A Curated Home In Cape Town, South Africa

A Curated Home In Capetown, South Africa | Design*Sponge

A Curated Home In Cape Town, South Africa

An artist’s life’s work is never done. There isn’t usually a point where a designer or painter will step back from a finished project and decide that it has fulfilled them enough to stop creating in the future. It’s the same for these designers in Cape Town, South Africa. Their home is a constantly changing reflection of who they are and where they are as artists.

Diana, object designer and jewelry maker, and Andre James, industrial designer and educator, have made their home into a piece of art. They moved into their Victorian-style home seven years ago and have been recreating it as they go. The home is a mixture of vintage, global and industrial pieces and design that all together feel welcoming and intriguing. “As we see it, decoration is an emergent process where the aesthetic value of the result is inversely proportionate to the effort expended. Our aesthetic is an honest reflection of our history and our lives and the materials used in the building of this house,” Diana says. “The industrial aesthetic underpinning the Victorian era has been reinterpreted in a way that reflects the way that modern South Africans live.”

The couple has curated, redesigned and reworked a house into a collective work of art. Their ability to do so is met with gratitude. “It is difficult to look past the privilege of owning a house. In the words of Ton van Summeren, ‘A house is the ultimate artwork,’ as such we enjoy using this house as a canvas for expression,” Diana says. “The house is an ongoing ‘cowboy’ building project and is constantly changing with our needs.
” The result is a space that is very deliberately styled, arranged and designed for Diana and Andre and by Diana and Andre. —Lauren

Photography by Kovacevic|Bosch Photography

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Global, Bohemian Style in a Salt Lake City Rambler

Global, Bohemian Style in a Salt Lake City Rambler | Design*Sponge

Global, Bohemian Style in a Salt Lake City Rambler

Kera and McSean Thompson left Utah five years ago when McSean was on a government assignment in Abu Dhabi in the UAE. While they were there, Kera made herself right at home, filling their place with things she could never get in the States. “My background and passion is in interior design and I completely fell in love with the textiles and design aesthetic of the region while we were there,” Kera says. She started an online business, Interwoven, where she could sell the authentic, beautiful textiles and home goods she was finding.

When McSean’s assignment was over, the Thompson’s and their three children wanted to find a Salt Lake City rental with enough space and personality. They found this 1960s rambler with 2,400 square feet and beautiful views. “In Abu Dhabi, we had a large, two-story open-concept beachfront apartment. We had several custom furniture pieces made, bigger in scale, to fit the space. We loved our home and the things we collected there, and decided to have everything freighted home. We were very worried that nothing would fit, but somehow, this rambler style fit everything perfectly!”

They’ve only been in their new home for six months, but it looks like they’ve been there forever. The Thompson family’s house is bright and bohemian and reflects their time abroad. The textiles and pieces they brought with them are the finishing touches in each room. “I tried to achieve a child-friendly home that reflects where we’ve been and where we come from,” Kera says. “I wanted a modern, functioning space with a global aesthetic. I’m constantly having the thought during the quiet moments that we are so lucky to be here! While this may not be our forever home, it will be forever in my heart.” —Lauren

Photography by Becky Kimball

 

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In London, An Eclectic Home Brimming with Art, Stories and Wallpaper

In East London, An Eclectic Home Brimming with Art, Stories and Wallpaper

In London, An Eclectic Home Brimming with Art, Stories and Wallpaper

Kate Hawkins is a painter who runs the contemporary art-inspired wallpaper business, CommonRoom, which works with artists such as Goshka Macuga and Kate Owens to design conceptual wallpapers that challenge and excite. Ever intrigued by the role of the viewer and the ways in which they influence the work, Kate’s passions spill over into painting as well, which has her creating works for various galleries from her home studio in Dalston, East London where she lives with her husband, Sam, and their six-month-old baby, Hector.

For many moons prior, Kate lived around the corner in a warehouse apartment, and grew to love the area, which is home to many of her friends as well. So when their current home became available — while it wasn’t the place of their dreams and needed lots of work — they thought it had potential and would keep them close to their friends and local neighborhood digs they had come to love. At the time they moved in, one of Sam’s best friends was living with them, and together with help from friends, they renovated the house, bit by bit. One of their first projects was installing a shower (that’s right, there wasn’t one to begin with), along with plastering over the artex on the 70s ceilings. Reflecting back, Kate has fond memories and laughs thinking about some of their renovation tales: there was the time she made the silly decision to build a step for the washstand, only to change her mind later, which led to re-tiling the bathroom floor; their entertaining plasterer (and spoken-word poet) who would rap as he worked; or the embarrassment that followed when Kate attempted to install shelving in an effort to teach her younger cousin about DIY, only to drill right through the wall. Kate laughs, “Unsurprisingly, I don’t think she’s done much DIY since!”

Though many of the design decisions were made on the fly and based on intuition, Kate and Sam achieved their goal of fostering a space that is warm and comfortable, while allowing Kate to make a mess in a studio behind closed doors. By mixing pieces that span various eras with modern renovations, the late 70s aspects of the home come together with their inherited antiques and art deco pieces, giving off a transitional, eclectic feel. Paired with treasured objects, such as the working furniture drawings done by Kate’s grandmother, a furniture designer in the 1930s, their 900-square-foot space is one they are proud to call home. –Sabrina

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Rainbow Color Palette Inspiration

Photo by @hol_fox via @kristiecain

Rainbow Color Palette Inspiration

This month’s hashtag challenge was all about finding, creating and celebrating rainbows in everyday life. From carefully crafted arrangements of craft supplies, flowers and food to naturally occurring rainbows around us, these photos were colorful and uplifting in huge way. It’s hard to be upset or down when you’re looking at something as colorful as a rainbow, so I loved seeing all of these rainbow-inspired images pop up in our feed and continue to inspire others to share. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to share their photos. I hope you’ll enjoy our favorite 25 as much as we did! xo, grace

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The New Design*Sponge Book

The New Design*Sponge Book

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A few years ago, after our first book came out, we sat down with our publisher to plan the second. The idea was to do something about crafts or DIY. Then a few months went by…and then a year. I found myself putting it off over and over until I realized that something just wasn’t right. The concept wasn’t clicking and it wasn’t triggering that part of me that can work nonstop if I feel passionate about something. The internet is flooded with craft ideas (we have a lot of them here already) and I felt like what I really wanted to do was devote myself to creating a book that would make a difference. Something that would inspire creative people to start their own businesses, get through tough times, and show readers examples of people who reminded them of themselves, no matter their age or stage of their career. So I pitched a Hail Mary and proposed, at the last minute, a completely new book to my editor. And then the greatest thing happened: she agreed.

So for the next three months, Kelli (our trusted team manager and copy editor) and I are working together on what is, without a doubt, the most important project I’ve ever done in my career — maybe even my life. This book, which will be out Fall 2016, will deliver inspiration and advice from 100 creative women and their workspaces. We will be traveling to photograph 100 women in their chosen workspaces (from movie studios and TV sets to artist lofts, home offices and cubicles) to talk about how they do what they do, why they do it and what advice they want to give to the next generation of women in the creative community.

Why women? There are a lot of reasons, but mainly because under 30% of the companies in the US are owned by women. And I’d like to see that change. I want to see women following their dreams, their passions, and leading the way for other young women to see that starting your own business and paving your own path is a real and viable option.

But this book won’t be a traditional business book. For starters, this book aims to showcase and represent the true diversity of our community. Over 60% of the book will be comprised of women of color, women of the LGBT community and women over 60 — all of whom are grossly underrepresented in traditional lifestyle and business books. My goal is to have every person who opens this book be able to see someone they can relate to. So today I wanted to make this exciting announcement and give you a little preview of some of the amazing women who will be in these pages. I know it’s no fun to hear about something you can’t see or hold yet, so I won’t be updating here again until the book is available for pre-order. But if you want to follow the photoshoots and get behind-the-scenes peeks, you can follow me on Instagram as we spend the summer traveling to meet some of the most incredible women. Thank you so much to Artisan Books for supporting me and allowing me to follow my dream. And thanks to Kelli and all of the women who’ve joined on to help in this project. It’s going to be amazing. Until then, have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you on Monday! xo, grace

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An Artist’s Lively Toronto Renovation

An Artist's Lively, Toronto Renovation, Design*Sponge

An Artist’s Lively Toronto Renovation

“It had five different types of carpet, a kitchen in one of the upstairs bedrooms, the dining room had been drywalled into a bedroom, creaky floors, a clanky furnace, a kitchen from the 1950s, and both yards were full of weeds. I knew it was the one for me when I stepped inside!”

That doesn’t sound like most people’s cup of tea, but artist and instructor Holly Wheatcroft was ecstatic when she found this 1920s-era home to share with her two daughters. Although it wasn’t much to look at, the right bones made this 1,500-square-foot charmer perfect for her family. “We are two blocks away from a fabulous school with an attached community center, ice rink and soccer fields. The neighborhood is very special,” Holly says of their community in Toronto, Ontario.

The renovation process proved to be quite time-consuming with walls and fireplaces coming down, new floors being installed and painting galore, happening all over the 3-bedroom home. Holly’s uncle even moved in to help with the project. The garage was flipped into an art studio for Holly while the kitchen was totally gutted in order to open it up to the living and dining area. “I wanted to have a space on the first floor where everyone could be doing their own thing, but still be close by… that sense of being connected without having to be in the same room,” Holly explains. One night while cooking dinner she realized she had achieved just that. While stirring away at the kitchen stove she laid eyes on her two daughters, both in different rooms lost in tasks, but still so near. The revelation brought her to tears.

That’s what I love most about Holly’s home. It’s built on love and the desire to be close to the ones she cares for most. Living 1,000 miles away from my family, I am not too proud to admit that I am a bit envious of Holly’s setup. To have those you adore so accessible and close enough to hug on a whim is something to be cherished. With a pretty plant wall, color in excess and a one-of-a-kind rug, this home is not only a fantastic testament to family, but so joyful as well. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Valerie Wilcox

 

 

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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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