The Space Between What We Say And What We Hear

The Space Between What We Say And What We Hear

allanpeters
If there is one thing I’ve learned from 12 years of talking and living online, it’s that no matter how hard I try, and despite my best intentions, what I write can and will often be received and interpreted differently than I intended.

Words can be an imperfect tool to communicate our feelings and lately I’ve become incredibly aware of, and sensitive to, the gap between what I say and how it’s interpreted. In that space between what I mean and how it affects someone reading, there is so much room for misunderstanding, hurt and distancing. And there is nothing I want more than for all of our words to bring each other closer together, closer to understanding and toward a greater connection with everyone in our community.

That space between words and their interpretation offers so much potential for disconnection, but it also offers the potential for real understanding and change. I’ve been guilty of ignoring that space and thankfully many of you have been patient and kind enough to email me when I use words or express myself in a way that makes you feel unwelcome, unrecognized or disrespected. Whether that language is ableist, sexist, appropriative or judgmental, hearing your reactions has been an incredibly valuable tool in learning to choose my words more carefully.

A few days after the murders in Orlando, I saw someone on a food blog mention how they could “murder a hamburger.” I bristled at the word choice and felt a deep twinge of pain when I interpreted that wording as insensitive to the LGBT community, a community I am a part of and one that was deep in mourning. Then this week, after the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and five Dallas police officers, I saw several people speak about flowers on Instagram, saying they, “would kill for those” or that they were “dying” over the arrangement. It was a personal turning point for me when I realized how big that gap can be between the intention of a causal comment, meant to express dramatic love of something lighthearted, and the effect it can have on someone grieving or dealing with a great loss.

We are all prone to hyperbole online. Including myself. Perhaps it’s the pervasiveness of click-bait culture, but I’ve realized that it’s all too easy and common for me to abbreviate and exaggerate my feelings in a way that can distort the true value of life. I care deeply about the people in our community and want all of us to feel equally heard, respected and connected. Here at Design*Sponge, I will be continue to actively pay close attention to the words I use and be mindful of their impact. Rather than a simple promise, I hope this can be the beginning of a conversation. What are some of the ways you have felt the distance between the intention of a statement and its reception? What are some of the words and phrases you’re sensitive to and/or trying to not use? What is something that you’ve said that you wish you said differently? Please tell me. I am listening. —Grace

Photo above by Allan Peters from #dslettering

Dreaming Bigger Than Your Current Circumstances With Ashley R. Ryles

Dreaming Bigger Than Your Current Circumstances With Ashley R. Ryles

Life&Biz-ashleyrr

“Fake it ’til you make it” can be a polarizing statement. To some, it comes across as disingenuous, but at its heart, I believe in the message that sometimes, in order to realize your dreams, you have to go with the flow with blind confidence and say “yes” to things you know you’re not quite ready for. There’s power behind pushing your edge, and embracing discomfort as much as self-love.

After learning to sew at a young age, fashion designer Ashley R. Ryles received her BFA in Fashion Design from Miami International University of Art & Design and traveled the globe along the way, gaining bits of inspiration from her trips to France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and England. As a free spirit and lover of all things bold, her clothing line, Arryles, aims to empower the modern woman who doesn’t fear color and who appreciates her freedom to express herself.

But Ashley wasn’t always so confident and accomplished. For her, it took believing in herself and literally acting as the person she wanted to become to achieve her dreams. Today, Ashley is joining us to share some of her tips on the impact of speaking and acting like the person you want to become, and why your circumstances today shoudn’t impact what’s possible tomorrow. –Sabrina

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In North Texas, a Maximalist’s Layered Bohemian Home

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In North Texas, a Maximalist’s Layered Bohemian Home

Judy Aldridge wears many hats. She’s a mom, blogger, photographer and entrepreneur. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that her North Texas home is as layered as she is. Her house’s look is maximalist in nature, with pattern, antiquities and a massive collection of artwork providing the basis for its design. A conscious disregard for whether or not certain pieces were meant to live together or are considered complementary further defines her bold, bohemian style.

What’s most impressive about the bohemian look is how affordable it was to achieve. What looks to be a collection of goods from far-off casbahs and dusty French shops is actually a clever balancing act. Yes, there are several heirloom antiquities peppered throughout the space, but it’s also comprised of many pieces from the nearby Salvation Army. The cost-saving shop has lent the home some enviable seating and decorations. All it took was a little patience and some perseverance on Judy’s part. She’s always got her eyes peeled for great finds, and it has paid off.

The backdrop to these Salvation Army finds and fabulous antiques is a collection of artwork unlike any I’ve seen in a private home. Monkeys in fruit hats, evocative portraits and fashion sketches are just a couple of the fun pieces that her walls boast. Each work of art is so unique, you’d think the pieces are here to stay. Judy’s not one to let a look get stale, though, and her treasure trove of artwork is too abundant to allow that to happen. With a library of art in storage waiting to be hung, she’s able to rotate in new pieces every now and then to periodically freshen each room.

With pieces coming and going, the home never looks quite the same from one day to the next, but each new iteration is a literal eye-spy of great decor. That being said, there is no way you can absorb the entire space in one sitting, so be sure to bookmark this one. You’ll uncover something else to love about the maximalist, bohemian home each time you revisit it. Click through and enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Jane Aldridge

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10 Instagram Feeds For Coffee Lovers

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10 Instagram Feeds For Coffee Lovers

I’d say a solid 75% of my writing is done at coffee shops. I just love basking in each shop’s unique vibe and decor while sipping down one of their signature flavors. It keeps me inspired. My affinity for them is no secret either. When I find a coffee shop I love, I simply can’t help but rave about it to all of my friends. They know to not get me started on coffee shop talk. I’ll go to town.

I’ve made my way through a majority of my city’s options, but thanks to Instagram I’m not out of luck. It lets me virtually explore coffee houses from around the world anytime I please. And boy, have I done it. There is an endless number of feeds to ogle over, but today I’ve narrowed it down to just a few. These 10 Instagram Feeds for Coffee Lovers run the gamut of coffee culture. Some bring to life the personality of the shop with silly barista pictures and latte art. Others show off their stunning interior. All of them are sure to have you jonesing for a little liquid pick-me-up. Click through to hear a bit about each. Enjoy! —Garrett

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An Actor’s Brooklyn Brownstone Honors His Heritage

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An Actor’s Brooklyn Brownstone Honors His Heritage

This past summer, in between days filming Independence Day: Resurgence in New Mexico, Actor Gbenga Akinnagbe took a little road trip. With his foot on the pedal of a U-Haul, he drove a set of old movie theatre chairs from Albuquerque, NM to his Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn brownstone. He then turned right back around and flew back to continue filming. Needless to say, Gbenga is a man who will do anything for the apartment he loves.

The brownstone those chairs adorn has been Gbenga’s for three years now. Initially, he wasn’t too keen on making the jump from Manhattan to Brooklyn, but once he got a feel for the neighborhood he was hooked. Kids play outside, neighbors actually know one another and there’s a sense of community he hadn’t felt when he lived in Manhattan. It also didn’t hurt that he was able to snag so much space for a price Manhattanites only wish existed on their island. Boasting three floors and six rooms, Gbenga’s home lets him spread out like never before.

With such an abundance of space came a unique challenge: How to decorate it all. “My initial decorating goal was to create a classic home hospitable for guests… I wanted to create a space where friends and family could stay and feel that they had a home away from home,” Gbenga explains. To achieve this, he’s peppered in both modern and vintage touches, mixing the old and the new to create a look all his own. In one room, nods to his Nigerian heritage sit next to a sleek mannequin atop the fireplace mantel. In another, a modern sofa sits in contrast to the restored, original woodwork.

Gbenga tells us the space is a work in progress, but that’s okay. He’s in for the long haul, even if his agent would love it if he moved to LA. See, when you’re an actor, the West Coast is always calling. Gbenga says it’s not in the cards, though. “I am grateful for my neighbors and neighborhood. They make me feel at home, and like someone is always looking out for me. [I’ve] stayed in New York for so many reasons, Bed-Stuy being the best [one].” Click through to see the home that keeps Gbenga a Brooklynite year after year. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Melony Van Der Merwe

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Lions, Tigers, Bears & Beyond: 15 Rooms That Celebrate Animals in Artwork

Located on the northern beaches of Sydney lives Alice Flynn and her beloved Penny Farthing painting of an elephant that she coined Henry. He resides in the family boathouse above an aged wood shelving unit.

Lions, Tigers, Bears & Beyond: 15 Rooms That Celebrate Animals in Artwork

Ah, artwork — one of the most cost-effective ways to add personality, life, color and decor to any space. While sometimes polarizing and subjective by nature, one thing an overwhelming amount of homeowners do agree on is that animals always make great subjects.

From bats and butterflies (okay, not technically a mammal, but we’ll let it slide) to deer and ducks, dogs may be man’s best friend, but in these 15 rooms, animals of all kinds are a wall’s BFF. –Sabrina

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A Playhouse for Two Freelance Photographers in Emeryville, CA

A Playhouse for Two Freelance Photographers in Emeryville, CA, Design*Sponge

A Playhouse for Two Freelance Photographers in Emeryville, CA

Eager to escape the honking horns and to brunch without a wait, freelance prop stylist and photographer Jeanette Moncada and photographer Mikul Eriksson packed up their San Francisco home and moved to Emeryville, CA. Often overshadowed by trendy, nearby Oakland, it’s an atypical choice for two young, creative professionals. Jeanette and Mikul dug a little deeper into the city, though, and have uncovered an apartment in a creative enclave with a community unlike anything I’ve heard of.

Located in a 1920s-era industrial building, their sunny space boasts giant windows, concert flooring and an open floor plan. This uninhibited layout allots Jeanette and Mikul the space for an at-home photography studio, a must for the two creatives. Most days you’ll find them shuffling around lighting in whatever way helps them get the perfect shot. They bop around the space so much, they’ve even deemed it the “giant playhouse” as it helps them bring to life anything their innovative minds can dream up.

Creativity runs deep in their building. The makers, thinkers and doers that live there often share tools, host complex-wide brunches, or simply leave their door open for a pop-in and quick “hello.” Behind these open doors are studios similar to Jeanette and Mikul’s, most of which have been tweaked and changed to fit their owners’ latest projects. One night, a huge group of the renters even apartment-hopped, checking in on each other’s work. Luckily for us, we are getting the same opportunity today. Click through to peer inside the sunshiny space where this couple works, plays and loves. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography courtesy of Jeanette Moncada

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A Wyoming Home Filled With Rainbows and Tumbleweeds

Home Tour of June Glasson for Design*Sponge

A Wyoming Home Filled With Rainbows and Tumbleweeds

Every morning, light filters through the south-facing windows in June Glasson’s home, forming a rainbow. A prism of color beams into the living room while June and her five-year-old daughter, Pim, sit on the sofa for “rainbow time.” This, says June, is because the lead glass windows in her 1909 bungalow were made by a craftsman who etched the glass with such artistry that now her family can begin each day with a rainbow. If this sounds a teensy bit magical, then you’ll also appreciate how June and her partner Rattawut Lapcharoensap wound up purchasing a home in Laramie, WY after previously living in England, Brooklyn, Berlin, and Bangkok.

June, an artist and designer, and Rattawut, who teaches in the University of Wyoming’s MFA in Creative Writing program, were renting with no intention of buying a house — let alone settling in Laramie — when June’s mother went for a walk. She turned the corner from their rental and saw a man placing a “For Sale By Owner” sign on a house. Five minutes later, June and Rattawut were walking through a house that very nearly had “a nice little bow on it,” June says. In the three years since, June has filled her family’s home with furniture found at antique stores, flea markets, estate sales, and her own DIY creations (the only brand new exceptions being the two Room and Board sofas, mattresses, and Pim’s bed). Combining her “inner window-dresser” with a desire for comfort, June has created rooms as enchanting as the morning rainbows.

But how, you might ask, does a woman who worked as a window dresser for Bergdorf Goodman end up living as an artist in Wyoming, a place with “a subtle color palette?” It came to pass that just as June’s life was going exactly as she wanted, her back gave out. Between her chronic pain, a workaholic schedule, and the birth of their daughter, June and Rattawut were ready for a different lifestyle. They found it in Laramie, in a backyard full of chickens and aspen trees, in a home filled with the old and the playful, and in a frontier known for its tumbleweed. Here, they’re finding a balance between time spent working and time spent hiking in the mountains or fly-fishing in a nearby lake. As John Muir said, “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” The path June and her family have taken has led them across the High Plains and Rocky Mountains to a home filled with rainbows and tumbleweeds. And this has made all the difference. —Liberty

Photography by BHP Imaging and June Glasson

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Moving Forward

Moving Forward

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Talking about design and decorating when our country feels as if it’s being ripped apart at the seams feels wrong to me. But I am very aware that for many of you reading, this site is a much-needed distraction from the harsh reality of everything happening in our world today. I don’t want any distraction from the reality I feel is important to see, understand and acknowledge right now, but I recognize that to even have that choice to see or not see things is a privileged one. I know so many of you reading will not be able to simply turn off the news to escape the fear and heartache that is overwhelming in both the black community and law enforcement community this morning. I cannot stop thinking about the stories of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and, as of this morning, the five innocent police officers who were murdered by snipers in Dallas. The world feels heavy with sorrow and injustice and confusion and anger.

On Monday we will resume our regularly scheduled content. But today we’re taking time to mourn all of the innocent lives that have been taken. There is so much listening and healing and action to be done and I want to give us all space to be a part of that in whatever way we can. We’ll go back to home tours and recipes and business advice next week (while never forgetting what we’re feeling right now), but today it just doesn’t feel right to proceed with business as usual when so many people are feeling unsafe, unloved and unprotected.

So many of us here have known what it feels like to have spaces, at home and in the world, that do feel safe, healing and protected. Please share that good fortune, happiness and healing energy with everyone who needs your support this week. We will be doing the same. Our hearts are with everyone this week and always. —Grace

 

 

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

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I spend most of my days here talking about the concept of HOME and how to make it a more meaningful and welcoming one.

But I have never once had to worry about my loved ones getting back safely to that home for fear of police brutality. That is a privilege all people should know, but they do not.

I cannot sit idly by and watch black people be murdered and then receive absolutely no justice at the hands of a racist and unjust system.

This morning I saw Lisa Lucas say that she, “[Went] to sleep heartbroken over one murder, [woke] up heartbroken over another.” That feeling is overwhelming and I cannot talk about “lifestyle” here today when the first part of that word is being ripped away from black people on a daily basis for everyday acts like selling CDs in front of a store, having a missing license plate, wearing a hoodie or calling for help.

To all of my white friends: please speak up, stand up and show (through action AND words) your support for black people. Call your officials, call your police chief, speak to your neighbors, put out signs support that send a message, protest, be an ally, do EVERYTHING you can to make it clear that you will not passively stand by while black people are being murdered every day without consequence. My heart breaks for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile it must be said again and again and again: Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter.

Grace

DIY Pink Shibori Cushions

DIY Pink Shibori Cushions

DIY Pink Shibori Cushions on Design*Sponge

The shibori trend is still going strong — can you believe this DIY post in our archives about shibori designs is already two years old? Crazy! Despite the popularity of shibori, it always seemed like an intimidating project to attempt. I got it in my head that it would be so messy and difficult to get right, so I never even tried it until making these hot pink shibori cushions recently. Post shibori-dyeing, I can definitely say it isn’t anywhere close to being as difficult or messy as I had thought!

DIY Pink Shibori Cushions on Design*Sponge

Living in a small apartment can make it tricky to have enough seating when guests come over — we simply don’t have the space for a second sofa or big arm chair. Instead, I’ve decided to stock up on oversized cushions and pillows so that guests can be more comfortable gathering around our coffee table, even if they are sitting on the floor. Also, we have two pet rabbits who love to be petted, so having some extra cushions around helps us get comfy on the floor for their marathon petting sessions.

I’m really happy with how these hot pink shibori cushion covers turned out, and just in time for summer! And now that I’ve tried my hand at shibori, I can’t get enough. I’m already planning on doing more pillows in grey or black for the fall and winter. —Kathleen

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How To Picnic In Relaxed Style + Peach Hand Pie Recipe

How To Picnic In Relaxed Style + Peach Hand Pie Recipe

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After a great holiday weekend, I was reminded of just how fun picnics actually are. Lounging in the grass and gazing up at fireworks and the stars, I felt like a kid again, only with whole grain bread and fancy mustard. Creating a relaxing, no-stress picnic doesn’t require a ton of thought, but taking 10 minutes to come up with a game plan can mean the difference between a comfortable outing and a stressful one.

Here are four helpful tips for a stellar picnic, plus some sweet accessories if picnicking in style and enjoying the great outdoors will become a regular occurrence for you. Also, it’s peach season — don’t miss Cheryl & Griffith Day’s Peach Hand Pie recipe after the jump, too! —Caitlin

Image above by Tinywater. Styling and design by Bash, Please.

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Tip #1: Location, Location, Location

Picking a good spot is fairly easy, since the beauty of the picnic is that it can happen anywhere! Important things to consider beyond the beauty of the location are shade, restrooms, insects, the weather forecast and permission. Once those things are covered, a soft throw blanket and a few pillows set the scene for a great outdoor meal!

Accessories: 1. Pillow from Serena & Lily | 2. Blanket from Target

Image above: Kirsten Ellis of Beaux Arts Photographie 

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The Myth of Being Busy: Making Time Off a Priority by Sanja Gardašević

The Myth of Being Busy: Making Time Off a Priority by Sanja Gardašević

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In my own life, I’ve experienced the pressure to appear busy. And I’m not alone. Especially when I lived in the hustle-bustle of Toronto’s advertising industry, being the last one at the office was a badge to be worn. In the lineup at any given coffeeshop, it wasn’t unusual to overhear people compare their work hours. Even now — as a freelancer working from home — the guilt I feel when I take a day off is a feeling I think many of us in today’s Western society share.

Like our European counterparts who value siestas and even ban emailing after-hours, we need to start prioritizing leisure time and celebrating efficiency — not just for our own pleasure, but to increase our productivity and creativity. A champion for this initiative, Content and Campaign Manager for Domain.ME, Sanja Gardašević is joining us today to talk about the myth of being busy, why we should all make time off more of a priority, and how self-reflection and breaking a sweat affects our creativity. –Sabrina

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15 Fabulous Interior Designers to Follow on Instagram

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15 Fabulous Interior Designers to Follow on Instagram

Back in the days before the Internet and social media, we got glimpses of the most beautiful homes by tearing through styled spreads in glossy magazines, never knowing all the hard work that went into their production. In recent years, interior designers have begun using Instagram as a way to showcase not only their perfect finished products, but also the trials and tribulations of the design process, as well as the personal insights that define their unique sensibilities.

We’ve been following some designers for a long time now, and continue to be awed by their personal aesthetic evolution. Newer names on the list have discovered ingenious ways of promoting their brands with images of service to their followers. As always, we’ll continue to share our most favorite pretty pictures with you @designsponge. Here are 15 of our favorite designer feeds from which we pull inspiration on Instagram! — @anniewerbler

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Comfort Zone: Evan Cole

Comfort Zone: Evan Cole

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Growing up, graphic designer Evan Thomas Cole believed conformity and community were one and the same. He was shy, reserved, and much preferred to keep to himself indoors. As an adult, he’s learned to enjoy social situations and has grown to crave a sense of community — to the point where he pursued full-time work in an effort to surround himself with others, and relocated to Chicago to be closer to his boyfriend, Jonathan.

From the comfort of his living room (which really functions as the “everyroom” in the humble apartment), Evan is joining us today to chat about community, following his heart, self-acceptance, and crowded trains.

Photography by Marta Sasinowska

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