I’ve always found that the biggest stumbling block to becoming comfortable with DIY projects is getting your hands on materials that are affordable, comfortable and easy to transform into something special. Rather than fancy tools or hi-tech gadgets, I’ve always preferred to work with simpler materials like paper, cardboard, string and wood. They’re the sort of building blocks that aren’t intimidating and are easy to find. So to kickstart some winter crafting and maybe a new year where DIY is a bigger part of our lives, I wanted to share my five favorite materials to work with, and easy (but fun!) projects you can do with them. So whether you want to craft a giant paper flower or a new ottoman at home, I hope these ideas will get your craft train on track! xo, grace
Ever since we got a chance to use wallpaper in our house, I’ve had wallpaper on my mind. While my style tends to lean toward black and white patterns, I love this new “marble concrete” wallpaper from Dutch studio Lilesadi. Done in collaboration with Swedish wallpaper company Photowall, this new paper adds texture and depth to walls by also adding a bright bit of color. I love the way it feels like extending beautiful countertops to the wall in the best way possible. It’s as if your dream kitchen counters joined up with a great geometric pattern to create a mash-up wallpaper. The paper officially launches today, so if you want to check out the pattern in more detail or grab a roll for your house, click here to check it out. xo, grace
There’s no (or rarely) such thing as becoming an overnight success (and in my opinion, I think the term diminishes the hard work it likely took to get there). From the outside, it may sometimes seems like some people just make it one day or get lucky, but it’s more likely that the person spent a lot of time, energy and heart getting to a place where that’s even possible. And it’s even more likely that they got there with some help and advice along the way from friends, family, peers and mentors.
And that’s exactly what Christie Garton of UChic is chatting with us about today. What started as Christie’s blog — and resource hub with books and content to help support young women at this critical life stage — has turned into a company that now offers scholarships and grants to help girls access the experiences that shape dreams, careers and lives, and products for sale that help fund the dream of young women. Christie knows the power behind a little push (whether financially, emotionally or physically) from other people. So whether you’re on your way to becoming a success, whatever that may mean to you, or you’ve already made it, it’s important to remember and thank everyone along the way who had a part in it, big or small — and yes, that means thanking yourself, too. Pay it forward, pals! —Sabrina
Design Milk was one of the first blogs I subscribed to and bookmarked, before I even really knew what a blog was. That was years and years ago, and it’s still one of my go-to resources today for all things design, from art and architecture to furniture, fashion and technology. So, needless to say, I had a bit of a moment when emailing back and forth with Jaime Derringer, the Founder and Executive Editor of Design Milk and Dog Milk (*insert party hat emoji here*). Despite her busy schedule — she’s in the middle of launching Adorn Milk, an online shop dedicated to modern wearables — Jaime was kind enough to share a bit behind her life and business, from happy mistakes and saying no, to knowing what to pay attention to and the importance of people who know more than you. Thanks, Jaime! —x, Sabrina
Portrait photography by Noa Azoulay
I find some of the best city guides are from tourist-turned-dwellers who once zealously ventured everywhere, sniffing out every street corner and hot-spot and now, as residents of the city, have a more refined and tried-and-tested list of places worth visiting again and again.
Deana Sdao grew up in a small Canadian town in Southern Ontario — actually, the same town as me, where we attended Girl Guide’s together! Since our days spent together doing team building exercises and watching 101 Dalmatians, Deana has grown up and moved to the Big Apple to finish her Masters education while interning at SNL in the production department. Being from a small Canadian town, when Deana first moved to NYC, she ventured through most every street and neighborhood before settling down and staying in NYC long after graduating. She’s lived in NYC for just under five years and works as a Marketing & Communications Specialist at an architectural firm. While it’s hard to fit everything awesomely NYC into one guide, Deana’s version is filled with plenty of awesome options! —Sabrina
It’s funny how the things we love and surround ourselves with at home can be so different from what we wear. I’ve become a big fan of creating a sort of personal “uniform” that makes me feel comfortable and at ease. No stressing, just a few key pieces — mainly black, white, grey and cream — that I know will make me feel pulled together. However, when it comes to home goods, I feel drawn toward artwork, fabric and furnishings that celebrate pink, red and bright color with joyful abandon. Those sorts of upbeat hues always pull me through a tough day and make me feel excited to see more and learn more about the artwork itself.
When I opened my copy of Cheryl and Griff Day’s newest cookbook, Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love, I loved seeing the illustrations of artist Emily Isabella. They encapsulate the sort of cheerful, vintage style that Cheryl and Griff’s bakery is known for and they feel just as sweet as their baked goods. So this morning I’m surrounding myself with more of Emily’s work. I love her floral arrangement illustrations and pieces that remind me of paper cutting. Those sharp edges are such a lovely contrast to the smooth lines of paint. Click here to check out more of Emily’s work online. xo, grace
Buying a home can be an exciting but terrifying process. The ups, the downs, the financial stress, the endless possibilities of a fresh space — all of them are wrapped up into one big leap and one giant contract. Now imagine going through all of that from almost 3,000 miles away with at least a year between your contract signing and your actual move-in. That’s what happened with Annie and Brent Diamond when they moved back to the east coast after years of living in California.
Annie and Brent wanted to move back to the same town where they had raised their children, Patrick and Madeline, now that both were nearing college age. During college scouting trips with Madeline, Annie would sneak in a few home visits in New Canaan, CT, but nothing ever felt quilt right. Then, just after returning home to California, Annie’s agent called and said, “I think I found your house.” Brent was able to visit because he was on a trip nearby with Patrick, but all Annie saw was a series of photos via email. The next day they bought their home and it would be an entire year before the family would step foot inside their new house.
From the west coast, Annie oversaw the makeover of their new home, from removing wallpaper and light fixtures to redesigning their kitchen and making a major design decision throughout the house: everything was painted white and black. The stark contrast between black and white defines the space, creates a modern feel and adds depth and weight to the architectural details of the home. My favorite design decision the family made was to expose the original brick behind the stove in the kitchen, but the overall look of everything is fantastic. Now that Annie, Brent, and Patrick are home they love their new space and being able to be close to and visit Madeline, who is now a student at Bucknell. Thanks so much to the whole family for sharing a peek inside their beautiful home today. xo, grace
By day, Kris Drayovitch works in management for the mortgage division of a bank. But by night and on weekends, she pursues her creative passions, ranging from floral arranging to styling events and throwing dinner parties for friends and family. Her Plano, TX home is a testament to her excellent vintage-hunting skills and a beautiful love story to her family, who has shared in creating her home and plays a big role in her life.
Kris shares her home with her dog, Izzie Mae, and together they looked online at hundreds of homes before finding this one, built in 1978. “This was the only one of the four I actually saw in person that I could envision my things in and really believed could feel like my home.” Two and a half years later, Kris has created her dream home — a space that combines bright color with bold patterns and an impressive mix of new and old artwork, furniture and textiles. “I wanted to create an eclectic, comfortable space where I could host plenty of friends and family. Somewhere people weren’t afraid to curl up on the couch and stay awhile or sit back and put their feet up,” Kris explained. I think she’s done just that, and it looks like Izzie Mae can attest to the fact that Kris has found a way to balance great style with comfort. Thanks so much to both of them for welcoming us into their home today. xo, grace
Photography by Samuel Melton
Finding a great apartment in New York City can often come down to the luck of the draw. No matter what your budget, there is always a chance that you might end up needing to settle for something a little less than desirable — closet-sized living quarters, a 20-minute walk from the closest train, a windowless basement apartment with a peculiar smell. Indeed, as infinite as New York’s real estate options are, so too is the litany of horror stories that can accompany them. This is why, when one is able to lock down a gem— perhaps something with beautiful light; well-maintained hardwood floors; a view that isn’t limited to your neighbor’s bathroom window — it is worth celebrating.
When designer Dana Haim and journalist Jaron Gilinsky moved to the city three years ago, they were lucky enough to stumble upon such a gem. After a few false starts and failed attempts at finding the perfect space, the couple found it in Brooklyn’s historic Fort Greene neighborhood. In many ways the Holy Grail of New York City apartment hunting, the rental seemed to have it all. Gigantic windows with interior shutters; stunning crown moldings with ornate, acanthus leaf brackets; beautiful parquet flooring; a magnificent wooden mantel in the living room. Best of all? It was within walking distance to the park and within the couple’s budget.
This is not to say that Dana and Jaron faced no challenges when they arrived. Originally occupying the space as subletters, the couple had to agree to the terms set by the apartment’s official tenants. “It’s actually taken us about three years to settle in and get the place to feel like our home,” Dana says. “Since we subleased the space we were told not to change too much. Certain shelves, fixtures and paint colors had to stay…We didn’t really have a ton of creative freedom.”
Subleasing constraints aside, though, Dana and Jaron found creative ways to make the space feel like their own. “We really wanted to create a space that was a genuine expression of who we are individually and as a couple,” Dana continues. To do this, the couple turned to framed photographs, artfully arranged objects, and judiciously placed furnishings. Dana’s own textile art makes appearances, while the couple’s extensive book collection imparts bits of their personalities throughout the space. “We kept it simple, streamlined our stuff, and let the apartment speak for itself. We wanted to create an inviting and warm space because we love entertaining and want people to feel comfortable in our home.” —Max
This weekend we had seven friends up to visit us in Ulster County and we managed to luck out and get two full days above 20 degrees outside. Yesterday even got up to 40 degrees, which might as well have been summer compared to the -7 degrees we’ve been waking up to. We jumped at the chance to get outside for a hike and I had a brief moment of remembering what this area is going to be like when spring finally makes its way back to town. Peeking out from under piles of snow and ice were tiny little branches and remnants of rose bushes that instantly made me excited for, and anxious to greet, spring weather and flowers.
Whenever I think of flowers, I think of some of my favorite artists who focus primarily on flowers for their work. One of my favorites is Laura Jones, an Australian painter based in Sydney who creates incredible, large-scale paintings of flower arrangements and plants. On a cold day like today, this is just the sort of thing that keeps me going and feeling hopeful about those first few days of spring when plants and flowers start coming back to life. Click here to check out more of Laura’s work online. xo, grace
One of my favorite painters of all time is Wayne Thiebaud. His beautiful work combines two of my all-time favorites (food and art) and the way he worked with such thick layers of paint and used texture to add dimension to cakes, gumballs and ice cream always made me smile. I’m always looking out for other great painters who use food as their primary inspiration and lately I’ve been following a wonderful artist on Instagram, Leslie Duke.
Leslie is based in Springville, UT, where she paints a wide range of subjects, from people and food to animals (this bird is so sweet) and flowers. Her still life paintings with food make up the majority of her online gallery and are the pieces that I love the most. The way she uses bold patches of color to represent plums, onions and tomatoes is so beautiful and it elevates the most humble of ingredients to almost regal status. Leslie has an online shop where you can buy prints of her work, but you can also follow her on Instagram where she posts process photos of artwork on the way to its finished state. Thanks to Leslie for inspiring me to see the fruit and vegetables on my counter in a whole new light. xo, grace
- Ever wonder who’s behind the amazing sets in Wes Anderson films? Curbed has a wonderful profile of Adam Stockhausen, the production designer who has been working with Anderson since The Darjeeling Limited.
- Sleater-Kinney teaming up with Bob’s Burgers for their new video is pretty much my favorite thing of the week (via Rolling Stone).
- A century after being cast into the River Thames, a celebrated typeface reemerges (via HyperAllergic).
- This tour of Art Deco Illinois is fantastic and makes me want to drive West… (via Atlas Obscura)
- Victorine Muller’s performance art sculptures, like this inflatable elephant, are mind-blowingly gorgeous.
- The Design Museum in London has just unveiled its nominees for Designs of The Year. From stunning architecture to innovations in digital design, these are a must-see.
- One of our favorite stationery designers, Emily McDowell, projected her work into the San Francisco fog for a truly memorable Valentine’s Day treat.
- We wish all fast food chains looked as fabulous as this Shanghai-based hotdog shop! (via ArchDaily)
- Must-Reads: Home Ec: How to Clean Silverware, Butterfly Joints in Wood, Carson Ellis HOME,
- Sneak Peeks: A bright and beautiful home in Nashville, A colorful Dutch home, Studio Tour: Caroline Z Hurley, A collector’s paradise in NJ, A home for talented makers in Portland, Maine, A 1960s Australian Cottage, An Indianapolis home with Family in Mind, Eclectic Glamour in Laurel Canyon, An Edwardian Home in Vancouver
- Recipes: Mushroom Pizza from Marta NYC
- City Guides: 24 Hours in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- Life & Business: Profile: Judith de Graaff, Profile: Gitte Christensen
- DIY Projects: 20 Winter DIY Projects
- Before & After: A Dallas home becomes get a mid-century ‘MODERN’ makeover
Once, while speaking with a group of people from all over the world, I was put on the spot about my favorite Roman food. I thought for a second and said I really liked pizza. One of the people quipped, “You’re so American. You are so predictable and have no taste!” Well, he is right. I am so American and may be predictable, however, I do not think I am alone in my love for a good Roman-style pizza with thin crust, crispy around the edges. This week’s recipe is for funghi (mushroom) pizza by Nick Anderer, chef at Marta in New York, a Roman pizzeria. If you’re curious how the food conversation ended, the guy who said I had no taste in food said his favorite food is tripe! I’ll let you decide on your own at whose dinner table — mine or his — you’d prefer to eat! A quick note about the recipe: Nick notes that in the restaurant they use a live mother yeast instead of an instant dry yeast. This recipe represents a way to replicate his recipe by substituting mother yeast with the use of a “preferment.” -Kristina
About Nick: Nick Anderer was born to a Japanese mother and German-American father and grew up with a variety of eclectic culinary influences, mainly inspired from his mother’s home-cooking. After a stint studying in Rome, he decided to dedicate himself to the art of Italian cuisine and delved headfirst into the culinary scene, dusting off traditional Italian cookbooks and incorporating them into his work at a variety of renowned Manhattan restaurants including Babbo, Gramercy Tavern and Maialino. He just opened Marta in September, which has become NYC’s signature Roman pizzeria.
See how to make Nick’s pizza at home after the jump!
Julia and I are having our first big group of people come and stay with us upstate this weekend and we’re doing plenty of cleaning and prepping to get ready. The biggest prep is that our wood burning stove is finally (!!) being finished today, so we’ll be able to get the house above 55 degrees, fingers crossed. But now we’re on to smaller projects like unpacking dishes and serving pieces we brought from Brooklyn and getting everything cleaned and ready to use. We inherited a beautiful set of Bakelight silverware from Julia’s family, so I’ve been trying to find the best way to clean it, along with our other serving ware. So if you’ve ever wondered how to get the things you love cleaned, without damaging them, read on to find the best tools and materials to clean your favorite silverware, from solid silver to resin, copper and pewter. xo, grace
*Fascinated by flatware? Click here to read about the history behind our humble everyday fork!
When you renovate a home by yourself, everything is a challenge and invariably takes far more time than planned for. I know firsthand there’s almost always more involved than you initially anticipated — meaning an extra 20 trips or so to the hardware store! Add converting spaces into rental units, and it’s cause for a headache, albeit one that pays off in the end! This was most definitely the case for Diane Thompson and her partner (and owner of the home for over 20 years) Blair Gardner, who live in this gorgeous 1911 Edwardian three-story home in East Vancouver, BC. Diane is a modern quilter and the founder of Clothlab and Blair is a freelance interior and industrial designer, so they both spend a lot of time at home, which is also their respective workspace. And though today their household looks seamless from the outside, they had a heck of a time fixing up the home while keeping the original features intact. “It didn’t help that the house is as crooked as a fun house,” laughs Diane, “None of the floors, doorways, window frames and walls are straight or square. Not even close!”
Diane and Blair share their home with five other people (who live on the first and second floor) and Diane and Blair inhabit the third floor, with just over 600 square feet for the both of them, but they don’t mind in the least; rather, they feel incredibly fortunate to be part of a small community that all share in the home and outdoor space. Their home reflects their collaborative lifestyle and careers, and on most days, you’ll find Diane designing and producing her wares from their 100-year-old converted garage in the backyard. When they aren’t working and running around, you’ll find the couple making and fixing things, cooking, eating, drinking craft beer, and wrestling on their sofa — “And pretty much in that order,” says Diane. —x, Sabrina
Photographs by Michelle Fattore
For years my sister has rented homes, never really taking ownership over the space and enjoying it. Only recently, with her current place, has she thrown caution to the wind and made an effort to make her temporary rental space feel like home by investing in decor, art and furniture that make her happy and feel at home.
Like my sister, it’s not common that the people behind these sneak peeks own their homes. But whether you own or rent your space, having a place you can call “home” is oh-so important. After all, there’s no place like it — wherever that may be, for however long. So it was refreshing when leather goods maker Meg Farrell said of her gorgeous rental, “Well, honestly this isn’t the one. But this place had a lot of things we really liked!” Meg has lived in the beautiful 1920s home with her partner Greg Mitchell and their dog, Remy, for the past year. Though it took a while for it to feel like like it, it’s the place they happily hang their hat. Greg is co-owner of the Palace Diner and Meg runs Farrell & Co, so after a long day of work, the name of the game is relaxation; whether it’s making a good meal together, enjoying the company of their friends, playing with Remy in the backyard, enjoying a drink on the porch (there are two of them!) or listening to records. Meg and Greg’s home is akin to walking inside a well-curated antique shop; the kind where you wish you could buy everything in sight and recreate it in your own space. They’ve done such an amazing job making this 1,200-square-foot space feel like a home that’s been lived in and loved for years and prove the message that home is wherever you want it to be; that “home” is a feeling. Though they’re still in search of “the one,” Meg and Greg say “for now, this place makes us pretty happy.” —Sabrina
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