A California Family Sacrifices Square Footage for Soul

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A California Family Sacrifices Square Footage for Soul

Oftentimes we’re led to believe the bigger the home, the better. Grand staircases, chef-worthy kitchens and walk-in closets are what we’re all supposed to long for, right? I’ll admit I’ve occasionally fallen victim to this “keeping up with the Joneses” virtue of more, but I have to say it’s absolutely exhausting. So much so, I’ve begun to prioritize something totally different. Lately, I long for a house I can craft into my very own and a space that feels safe — no matter the size.

Like me, Shavonda Gardner is one homeowner who isn’t afraid to trade in a sizable home for one she can inject with some soul. Two years ago she convinced her wife Naomi to cut their square footage in half in order for them to snag a new house with more character, a cozy vibe and projects she could sink her teeth into. Luckily, right before closing on a house they admittedly weren’t crazy about, a 40s-era bungalow in Sacramento, CA that needed the perfect amount of love popped onto the market. They snagged it real quick.

Soon after moving in they kicked off the rehab, totally gutting the kitchen and updating the den. Black-and-white tile, new butcher block countertops and shiny new fixtures sit pretty in the cottage-inspired space now. Open shelving even shows off some colorful accessories, and a unique stair-step tile backsplash gives anyone cooking something eye-catching to gaze upon. Like the kitchen, the home’s outdated den was also given a new look. With little use for a second living area and in desperate need of more bedrooms, Shavonda and Naomi claimed it for themselves. It now serves as their owners’ suite and features a global mix of colorful, thrifted finds including stellar drapery and rich textiles.

As you’ll see, their bedroom isn’t the only space to be peppered with eclectic, patterned goods. Every other room in the quaint home — from the living, dining and even the back porch — is adorned with something unique. At the end of the day, the couple tells us that decorating and layering with these little additions has made an undeniable difference in how at home they and their two children feel in their new house. It’s been so successful, in fact, the couple works every day to find new ways to beautifully fit double the square footage, twice the number of bedrooms and three times the number of bathrooms worth of style into their new Golden State abode. Click through to take a peek and enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Shavonda Gardner

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15 Rugs To Swoon Over

15 Rugs To Swoon Over

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One of my favorite things to do when I need a pick-me-up is to scroll through the amazing photos you all share in the #DSNiceRug feed on Instagram. I love it mainly because it’s a color and texture fest, but also because I like seeing if people can come up with creative ways to display huge rugs outside of the “hold it up in front of your face” style that most rugs and posters are photographed in. Today I’m sharing 15 of my favorites that make me want to drop everything and head to the nearest vintage store or flea market to see what sort of treasures are hidden in stacks just waiting to be discovered. xo, grace

Image above by @hamletinteriors

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Image above by @anson_london

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10 Tips for Transitioning Careers Quickly

10 Tips for Transitioning Careers Quickly

10 Tips for Transition Careers Quickly, Design*Sponge

Three years ago, I was working as an art director at an ad agency. The hours were long, the clients were picky and internal dramas were aplenty. It was then that I realized I wanted something new. I’d always had an interest in interior design, and home styling was a field I wanted to crack into, but I wasn’t sure how to pursue this passion and make it something worthwhile.

As luck would have it, I came across a post on Design*Sponge mentioning Grace’s hunt for writers to cover the site’s home tours. Without any writing experience, but with a burning will to get the job, I applied, staying up until the wee hours of the morning mocking up what my pieces would look like within the site’s design. Luckily, that little extra touch worked. I not only got the job, but the process taught me a valuable lesson: to go for something you want wholeheartedly and to not simply choose a new path, but blaze a new trail.

Taking a risk and going for it is something interior designer Magalie René-Hayes is familiar with as well. After years working in another field, she flipped the script and opened her own design firm. It wasn’t easy, and thoughts of self-doubt often plagued her as they did me, but over time she hurdled over obstacle after obstacle. In the end, she found herself doing the work she was always meant to, designing homes from California to Virginia.

Magalie’s career transition worked out so well, we had to know her secret. How’d she do it? How’d she handle the mental stresses that come with such a huge change? How’d she find the confidence to take the plunge? She answers all that and more with her 10 Tips for Transitioning Careers Quickly. Click through to check them out. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography courtesy of  Magalie René-Hayes

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14 Inspiring Quotations for 2017

14 Inspiring Quotations for 2017

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These days I’ve found myself more and more inspired by the tiny bits and moments of wisdom and inspiration that exist online. From hand-written quotations to beautifully painted advice, your updates have kept me going and given me the fuel and hope I’ve needed to keep up my schedule of work, volunteering and social activism. Whether you’re looking for the motivation to approach a difficult conversation, a rough day at work or just need a little boost to remind yourself to dream big and ask for what you really want, these submissions from our #DSInspire hashtag challenge will get your day started on the right foot. xo, grace

Image above: Photo by @onefinea

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Image above: Photo by @elisejoy

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Black History Month Spotlight: Kehinde Wiley

Black History Month Spotlight: Kehinde Wiley

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There are moments in art and design when I struggle with the decorative nature of the things I love. I know that these parts of design (pattern, color, furniture) have the power to make people feel at home in their spaces, but I also know that they don’t begin to touch on deeper topics that rattle around in my mind and heart — especially right now. But every now and then there are artists and artworks that are able to brilliantly blend decorative arts and art history with deeply meaningful and symbolic statements about cultural and political issues. One of the artists I admire most for this ability (and so much more) is Kehinde Wiley.

Born in Los Angeles, CA in 1977, Kehinde now lives and works in New York City where he is known for his striking portraiture. Kehinde’s work references classic paintings and composition from art history and replaces the main figures with young black men and women. Their striking portraits are complemented by richly colored and patterned backgrounds that recall a wide range of decorative styles, from baroque and rococo to floral and damask prints.

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While discussing his portraiture focusing on black men and women, Kehinde said:

“I loved when I walked into LACMA as a kid and seeing Kerry James Marshall’s grand barbershop painting. But it was thrown into very sharp relief when thinking about the absence of other black images in that museum. There was something absolutely heroic and fascinating about being able to feel a certain relationship to the institution and the fact that these people happen to look like me on some level. One of the reasons I’ve chosen some of these zones had to do with the way you fantasize, whether it be about your own people or far-flung places, and how there’s the imagined personality and look and feel of a society, and then there’s the actuality that sometimes is jarring, as a working artist and traveling from time to time. Being in southern India, that black American hip hop culture is everywhere and to see it in sharp relief on these brown bodies in south Asia is something extraordinary, something that I wanted to get down without even fully understanding the entirety of the cultural context. I think it’s important to destabilize yourself, and I do it because I want to see people who look like me.

Kehinde’s work is striking and powerful on so many levels and artwork like his is the reason I keep feeling excited and eager to learn more about the fine art world. Our art and design community is made stronger when we celebrate voices and visuals from different points of view, and Kehinde’s point of view is one I will continue to love and follow for years to come. Click here to visit his website, here for his Instagram feed and here for an incredible PBS episode on his life and work. xo, grace

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A Vegan Ice Cream Shop Sweetly Styled in Seattle, WA

A Vegan Ice Cream Shop Sweetly Styled in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge

A Vegan Ice Cream Shop Sweetly Styled in Seattle, WA

Frankie & Jo’s isn’t your normal ice cream shop. Owners Autumn Martin and Kari Brunson have created something truly inspired with their full-of-flavor, plant-based ice cream. The collaboration between Autumn and Kari was meant to be. Autumn has been a pastry chef and chocolatier for the past 14 years while Kari has been a plant-based chef for the last 7 years. Their goal was to create flavorful, colorful ice cream sourced from animal friendly products, free of any stabilizers. With Frankie & Jo’s product being a hit, they then started searching for a place to open shop in Seattle, WA.

Autumn and Kari found an open storefront in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. They were drawn to the diverse and culturally rich neighborhood, and the neighborhood seemed to be smitten with their ice cream in return. A few months before opening their shop, Autumn and Kari enlisted the help of Seattle-based architectural and interior designer Katie Hackworth of H2 Design + Build to design Frankie & Jo’s. “I quickly got to work interpreting their goal of creating a space that transported their Seattle customer to a sun-filled Palm Springs day,” Katie shares. “As in all of my designs, authenticity and simplicity took the lead as I developed the fresh, clean palette, finishes and patterns you see throughout the space.” And Palm Springs it is — the eclectic mix of prints, color and style creates interest everywhere you look while the minimal design keeps the 775-square-foot shop from feeling overdone. “The three of us wanted to create a space that had a symbiotic relationship to the product, both encompassing purity and simplicity in a new and exciting way.”

The shop was built in the early 1900s as a mechanical plant. It was refurbished in 2015 and Frankie & Jo’s moved in November 2016. Katie spent time figuring out what could be used and repurposed in the original space and what would need to be built out with the use of floor plans created by Atelier Drome Architects. She was able to suggest cosmetic changes that would be cost- and time-effective such as refinishing the walls. One wall was given a slim brick façade and painted white, one was given horizontal wooden panels from floor to ceiling, some walls kept the existing concrete, and a few were covered in a palm print wallpaper.  The process might have been more expensive and time consuming than the three had originally expected, but Autumn, Kari and Katie agree that the end result is well worth it. “On my end, it was a really rewarding experience working alongside Autumn and Kari, two very different women, each knowing what they want and what a business needs in order to succeed,” Katie shares. “And they happen to be humble, genuine, and kind at the same time.” –Lauren

Photographed by Belathée Photography

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Design from A to Z: C is for Cottage

We love how wood, (usually) smaller footprints, quaint details and quirky imperfections combine to result in the beloved cottage. Read on to see some of our favorites.

Design from A to Z: C is for Cottage

Ask 10 people to define a cottage and you’ll likely be given 10 different answers. For some, it conjures up a weekend home to escape to during the height of summer, and for others it’s where you head during the middle of winter to snuggle by the fire. Often a cottage brings to mind a traditional wood structure and for others it’s a large, updated space complete with large floor-to-ceiling windows and modern conveniences.

So who’s right? Historically, a cottage is a small, old-fashioned house lacking modern conveniences, but in 2017 a cottage is really what you make it. In today’s fast-paced world, cottages seem to be a welcome respite from the big city — a place to indulge in a slower, simpler way of living. —Kisha

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A Cleveland Home Filled with Art and Handmade Pieces

A Cleveland Home Filled with Art and Handmade Pieces | Design*Sponge

A Cleveland Home Filled with Art and Handmade Pieces

I recently counted that I have moved 19 times in my life. There has been the “one suitcase” move, a couple of international relocations, and more recently, moves that have required plenty of sweat and even some tears. Although moving from one place to another is something I’ve become used to, the thought of putting down roots and then relocating after decades is definitely something that I would consider an adventurous and courageous life change. This is exactly what Mary and Dana Richmond did when they relocated to Cleveland, OH for a job opportunity three years ago, after living in the Boston, MA area all their lives.

When looking for a house in their new hometown, Mary and Dana hoped to find one that didn’t need much work and that offered the best of both worlds — a little land, but within easy commuting distance from Dana’s work in the city. They eventually fell for a 70s bi-level house that ticked all the boxes. It has always been important for Mary and Dana that their home be a true reflection of their personalities. After packing up their Boston lives and moving to another state, the biggest challenge was to make the new house feel like theirs.

When it comes to decorating, Mary and Dana are all about creativity. Their priority has always been to achieve an eclectic feel by adding color, pattern and texture through artwork and textiles. Every nook has a personal touch, from Mary’s handmade curtains to Dana’s wooden pieces, including shelves, a table and headboard. “We like to incorporate family pieces with new pieces and somehow make it all work,” Mary explains.

The couple’s style has always been eclectic, but their new open-plan Cleveland home has a slightly more contemporary feel than any of their previous homes in Boston. “Each home dictates where that style leans and this home was calling for a mid-century eclectic style,” Mary explains. Mary and Dana love being able to share their creativity through the details in their home. They have created such an inviting and personal setting that their son Tim decided to join them this spring! The couple eventually wants to do a few improvements to their home, like installing hardwood flooring and adding a barn to the yard for Dana to have a dedicated woodworking space.

Although the move to Cleveland wasn’t meant to be for good, Mary and Dana have slowly but surely begun to put down new roots. It just so happens that they have grown to love their new home and all that the city has to offer. “We miss our family and would love to be closer, but the longer we stay in Cleveland the more we are falling in love,” Mary says. The couple’s big move shows that starting afresh can sometimes mean finding your way home. Click through to see how Mary and Dana created a new home that reflects their creative personalities! —Sofia

Photography by Mary Richmond

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Love Your Neighbor + Best of the Web

Love Your Neighbor + Best of the Web

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This week the world felt a little bit scarier and more difficult than usual. In addition to upsetting civil rights news, we got some difficult news about the health of my oldest beloved fuzz bud, Turk. I plan on spending the entire weekend holding him close and soaking up time with the people and pets that mean most to me. Love, family, friendship and support feel more important than ever, so if you have the chance to spend time with those people in your life, please hug them and tell them how much they mean to you. Those connections and support systems are what help us keep moving forward and reaching for the light. Inspired by those moments of brightness and love, I wanted to share this beautiful photo of Sugar, one of Susan and Will Brinson‘s rescue pups. For some reason dogs just know when we need their love and I’m so thankful for ours right now (and always). xo, grace

 

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  • Household Items and When to Clean Them: Man Repeller basically reminded me that I’m a very messy person. Thankfully I married someone who is cleaner than I am. I mean, washing pillows? I don’t think I ever have…eek.
  • My neighborhood believed in my restaurant before I did.” I love this story in Bon Appetit about the importance of community support.
  • Watercolor fashion: I love this watercolor take on the Dior fashion show.
  • These 3D Paper Gift Toppers at House Lars Built are super sweet.
  • Robert Pruitt’s artwork is calling my name right now. His portraits have so much texture and meaning.
  • Enter Here: These antique entryway details in Olatz Schnabel’s home are mega swoon-worthy.
  • Shingle Style: I love the exterior of this minimal Japanese surfing getaway.

 

BESTOFDS

4 Decadent Comfort Foods to Enjoy Before Salad Season

4 Decadent Comfort Foods to Enjoy Before Salad Season

kesme asi served with hot red pepper and croutons fried in butter

The weather has been skirting the edge of 60 degrees here in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia this past week, which is just plain strange. February should be the month where we’re cozied in watching it snow outside, but instead, I’m counting the days I have left to make all of the comfort food I can before salad seasons arrives. Hopefully March will actually come in like a lion so I can enjoy a lot more biscuits, dumplings and foods that just feel like home. These four recipes have been on my rotating winter menu for a few years now, and thankfully, our food editor Kristina’s chocolate chip cookies can be enjoyed any time of year with a tall glass of cold milk.

bits of dough are fried in butter to create 'croutons' which are added to the noodle and lentil soup

First up is a rich Turkish soup from Kars, a province in Turkey’s far northeast, made with tomato and green lentils and called Kesme Aşi. The “comfort” comes in the form of thick homemade noodles and the crispy croutons that are sprinkled on top (seen in the pan above).  If you love a one-dish meal, this will satisfy you! It can also be made vegan-friendly with some minor adjustments. Our recipe for Kesme Aşi comes from food and travel journalist Robyn Eckhardt and editorial/commercial photographer David Hagerman who live in Penang, Malaysia and travel to Turkey often in search of delicious street food.

Click through for Kristina’s favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, plus the best biscuit recipe ever! I’ve even included Julia Turshen’s turkey meatball recipe which, while definitely comfort food, takes on the lighter side of the traditional meatball so you can ease your way into a spring menu. –Caitlin

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Design from A to Z: B is For Bungalow

Design A to Z on Design*Sponge

Design from A to Z: B is For Bungalow

What is a bungalow? There are many types around the world, but the ones that we are most accustomed to are the Craftsman and the California. These are usually one-story homes with dormer windows, built-in cabinets in the living room, and a porch running across the front of the home. They became popular after World War 1, because of the cost to build them and their manageable size. Many were sold in kits from companies like Sears, which is why they are so distinguishable.

I’ve lived in many different bungalows in my life and they are my favorite style of home. They always seem to be the perfect size, quaint, and packed with personality, with all the built-in features that vary from house to house. I lived in two different ones in Tampa, FL; a pink California bungalow and a traditional Craftsman. I lived in an Chalet-style bungalow in St. Petersburg, FL, a yellow California in Memphis, TN, a Craftsman in Los Angeles, and a raised bungalow in Seattle, WA. I’m pretty sure my current house would be considered a bungalow, too, but I’m not sure the type it falls under.

Given my past residences, I feel pretty well versed in this topic, so I hope you enjoy this roundup of different bungalows that we have featured here on D*S over the years. —Erin

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Before & After: 10 Unbelievable Trailer Transformations

View More: http://iheartmoonshinephotography.pass.us/samharriss4515

Before & After: 10 Unbelievable Trailer Transformations

There’s little that gives us wanderlust more than the allure of an open road calling our name — for us, and our fur-babies in tow, with an adorable trailer bringing up the back. When it comes to renovations, a trailer isn’t easy per se, but due to its relative small size it seems somehow more manageable. The other thing that makes trailer renovations so impressive is that, for the most part, the interior of a trailer is not for the design-minded. Over the years we have shared several impressive trailers that have become homes, businesses, and vacation spots. We’ve rounded up some of our D*S favorites, as well as some of our favorites from around the web. Do you feel like us, that seeing a newly refreshed trailer makes you want to break out your chisel and a bucket of paint to see what awaits you? —Rebekah

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Black History Month Spotlight: Danielle Colding

Black History Month Spotlight: Danielle Colding

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Over the past few years, I’ve been focusing more and more on building a community of women I can look up to and turn to for advice and inspiration when times are tough. Some of these women are people I see in real life and others are people whom I admire and find motivation in from afar. One of these women is Danielle Colding, who I had the joy of getting to know during our book writing process for In the Company of Women

Danielle graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Cultural Anthropology and found the study of culture (and the way we choose to live in the world) to be a great influence on her approach to design. After getting a degree in Interior Design from FIDM, Danielle moved back to her home town of NYC where she founded her own design firm in 2006. HGTV fans may know Danielle from her 2012 win on Design Star, where her incredible knack for color and texture was on full display. What strikes me most about Danielle is her combination of poise and openness. During her interview for the book, Danielle said, “I think I have made every mistake in the book. Every single mistake possible. It is humbling, but then again I have to remind myself that these mistakes have taught me my greatest, most enduring lessons.

I am constantly inspired by the beauty in Danielle’s work, but also her generosity of spirit and the way she approaches her work, keeping history and culture in mind. Read on after the jump to catch an excerpt of Danielle’s interview from In the Company of Women! xo, grace

Photography by Sasha Israel for In the Company of Women

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10 Stunning Vases To Get You Through Until Spring Blooms

The pop of red on this aged terra cotta vessel brings a well-worn feel to it. Fill it with branches of budding leaves. Available at Anthropologie $118

10 Stunning Vases To Get You Through Until Spring Blooms

As we near the final stretch of winter, I keep imagining my vases (that are mostly tucked away right now) filled with the blooms and blossoms of spring. I can not wait to pull them out, line them up and take my time filling them with flowers and branches. I love to forage for anything green to put in every room of my house during the growing season, and these vases each have a charm of their own that can add something special to a room — until they’re filled with a bunch of freshly picked flowers or a store-bought bouquet. Click through to the slideshow for our 10 favorites that can stand on their own, filled or not! –Caitlin

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A Colorful Ohio Rental For a Vibrant Family

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A Colorful Ohio Rental For a Vibrant Family

On a wall in the Noel home hangs a very special piece of art. The painting is an abstract mixture of blues, green, red, yellow, orange, and black. It’s vibrant and compelling, much like the Noels themselves. Lauren, and her youngest son Keegan (age seven), created the painting together. Mother and son recently had an art show entitled “Us” at The Creative Clubhouse in Cleveland, OH displaying 20 of their collaborations. But the original that hangs on the boys’ bedroom wall, the very first painting they created together, is not for sale. It remains as a testament to this family’s colorful life and spirit.

The Noel family — made up of Lauren and her husband Rian, sons Dylan (age eight) and Keegan, and their “fur creatures,” cat Margot Tenenpaw, and dogs Edie and Mowgli — recently moved from Florida to Cleveland. Lauren describes the move as an act of faith. They left behind family and friends, year-round sun and warmth, and a house just minutes from the beach. They did it in hopes of getting Keegan more therapies and better schooling for his autism. Once there, Lauren says they “fell hard and fast for the city. It’s a place that’s underrated and a true hidden gem. It’s full of so much life and culture. I know Rian and I both feel like we can plant our feet here.”

And plant their feet they did. What Lauren, an artist, and Rian, who works in the hotel industry, have been able to accomplish through a mixture of paint and original art in the eight months they’ve lived in their Cleveland Heights rental is mind-boggling. Lauren says using lots of color makes their rental feel “homey” and is a way of bringing with them a piece of their Florida life. As Vincent Van Gogh said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Lauren and Rian painted the living room of the 1925 Colonial three different times with three different greens in their quest for the right emerald hue. Lauren also commissioned her friend and fellow artist Rachel Angelique Dewey to hand-paint flowers in the bathroom. And they’ve assembled a stunning array of furniture and décor from visits to thrift stores, finds picked up off the side of the road, and pieces passed down from family. This series of small things, brought together by a love of color, has resulted in something truly great. As Lauren says, “Color gives me life.” —Liberty 

Photography by Heidi M. Rolf

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