Sean Brock’s Cornbread Recipe

Sean Brock’s Cornbread Recipe

Excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards
There is nothing more nostalgic than the smell of food from your childhood. Growing up, I had two favorite corn dishes, spoonbread and cornbread. Both are southern staples, but cornbread seems to be experiencing a real revival across American restaurant menus. I order it just about any time I see it, but none have been as overwhelmingly flavorful and evocative of dinners at my Grandma Nita’s house as the cornbread at Sean Brock’s restaurant Husk in Charleston, South Carolina.

Excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards
Sean’s devotion to heirloom grains, seeds, produce and meat is something I truly admire. Although he’s been famous in the food world for some time now, I learned about him primarily through his stint as a host on my favorite television show, Mind of a Chef. Sean’s recipes are all about bringing back ingredients and traditions of the low country and his beautiful new cookbook, Heritage, celebrates that region’s diverse cooking styles with a reverence and level of research that’s rarely seen. What struck me most about Heritage, in addition to the delicious food, was how much work Sean puts into connecting the traditions we associate with southern cooks with their roots in Africa. To say that the reasons behind those connections are unfortunate would be a massive understatement, but Sean takes an honest look at the way the slave trade affected early food in the south and how those ingredients and cooking styles connect to our contemporary kitchens. Heritage is equal parts recipe and history book and I am so glad to see more southern chefs digging deeper into the roots behind the food we make and enjoy today. Speaking of enjoying, I’m thrilled to be sharing my favorite of Sean’s recipes, his cornbread, here on DS today. It is perfect for the holidays, but it is equally delicious at any other time, day or event. You just cannot beat the crispy edges and soft, pillowy corn center. xo, grace

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Printable Freebie: Woodland Gift Tags

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Printable Freebie: Woodland Gift Tags

Not to send anybody into a blind panic, but it’s officially crunch time: Christmas is less than ten days away. If you’re anything like me, this time of year will find you frantically running around doing all of the holiday shopping you should have been doing months ago like a responsible, level-headed adult. If you’re feeling the pressure of the holidays building—both temporally and financially—don’t worry. We gotchu. While we can’t foot the bill for your holiday presents (that’s on you, dear reader), we can try to lighten your load with a fun lil freebie—gift tags! Download the template for these woodland-themed cuties, print them out on some card stock, and you’re one step closer to finishing your holiday to-dos like a CHAMP. Happy wrapping! —Max

Gift wrap from Linda & Harriett’s 2015 Gift Wrap Calendar.

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We Bought a Home!

Design*Sponge: Grace & Julia's New (Old) Home, The "Before" Photos

We Bought a Home!

Last Friday, Julia and I packed up our tiny car with as many essentials as we could fit and we drove upstate to sign the contract on our new home! It’s tempting to insert about 10,000 exclamation points here, but I’ll leave it at this: the process taught us a lot about patience, the emotional nature of buying (and selling) a home and how much you have to leave things to fate to see how they turn out. But after all was said and done, we are both thrilled (and scared and excited!) to call this incredible old house our home.

Earlier this year, after spending a lot of time in and around the Catskills for vacation and our honeymoon, we decided to consider looking for a home upstate. We planned on casually looking, but what happened was a (wonderful) whirlwind that led to our dream home. After seeing a promising listing, we called an agent who was highly suggested by our friends and drove upstate with Julia’s family to look around. We saw five houses the first day, and the fifth ended up being the home we would eventually call our own. It needs a lot of love and some work, but we can’t wait to get started. (Read on for the full story, photos and the history of our over 150-year-old home) xo, grace

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Postwar Construction Meets Prewar Charm in Victoria

The dining room.

Postwar Construction Meets Prewar Charm in Victoria

I have a moderately unproven and probably not-all-that-accurate theory that shopkeepers and restauranteurs are preternaturally adept when it comes to the task of homemaking. If you think about it, the skill set and networking needs of both vocations are strangely similar—you need to know how to entertain, how make people comfortable, how to arrange a beautiful centerpiece, and who to call when you need something fixed or built. This is why, when it came time to purchase a home for their growing family, Carey and Erv Salvador seemed enviably cut out for the job. Carey is the owner of a charming vintage clothing and homewares shop called Pigeonhole and Salvator is the restauranteur behind two Vancouver-area restaurants—The Whip and Lucy’s East Side Diner. Like a pair of decor-inclined Planeteers,  the couple’s biz-savvy powers were able to combine to transform a 1952 Victoria, BC house into a show-stopping, timeless home with aesthetics and references that span centuries.

With a little help from their contractor friend Mack Kurtz, the couple was able to swiftly expedite the renovation process, making the home move-in ready over the course of just one summer. Afterwards, it was all about adding a little charm! Beautiful hardware, vintage pieces, and objects culled from Carey’s store add old world character to the home and spaces have been creatively reinvented to maximize comfort and entertaining possibilities—an unused room was transformed into a miniature espresso bar; the kitchen and dining room combined for a warm space perfect for small parties. Overall, with four bedrooms and beauty to spare, the home is the perfect abode for a growing, creative family. —Max

Photographs by Kelly Brown

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A Mix of Old and New in Charleston, SC

Erin Connelly and Brooks Reitz's Charleston, SC Home on Design*Sponge

A Mix of Old and New in Charleston, SC

Nothing makes me happier than hearing about artists and designers moving to (or staying in) the south to set up shop and be a part of the incredible communities there. There’s just something so special about what’s happening in the deep south right now, both in food and design, that is worth investing in and celebrating. I’ve loved getting to peek inside several beautiful Charleston, South Carolina homes and today, I’m thrilled to share another gorgeous Low Country home.

This 1930s craftsman belongs to Erin Connelly and Brooks Reitz, a couple that know a thing or two about great style. Erin is the co-owner of The-Commons, an incredible online shop that curates American-made goods, and Brooks is an entrepreneur who owns Jack Rudy Cocktail Co and two restaurants in Charleston, Leon’s Oyster Shop and the soon-to-open St. Alban (both of which he designed himself!). After spending many a Sunday walking through their Wagener Terrace/ North Central neighborhood, Erin and Brooks decided to start peeking into windows and yards to see if anything was for sale. They were looking for a home that was small, move-in ready and full of charm and historic details. When they stumbled upon this home four months ago, they fell in love with the cozy kitchen, clawfoot tub and the extra bedroom that was perfect for visits with Finn, Brooks’ son. While they’ve only been in their new space for a few months, they’ve already created a space that expertly mixes their love for contemporary, American-made design with pieces from their travels and treasured hand-me-downs from family. xo, grace
Photographs by Olivia Rae James

 

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25 Books to Give as Gifts This Year

25 Books to Give as Gifts This Year

Design*Sponge 2014 Gift Guide: 25 Great Books to Give as Gifts
This year was an incredible year for books. From stunning art and photography books to helpful interior design and do-it-yourself guides and delicious cookbooks, my wish list for reading this year seems to go on and on. I love giving books as gifts because they’re the gift that keeps on giving. Whether someone returns to a book to cook new recipes, consult for design advice or just be inspired again, there are endless ways to personalize books and make them something people will treasure for years to come. And if you want to add a little DIY extra to your book gift, here are a few great ideas: Free printable gemstone bookplates, DIY plaid book jackets, fabric pyramid bookends and digital bookplates (for gifting digital readers). xo, grace

*Please consider supporting independent bookstores if you can! Indiebound will let you search for any book and find the closest shop to you that stocks it. Click here to find stores near you.

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Unfolded Wallpaper Inspired by Origami

Unfolded Wallpaper Inspired by Origami

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Over the past 10 years, I’ve written about thousands of new products. Some designs come and go, but there are always a few that stick with me as truly innovative and beautiful. For me, the most memorable design that, sadly, never ended up coming to market, was Dutch designer Hannah Allijn‘s incredible origami-inspired curtain. On the surface, it looks like a flat curtain, but when pulled, it condenses like a beautifully crumpled piece of paper to let the sun in. I’ve had that design in my mind for years now, and I always get excited to see any new home good that takes its inspiration from origami. The latest is a piece that I also love, the Unfolded series of wallpaper from Sidonie Loiseleux.

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Inspired by the intricate folds of origami and the patterns it leaves behind on paper, Sidonie created five new styles that represent different folds. The finished paper is based on a photograph so it lays flat, but still has the look of texture and shadows that comes from a three dimensional piece of folded paper. White walls are sometimes a bit too sparse for me, so I love the idea of this as a spin on the look, but with a bit more detail and fun. Click here to check out the Unfolded series from Sidonie Loiseleux. xo, grace

Skye McAlpine’s Putizza Recipe

Skye McAlpine’s Putizza Recipe

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I was already playing my Christmas music before Thanksgiving, when I had a memory of eating a gubana, a traditional sweet bread eaten during the festivities in the Friuli region of Italy, that I tasted for the first time around Christmas here with a family in Padova. It was pure coincidence that Skye McAlpine, a freelance writer and the author of the blog From My Dining Table, suggested we enjoy a recipe for a putizza, a sweet bread with a filling of chocolate, raisins, walnuts, and Skye’s own twist – tarragon butter. Skye lives in London, but she grew up in Venice, where her family home remains. Though the putizza is not strictly a Christmas sweet, it is a Christmas morning tradition in Skye’s family. It is a beautiful sweet bread, and if you have a baking tradition in your family around the holidays, it would be a lovely addition to a party or holiday meal. Skye encourages you to use her recipe only as a guide, adapting the filling to your own tastes and whims. -Kristina

About Skye: Skye McAlpine is a freelance writer and passionate home cook. She writes the blog From My Dining Table, an online cookbook of sorts, which explores the food and hidden secrets of Venice, her hometown. When she is not cooking, eating or reading Latin love poetry (she is currently wrapping up a PhD in ancient literature), she contributes recipes to a number of online publications, including the Huffington Post. Find her on: Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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DIY Wreath of Boxes

DIY Wreath of Boxes

DIY Wreath of Boxes by Hank & Hunt for DesignSponge
A few boxes and a little twine is a clean and modern approach to gift wrapping, so why not use the same approach on a wreath? Black on white and a modern square shape updates the classic Christmas wreath without being too kitschy. A paired down palette is the key to freshening up your holiday décor and with such bold contrast, this wreath will fit perfectly in even the most traditional of homes. -Jenny Batt of Hank & Hunt

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20 Gifts for Food Lovers

Clockwise from top: Max Poglia's heirloom-quality utility knife, handmade using horn, brass, and repurposed steel. Momofuku Milk Bar's "Crack Pie" makes for a great hostess gift. Atlas Pepper Mill in brass. Eataly's "The Everyday Eatalian" gift set comes packed to the brim with all sorts of Italian cooking essentials.

20 Gifts for Food Lovers

I’ve always been a bit confused by the term “foodie.” Not because I don’t know what it means or I don’t believe that such people exist, but because I feel like the love of good food is universal. Unless you’re a robot, chances are you eat and make food—and you probably want it to taste great! This is why, whether you’re buying for a five-star chef or a first-time cook, good food and great tools always make great gifts. From beautiful kitchen essentials to artisanal treats from some of our favorite grocers and restaurants, these 20 gifts are sure to please the tastes (and the stomachs) of whoever they meet! —Max

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Best of IKEA + Festive Team Favorites

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Best of IKEA + Festive Team Favorites

Ever since the late 1940’s, when Ingvar Kamprad began selling flat-packed furniture under the name IKEA, the world has been absolutely hooked on the company’s accessible brand of Modernism. Today, one would be hard-pressed to find a home without at least one piece of IKEA furniture or a closet that doesn’t have one of their iconic blue and yellow totes tucked away inside. Our own homes tours frequently showcase products from the Swedish homegoods store, ingeniously reinvented for practically any style. Whether you grew up tagging along with your parents on weekend IKEA jaunts or you turned to the store for your first apartment, it seems that everybody has an IKEA story to share. Because of this, we thought it would be fun to comb through our archives to find some of our favorite examples of IKEA at home. Check out all of them, plus our own festive picks and a Swedish inspired drink recipe, after the jump!

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19 Giftable Works of Art

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19 Giftable Works of Art

Buying gifts can be one of the more nerve-racking things about the holidays. In addition to watching your pocketbook become increasingly empty, the risk of spiraling into a What-To-Buy?? state of panic and indecision is always high. However, before you stand in line at the department store obsessing over whether your aunt needs a new sweater or a dutch oven, consider that the answer to gift-giving enlightenment might be taking need out of the equation entirely. Art—whether it be a painting, a print, a textile, or a sculptural objet d’art—is the one thing that nobody needs but everybody could use. While not necessarily as traditionally functional as the coffee grinder you were considering for your sister, a beautiful painting might be just the thing to brighten up her home and her life for years to come. You may not know if your friend already has an iPad case that they like, but you know what they probably don’t already have? An awesome custom-printed pennant with their hometown on it! Indeed, even though its function is more or less intangible, art can be one of the best gifts to give. It’s something that people typically don’t buy for themselves and something that is sure to inspire and delight. Here are a few of our favorite works of art for holiday gifting! —Max

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A Bold, Black Fireplace Makeover

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A Bold, Black Fireplace Makeover

In the design world, it feels like things are always swinging from one end of the pendulum to the other. For years it seemed as if “paint it white!” was the answer to every question or problem. Our makeover folder was full of freshly painted white chairs, tables, rooms and home exteriors. Then slowly it seems we’ve swung back to “paint it black!” again and now we’re seeing more and more projects that involve painting something black- especially a bold matte black. I personally prefer a darker paint for most things (if you’re going to paint, which of course is never the only option) because it’s easier to keep clean, especially in the case of fireplace. This fireplace makeover comes from Tanya of Dans le Lakehouse. After realizing their dream of finding a home on Lake Superior, Tanya and her husband realized that it left little budget left over for major renovations. Faced with finishes they didn’t love (like this faux-stone), they decided to lean on paint to do the heavy (and affordable) lifting. I love how clean and modern the finished look is and think it’s a great alternative to white or refacing something entirely. Tanya walks us through the full makeover process after the jump! xo, grace

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The Future of Print Magazines

The Future of Print Magazines

The Future of Print Magazines on Design*Sponge Radio
As we get closer to the end of the year and the end of our radio season, I wanted to tackle one of the biggest issues in the creative community: the future of print publication. Starting in 2008, the lifestyle community saw the death of many of its most beloved publications: House & Garden, Gourmet, Domino, Blueprint, Readymade and many more. While a few have come back in less frequent forms, the industry still seems to be figuring out how to regain its foothold in a drastically changing advertising and reader world. In the meantime, a wide range of independent publications have grown and seem to be building sustainable models for print in a slightly more niche style. While there’s no way for any of us to predict the future or summarize what is clearly a complicated issue, I wanted to have a round table discussion with some of the print publications I love and trust. So yesterday I sat down with Paul Lowe and Paul Vitale of Sweet Paul Magazine, Michele Outland of Gather Journal and Janine Vangool of Uppercase Magazine (who joined us on the phone) to discuss the future of print, how to financially support it, what you need to make it work and the biggest hurdles to overcome.

Although I work online, I love print and believe it will continue to play an important role in the creative community. I think people like Paul, Janine and Michele are great examples of one way print can continue to thrive and I so appreciate their thoughts and input on the subject. I’d also love to hear YOUR thoughts. What do you think is the future of print in the lifestyle community? Do you buy magazines anymore? If so, what kind? I’m so curious to see what we can learn from each other and how best to keep supporting publications like theirs that provide high-quality inspiration and ideas in printed form. xo, grace

To Listen: Click here to listen online or click here to Listen on iTunes.

25 Gifts $100 and Under

Gifts $100 and Under at Design*Sponge

25 Gifts $100 and Under

Today marks my final price-based gift guide for the 2014 holiday season, but we have a few more guides coming up this week and next (Books, Last-min Gifts, Food- stay tuned!). For today, I rounded up beautiful gifts that are $100 and under. From lux materials like silver, copper, walnut and marble to handmade gifts for pets, this guide has a little bit of everything. I’ve included some great art pieces as well, but we have an all-art gift guide coming up, too so if you’re looking for more great art ideas, stay tuned! xo, grace

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