A Beloved Family Home in Washington, D.C.

The family's downstairs powder room has a bold dark paint color. But the mirror makes sure enough light reflects in the room to keep it open and bright. "The mirror in the powder room was the very first thing I purchased for the home and one of the last things that we hung up. It's a perfect fit for this tiny little space", explains Ibie.

A Beloved Family Home in Washington, D.C.

One of the things I love most about sharing people’s homes here is that these stories live on the internet for years to come as a wonderful archive of a particular time, place and stage in people’s lives. Whether circumstances change because of a new job, a new member of the family or any other major life event, it can be fun to go back to these posts and remember what that time and place in life was like. Such is the case for today’s home tour with the Falcusan family in Washington, D.C.

Ibie, the Export Control Counsel for a leading aerospace company, and her husband Jeff, the Chief Program Officer of an affordable housing trade association, have lived in this beautiful Washington, D.C. area home for the past five years. But next month, they’re packing up and moving to Arizona. It will be a big change in both climate and lifestyle, but they’re excited for the move. So getting the chance to document and celebrate the home they’ve built here with their son, Jude (who I got to hold when he was just a baby at the D*S Book Tour event in DC!) is something really special.

Ibie and Jeff knew their 1941 brick colonial was “the one” when they saw the rear garden. “Its potential for entertaining was immediately obvious,” Ibie explains. And while the couple didn’t have a child yet when they purchased their home, they both envisioned raising a baby there. Now, five years later, they have a home filled with great design details, loads of character and a happy 4-year-old to enjoy that backyard garden they fell in love with years ago. Ibie shares, “I am so thankful that this home has been a comforting stalwart in our lives. It has shielded us from physical and proverbial storms. This is the home where we entered one of the most important phases of our lives and became a family of three. I will always remember this home with fondness because of the joy it brought to us.” Read on to hear more about their design journey at home. xo, grace

Photography by Ibie Falcusan

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Life & Business: Hannah Trickett

Life & Business: Hannah Trickett

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When a chronic medical issue forced her to leave a busy job as an interior designer, Hannah Trickett rose to the challenge and started Hannah in the House, a blog about all things interiors and design, from her hospital bed. In the face of adversity, Hannah refused to to give up and believe that a simpler life meant one without creativity, design and stylish interiors. Since she launched her blog over five years ago, it’s become a full-time job for Hannah, which has also branched into freelance styling and design consulting. Today, ever-exuberant Hannah is chatting with us about how to persevere in the face of struggle, and the importance of valuing yourself and focusing on your strengths. –Sabrina

Photography by Ola O Smit

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Waterloo, Ontario City Guide

Waterloo, Ontario City Guide

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I spent my teen years and early twenties visiting my eldest sister who lives between Waterloo and Kitchener (AKA “KW” or “Tri-City” to locals), two side-by-side cities just an hour’s drive from me. Even now, in the summer months, my family and I buy a season’s pass to Aberfoyle, a massive outdoor antique market located just east of Waterloo, and try to make it on Sundays whenever I can.

Waterloo and its surrounding areas carry a lot of history, but they also continue to attract young people from near and far for its Universities (Wilfred Laurier and University of Waterloo) as well as the myriad tech companies it’s home to, from Blackberry to Google. Unassuming though it may be, if you’re ever in Southern Ontario and craving a break from the Toronto city hustle and bustle, a short day trip to Waterloo might be just what you need. Today, Jordana Garbati of White Cabana is joining us to share the best of what the region has to offer, from local eats and independent shops, to the best parks to laze around in and festivals to attend. –Sabrina
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A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands

A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge

A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands

I watch my fair share of home-improvement shows. I’m excited to own a home some day – hopefully a 1930s craftsman bungalow – but watching these shows has opened me up to the realities and stresses of renovations. Some issues you can expect and some seem to come out of nowhere. Tip and Michael looked at over 150 places (while living in Australia) before they found their terraced house in Utrecht, The Netherlands. They knew it would need some work and creativity to make it their own, but didn’t know all that would be involved.

Tip Atkins Moore, a teacher, blogger and creative adviser, and Michael, a sustainable IT professional and lecturer, found this 1896 home almost seven years ago after a long search. “It was a lot cheaper as nothing had been done to it for 20 years and I was up for something I could put my stamp on (silly, in hindsight, with a child under 2 and another on the way!). There was a lot to fix but [it] had good bones and some lovely, old features,” Tip says. “The largest challenge with a lot of these older homes, even though the character is fantastic, is that they were built without a kitchen or a bathroom, so finding the space for these things while still having enough room for a modern family is hard.” Unexpected challenges — like woodworm, cracked sewage pipes and having their three-week kitchen remodel turn into three months — came up within the first year of living there, but the family has seen their home through those issues and are settled in to their beautiful space.

Looking at Tip and Michael’s bright, gorgeous home, you’d never know it was in such bad shape before they got their hands on it. “I wanted to create a home that served the needs of a family with kids and could grow with us and our needs. It had to be cozy, fun and inviting because we also love to entertain guests,” Tip says. “There is still a lot left to work on to get the house up to par in terms of modern standards, so we are doing it bit by bit, as we manage to save enough money. We love our home, though, and while there are nice-to-haves on the wishlist, we live here happily and comfortably.” This Dutch home has been a labor of love and can finally provide Tip and her family with everything they need to live. —Lauren

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Overlooking NYC, A Lofted Studio Filled with History

Overlooking NYC, A Lofted Studio Filled with History, Heirlooms and Happiness

Overlooking NYC, A Lofted Studio Filled with History

One of the things I love most about older homes is the stories and history they hold from those who lived there prior. There’s something feel-good — and somewhat thrilling — about knowing where a certain scratch in the floor came from, or discovering a stack of old newspapers under the stairs. Getting to peek into the past is a privilege I enjoy in my own home, and one that Emily and Kyle Barry share as well. Their lofted studio was originally built in 1864 and used to be a Governor’s Mansion — and thereafter a community space for underprivileged urban residents — before it became the place Emily and Kyle call home.

Together with her mother, Emily runs Rehabitat, an interiors and styling business, and Kyle works in Brooklyn at West Elm’s headquarters. When they were first looking for a new apartment, the large windows, open staircase, rooftop patio and view of the city that this home offered caught their eye. Located in the heart of booming Jersey City, the couple’s lifestyle strikes a balance between quiet suburbia and the busy hustle-bustle of the city, and they relish in being central to local shops and restaurants — namely the countless flea markets and antique stores at arm’s reach. Emily admits to being a bit of a thrift-store-o-holic, so the biggest challenge when it came to decorating their space was editing down and practicing restraint so as not to collect and stockpile too many things. She admits, “I’ve moved on from furniture pieces to accessories and artwork only because we’re running out of space!” Like many, they think of their home as an ever-evolving space. “The second I think we are [done decorating], I get bored and want to switch something around, or redo the gallery wall, or repaint something,” Emily says. “I’m always battling between what I love about our space versus what I wish was different.” But no matter how many faults they find with their lofted studio space, they feel truly lucky every day to have found such a diamond in the rough. –Sabrina

 

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Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City

Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City, Design*Sponge

Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City

What I love about revisiting a home that we have previously peeked inside of is that the stylistic evolution is always so fascinating. Three years ago, we featured Tracey and Mike Tilley’s sunshiny bedroom makeover, and today they have been generous enough to let us see the rest of their mid-century, ranch-style abode in Detroit, MI.

Anxious but excited, project manager Tracey bought the home after growing tired of tossing money into a pit of rental properties. With such a passion for decorating, it no longer made sense for her to invest so much time and effort into a temporary residence. The hardwood floors, coved ceilings and abundant closet space helped this property win out over more updated and convenient homes. Luckily, the one-bedroom home’s previous owners did a fantastic job maintaining some of the space’s original, 1950s charm. “I got good vibes the moment I walked in,” Tracey says.

Eager to have “a clean, blank canvas to work with,” she spent the first few months of her time in the home refinishing floors, tearing out carpet, and painting walls and ceilings. The decorating process has been slow, yet nothing but enjoyable. With a love for scouring vintage shops and keeping her decor in constant rotation, Tracey set out to mix “inexpensive pieces from big-box stores with vintage, flea-market finds.” Eleven years later, she is still finding clever ways to achieve the look she loves for less. Working on a budget meant that some extra DIY headaches were endured, but Tracey says it’s all been worth it. I have to agree. Truly one-of-a-kind pieces fill her rambler. There’s even a disco ball in the dining room and a full suit of armor guarding the breakfast nook. All these quirky touches set the mood for a fun and glittering home I am sure you’ll not soon forget. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Kate Sassak and Tracey Tilley

 

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Living in the Moment + Best of the Web

Living in the Moment + Best of the Web

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This week was a blur for me, but there were a few moments that are delightfully clear and in focus for me. The first of which was leaving my purse on a United Airlines flight and with it, all of my credit cards, IDs and voice recorder for the interview I traveled home for. The purse is now lost in the ether and I’ve started the process of replacing my IDs and cards, but that one frustrating moment led to such wonderful moments of clarity this week that wouldn’t have come without losing everything I thought I needed.

On Monday I headed into NYC to join Sasha for another round of portraits for our new book and then headed to Newark for a flight home to Virginia Beach. The plan was to drive the six hours to Blacksburg, VA with my father, who is an excellent photographer, to take the portrait of one of my idols, poet Nikki Giovanni.

Losing my interview recorder, chargers, cards and IDs meant I was totally unconnected. I panicked at first and then realized a) how lucky I was to be at home with family when this happened and b) how this had given me a chance to totally unplug and fully live in a moment that was truly once-in-a-lifetime.

The result was a day that was as perfect as it could have been. A great long drive through the Shenandoah Valley with my Dad, 10+ hours to catch up in person, meeting someone I’ve admired for as long as I can remember, and getting to have a fun ride home, stopping by Swannanoa and our favorite college dinner spot, Pierce’s BBQ. None of it was Instagrammed and I got the pleasure of unplugging and truly soaking in the moment, rather than mentally preparing for the next thing on my to-do list. So, in a way, the worst moment turned into the best and I am so thankful for that reminder this week (and for my parents). It’s inspired me to unplug a bit this week and see how much I’ve been missing when lost behind the screen of a phone or planning the next thing instead of enjoying the first. Best wishes for a safe and happy weekend, everyone, and we’ll see you on Monday! xo, grace

Image above by Fairynuffflower on Instagram

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Laura Wright’s Raw “Pad Thai” Salad

Laura Wright’s Raw “Pad Thai” Salad

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These days, it seems like every third person is eliminating some evil inflammatory agent from their diet to address various physical concerns. Laura Wright’s beautiful food blog The First Mess is a jackpot for cooks who utilize wholesome, natural foods in their kitchens and aim to feed seasonally whenever possible. Whether you’re vegan, doing without gluten or sugar, eating raw, paleo, or following the autoimmune protocol, Wright’s zucchini “Pad Thai” (technically a salad) takes advantage of the bountiful fresh produce currently available in local markets, and can be easily altered to work within the guidelines of any prescribed program. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing hearty recipes from a wellness perspective — that don’t skimp on providing satisfaction in addition to nutrition. Along with the health nuts, this invigorating dish will satiate even the most epicurean eaters on a hot summer day such as this. —Annie

Why Laura loves this recipeI enjoy making noodles out of vegetables with my spiralizer/julienne peeler in the summer. They satisfy that starchy craving, but they also happen to keep me cool and energized. I find this tangle of a salad to be highly adaptable to whatever’s on hand in terms of vegetables and mix-ins. Some sliced radishes are great in it, or maybe some blanched green beans in the mix, and little seared cubes of tofu are excellent if you’re looking for a bit of protein. The dressing is a breezy mix of pantry items for the most part. I might be a little liberal with the “Pad Thai” designation here, but this salad hits all of those satisfying hot, sweet, and sour notes. With the fragrant herbs and salty little bites of roasted peanut (you could use cashews or sunflower seeds if you like), it makes for a crowd-pleasing, but still quite relaxed, potluck contribution.

*This recipe is part of our healthy summer series, focusing on recipes that are good looking and good for you!

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A Handmade Home in the Bay Area

A Handmade Home in the Bay Area | Design*Sponge

A Handmade Home in the Bay Area

The night before Becca Piastrelli and her husband Tim were going to sign a lease for a rental in another town, a poorly written and poorly photographed ad for a house in Mill Valley, CA popped up. It was where they wanted to be. Becca trusted her intuition and went to the open house and they both found what they were looking for. Timing is everything sometimes, and even the most thorough searches can be set off by one last look.

Becca is a full-time blogger, maker and doer. “I am passionate about dabbling and making — working with my hands is what makes me happiest. I used to work in the corporate tech industry in San Francisco, but found I was much happier making lip balm and kombucha than presenting power points to executive boards,” Becca says. “So I made the leap into blogging full-time several years ago and haven’t looked back.” Tim is a computer engineer who loves all things practical and efficient.

The bohemian-meets-semi-traditional vibe in this space is a fair representation of the couple. “The decorating process has been an organic one. I’ve learned, over the years, to patiently wait for the right pieces to come across your path,” Becca says. “We wanted it to feel cozy, magical, and like a blend of our two styles. My style is natural with a bit of worldly woo woo (my own term) and my husband’s is modern with a hint of Star Wars. We make quite the pair and a lot of that is reflected in our home together.” The mix of cool green walls and architectural quirks in the home supports both styles, allowing the couple to feel creative and inspiring them to continue to make their home a collaborative and loved space. —Lauren

Photography by Rosa Delgado

 

 

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Before & After: Tooth & Nail Winery

Before & After: Tooth & Nail Winery, on Design*Sponge

Before & After: Tooth & Nail Winery

Late last summer Makers & Allies, a California creative agency specializing in design for wine, craft, and spirits brands, was tapped to revive an abandoned vineyard in Paso Robles. The new tenant, Tooth & Nail Winery, would be occupying the 20,000-square-foot commercial castle in just six months from that date, and its “sleek, edgy, and a little bit raw” vibe could not endure the building’s Medieval Disney flair.

The original 2001 interiors were revamped with a fully functioning tasting room where mere mortals might actually want to hold their weddings and special events. The old ceilings were reminiscent of a Gothic church and left shorter visitors feeling claustrophobic, while taller ones were constantly on the lookout for pointy, hanging pendants. Their removal visually expanded the rooms’ height, making it more to scale with the rest of the castle, and removed any potential environmental hazards. The team introduced new materials that felt polished but also a little bit rugged. Three types of steel were used throughout the project: Cor-ten outside, blackened for vertical surfaces in the tasting room, and stainless on the horizontal surfaces. Earthy metal, wood, and leather finishes are interspersed with brighter velvet, brass, and mirrored touches.

In keeping with the real-life fairytale theme of previous inhabitants, a moat circles the structure, though all its armored alligators must have relocated as well. If the property was constructed to imply a sense of historical importance, its new purpose is allowing guests to create their own fond memories within the space, and of course, to enjoy some wine. —Annie

Photography by Mark Gvazdinskas

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An Airy Virginia Sanctuary for All Sorts of Wildlife

An Airy Virginia Sanctuary for All Sorts of Wildlife, on Design*Sponge

An Airy Virginia Sanctuary for All Sorts of Wildlife

Five years ago, Chelsea and Matt Bieber welcomed three kids into the world within 16 months — boy-girl twins Colin and Shire, and a sweet surprise baby boy right behind them. When they moved into this 1,800-square-foot split-level home 25 miles outside Washington, DC in Herndon, VA, little Mason still hadn’t yet hatched. Chelsea, who co-owns a furniture refinishing and design business called StyleMutt Home, has spent the years since experimenting with decoration that suits her childrens’ untamed energy, as well as the parents’ more sophisticated tastes.

Developing their own aesthetic took some time. After living in the house and realizing its potential, Chelsea set out to create a peaceful place in which she and her husband could relax, but one that would also be fun and functional for their brood. She believes parents owe it to themselves to create adult homes that aren’t totally focused on raising offspring. “Kids can learn to respect furniture, spaces, and pieces,” she says. This family has struck a compromise between the two approaches. For example, the patina of a large wooden coffee table becomes more interesting as it gets dinged up, and the dining room’s pipe shelves add an industrial statement to the main floor while providing easy access to craft and activity supplies. A creek on one side of the property encourages wildlife to come through the wooded backyard, and on a nice morning, Chelsea will open the sliding glass door to listen to the birds’ symphony. Bouncing off the vaulted ceilings, their sounds echo through the home as if in a bird sanctuary. This unexpected feature is also one of the most beloved, as is the ability for Chelsea to watch her own wild ones on various floors, the layout of which allows everyone to spread their wings, but not too far. —Annie

Photography by Chelsea Bieber

 

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A Cartoonist and Illustrator’s Easygoing Rental

A Cartoonist and Illustrator's Strategically Easygoing Rental, Design*Sponge

A Cartoonist and Illustrator’s Easygoing Rental

There are so many design styles, artists and vintage pieces to love, I sometimes worry if I’m packing too much into my home. I don’t live in a giant space, and learning how to edit is something I’m constantly working on. Part of the challenge is how easy it is to find new treasures! With the click of a button, you can upgrade – and potentially overstuff – your space.

Keiko Brodeur and cartoonist Malachi Ward are no strangers to the challenge of fitting your big life into a small apartment. The two creatives used to live and work out of this 550-square-foot apartment in Pasadena, CA. Their growing collection of vintage finds and work supplies, however, quickly left them feeling boxed in by their space. “We literally had narrow walking paths between stacks of boxes,” Keiko explains. A year ago, the stress finally proved too much for the couple, and they decided that separating work and play was mandatory.

The couple immediately felt liberated once all of their tools were out of the picture and neatly stowed in the new studio. Eager to finally furnish the home of their dreams, they dove headfirst into decking out their one-bedroom apartment. Just like for me, an edited aesthetic didn’t come naturally to the couple. Their penchant for plants and irresistible accessories could have easily left their home feeling cramped, but they simply kept telling themselves to stick to the plan. What was that plan? To find the right balance between functionality and coziness – a warm space where they could relax. Their well-thought-out design decisions are so organic that they become invisible. All we see is a nest that’s so effortless and easy it’s hard to imagine the space looking any other way. I adore their home’s laid-back attitude, and I hope you do as well. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Hollin Brodeur

 

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DIY Gold Detail Notebooks – Three Ways

DIY Gold Detail Notebooks – Three Ways

DIY Gold Detail Notebooks
When it comes to organization and making lists, most people have a clear preference on whether they go for a digital list or a good, old fashioned, pen-and-paper to-do list. I, on the other hand, go for a bit of both. I love making quick lists that I can jot down as I’m at my computer or on my phone while I’m out. It’s reassuring to know I’m not going to lose ideas on small scraps of paper in the abyss of my purse, never to be seen again. And don’t get me started on how many shopping lists I’ve painstakingly made only to realize they are still sitting on my kitchen table the moment I walk into the store.

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However, there’s nothing like an hour spent scribbling out every thought to get to the idea that’s hiding right at the back of your mind. With a creative brain you can absorb much more from a page of notes and pictures than a list on a computer screen. So I try to make a conscious effort to go back to paper and pen when I’m looking for new ideas. It was during one of these sessions that I had the idea to decorate these notebooks. I’m taking that as proof that the theory works. —Fran

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‘Traditional With a Twist’ Style in San Francisco

A Western Addition Traditional with a Twist, on Design*Sponge

‘Traditional With a Twist’ Style in San Francisco

Pro event planner Kaella Lynn Wilson routinely styles weddings to perfection, but when it came to decorating the 1,800-square-foot flat she and husband Erin Wilson Jr. had recently renovated, she felt frustrated trying to establish her “traditional with a twist” style in a (covertly) kid-friendly way. Wilson asked interior designer Felice Press at Homepolish to help highlight the beauty of the artisan architectural features with preppy (but not stuffy), practical decor that wouldn’t seem as though it was purchased exclusively for two-year-old Beau and his forthcoming brother. The 1897 Victorian in San Francisco’s Western Addition neighborhood still retains its period crown molding, fireplace mantel, and original windows. Press draws attention to these fine details by styling upper shelves with delicate, eye-catching objects, while filling lower levels with Beau’s toys for his own easy access.

As in any design process, a certain amount of trial and error was required before settling on priorities for the space. For example, the team bought a coffee table they loved but ultimately concluded marble is not an ideal material for use around small children, due to its porous nature and tendency to stain. They also purchased a number of items online that turned up inaccurate color discoveries in person. In the end, all the various efforts to fine-tune direction, make decisions, and pull rooms together happened just in time for the home’s next and most anticipated addition. —Annie

Photography by Lauren Edith Andersen, except where noted

 

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14 Beautiful Rugs that Make a Room

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14 Beautiful Rugs that Make a Room

One month last summer, I bought three rugs from three separate places with no real place for them to end up in my home. I had been looking for rugs for over a year and really couldn’t commit to any, and then all of a sudden, there were so many that I had to have. Rugs are tricky that way – being the right pattern but the wrong color or the right weave but the wrong size – but some are perfect. Design*Sponge has featured so many gorgeous rugs that remarkably complete the rooms they adorn. These are some of the best rugs that have shown up on our site over the last few years. —Lauren

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