New: Grow House Grow Tiles + Wallpaper

New: Grow House Grow Tiles + Wallpaper

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All week I’ve been having a mild case of FOMO while I’m home upstate watching the exciting updates from New York Design Week roll in. I had family in town all last week and friends in town this week, so for the first time in 10 years, I handed over the trade show reins to two of our talented writers, Annie and Emma. They’ve been walking the aisles at the Javits Center all weekend, keeping an eye on trends and great new designers, to bring us fresh posts this week. I can’t wait to see what they have to share, but in the meantime, I couldn’t resist posting Katie Deedy’s newest designs at Grow House Grow. She sent me a little sneak peek and I immediately started figuring out just how much of her new Otomi tile I would need to redo the floor in our tiny upstairs bathroom.

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Katie’s new collections for spring 2015 include a stunning Otomi pattern cement tile and gorgeous new wallpaper designs, too. The tile is so special I haven’t been able to take my eyes off it. I keep imagining it in all different colorways (deep indigo, pale pink, gold) and how much it would inspire me to actually get down and clean the tiles in our bathroom. I can’t wait to see these in person, but in the meantime, you can check them out and order online right here.

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Katie also launched a new wallpaper line, called Codex, inspired by great historical mythology and mystery. I am still a sucker for a cute eye print and I’ll never turn down a good floral, so both of these are on my instant wish list. Katie’s papers always have such a wonderful story behind them and the patterns balance whimsy and sophistication with ease. Annie got to see these in person at ICFF, so I’m anxiously awaiting her report later this week. If you’re stopping by on the public day of ICFF this year, be sure to say hi to Katie and check out these new designs at the Grow House Grow booth, #2546. Until then, stay tuned for our trade show coverage later this week! xo, grace

An Inspired, Bohemian Home in the California Desert

An Inspired, Bohemian Home in the California Desert | Design*Sponge

An Inspired, Bohemian Home in the California Desert

Sometimes I am blown away by stories of homes impacting the people that live in them. I often sit for a few minutes, just taking in this idea – lives changed because of a house and its story. We hear about it happening more frequently when it comes to interior decorating, but when a house’s 100-year-old original design sparks a passion in a new homeowner, that’s an inspiring home. This house at the edge of the Sonoran Desert in Alamorio, CA was built with the original owner’s rug-weaving pastime in mind and has turned a creative desire into a fiber design business for Chy Parker.

Chy, stylist and fiber designer, and Marshal Parker, welder and harvesting manager, found their more than 100-year-old home by word of mouth. When touring the space, the natural light and quirky layout won them over. “One of the rooms in our home is very strangely set-up, with a huge doorway and no hardware for a door, a small closet and a custom built-in shelving unit as well as a little window nook area,” Chy says. “When I asked our landlord about it, he told me his mother was a weaver, that she used to teach at the local community college and would weave beautiful rugs, and this was her craft room. It was then that I got interested in working with fiber, sort of as an homage to the original homeowner. I bought myself a small lap loom and sat for hours figuring it out. After a while I delved into macrame and made myself a few plant hangers and used the leftover for wall hangings. Once I got the hang of it and people began to be interested in purchasing my work, I set up shop.” Chy’s work and love for textiles and fiber pieces are seen throughout the space, mixed with Marshal’s more minimal approach to design.

“Marshal and I definitely have different tastes when it comes to interior decor,” Chy says. “He leans more toward traditional and minimal, while I’m all about clean lines and color! We somehow manage to find an in-between on most things – mixing the original charm of the home with a modern bohemian style, organic and natural – a place to come home to and feel the good vibes instantly.” Their airy home has made their day-to-day more beautiful and, at least for Chy, more inspiring. —Lauren

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Bursting With Plants, a 1910 Portland Foursquare for a Florist and Barista

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Bursting With Plants, a 1910 Portland Foursquare for a Florist and Barista

From where I sit as I type this, I can count 14 plants in my home surrounding me — some big, some small, but all bringing me such joy. Plants make any home feel inviting, and Alea Joy’s is no exception. In fact, it may be the most beautiful example of a home that marries indoor and outdoor living that I’ve ever seen!

Alea is a florist and proud owner of the plant shop Solabee Flowers and Botanicals in downtown Portland, OR. Her passion for teaching people how to successfully integrate plants into their spaces is one she definitely brings home with her. Over the four years spent in her home, the first few as a renter with a roommate, Alea has perfected the art of unifying the outdoors and indoors. And once her landlord unexpectedly sold the foursquare house to her, she was thrilled to finally be able to call it home for her herself, her fiancé Peter King (a drum-loving Barista from Chicago) and their cats, Dancer and Jude.

Since its conversion to a triplex in the 30s up until they bought it, their home has been a rental property. So while they weren’t surprised to discover that it was in need of some serious fixes, they were a bit stunned by how intimidating the renovations were. They’re currently in the process of totally gutting and redoing their bathroom, but as Alea explains, “the list of projects [is] endless… redoing the front porch, and creating a back deck with a french door exit off the kitchen are up next.” Regardless of the hard work ahead of them, their home already oozes with comfort and feels open, earthy and inviting. It’s host to big family dinners with Peter’s massive, loving family, their travel souvenirs and mementos, two happy felines and plentiful greenery! “I am just thankful to have a home to call our own. A place to just be ourselves,” Alea says, “We feel very fortunate in our humble surrounding, but are also extremely grateful for the space to grow in the years to come. It’s just the beginning for us!” With a wedding planned for October on the horizon, and a honeymoon to Ireland and Iceland shortly after, the couple is excited to get away and look forward to their return home as Mr. and Mrs. —Sabrina

Photography by Jaclyn Campanaro

 

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Bringing Home the Flower Power of Dior and I

Bringing the Flower Power of "Dior and I," Home, Design*Sponge

Bringing Home the Flower Power of Dior and I

Nearly three years ago, amidst skepticism and intrigue, Raf Simons became Creative Director of one of the last remaining couture houses in the world. His earlier minimalist work meant he was far from the obvious choice to take the reigns of  the opulence and grandeur that is The House of Dior. All reservations vanished with his debut collection, however, as he sent his models walking through a patina’d Parisian mansion dripping in wall-to-ceiling flowers of every variety.

The development of his work was captured and seen for the first time this year in the highly-aniticipated documentary, Dior and I. In on one of my favorite cinematic moments of the year, we see Raf cry backstage as he watches his collection blossom in front of his eyes. This moment of unabashed happiness coincides with barely-moving shots of women modeling the new collection to summarize the culmination of his labor of love. I’m not too tough to admit that it brought a tear to my eye as well. Simply put, it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of film I have ever seen.

I was so struck by the craftsmanship of these astonishing flower walls, that I’ve rounded up some tips on how to best bring each of the flowers used in Raf’s runway “Salons” to your own home. Some simple, others a bit more complex, this floral how-to truly is for gardeners of every level. I wouldn’t say I have the least bit of a green thumb, so trust that these tips are aimed at making it as easy as possible to get a taste of Raf’s aromatic vision. Enjoy and be sure to check out the film stat. I couldn’t recommend it more. —Garrett

 

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Checklist For Your Online Shop’s Digital Storefront

Checklist For Your Online Shop’s Digital Storefront

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With online shopping becoming the sole way some people shop, period, e-commerce is growing — and your digital storefront should lead the way to many sales and endless happiness! While it’s fun to show off your website to your peers and industry friends to ogle at and admire, it should be a place catered to your clients, first and foremost. But it’s not always easy to know what to actually do, especially if you don’t know web very well. If you’re asking yourself, “what’s a CSS?” or if the word “hosting” to you is always followed up by “a party,” this post is here to save the day! Click through for our checklist of things you should consider when it comes to your online shop. —Sabrina VIEW MORE

For Old Times’ Sake, Osxnasozi + Best of The Web

For Old Times’ Sake, Osxnasozi + Best of The Web

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Ah, how time flies — has there ever been a truer expression? This week showed me a contrast in life and lifestyle from only as far back as 100 years to where we are today. I spent my week juggling two laptops and an iPhone on one hand, and wielding a shovel, knee-high in dirt, building a fence by hand on the other. It made me realize how much work goes into making the things we use, be it a fence or a blanket. As my iPhone ran out of battery and I spent precious time backing up my laptop, I found myself appreciating the slow, old way of doing and making. The craft is most definitely not lost on me this week as I daydream of this gorgeous eyelet indigo throw blanket from Osxnasozi, both in appreciation of the hand-stitching and hand-dyeing, and simply because I’d like to crawl up into it right about now after this hectic week. So bear with my nostalgia of the old and join me in paying tribute to the past with this week’s roundup! —Sabrina

Below is a summary of this week’s highlights from DS and around the web:

 

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In the Kitchen With: Morgan Morano’s Espresso Gelato

In the Kitchen With: Morgan Morano’s Espresso Gelato

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As an undergrad, one of my favorite treats was the Turkish Coffee-flavored ice cream from Swensen’s. It was so good, I was certain that if given the chance I could eat a whole tub of it. I never found another coffee-flavored frozen dessert I liked until I started surveying coffee gelato in Italy. Every so often, not always, I stumble upon a creamy, not overwhelming, not bitter version that pairs well with hazelnut (my favorite) or vanilla (when I can find it). This week’s recipe is for espresso gelato by the founder and owner of Morano Gelato in Hanover, NH, Morgan Morano. Morgan perfected her technique in Italy, and brought it back to the US. In her new book, The Art of Making Gelato, she has developed gelato recipes to make at home in your own ice cream maker. I think it’s about time I bought an ice cream maker! —Kristina

Why Morgan loves this recipe: This classic flavor, found everywhere in Italy, combines two things that Italians love: gelato and espresso. The recipe highlights the importance of using quality espresso; not bitter, or sour, but espresso that is as smooth and creamy as the gelato itself. Flecks of ground espresso help give the flavor more depth, along with adding a bit of texture. Strong in flavor with a sweet finish, it’s exactly how I prefer my espresso. Try it paired with dark chocolate for an irresistibly popular combination.

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Running a Creative Business: What To Do When the Romance Fades

Running a Creative Business: What To Do When the Romance Fades

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A big part of your job when you run a creative business is remaining excited and passionate about what you do while trying to avoid the pitfalls of bitterness, growing stale, or the myriad other unpalatable possibilities. Some career paths allow you to grunt through your job, but when you’re self-employed by your personal taste, style or hand, grunting through it typically leads to a poor final. And a poor final could lose you a client — eek! It can be a lot of pressure at times. In creative industries, your work is your leg to stand on, so staying fresh, inspired and challenged — and waking up wanting to make something better — is extremely important. But waking up like this every day is nearly impossible. You will be grumpy some mornings; you may wish you could call in sick (which you can’t); you might be uninspired and defeated before you even begin a project.

Creative blocks happen to the best of us, but what happens more than blocks is the mundane — the ugly, less dramatic cousin of burnout. The romance can fade at many stages in your career. I know because I’ve been there, and I’m only 24.

When I first graduated from Sheridan’s four-year Illustration program, I entered the workforce immediately (as in, the Monday following my last day of school) and took a job in advertising. It was challenging in a new way, and between freelancing on nights to pay rent, being thrust into a career I wasn’t quite educated for, and having just come out of an intensive four-year program without a breather, I quickly burned out. So I quit. Realizing that I was headed down a road to bitterness, I veered off and took a new path pursuing freelancing full-time as an illustrator and designer and, now blogging. Although I was reinvigorated by this change in being my own boss, I’ve experienced a few moments of boredom and staleness — which isn’t quite the same as burnout, but can be just as dangerous. So today I thought I’d share my tips for when the honeymoon stage fades in your career, no matter what field you’re in. —Sabrina

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What I Love Most About My Home Is…

Round Up: "What I Love Most About My Home Is..." Photos, Design*Sponge

What I Love Most About My Home Is…

Pretty soon, my own home will become a part of our Sneak Peek column right here on Design*Sponge. As I began planning how to shoot and prep my house for its feature, I also started to brainstorm how I will capture my, “What I love most about my home is…” photo. Each homeowner is asked to style a handwritten note capturing their answer to accompany their home tour. Touching, creative and beautiful, they add such personal flare to each feature. To get inspired, I started browsing through some past submissions and was so impressed that I’ve rounded up some of the most crafty, gorgeous and personal homeowner notes in this fun gallery. You guys are truly stellar, so consider this a great big “THANK YOU!” to everyone who has been so kind as to let us into their homes. Enjoy! —Garrett

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Before & After: A Hudson Valley Home’s Full Facelift

Before & After: A Hudson Valley Home's Full Facelift, Design*Sponge

Before & After: A Hudson Valley Home’s Full Facelift

Jess and Nathan, the founders of See By Design, took on quite the project when they decided to give this 1960s ranch-style home in Red Hook, NY a total facelift. Though it was quite the undertaking and took the couple a year to complete, the results speak for themselves. Futurism mixes with vintage touches to create a space that’s very “now.” I can’t say that I have seen a more forward-thinking bathroom outside of a showroom. While the entire makeover is a glowing success, it’s that particular room’s burning pink walls that I won’t soon forget. Enjoy! —Garrett

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Before & After: Ananda’s Patio Makeover

Before & After: Ananda's Patio Makeover | Design*Sponge

Before & After: Ananda’s Patio Makeover

Renting definitely has its limitations when it comes to remodeling or refurbishing. We are all about sticking to the lease rules, but we are also all about finding solutions that make a rental home feel personal. Ananda Qianyu was set on finding a way to completely transform her San Diego, CA balcony without compromising her lease and without spending too much money. Pallets for the walls, floors and furniture changed the basic stucco balcony into a colorful, lush and cost-effective patio.

Ananda had a few guidelines from her landlord to follow, but also imposed some of her own rules when planning what to do with the space. “Rule #1: No drilling into/attaching to existing walls. Rule #2: No painting existing surfaces including floor, walls and ceiling. Rule #3: We want to prove that everyone can have a gorgeous space no matter what their budget is. Rule #4: We love a built-in look, but everything we build should be easily taken apart when we move,” she says. Ananda’s home has gained additional living space that she and her husband love, without compromising their agreement or what they really want. —Lauren

Photography by Ananda Qianyu

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Home Ec: How to Rewire a Table Lamp

Home Ec: How to Rewire a Table Lamp, on Design*Sponge

Home Ec: How to Rewire a Table Lamp

Harnessing the power of electrons is a physical science that still seems more like magic to the uninitiated. Perhaps this is why even the most intrepid of DIYers sometimes stop short of projects that involve tinkering with electrical. There can be unintended and dangerous consequences to doing so, which is why it’s best to let a licensed electrician handle hardwired fixtures (and all stuff hidden behind the wall). However, a plug-in table lamp can be repaired relatively easily by anyone with a few dollars to spare for materials, and the curiosity to peek behind the curtain. —Annie

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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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An Apartment Fit For a Foodie and Her Bunny

On Cranberry Street, A One-Bedroom Apartment For a Foodie and Her Bunny

An Apartment Fit For a Foodie and Her Bunny

Diana Yen is the owner of food consulting studio, The Jewels of New York, and the author of A Simple Feast. Inspired by seasonal home cooking, Diana’s work focuses on food styling and recipe development, all with the help of her studio produce specialist, Cleo the bunny. “She’s also fantastic at helping me compost veggie scraps,” jokes Diana.

After living in Soho and Red Hook, Diana decided she wanted to live in a place that felt cozy, but was still a very close commute to Manhattan. So after visiting friends who lived in Brooklyn Heights, she fell in love with the historical architecture and mature trees, and found herself settling on the tree-lined Cranberry Street (how fitting!), not far from the waterfront promenade.

Her one-bedroom rental apartment is airy and flooded with sunlight, and although it’s not as large as her former homes, the charm and picturesque block its on can’t be beat! What’s more, the smaller space makes keeping tabs on Cleo much easier: “She is cage-free and litter trained like a cat, but also chews on everything!” Diana explains. Though she couldn’t make any permanent changes to the space, she’s added storage by installing plenty of overhead shelving and using baskets and decorative bins in every room. Following her move-in, Diana was quick to paint her favorite room in a home, the kitchen, in her favorite hue, “Pink Ground” by Farrow & Ball. “There’s something very warm and feminine about this color that is perfect in the kitchen,” she explains. Following that, she opted for a soft, calming blue-gray in the bedroom, and ivory in the living room, which complements her favorite feature of the home: the decorative mantel.

Though she admits that her furniture is a hodge-podge of gifted, found, handed down or inherited items — and that no planning went into her interior — the result is a personalized and functional space that speaks to Diana’s personality. As she says, “for me, all of my little objects that I collect from here and there eventually help tell the story of a home.”  —Sabrina

 

 

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How to Stock Your Shop and Keep Customers Coming Back for More

Life & Business: How to Stock Your Shop and Keep Customers Coming Back for More on Design*Sponge

How to Stock Your Shop and Keep Customers Coming Back for More

In our instantly gratifying digital age, the operation of a successful brick-and-mortar shop poses an evolving challenge. “Think of your store as a tangible art show of goods,” advises Erin Austen Abbott, the proprietor of a six-year-old Oxford, Mississippi business called Amelia. Her two boutique storefronts and e-commerce site carry “a little something for everyone, from housewares, to stationery, to jewelry, to baby items.” Though web purchases are a component of many street-side businesses, Abbott believes that in order to keep customers walking through doors and not purchasing online exclusively, they should be welcomed by physical experiences impossible to translate into pixels. From cultivated merchandising displays to a continuously updated selection of unique items, the following strategies have earned Amelia locations many loyal shoppers who never risk missing a great find. —Annie

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MINE: Paint Chip Collection

A decade of memories from my time in New York City live in these tiny paint chips. Shown here are 16 of about 200!

MINE: Paint Chip Collection

Most of the time, we tend to hold onto things and objects that make us smile or revel in a sweet moment of nostalgia. The majority of the boxes in my basement that I’m slowly taking inventory of represent just that — special moments in time, embodied in a collection of like things. It’s cathartic to take a trip down memory lane once in a while and revisit those moments. Taking some time to make some tough decisions about whether to “let it go” and live on in memory or to dust it off and see where it should live today isn’t exactly fun, but sometimes it’s necessary.

A few weeks ago, I made a decision that a basement full of memories was a little too similar to living in a haunted house. I wanted to somehow honor the contents of the many boxes that lived there, but more importantly, I wanted to actively determine (on a gut level) if I needed to reclaim this space for my needs today. Armed with my camera, I decided to gather the contents of my boxes and give them their due, respectively, by creating an image archive. This would give me some time to figure out where these treasured things should live moving forward.

Going through these boxes, there were tons of moments when I was reminded of where I was at a certain time in my life. Yep, I cringed at some, nearly gagged at others and some made me smile, feeling a pure sense of freedom and growth. Some were just gross and needn’t be given another thought or photograph. Then I opened my paint chip box.

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