Parlor Game Party" was so much fun to work on—especially that wreath made out of playing cards.
I worked with Brooklyn's Six Points Brewery for this Beer-Tasting entertaining story, made for St. Patrick's Day.
Getting a chance to meet the brilliant Tom Oldham for this 10 Second Studio Tour was definitely one of the highlights of my time at D*S.
It was such a pleasure to be able to feature (and photograph!) the Kingston, NY home of one of my dearest friends, John McKinney.
Illustration isn't something that I do often, but I had such a great time making the images for this printable Natural Dyes chart from last summer.
One of the best things about my job at Design*Sponge was getting to peek into the work spaces of some of my favorite artists and designers. This tour of Blackcreek Mercantile's studio was a highlight.
I wanted to spend forever in the Kingston home of Darby Nowatka and Justin Rice. This was one of my favorite homes to shoot from the last year.

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  • Congrats, Max! I’ll really miss your contributions here – I’ve been a fan since you first started with Design*Sponge and always love your posts and writing style.

  • Best of luck on your next adventure. I really enjoyed your Art in the Every Day column and your essays. Did you pass your drivers test?

  • Aw…Sweet Max! As a devoted D*S reader, I’ll miss seeing your voice peppered through these posts.

    I’m sure you’ll thrive in every career endeavor that you’ll choose for yourself. You’re a talented writer — and I’ve always been fond of your photographic + design eye.

    Enjoy your adventure.


  • This is so sad to hear but I can say with absolute conviction that I’ve truly enjoyed all your posts, Max, they’ve both inspired and informed in more ways than one. Good luck in all your new ventures and wishing you all the best!

    With love ♥︎ »Paris by Friday

  • All the best to you, Max! As a transplanted Buffalonian, I appreciate the shout-outs to Buffalo and Western New York.

  • I look forward everyday for your entries. I will miss you. Best of luck in your new adventure. Will you be visible to us there?

  • Good luck, Max! I know you’ll do splendidly in whatever you do! I loved reading your essays here on DS, and like the other commenters I hope we’ll read the occasional article or essay here. <3

  • I almost had a heart attack, glancing at the title and mindlessly jumping to the conclusion that D*S would be no longer. Till I actually read the post and took note of its author. DUH, Linda.

    Good luck to you Max! I’m so happy for you. Thanks for all the amazing-ness you’ve supplied us with :)

  • Best wishes to you, Max! Working on the design and style icons series with you was an amazing experience, and I’m very proud to have collaborated with you on it. Thank you for all your brilliant, fun, and engaging writing over the years. Keep up the great work! -libby

  • Linda, I had the same reaction, which I think is due at least in part to the fact that bylines that don’t stand out prominently on each post. (The other factor, for me, probably, is knowing that other bloggers, i.e., Young House Love, have closed shop.)

    That said–good luck, Max!

  • You will be missed Max!
    And, for the record, your Buffalo City Guide was the best one I’ve ever read. I still spout off random facts from it and feel kinda smart!
    Good luck.

  • May the best of all good things come your way. As your influence grows, please think beyond the furs, hides, taxidermy heads, feathers and unfairly cheaply produced goods, to the beings at the other end. Thanks for rescuing dogs. I enjoy peeking in at Manhattan Nest. ‘Hope you’ve been to the NYSW Festival in Rhinebeck. Kingston is lovely. Enjoy your next adventure.

  • Best of luck, Max! I follow your husband’s site, so maybe I’ll see you around there. I’ll miss you here, though!

  • Good luck with your new job, Max. Like others I will miss your voice here so I’m glad that you’ll be popping in to freelance. You’re a sophisticated yet sincere writer, and it would be a shame if we lost you entirely :)

  • Congrats Max! Thanks for sharing this exciting news with us. While it’s sad to see you go it’s exciting to hear/see when people move and what they’re moving on to.

    Btw, did I miss Amy’s farewell post when she left? Or, did she opt out?

    • Amy and Cora,

      Thank you for your heartfelt best wishes for Max and thoughts about Amy. She was indeed an incredibly important and integral part of this team. As you can imagine, not all endings are the same, but we wish Amy all the best in her new projects and life on the west coast. She is an incredibly talented person and has a new book coming in the next year or two. We will most likely update here when there’s more info on her book launch.


  • Nooooooooo !!

    I’m going to miss your posts Max. Thank god DS isn’t going anywhere, I’d be heartbroken. Thank you for all those interesting and thought-provoking posts, and good luck with your new job !

  • Good luck, Max! Your voice will be misses, but I do hope to read from time to time your freelance posts here on DS.
    It would have been nice to have a similar post when Amy A left the team, she was such an important member for a while

  • Max, best of luck, thank you for you the fantastic feature you styled for my cookbook launch. You’re so talented I know you will shine wherever you work. You will be missed! xx

  • I just started reading Design Sponge and already a goodbye. I have big ambitions (blog ambitions?) to start my own blog and in this one post of yours I found so much inspiration! You in your teens and me in my retirement…I guess it’s never too early and never too late. Thank you so much and best wishes to you.

  • I have had the pleasure of reading your posts from the very beginning, Max, and have enjoyed watching how you’ve matured as a writer. I love how you shared your heart and soul with us and I look forward to being surprised with your next visit here on Design Sponge. Very best wishes as you start this exciting new chapter in your wonderful life!

  • Congrats on the new job Max! Sounds like such a cool job. Like everyone else, I’ll miss you at D*S but will keep up via MN. Loving the Bluestone Cottage project btw! Best of luck and I’ll be keeping an eye out for future guest posts.

    Take care!

  • Oh, Max! Your posts will be so missed! I hope you stop by to guest post often! Best of luck, and all kinds of happiness!

  • It was by chance that I stumbled upon this site and have thoroughly enjoyed your blog. You will be missed but wish you all my best in your new adventure.

  • This bums me out! I could always spot your posts by their effortlessly mellifluous prose—and I mean that as a compliment. My favourite writing on D*S. You’ll be missed!

  • Max, It was so nice to meet and get to work with you a bit. Always enjoyed reading your essays and seeing your photos. Good luck at the new job!!

  • I hope your new adventure is everything that you dream it will be. Doing new things is how we grow and develop into the people we are meant to be. Good luck.

  • Max,
    It was wonderful meeting you at the NSS last year. Best of luck with your new adventure! I have no doubt you will excel in anything you put your mind too! Best, Dawn

  • Good luck at the new job. Thanks for being part of a team that inspired my life for the better. Tally Ho You Go

  • Oh man! I just came searching for Max wondering why I hadn’t seen a post from him in a while. Max is such a great writer – I wish him the best!!

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