Studio Tour: Judit Just

Studio Tour: Judit Just, on Design*Sponge

Studio Tour: Judit Just

We first took notice of tapestry artist Judit Just after stumbling upon her extraordinary Instagram page, organized as a gradient color-wave checkerboard that subtly weaves tones in and out, in rhythm similar to that of her artwork. Originally from Barcelona, Just now calls Asheville, NC home, and has set up her studio in the green energy house she shares with spouse Samuel Clemons. After meeting her future husband, who was an American teaching English in her hometown, they visited his family and daytripped  to Asheville. Upon finding a supportive creative community, they decided to take the international jump and move to the comfy, fun-loving city nestled into the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Though now far away, Barcelona and its rich artisanal history have shaped how Just works. She is deaf in one ear and wears glasses, so touch is her strongest sense — she describes how she “almost sees with her hands.” Just originally planned to become a designer, but left fashion school with a desire to instead create the very fabric that designers use. She has mastered all types of textile art techniques, learning dyes, fabrics, applications, embroidery, weaving, techniques old and new, natural and chemical, with big projects and small works.

In Asheville for the last two years, Just has taken her traditional skillset and applied it to the wealth of materials available in her new country. She also adores living in the River Arts District, has adopted a lovely pooch, and tends to a vegetable garden with a big strawberry patch. In her new hometown, Judit has been able to play with her craft in a great space and have a lot of fun while she’s at it.

Just’s main mission is to avoid superficiality and always embrace a DIY technique that encourages new discovery. She patently avoids the easy way, and seems to find the mysterious in everyday things. Her greatest passion is reworking an old technique and updating it for the 21st century in a way to looks new to people’s eyes. She has never lost her hometown ethic, and in the land of opportunity, feels more free than ever to let it grow. —Annie

Photography by Judit Just

 

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Before & After: An Awkward Corner Comes To Life + Pattern DIY

The "awkward" corner, before and after.

Before & After: An Awkward Corner Comes To Life + Pattern DIY

About a month ago, Grace invited our team to share our spaces on Design*Sponge so our readers could get to know our team a bit better. While I was excited, the prospect of sharing my home made me kind of queasy. I thought of all the home décor faux pas I was probably guilty of, and the fact that my refrigerator is older than my nine-year-old daughter. Since I work on the business team at Design*Sponge, I am constantly asked by clients if my home is featured on the site. I always chuckle nervously and say that my home is “going through some transitions” and maybe some day it will be featured. I knew I needed help in the home department, so I decided to step out of my comfort zone and consult an expert — Grace Bonney.

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A Salute to India in Santa Barbara

A Salute to India in Santa Barbara, Design*Sponge

A Salute to India in Santa Barbara

The alarm goes off at 5 am, and it’s off to the races for David Kilpatrick and Leela Cyd. What follows is a few lit candles, three hours of solid work, breakfast and then a bike trip to their studio. As freelancers, their schedules are often vastly unpredictable. That being said, when it was time to move, they needed a relaxing space to come home to after long days of, “shooting, storyboarding, sourcing props, recipe-testing and editing.” The couple fell in love the second they laid eyes on this 1-bedroom in Santa Barbara, CA, but reality quickly set in for these two collectors. “We moved from a 4-bedroom Victorian in Portland, OR to this 600-square-foot cottage, so the amount of furniture, art, appliances, and art supplies had to be seriously culled down for this new pad. [I’m] not sure we’ll ever get it right or done, but we enjoy living here and are up for the challenge of a small space,” Leela says.

Having collected various accessories from vacations in and around India has given the couple a colorful and storied set of decorations to help their bright space come to life. “I love homes that reflect the travels, journey and story of the homeowners, so I’m happiest when our place just feels like us with all of our imperfections, artwork and travel ephemera keeping us company,” Leela says. Pair these incredible accessories with high windows and custom built-ins, and you’re left with a home that’s beautifully personal and with a “pop” that’s sure to brighten your day. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Leela Cyd

 

 

 

 

 

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Textile Connections: Aso-Oke Textiles

Textile Connections: Aso-Oke Textiles

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One of my absolute favorite global textiles is a cloth called Aso-Oke (pronounced ah-SHAW-okay). Aso-Oke is a strip-woven cloth, woven by the Yoruba people of Southwestern Nigeria. These textiles are thought to date back to the 10th century A.D., pre introduction of Islam or Christianity.

Used for special occasions, Aso-Oke garments for men and women are traditionally worn for attending funerals, weddings, and royal ceremonies. A complete set consists of long robes, trousers, and hats for men and wrap-skirts, shawls, and head wraps for women.

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Unfortunately, a lack of interest by younger generations (most of the current weavers are older), changes in trends and styles, and an influx of machine-woven cloth all threaten to move traditional Aso-Oke production towards extinction, a common issue with traditional textiles. So today I’m excited to share more about this beautiful, traditional cloth and how you can continue to support traditional weavers and newer designers using authentic fabric for their work. –Harper Poe

Click here to check out more of Harper’s columns on traditional fabric designs and production.

Photographs above by Kelly Merchant

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Home Ec: 8 Ways to Brighten Up A Room

Home Ec: How to Brighten Up Your Room | Design*Sponge

Home Ec: 8 Ways to Brighten Up A Room

One of the most challenging design issues can be finding ways to brighten up a space without breaking the bank. When you search for tips online, some of the most common results are, “Add windows!” or “Open up a wall!”, but that’s not an option for most of us, especially renters.

So today I decided to round up some DIY ways you can transform your room to make it feel lighter, brighter and more spacious. From using furniture with a lighter footprint to semi-sheer window treatments, mirrors, and closed storage, this list will help you transform your space on your budget and your terms. Even small changes like an extra mirror can have an impact, so try one out and see how it works for you! 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 New-Build London Flat with Aged Charm

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A New-Build London Flat with Aged Charm

This London flat has been almost two decades in the making for Katy Orme. Since she was a little girl, decorating, designing and redesigning rooms has been a passion that has shaped her. From sponge-painting her childhood bedroom at age 11 (and redecorating each year after) to refinishing the family’s living room floors as a teenager, Katy has a love for making spaces come alive and has turned that love into her career. Now as a freelance interior stylist and blogger, she gets to be surrounded by projects, images and spaces that she is inspired by every day.

When Katy was loft-hunting in Bermondsey, a district in south London, she knew that apartments in historic buildings would be out of the question because of the price. She found a new-build in her budget and immediately saw potential to give it an edge. “I knew this flat was the one because of the floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room and bedroom, so the light floods in and it has brilliant views across London, as I’m up on the sixth floor,” Katy says. “My main decorating goal was to add character to what is essentially a white, soulless box. There are no period or quirky architectural features, so I had to try to add as much style as possible. I didn’t want to lose any of the white walls as I love the brightness and flexibility of the space, so I tried to layer up character and color by using furniture, textiles, books, plants and artwork.” Katy’s eye for balancing color with white space and seamlessly incorporating pieces from various eras has been in practice since she was a girl, and her talent for layering a room is unmistakeable.

Katy met her now fiancé, Jules Copeland, just a week after moving in and when he moved in a year later, Katy got to transform the space again to suit both of them. “I consciously decided not to buy anything new until I had lived there for a few weeks and had a better understanding of how I was going to use the space, what the light was like, what I needed,” Katy says. “Very gradually over the next year I bought new pieces of furniture and made it all pretty perfect. Then Jules moved in and everything got turned upside down. I had to rearrange the whole flat to fit it all in.” Her time arranging, rearranging and DIYing over the years has served her well. Katy’s new-build flat is vibrant, beautiful and full of character. —Lauren

Photography by Katharine Peachey

 

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DIY Paper Basket with Leather Handles

DIY Paper Basket with Leather Handles

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I’m always looking for ways to make my home feel like it has a bit more history — like it’s full of treasured items collected over a decade of travels, life experiences and adventures. But of course, when you’re on a budget, sometimes you’ve got to be strategic, so I try to incorporate pieces made by hand with celebrated or inherent imperfections, such as woven baskets, that effortlessly incorporate the lived-in look without blowing the budget.

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To further the look in my living room, I’ve woven up a seagrass-inspired, paper basket with leather handles, as a solution for corralling books and treasures on my cocktail table. The leather handles are quite hearty, so the basket would also be fantastic put to use as a breakfast-in-bed tray or anything else one might dream up! —Erin of Francois et Moi

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Life & Business: Sheena Murphy of Sheep + Stone

Life & Business: Sheena Murphy of Sheep + Stone, on Design*Sponge

Life & Business: Sheena Murphy of Sheep + Stone

“Brooklyn-based Brit” Sheena Murphy scrapped a strong career in HR to follow her passion for interior design at age 30, a time when some women find themselves settling down rather than ramping up. Murphy absorbed all the education and experience she could muster within a relatively short eighteen-month stretch, and quickly found herself at the helm of her own design firm called sheep + stone. Though the career switch and fledgling entrepreneurship were intimidating challenges for her, Murphy has a trick for dealing with the inevitable bouts of fear and anxiety that come into play, and that is answering her grandfather’s well-posed question, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

Although bumps are unavoidable along the road to small business success, Murphy has learned it’s not the failure that’s important, it’s how she chooses to handle it and move forward that is. This outlook allows her to actually enjoy the work for which she pivoted her life to do, and enables her unique perspective that focuses on craftsmanship and a respect for the environment and humanity, starting with one’s own. She continues to find inspiration for her work in all things outside of interior design, which in her practice, makes for a more balanced design, and designer. —Annie

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Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter

Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge

Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter

For the past two years, painter Kiki Slaughter has been building her large-scale abstract artworks in the enchanted ruins of a 377-square-foot studio at The Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta, GA. The move to this location from Virginia had Slaughter trading in a mountain view for a more industrial setting, but as it turned out, she got a little bit of farm life mixed in with her new city digs. The space is set within a 19th-century cotton gin factory converted to contemporary art studios and gallery venues, all sitting on 12 acres of land within the heart of the city. True to its name, there are even goats and chickens living on the premises. An unconventional contrast between old factory buildings and farm animals gives The Goat Farm a unique aesthetic charm that ignites many a creative spark. The compound is even sought after by Hollywood — you may recognize it as District 12 in The Hunger Games movies, or as the setting of scenes in The Walking Dead. “You never know what you are going to see around here!,” jokes Slaughter.

The bare, industrial bones of the artist’s studio space offer big windows, hardwood floors, exposed brick, and tall ceilings, of which many surfaces have become layered with pigment in a similar fashion to her paintings. “My work is best described as an experiment with the fundamental process of painting. I pour, scrape, layer, and otherwise manipulate the paint on the canvas to create pieces that are rich in color and texture,” she explains. As much as she loved the battered old wood floors, the dynamic nature of her painting process forced her to protect them immediately upon arrival. The floors are now covered in thick tarps that often get painted right alongside the canvases, as she paints on the ground and works on multiple paintings at a time, jumping from one to the next. And while it may seem part of the overall patina sweeping the room, even the two vintage French bergère chairs are (intentionally) paint-covered, having been upholstered with Slaughter’s own fabric designs.

At home, the artist admits that she is obsessed with decorating and finding the perfect spot for all of her treasured objects. But in the studio, it feels refreshing to just let it be what it is, and that’s an open space in which to paint. It is ever-changing, acting as a catch-all for the paintings created within its walls, and in time becoming a work of art itself. —Annie

Photography by Jimmy Johnston, except where noted

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Life & Business: Cindy Hsu Zell of WKNDLA

Life & Business: Cindy Hsu Zell of WKNDLA

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I first discovered Cindy Hsu Zell on Instagram while browsing the #DSlooking hashtag one afternoon and spent that evening ogling over — and getting inspired by — her work. Her business WKNDLA (which stands for Weekend L.A., Cindy’s favorite time and place) combines a minimalist mindset, the romance of raw materials, the playfulness of fringes and tassels, and her modern-art aesthetic to create beautiful, handmade wall hangings and accessories. Before Cindy pursued her business full-time, it was just a weekend hobby (hence the name of her business). After studying sculpture and animation at USC, she worked for a large company as a retail-display artist, and while she loved her work and took pride in it, it weighed on her that she couldn’t fully call it her own. This past March, she took the scary leap to quit her job and focus on her shop full-time, and has been happily creating with her hands ever since. Today, Cindy is letting us behind the curtain to learn more about her business, why self-promotion shouldn’t be a dirty word, appreciating relationships, and learning to let go of control in favor of trusting your instincts. –Sabrina

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MINE: Aluminum Mold Collection

An advertisement for Jell-O brand gelatin, promoting its savory flavors - Mixed Vegetable, Celery, Seasoned Tomato, and Italian Salad. My Grandmother made a savory Jell-O salad weekly and claimed that whatever leftovers she added seemed to keep their freshness longer than usual. I feel obligated to investigate the science behind that one!

MINE: Aluminum Mold Collection

A few weeks ago, I committed myself to thoughtfully go through mountains of boxes in my basement to clear out the spirits of the past and create some breathing room for myself. You may recall my massive paint chip collection, which ended up in the hands of kids at a local craft camp. Even though it was a minor purge, the relief I felt was pretty major. The next box I tackled was a small, dusty one with no label and some pretty sticky spiderwebs. I wasn’t off to a pleasant start.

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Life & Business: Sons of Sawdust

Life & Business: Sons of Sawdust

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I love success stories of businesses that started as a humble idea — birthed from a very raw and real place — that unexpectedly catches on and suddenly becomes an in-demand product. Sons of Sawdust was started by two brothers, Ben and Matt, who overcame separate life struggles by putting their heads together and creating with their hands, a deeply-rooted natural inclination they received from their late grandfather, Cecil Hall. Growing up in southern Georgia, they spent many of their days at Cecil’s work bench, watching him work wood like butter. So when Ben got injured and was in search of new work, he and his brother Matt, who was unsatisfied with his 9-5 job, turned to wood-working and selling their pieces on Craigslist. What started as a hobby has turned into a thriving business and shop located in the heart of Athens, GA (a gorgeous place we recently featured in a City Guide, which shouted out to Sons of Sawdust).

Ever the treasure-hunters, Matt and Ben go above and beyond to craft their handmade pieces, sourcing and hand-selecting historic and antique wood from across Georgia. Each piece carries a story with it, from its historic past to its new life, where the first cut etched on each piece is made using an old saw that belonged to their Pa, carrying on his spirit and legacy. Not only do the imperfections in Matt and Ben’s products make them beautiful, but so does the imperfect nature and integrity of their story, one which would surely make Pa proud. Today, Matt is joining us to share more about their past, present, and future. –Sabrina

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24 Hours in Orlando, FL

24 Hours in Orlando, FL

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One Christmas, my family decided to get away, so we flew down south and spent the entire holiday week in Florida, driving up the coast and waking up to sunny, clear skies and dolphins in the ocean — much different from the snowy-white wonderland I’m used to as a Canadian. The traditional clementines we usually received in our stockings were replaced by (much more superior) fresh oranges that we plucked off the trees in the backyard. My memories of the trip and visiting Orlando are fond ones to say the least, but in the last decade, the city has changed and grown up from its reputation of just being home to fields of orange groves. Its downtown neighborhoods have maintained their tight-knit communities, and the greater Orlando spreads far and wide, boasting a bounty of lakes and oak trees. For photographer Jessica Bennett, it’s the people and culture that have kept her in love with the city for over 30 years — and her family for over 3 generations! When she’s not traveling, Jessica and her husband enjoy Orlando’s offering of great food, better coffee, and gabbing with the locals. Today, Jessica is sharing her ideal 24 hours in the bright and sunny city of Orlando! —Sabrina

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In Minneapolis, Crafting a Space for Home and Work

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In Minneapolis, Crafting a Space for Home and Work

Linda Aldredge, the owner and creative director of Lulu Organics, has grown up and lived all over the country. For the past two years, she has called the top floor of a sprawling Victorian in Minneapolis her home. When her friends bought the 4600 square-foot, six car garage space, she thought, “Wow! They really overbought!”. But then Linda says, almost immediately she found herself without a home shyly asking them if she could take over the upstairs in-law space. Between the 1600 square-foot apartment and three garages available to her, she had to the challenge of taking a very large open space and dividing it up to be functional for work and living. She loves the idea of a minimal home, but it just doesn’t work for her.

Linda says her decorating goals were fairly modest. She loves a space to look eclectic and bohemian, but being the nomadic soul that she is, she always prioritizes comfort and function. She’s adapted the space to work for her many crafting interests, and fills it with furniture and collected objects that have been in her family for generations, from photos to textiles to even a seam ripper – everything has special meaning for her. Features like the peaked roofs lend a magical vibe to the space that Linda loves, but most of all she loves that she is able to spread her wings in such a huge space that allows her to pursue her passions. -<a href=”https://instagram.com/_shannongrant/”>Shannon</a>

Photography by <a href=”http://www.joshgrubbsphotography.com/”>Josh Grubbs</a> and Styling by <a href=”http://www.tobyrae.net/”>Toby Rae</a>

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A Designer’s 370 Rennovated Square Feet in Portland, OR

Mira Eng-Goetz Belvedere Apartment

A Designer’s 370 Rennovated Square Feet in Portland, OR

Change of any kind gives opportunity for beautiful results. I think problem-solving and a variety of experiences brings out a unique creative edge. Having interests in several fields gives way to a new take on design. Mira’s career and condo have both changed drastically since she began them and each have been transformed by her background and vision.

Mira Eng-Goetz is an interior designer at the Jessica Helgerson design firm in Portland, Oregon. She moved to the city to start her career in interior design four years ago but her artistic drive has taken her all over the world. “My path towards a career in interior design has been anything but straight,” says Mira. “Prior to working for Jessica Helgerson, I studied egg painting in Ukraine, French in Toulouse, glass painting in Senegal, sculpture in Oakland, sushi in London and interior architecture in North Carolina.” Her renovated 1927 condo shows off the way her creative experience has helped her to approach problems and has added to her abilities as a designer.

Mira moved in three years ago and got to work. “My home needed some serious love when I first moved in. The original oak flooring was worn thin, the plaster was cracked throughout, the interior storm windows were broken, the cast iron tub had been painted way too many times, the plumbing fixtures were shot and the kitchen was incredibly cramped. I camped out for the first few months, with my trusty electric kettle, camp stove, rice cooker and futon.” Mira completely redesigned the layout of the kitchen and main room to add storage and flow throughout the space. She kept a consistent palette of blues, whites, wood tones and greenery. The apartment now is cool, bohemian, industrial and refined. Her use of white in the space helps it feel bigger, brighter and fresh. This change in Mira’s home has transformed the way she lives in a beautiful way.

Photography by Malcolm Lee

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