In Salt Lake City, Channeling a Big-City Feel With Promising Potential

An Entrepreneur's High Rise in Salt Lake City Sneak Peek on Design*Sponge

In Salt Lake City, Channeling a Big-City Feel With Promising Potential

Perhaps living in one of New York’s high-rise buildings is nothing special to some, but trying to find that same experience in Salt Lake City, UT is nearly impossible. In an area surrounded by traditional homes, Heidi and Colin found the antithesis of that style in a stately mid-century building.

Heidi Jube is the owner and creative force behind Monokle Candles and co-owns the gallery and dwell shop, Arte Haus. Her husband, Colin, works as a financial planner in downtown Salt Lake City. They were in the market for a good view and a low-maintenance living space with big-city charm when they found their condo. Captivated by the floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto a blend of mountain scenery and cityscape, they made the leap and purchased the condo — untouched since the 60s.

In what appeared to be a diamond in the rough at first, the couple saw past the work and focused on the potential of this remarkable high-rise gem. Renovating while attending school, maintaining full-time jobs, and launching businesses took time and patience, but in the end they were able to truly transform their space.

For a small condo, Heidi and Colin packed in a lot of character — from industrial vibes with a concrete floor to traditional touches with wallpaper and wainscoting. The mid-century accents and furniture tie it all together while paying homage to the exterior aesthetic of the building. “We were going for [a] minimalist look, but we still wanted to personalize it and make it feel like home,” Heidi says. “So far, we’ve done a complete cosmetic makeover to the condo, but it’s still a work in progress and will probably always be. I have a lot of ideas spinning in my head about what I’d change in this place.”

Heidi and Colin might have big plans for their condo in the future, but in the meantime they can enjoy their well-balanced home of inspiration. And, who knows, maybe we’ll see their dream remodel in years (hopefully months) to come! –Tawnee

Photography by Tawnee Madlen Walker

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10 of Our Favorite Summery Kitchens

10 of Our Favorite Summery Kitchens, on Design*Sponge

10 of Our Favorite Summery Kitchens

While we love a good, all-white kitchen as much as the next blog, there’s something about a little unexpected bright color, an earthy texture, or some quirky accessorizing that stands out from the pack of conventionally beautiful designs. In the same carefree, adventurous spirit as the summer season, these 10 designs feature a warm, inviting cheer courtesy of their vibrant florals, dusty solids, rustic finishes, energizing accents, and even a vegetable metaphor or two. We can only imagine the pleasure of cooking in any of these summery rooms year-round. —Annie

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A Light-Filled Oakland, CA Home For a Photographer & Her Family

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A Light-Filled Oakland, CA Home For a Photographer & Her Family

If you follow Abi Q on Instagram, you know that not only is she hilarious, but her candor and honesty about the joys — and occasionally less-than-glamorous moments — of parenting are both endearing and incredibly relatable. She is a talented wedding and portrait photographer with an eye for candid moments and capturing light in the shadows. Abi’s more serious side is a deep-rooted passion for activism, educating children (and adults) on race, and making sure that her kids always have art, toys, and people around them that make them feel represented.

Abi and Ryan’s Oakland, CA home is, for one, clean — which she assures me is not always the case. It’s also minimal in a storied way, where each trinket and detail comes from a trip or sentimental moment. The house itself is a beautiful 1920s Spanish-style home with pristine parquet floors (the better on which to scooter around and enact epic Star Wars battles) and little architectural details that make your heart skip a beat. Hello, over-the-fireplace nook!

It’s obvious that kids live (and play) in this house, but there’s no question that it’s still a space for adults to enjoy themselves. Choice furniture pieces are stylish and beautiful, while still being durable enough to have tiny little fingerprints easily wiped off of their surfaces. After previously living in an apartment for six years, and more recently having three small children running around, Abi and Ryan knew it was time to look for a bigger space. Their advice for finding the perfect place in such a competitive rental market? Search right before the holidays because, “No one wants to move then!”

Now the family has a home with a backyard where they can draw chalk people to their hearts’ content, a basement with the perfect light for snuggling up and watching “Master Yoda” (as the kids refer to him), and a view of the bay — which rivals that which you would see landing at the Oakland Airport. –-Rebekah

Photography by Abi Q

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Cheers to Summer: 12 Fun Party Ideas

With simple white plates and vintage silverware, all the attention turns to the table's decor. The table linens steal the spotlight with their colorful embroidery in this dinner party, which features a fresh local fish recipe and a low-lying arrangement so all the guests can easily be seen.

Cheers to Summer: 12 Fun Party Ideas

Summertime is the perfect time to play host, and there are so many ways to celebrate the season both indoors and out. Whether you’re hosting a large dinner party or just cooking something special with your family or friends, some of these recipes, parties, and DIY projects might kickstart your brain into entertaining mode. From a popsicle picnic to a midsummer night dinner, summertime is all about enjoying the fresh food and the slower pace that the season often brings. I love the idea of trying out different themes for dinner parties or small get-togethers, and now is the perfect time to create new traditions or celebrate old ones with a special event.

My favorite summer tradition may be having laid-back picnics, but I’ve always wanted to create a floral-inspired event, and the paper plates and DIY flower tutorial in the slideshow are definitely inspiring me! Do you have any favorite entertaining memories? — Kevin

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How To Safely Pack for the Beach + DIY Luggage Tag

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How To Safely Pack for the Beach + DIY Luggage Tag

It’s mid-July already, and for those of us who haven’t taken a getaway yet: what are we waiting for? Whether you’re boarding a plane in search of a beach, or heading to your local pool, it’s fun to get excited about any time for yourself to relax. Making sure your suitcase or bag is labeled with contact information so it can be returned to you if it’s lost is important, but taking care not to put too much information on your luggage or bag tag is crucial. Anyone can use the information on your tag to identify you, your phone number and your address. And they know that you’re not at home.

We’ve created a simple 10-minute Luggage Tag DIY to get you in a beachy mood using some of our favorite summery fabric and ribbon from the Waverly Inspirations collection. Make this for yourself, or family and friends who are about to embark on an adventure. There are also three essential safety tips to make sure your bag can be returned to you if it’s lost, while ensuring that your privacy won’t be taken advantage of or invaded. Check it all out after the jump, along with some of our favorite fabric + suitcase combos for your luggage tag! —Caitlin

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Waverly Inspirations. This project, ideas, and words are from us here at D*S and were created by us,  for you! Thanks for supporting our sponsors that help us create & publish original content three times per day. The Waverly Inspirations collection is available at Walmart.

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15 Fantastic Florists to Follow on Instagram

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15 Fantastic Florists to Follow on Instagram

It’s no secret that we here at D*S are totally obsessed with flowers. We’re constantly posting and reposting our favorite blooms @designsponge where an endless stream of vibrant arrangements saturates our social screens. We’ve long been fans of these 14 Florists to Follow on Instagram, and have yet another crop of talented florists to share today. From here in New York to across the world in Sydney, we’re in love with the work of these 15 designers and their distinct points of view. Add your own creations to #dsfloral. —@anniewerbler

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Studio Tour: Stephanie Ryan’s Art + Alchemy

Studio Tour: Stephanie Ryan Art + Alchemy, on Design*Sponge

Studio Tour: Stephanie Ryan’s Art + Alchemy

Finding a new place in which to start over proved to be a positive transition and a bit of an adventure for artist and designer Stephanie Ryan. After becoming single for the first time in her adult life, Stephanie packed up her dog Luna almost a year ago and began searching for a home and studio environment that would refresh and inspire her ART + ALCHEMY watercolor painting brand. When she found an early-1800s stone farmhouse overlooking a gentleman’s farm — with cows and horses roaming in the pasture and a quaint little church across the street — she knew it was the right decision to relocate there to Honey Brook, PA. It was essential for Stephanie to find a place with a lot of character, a great view of the sky, and one surrounded by nature to nurture her creative spirit. Random-width wood floors, deep sills, exposed beams, and antique hardware made her decision easy. The 234-square-foot formal dining room quickly became her painting studio because of its beautiful built-in cabinetry, including a hidden wet bar that’s perfect for cleaning paintbrushes.

Stephanie makes watercolor florals, abstract landscapes, and organic intuitive paintings, and is currently in the process of translating her art into products like pillows, fabric, and stationery. “It was very important to find a house and studio that really supported me and my creative life and vision,” she shares. “I feel like my art fits so perfectly in this space — almost like it was meant to be!” Stephanie already had the two functional flat files and a table from the Martha Stewart Craft Series, but she needed a new desk that would complement the style of the house, be a focal point of the room, and help her look forward to spending time there. Luckily, the house is a short drive to Lancaster County where she picked up a stunning handcrafted wood piece, a table for her sewing machine, and a great rustic bench to use as a styling prop and for project display. Linen pin boards from Pottery Barn hold inspiration as well as current works. As Stephanie creates new art, she likes to hang it on the walls and experiment with frames. She is always on the lookout for objects that can be used for styling her photography, so the room is full of glass bottles, crystals, fabrics, and unique pieces that complement her aesthetic. She added some temporary lighting from IKEA over her work station using Command Strips and linen sleeves to hide the wires, providing better visual clarity to her workspace.

The historic qualities of the studio make it feel unique, and the countryside view keeps her grounded while working. Stephanie wanted to create an inspiring and nurturing environment that supports her practice on a daily basis. “Even though finding this space came from a difficult place,” she reflects, “It has opened up a new door for my creativity and a new chapter in my life.” —Annie

Photography by Chaucee Stillman

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A Hippie-Chic Home in Midtown, Kansas City

Sneak Peek Home Tour on Design*Sponge with Jessica Rogers in Midtown, Kansas City

A Hippie-Chic Home in Midtown, Kansas City

Homeowners Jessica Rogers and her husband Matt Hayden found their 1906 “shirtwaist” style house two years ago in the historic South Hyde Park neighborhood of Kansas City, MO. The neighborhood was developed along Gillham Parkway and housed many downtown small business owners in the late 19th century. Today, many of the historic homes have been restored and the neighborhood is growing and thriving with young families alongside neighbors who have lived there for generations. The couple fell in love with the area and immediately began renovating the house to reflect their lifestyle, celebrating local art and culture. They share the space with their sweet 8-month-old, Sonny James Hayden, and an occasional house guest.

Jessica owns Cart Wheel, a creative lifestyle brand specializing in textile design and housewares. She is responsible for countless pop-up events around the Kansas City area including local maker fair, Gypsy Market. Her creative energy is expressed in every pocket of the home. “I am constantly shifting, replacing and rearranging things,” Jessica shares. “I like to see spaces in different layouts that give us a new perspective. I will find an amazing rug or painting while traveling and change an entire room based on that one piece.” Jessica’s decorative process weaves together family relics, local artwork and inspiration gathered from traveling around the world. “We try and bring back the colors, patterns, scents and sounds— everything we experience on our travels. Our home is a way we can capture those memories and relive them every day.”

As a fiber artist, Jessica is always bringing projects home from her studio. “I try and keep them contained to the desk in our guest room, but they tend to overtake the dining room table and I do a lot of my dye work in our backyard.” Her work spills onto the walls and hallways of the house through quilt samples, indigo dye tapestries, bold patterns, and rich textures. Jessica pairs saturated colors and plant life, reminiscent of her native South Florida, with unusual travel artifacts and antiques that are symbolic of the Midwest to create captivating room compositions. Her free spirit and experimental approach make the home a sanctuary for creative thinking. —Bethany Joy Foss

Photography by Bethany Joy Foss

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Old Meets New in An Art Nouveau Home In Helsinki, Finland

Old Meets New In An Art Nouveau Home In Helsinki, Finland | Design*Sponge

Old Meets New in An Art Nouveau Home In Helsinki, Finland

When we begin the process of making our homes truly our own, we often draw inspiration from colors, decades and places that speak to us. Finding our own voices in the midst of all the trends, fads and the do’s and don’t’s can be challenging. I’ve recently found myself wondering when and how my own home will turn into the best possible reflection of myself. When I visited Ulla-Maija Wesander’s home in Helsinki, Finland, I immediately got my answer.

Five years ago, Ulla-Maija, a dental surgeon, decided to make a big change in her life by moving from a quieter neighborhood to the city. She settled in Ullanlinna, a central neighborhood known for its beautiful and decorative Art Nouveau buildings. Having spent a lot of time there in her younger days, the neighborhood had a certain nostalgic appeal. After renting for a while, an apartment went up for sale in the building that she lived in. She couldn’t resist the unique details of the perfectly spacious one-bedroom apartment, which include an original tile stove and a round window bay with a view of the sea. The 11-foot ceiling height was the icing on the cake.

Although the bones of the apartment were excellent, there was still some work to be done. “Before I started renovating, all rooms had ornate wallpapers. It was well executed, but it just wasn’t me,” Ulla-Maija explains. The kitchen was outdated and lacked adequate storage space, which is why it needed a redesign. The renovation took nine months, and allowed Ulla-Maija to create a bright and personal space while respecting the history of the building. Decorating the apartment didn’t come without challenges. With so many windows and doors, the wall space is limited. It took many tries, but eventually each piece found its place.

Ulla-Maija’s home is the perfect combination of natural tones and eye-catching details that bring the rooms to life. Her ability to mix and match colors and patterns to create surprising and beautiful spaces is no hidden talent. “I love the contrast between old and new,” she shares. “There are a lot of antiques in my home, so I wanted to create a fun contrast by adding some mid-century and modern pieces to the mix.”

Paintings, sculptures and ceramics can be found throughout the apartment. A passion for art runs in the family, from her grandparents and parents to her own children. The gallery wall in the dining room has turned into a family tree of sorts, displaying portraits of family members dating back to the 1800s. Ulla-Maija’s home is a reflection of both her roots and her own life journey, and that is what makes it feel so inviting. “A home isn’t created in an instant. You add to it as you go, and little by little it becomes a reflection of who you are and where you’ve been.”

Ulla-Maija’s home, filled with heirlooms and pieces that reflect a truly unique sense of style, made me realize that the answers to my questions all have to do with time. The meaningful pieces are the ones that stay and, over time, they create a home that represents us — where we’re from, who we are, and what we want to be. –Sofia

Photography by Sofia Tuovinen

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A Plant Lover’s Secret Garden in the Middle of Brooklyn

A Plant Lover's 'Secret Garden' in the Middle of Brooklyn, Design*Sponge

A Plant Lover’s Secret Garden in the Middle of Brooklyn

Most big cities rightfully earn the moniker “concrete jungle.” It makes sense. Oftentimes trees are sparse and the grass isn’t green because it’s barely there at all. But not all is grey and made of stone in our country’s metropolises. Look hard enough, and you’ll find little pockets of lush life that loving home-dwellers like Summer Rayne Oakes have carved out for themselves. Her Williamsburg, Brooklyn home proves that even amidst the energy of a burgeoning city, plants and greenery can thrive.

As you peek around the space Summer rents, it quickly becomes clear why her garden grows in abundance. She has done everything she can to set her potted pals up for success. From rigging planters from scratch, reflecting light here and there, to hand-pollination, her plant collection is healthy and well loved. The results of these efforts even serve as the main decoration for her industrial space. In one corner, dripping vines creep through window frames and in another, the apartment’s walls are literally covered in flourishing buds. They don’t grow so dense that a little color can’t seep through, though. A palette inspired by Central and South America pokes its head out here and there, lending the space a relaxing earthiness.

Summer says all of the lush foliage, along with her home’s exotic color scheme, do wonders for her daily vibe. These features keep her smiling and happy as she mediates in the living room or casually reads in her hammock. Simply put, in either spot and on any given day, she feels relaxed and reset after simply being in her home. What more could you ask for from your corner of the sky? Click through to take a look inside one of Brooklyn’s secret gardens. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Sander van Dijk & Summer Rayne Oakes

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5 Inviting Summer Tablescapes From India

5 Summer Tablescapes Direct from India, Design*Sponge

5 Inviting Summer Tablescapes From India

The sun’s out, and the birds are chirping. That can only mean one thing: time for a summer soirée! If you’re anything like me, the first thing you think of when it’s time to host isn’t the menu. My head goes straight to what the look of the party will be. Decorations, accessories, the ambiance: they’re each just as important as the meal itself, I say. Sometimes the inspiration simply doesn’t come to me, though, and the idea of not hitting it out of the park can be a bit of a downer.

When I hit a creative-brainstorming wall like this, I try and not go back to the same well of inspiration. But where to go? Luckily for us, Indian fashion/craft publication and agency Border&Fall is here to save the day. They’ve helped us put together five summer tablescapes by five of their favorite designers that are sure to make your next summer shindig a hit. Raw Mango’s tablescape pays homage to India’s heritage while showing off natural elements. Shift’s interpretation puts an often-overlooked staple front and center. Rashmi Varma focuses on materials, en Inde celebrates the farm-to-table movement, and Atmosphere’s look is all about the details.

While each is unique, they all embody the same ideals. They all strive to promote a forward-thinking India, one ready to redefine its design standards and blaze a trail towards a modern look. Click through to take a peek at their work and get ready to click “bookmark.” Their tablescapes are that good. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Praatika MehraPranoy Sarkar, Sonal Sood & Atmosphere

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Letting Light and Life Into An Attic Apartment in Stockholm, Sweden

To the left of the window is this pretty little vignette. The print was a gift from Louise's friend and skilled graphic designer and art director Albin Holmqvist. The poster is from the beautiful short film, "Everyday."

Letting Light and Life Into An Attic Apartment in Stockholm, Sweden

Louise Ljungberg is a self-described “Jill of all trades.” After making the move from the beautiful woods of Värmland to Stockholm, Sweden over a decade ago, she jumped right into the hustle and bustle of the city. As a PR specialist at creative agency House of Radon, a freelance photographer, teacher at Berghs School of Communication and as digital manager of Creative Mornings Stockholm, she likes to keep busy. But after a period of job burnout, and wondering how to better enjoy life, Louise and her fiancée Filip Lundqvist decided to sell their wonderful city loft apartment and move outside of the city center. “The reason?” she begins, “To make room to afford a car and to spend more free time at the countryside.”

When the couple found an ad for this 800-square-foot attic apartment, they saw its potential right away. Located in the turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau quarter of Aspudden — an up-and-coming suburb 15 minutes to Stockholm city and close to green and lush areas — the first thing they noted was how quiet and private the apartment was. The second thing they noticed? The massive amount of work it needed. Louise describes: “The floor plan didn’t make the most of the apartment, and we struggled with the light (it felt very dark and narrow), so we had to transform the place into ours.” But as is almost always the case, the renovation was more work than they anticipated. With the goal of letting in more sunlight, walls came tumbling down, nearly every room was gutted, and they installed several new large industrial windows and doors to create a restful retreat.

“Both me and Filip are hardworking people who recharge in environments that breathe harmony,” Louise shares, so of utmost importance was fostering a relaxing space that would be home to oodles of plants and soft colors. Also, nearly a year into renovating, they learned that they would have to make room for one more addition to their family — a year later, they welcomed baby Leopold into their lives.

For Louise, life is sometimes more hectic than ever, but that only makes the simpler moments of stillness more meditative and beautiful. It’s all about “finding the little things in everyday life that make me happy,” she explains. “I just love my little family so much and I’m proud of the home we built together.” –Sabrina

Photography by Linda Alfvegren for The Way We Play

 

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Paola “Pao Pao” Mathé + Best of the Web

Paola “Pao Pao” Mathé + Best of the Web

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Over the past few days I’ve been focusing on learning more, listening more and trying to balance, in some small way, the images of violence and death in the media with imagery that celebrates life and happiness. This is not an attempt to forget what is happening in our world, but to remember that there are still moments of happiness in this complicated mix.

Paola “Pao Pao” Mathé is one of the stylists we featured on DS two weeks ago and her feed has been a wonderful oasis of positive, colorful and hopeful images that celebrate the moments of beauty we find in between moments of heartbreak. If you’re looking for a place to feel uplifted for a moment and find some visual inspiration as well, check out Paola’s feed right here. xo, grace

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In the Kitchen With: Jordan and Rejina’s Beef and Veg Glass Noodles

In the Kitchen With: Jordan and Rejina’s Beef and Veg Glass Noodles

Beef and Vegetable Sesame Glass Noodles

One of the most exciting things about delving into new-to-me cuisines is learning about new ingredients. Since having Bo Ssam prepared by food stylist Adam Pearson, I started my intro into Korean cuisine with the book Our Korean Kitchen by chef Jordan Bourke and his wife, fashion designer Rejina Pyo. Among the many fascinating ingredients I learned about were sweet potato glass noodles! They can be used in this week’s recipe for japchae, or Beef and Vegetables with Sesame Glass Noodles. Don’t worry, if you can’t locate them, you can use regular glass noodles for this filling and easy-to-make dish; perfect for a quick weeknight meal. —Kristina

Why Jordan loves this dish: This was the first Korean meal Jina made for me, and it totally won me over and sparked my obsession with Korean food. The glass noodles are naturally gluten-free, if that’s your thing, and are perfect for soaking up all the delicious flavors.

Our Korean Kitchen cookbook cover

Food Photography and portrait by Tara Fisher, location photography by Rejina Pyo, Sarah Sanghee Woo, and Kisik Pyo

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Decorating Ideas from Ministry of New in Mumbai

Decorating Ideas from Ministry of New in Mumbai

The Ministry of The New

Nicknamed the “Maximum City,” those who know Mumbai, India will relate to its reputation as a hurtling metropolis, where noise, color and sensation can sometimes leave you struggling to catch your breath. I have often wondered what it would be like to be a professional working in the city with all the challenges the hugely populated urban sprawl throws at an average local.

Dutch art director turned entrepreneur Marlies Bloemendaal and Natascha Chadha struggled with these very challenges, and as a result co-founded Ministry of New — an inspiring and collaborative work environment in the heart of Mumbai. A breath of fresh air away from the bustling road below, the 8000-square-foot workspace is housed inside a space once used for numerous wholesale book businesses. Intended to be an oasis in the Maximum City, the space is resplendent in sky blue and ocean hues, natural materials, playful working spaces, and plenty of textile and pattern play.

Setting the tone for its place in the design industry, pieces from some of the most talked about players in contemporary Indian design are woven into the space. Modern India inspired furniture pieces by Bombay Atelier dot the interior, a collection of Studio Wrap’s daybeds made of layered monochrome mattresses creates a playful meeting spot, antique Jaipur Rugs adorn the floors, and ombre paper lamps by Pepe Heykoop liven up the boardroom.

Out of the many inspiring ideas from this innovative workspace, here are five decorating considerations that would make me want to work hard (because they play harder)! —Rohini
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