A Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen

Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge

A Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen

As the owner of Stripe Design Group and two auxiliary decor stores in Santa Cruz, CA, British expat Suna Lock enjoys the city’s Victorian architecture, which she feels is reminiscent of her beloved London. The voluminous rooms and high ceilings of this 1877 Italianate home are situated within walking distance to downtown, as Lock often misses the hustle and bustle of her former urban life. Many of the older houses in this region are carved up into apartments, but the original layout of this one is still intact. After moving in a decade ago, Lock further opened up the space by knocking out the wall between her kitchen and dining room to further integrate the two areas, while staining the floors black, choosing a saturated paint color palette, and selecting unique Mexican tiles for each individual stair. Lock resides here with her children, Thomas and Erica, as well as her love Josh, who joined them two years back.

The designer set out to have guests and residents alike feel immediately comfortable upon entering her home, in contrast with the building’s austere exterior. One interesting fact about the place among many — little alcoves line the walls leading up the stairs. Lock learned from her chimney sweep that these recesses are called “coffin corners,” and are designed so that if somebody were to pass away upstairs, that person could be carried down without scratching the walls. Thankfully, nobody has ever departed in the house, but the family does find this unusual feature useful for moving larger pieces of furniture up and down the stairs!  —Annie

Photography by Tommy Parker

 

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#DSFloors and Best of the Web

#DSFloors and Best of the Web

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All week I’ve been hanging around the floors of our house, distracting our dogs while Julia works on her first-ever solo cookbook shoot (!!) at our house. I’ve wrestled with them on carpets as they tried to sneak turkey meatballs from the shoot table and laid flat on the stone tiles outside trying to make them stop blocking the shots with their tails — so I’ve had floors on my mind. Naturally, I thought it would be the right time to devote our next #HashtagChallenge to FLOORS! Whether they’re made of ornate tile patterns, beautiful aged wood planks, modern tufted rugs or anything else in between, look down, snap a picture and share yours at #DSFloors! We’ll pick our favorites and share them here on DS and on our Instagram feed, too (your feet don’t have to be in the shot if you’re feeling shy!). Until then, here’s wishing you all a wonderful weekend from our little corner of the woods upstate! xo, grace

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Image sources above, top to bottom: Whitney Leigh Morris (@whitneyleighmorris), Laurel Autumn (@laurelautumncabrera) and Serena Abraham (@lifestyledbyserena).

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Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce by Rebecca Lang

Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce by Rebecca Lang

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As a southerner, I’m 99% sure that a deep and abiding love for fried chicken is hardwired in my DNA. I know exactly how I prefer my fried chicken (heavy on the crispy bits, with a side of soft yeast rolls and honey for dipping), but I’m an equal opportunity eater when it comes to different fried chicken recipes. So when I heard from Rebecca Lang about her new cookbook devoted entirely to fried chicken recipes, I listened.

Fried Chicken: Recipes for the Crispy, Crunchy, Comfort-Food Classic, is Rebecca’s new book and it’s chock-full of recipes that are perfect for picnics, barbecues, weddings (why not?) and everyday weeknight dinners. While looking through the book I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and try something different than my usual “no sauce” or “red BBQ sauce only” tendencies. Rebecca has a recipe for “Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce” that looked amazing, so I asked if we could share it here today and thankfully she sent it over! If you need something truly delicious to make for your summer weekend, I can’t think of a tastier recipe. This reminds me of July 4th and watermelon and fireworks like nothing else. Thanks so much to Rebecca for sharing this recipe — you can check out her new book and order online at IndieBound or anywhere else books are sold online. xo, grace

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In the Kitchen With: Marcella Kriebel’s Avocados in the Half Shell

In the Kitchen With: Marcella Kriebel’s Avocados in the Half Shell

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Given summer’s gift of ripe avocados and juicy tomatoes, I thought these very simple recipes for avocados in the half shell with red quinoa salad and salsa roja would be perfect for this week. They are from illustrator Marcella Kriebel’s Mi Comida Latina cookbook. Mi Comida Latina is not only special because it is impeccably printed in large format on beautiful stock — it is also special because of the mission of its publisher. Burgess Lea Press is a new traditional trade publisher specializing in books of high quality from chefs, restaurants and farms, with 100% of after-tax publishers’ profits donated to non-profit organizations that address hunger, farmland preservation, culinary education and other food-related issues, chosen in collaboration with each book’s authors.  Marcella chose Adelante Mujeres in her native Oregon as a beneficiary for her book. Upcoming beneficiaries for other books include Edible Schoolyard Project (California), Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture (New York), The Vetri Foundation for Children (Philadelphia), and Urban Roots (Minnesota). —Kristina

Why Marcella loves this recipe: Avocados add a great richness to a dish like very few other fruits or veggies do. For example, when a salad doesn’t call for meat, I still desire something that lends more substance, and find that avocado is often the answer. I also must say that avocado green happens to be my favorite color! Color plays a big role when I paint, but it’s also really important when I cook, as well!

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Our Favorite D*S Kitchen Makeovers

Our Favorite Kitchen Makeovers, Design*Sponge

Our Favorite D*S Kitchen Makeovers

When I first graduated from college, I was the design assistant for an interior designer at a small firm. We mainly did kitchens and baths for new homes and renovations. I made renderings, calculated cabinet specs and picked out countertops and color palettes nonstop. Kitchens are not easy or quick. A lot of months and money go into most. Thankfully, I don’t have to make them over anymore, but I have such an overwhelming sense of respect for anyone who makes it through a kitchen remodel – big or small. Over the years, we’ve featured some really incredible transformations and designs in our Before & After column. These are some of our favorite D*S kitchen makeovers to date, and these beautiful spaces reiterate to me that all of the hard work is completely worth it. —Lauren

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Home Ec: My Top 6 Tips for a Happy, Healthy Home

6 Tips for a Healthy, Happy Home, Design*Sponge

Home Ec: My Top 6 Tips for a Happy, Healthy Home

For the past 20 weeks, we’ve been celebrating Home Ec on Design*Sponge. From tips about cleaning and saving money to tutorials on fixing broken things (or dying plants) at home, we’ve gathered a great collection of trusted home ideas that will help you get through everyday bumps and breaks at home.

We started our first week of photoshoots for our new book, so this will be our last Home Ec post for a while. I thought a lot about what would be a nice way to close this column, and I kept coming back to the way I’ve learned to live at home and what makes me happiest and calmest when I’m here. So today I thought I’d share my happy home “tips” that I live by to get me through stressful moments, and quick-fixes around the house that I believe in fully when it comes to decorating. Hopefully they’ll come in handy if you ever need a little pick-me-up at home. xo, grace

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This post and the Home Ec section are brought to you by Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. Visit the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Home-Grown Inspiration section featuring 20 DIYs, including seven from Design*Sponge!

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A Relaxed Bungalow in Portland, Oregon

A Relaxed Bungalow in Portland, Oregon, Design*Sponge

A Relaxed Bungalow in Portland, Oregon

Freelance photographer Jaclyn Campanaro and her cat Cece moved into this 1920s-era home less than a year ago, but their style already touches every nook and cranny of the Portland, OR 2-bedroom. Having been all too familiar with the tradeoffs that come with studio living, Jaclyn was eager to use her new, larger house as a backdrop to indulge her vintage-loving side. She relied heavily on Craigslist, family heirlooms and a few favorite local shops to bring her vision of a “relaxed, uncluttered space,” to life. A 1,500-square-foot bungalow that “supports the natural flow of daily activity by being organized and having a place for everything,” was another guiding principle behind all of her design decisions. To prevent her vision from being compromised, Jaclyn even took things into her own hands when it came to a few of her home’s pieces. An IKEA-hacked dining table and a DIY TV stand are just a couple of the one-of-a-kind solves she’s concocted.

Her home’s robin’s-egg-blue paint job, storied accents, and sense of zen are all worthwhile in their own way, but Jaclyn’s humble gratitude for being able to simply own a home is what sticks with me about this tour. It’s what she loves most about her space. Sometimes I find myself slipping into a bigger, better, brighter mentality and forget to be grateful for what I have. I’ll be sure to remind myself of Jaclyn’s point of view whenever I am feeling a bit perturbed about the quirks of my own space, and I hope it inspires you all to do the same. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Jaclyn Campanaro

 

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Studio Tour: Amy Hamley of Redraven Studios

Studio Tour: Amy Hamley of Redraven Studios, on Design*Sponge

Studio Tour: Amy Hamley of Redraven Studios

In the Pittsburgh workroom of redraven studios, inky splashes of navy, rose, and 14 karat gold stain handmade dinnerware crafted beside candy-colored nuggets of glistening porcelain jewelry. Since 2008, Amy Hamley has designed these sentimental keepsakes that capture fleeting moments in her own life and she turns them into contemporary objects for others to enjoy. Her Canyon Series tabletop line takes inspiration from family travels by reflecting the color palettes of national parks at sunset. Hamley’s adventures are shared with her husband Ryan, whose rural Pennsylvania background influences some of his wife’s additional work by establishing a direct connection to living memories. Around his family farm, the couple finds items such as retired horseshoes, antique bottle forms, and an extensive collection of arrowheads to cast in porcelain. By taking inspiration from the past, Hamley creates mementos steeped in context for future generations.

Redraven studios operates out of a 1,500-square-foot space shared with Stak Ceramics, nestled along the bank of the Allegheny River in the Sharpsburg section of the city. When they moved in about a year and a half ago, the trio of artisans built the wall shelving, work stations, and updated the electrical panel to accommodate three kilns. The heat generated by several ovens firing at 2,200 degrees lends the room tropical temperatures year-round, though domestic roadtrips are always preferable. —Annie

Photography by Janelle Bendycki, except where noted

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DIY Ladder Shelf Shoe Storage

DIY Ladder Shelf Shoe Storage

DIY Ladder Shelf

We’re all living such busy lives — rushing around, trying to find extra pockets of time to become more and more productive. One of the methods I use in an effort to save myself time and hopefully get jobs done quicker is keeping everything where I need it. It’s as simple as keeping pencils on my desk, makeup by the mirror and shoes close to the door, not hidden away in a closet somewhere.

Although this is a great system for shaving valuable minutes off the time it takes to carry out everyday tasks, it does mean that unless I take care to plan storage solutions creatively, we can end up in a mess. Storage needs to be both functional for its everyday use and beautiful to allow it to be placed in an optimum position.

I love the raw appeal of pine. It’s also a fantastically quick and easy material to work with using household tools. I had the pieces pre-cut (to the specifications listed in the materials list) by my local DIY store, making this DIY even faster to put together. Perfect for saving a little extra time. —Fran

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An Ornate Nest for Three in Norway

An Ornate Nest for Three in Norway, Design*Sponge

An Ornate Nest for Three in Norway

“Lightning struck us when we met at a bar in 2012. We immediately fell in love, moved in together, and a year later we owned [this] apartment… and I had a ring on my finger.” Needless to say, it’s been a whirlwind romance for Pia and Jeppe. While they were certain of their love for one another from the beginning, they weren’t exactly sure what they were looking for in a new home. Original wood floors, natural light and a gorgeous ceiling, however, immediately hooked the two when they stepped inside this 1890s apartment. It was the first one they toured in Oslo, Norway and one of those moments when you can’t quite describe what you’re after until you see it and, “Eureka!” — it’s crystal clear what you want.

While the apartment hunt was a quick and painless process, decorating has proven to be a bit trickier. With a goal of creating a “dark and dusty place of calmness and serenity,” the couple set out to only fill their home with pieces that they absolutely loved. Determined to not fall into the trap of just buying for utility, they stuck to two simple rules: they both had to instinctually love an item, and if they couldn’t picture still having it after their 20th anniversary, it was a no-go. They admit to growing a bit anxious to reach the finish line, but the process taught them something in the end. “In the beginning, we looked forward to everything being done, but after a while, we understood that we really loved the process of decorating. Our style really was made by putting two pretty different minds together. No compromises in our home, just ideas melting together and creating new ones! We love each other, and we love creating our style together,” the two say.

Pia is most thankful that she gets to share her lovely home with “a person who can make every boring day into an adventure.” This fall, that adventure will get even more exciting when they welcome home a little bundle of joy – their first child! It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful place for her to grow up. Take a peek inside her newly-completed nursery and the rest of what friends call Pia and Jeppe’s “curiously designed museum,” after the jump. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Pia Martine Gautier Bjerke

 

 

 

 

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Life & Business: Stacy Longenecker of LEIF

Life & Business: Stacy Longenecker of LEIF, on Design*Sponge

Life & Business: Stacy Longenecker of LEIF

During the 2011 holiday season, I sent a subtle hint to a gift-giving loved one with an email entitled “I want the Gemstone Magnet Set!” Little did I know that Stacy Longenecker, the owner and proprietor of LEIF, was at the time filling orders out of her tiny Brooklyn apartment during whatever waking hours remained after working a full-time office job. Nowadays, her vibrant webshop is run from a coordinated showroom that is a fitting physical embodiment of the curated selection of delightful and varyingly handmade tchotchkes available from LEIF. The studio sometimes welcomes local shoppers during open house events, where the talented staff will generously share the secret to tying a proper package bow (which is to use two pieces of ribbon, in case you’re wondering).

In keeping a business not just afloat but growing for four years straight, Longenecker reveals that her alternate career just didn’t seem like a viable option for the work of an entire lifetime. She hoped people would take notice of the items she felt passionate about selling because they enhanced her own domestic experience. For someone driven by feeling, running an e-commerce enterprise requires a defined daily regimen, and that can be challenging to impose upon oneself. The trick, according to Longenecker, is to enjoy all aspects of the work before committing to it, even the less sexy stuff, like shipping boxes from the neighborhood’s mortal tangle of a deranged post office. If that last bit sounds impossible, then delegate, and do it fearlessly. —Annie

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WHY COMMUNITY MATTERS MORE THAN COMMERCE [Contest Closed]

WHY COMMUNITY MATTERS MORE THAN COMMERCE [Contest Closed]

Wildfang-Life&Biz

Wildfang is for the rascals of the world, offering menswear to women — answering the prayers of tomboys everywhere — and liberating ladies to just be themselves. More than a brand, Wildfang is a movement and culture based on self-expression and not apologizing for who you are. With support from celebrities such as Ellen Page, Janelle Monae, Kate Mara and Evan Rachel Wood, Wildfang has become a wild success (pun intended) from its humble beginnings in Portland, OR by two friends, Emma McIlroy and Julia Parsley.

Today, CEO of Wildfang and overall bad-a$$, Emma McIlroy, is joining us to share her honest and helpful insight into community, and why it matters more than (and how it affects) commerce. And if that wasn’t enough, be sure to read more and scroll to the bottom of the post to find details on how to enter to win a $100 gift card to spend at Wildfang! –Sabrina

[UPDATE: The contest is now closed and a winner will be announced this week!]

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Finding Your Quiet: Listening To What Really Matters

Finding Your Quiet: Listening To What Really Matters

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When I lived in Brooklyn, I was a fast and angry driver. I was always pushing the speed limit, beeping at people to move and, in one very unbecoming moment, I lost my cool and yelled at a group of tourists in downtown Brooklyn for blocking the road. In short, I was far from my best and always on edge. I had a lot to say and so much of it was about trying to prove someone wrong or explain the way I thought things really were. It was a self-involved and short-tempered way to live and it was only last week that I realized how much anger I had been holding onto and how misdirected it was.

Last Wednesday I was in the middle of a 40-minute drive to my dentist’s office when I noticed I was driving 10 miles under the speed limit. I was also driving without my typical fastpaced soundtrack. I had the windows open and was commuting in complete and utter silence. I had, out of nowhere, become a calm and quiet driver. This may not seem life-changing, except for the fact that in that moment, it hit me why I was suddenly so relieved of my typical anxiety level: I had finally found a project that spoke to what was most important to me in life and work.

In that moment I remembered an interview Julia did with chef/author Gabrielle Hamilton in Cherry Bombe. Gabrielle talked about how being acknowledged as a serious writer changed the way she acted from there on out. “I have noticed something very interesting since the success of this book. My need and hunger has quieted so dramatically and it’s directly related to having been recognized for something that matters to me…I just don’t need all of this attention and I get so much of the actual kind of attention I hungered for.

It got me thinking about how maybe that’s what we’re all searching for and how we can help each other figure out how best to find that for ourselves.

*Image above is part of a poem by Erin Hanson, typed and for sale at WhiteCellarDoor on Etsy.

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Life & Business: Adam J. Kurtz

Life & Business: Adam J. Kurtz

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Adam J. Kurtz is talented, refreshingly honest, and his work and career trajectory are great examples of how many options there are for creatives. On top of his wildly successful book, 1 Page at a Time, he recently launched a product collaboration with Urban Outfitters in stores now, created a #social #media t-shirt with Tumblr to raise money for charity, and tirelessly crafts new products to add to his shop (which most recently includes four lapel pins, four new ribbons, and the “Like” tee that’s all over Instagram).

Back in the winter, he joined us to share his refreshingly honest and relevant tips for success, and today we’re thrilled to have him back, doing what he does best: getting to the heart of the matter (and making us laugh), while sharing a bit more about himself and how he balances a 9-5 job with his business. And if you still can’t get enough, you can catch Adam signing copies of his book at the MoMA in NYC on June 25th.–Sabrina

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Beijing, China City Guide

Beijing, China City Guide

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Before making the move to Beijing in 2011, St. Louis-native Jessica Rapp had been a tourist for years, traveling to China’s capital on various occasions to visit her Chinese host-family and sister, Sunny. Having studied linguistics and Chinese culture in University, each time she visited, she fell more in love with the rapidly evolving city until she couldn’t help but call it home. Before she even fully settled in, Jessica began writing about Beijing and contributing to local publications such as City Weekend and Beijinger Magazine, where she worked as an editor, unearthing and sharing the best Beijing has to offer in style and nightlife. Passionate though she is about sharing China’s creative scene with people across the globe, Jessica is also an eager supporter of all of the new changes Beijing has undergone and adopted in the last few years. When she’s not writing or designing, you can find Jessica selling secondhand clothing at local markets through her own garment recycling program, supporting local, organic food movements, or hanging out at all of the new microbreweries. Today, we’re thrilled to have Jessica share her personal take on Beijing, from her favorite watering holes to the hidden gems and must-visit places, broken down by neighborhood. –Sabrina

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