DIY: New Year’s Eve Countdown Clock & Party Décor

DIY: New Year’s Eve Countdown Clock & Party Décor

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I’ve been searching for an affordable wall clock for my office for a few months now, and then it dawned on me — I’ll just make my own! A quick trip to the craft store, some metallic paint from Waverly Inspirations and some silver star glitter later, I was all set to get started. Of course, I also fell in love with some ribbons and thought how perfect they would look in some glass vases for some New Year’s Eve decorations, so I picked up a few spools and some black and white fabric. Not only was I going to create my own wall clock, it was going to serve double-duty as our official New Year’s Eve countdown clock. —Caitlin

Click through for the full DIY and some fun décor ideas to celebrate the new year!

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*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Waverly Inspirations. This project, ideas, and words are from us here at D*S and were created by us,  for you. Thanks for supporting our sponsors that help us create and publish original content three times per day. The Waverly Inspirations collection is available at Walmart.

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Beautifying the Outdoors With Stone

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Beautifying the Outdoors With Stone

It was this image of Tasha Tudor’s garden from a post here on Design*Sponge back in 2015 that cemented my love of natural stone outdoors. Since then, I’ve bought my first home that has an entire wall of local stone that holds the fireplace and wood stove insert that keeps us warm during these winter months. I still keep coming back to the exterior stone walls in the photograph above and admiring the way that they cascade down from Tasha’s house to the peony-filled gardens below.

Since we dove into the use of natural stone (and lots of gorgeous marble) inside, I thought it would be fitting to share some inspiring exteriors that make use of this natural resource that adds character and warmth to natural settings, too. These exterior shots are also a nice respite from the winter temperatures, so enjoy this sneak peek into spring and summer too!

Click through to see some of our favorite uses of natural stone in outside spaces, plus a shot of Grace’s beautiful flagstone pool patio! –Caitlin

This post is brought to you in collaboration with MIA+BSI: The Natural Stone Institute. Visit their website here to learn more about natural stone and why it’s a sustainable choice for enhancing your home indoors and out.

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14 Last-Minute Handmade Gift Ideas

14 Last Minute DIY Gift Ideas | Design*Sponge

14 Last-Minute Handmade Gift Ideas

Every year, the holidays seem to arrive faster than the year before. Between work obligations, family responsibilities and daily distractions, finding the time to prep for the holidays feels almost impossible or can be completely lost from our minds. The end of December is already here, but there’s still hope. If you’re looking for a last-minute gift (or a dozen) to make for family, friends and coworkers that you’ve been putting off, try making one of these DIY gifts even a few hours before your next gathering. These gifts look great, are thoughtful and budget-friendly, and can be personalized in color, style, etc. for the recipient. –Lauren

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The Roaming Kitchen Couple Settles Down in Jersey City

The Roaming Kitchen Couple Settles Down in Jersey City, on Design*Sponge

The Roaming Kitchen Couple Settles Down in Jersey City

“We like to mix modern pieces with the beautiful old things we’ve inherited from our French family,” explain Cristina Sciarra and Paul Pinier of their joint decorating style. After meeting in Madrid eight years ago, the couple have lived together in Paris and Brooklyn before purchasing this Jersey City, NJ townhouse apartment. While Cristina works in real estate development, authors the food blog The Roaming Kitchen, and moonlights as a recipe developer and food photographer, Paul works for a French software company with headquarters in Manhattan. They both love to travel, and displaying memories from their worldly adventures takes precedence in the first home they own together.

Prior to Jersey City, they lived in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn for five years. They loved it, but wanted to buy a space they could grow into — and despite almost two years of searching, they found that Brooklyn wasn’t financially realistic for them. They decided on Jersey City because it reminds them of Brooklyn, with its independently owned shops, restaurants, bars, and markets — and more on the way. Public transportation, Liberty State Park, and the waterfront are all within easy walking distance. The area around Grove Street also has a palpable feeling of community, which has made settling in easier.

Settled in for about a year, they originally didn’t love the bathrooms, but decided against renovating them. They’re perfectly functional, and they wanted to put their renovation money toward something they’d enjoy more, like brightening the walls and kitchen countertops. Warm modern forms and neutral tones shape the central aesthetic, interspersed with generous pops of color, playful patterns, and expertly-arranged decorative groupings. Despite her decorating prowess, Cristina is firmly function-oriented — unless a piece has a story behind it, it should be useful. She’s not interested in ornaments that don’t serve a purpose, even if that’s just to remind herself and Paul of the journey they took toward finding this home. “After so much searching, we found a place that is ours, to decorate as we please.” —Annie

Photography by Cristina Sciarra

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A 1636 Former Spice Warehouse Turned Family Home in Amsterdam

Home Tour with Manon from Design*Sponge

A 1636 Former Spice Warehouse Turned Family Home in Amsterdam

A former spice warehouse built in 1636 might not be the first thing you picture when you think of a family home. But, located on an almost-too-beautiful-to-be-real tree-lined street in Amsterdam, in a neighborhood where everyone knows each other and canals lay just outside of the front door, that’s exactly what it is for Manon Hanssen — a freelance journalist, life coach, energetic healer and founder of Naramatisho, a Kenyan handicraft label — her husband Michel, their son Micah and their dog Vos.

As the fairytale story goes, Manon decided to see the unit, converted to apartments in 1976, on a whim. Despite the unappealing pictures she had seen, her curiosity had been piqued. And, of course, when she went to have a look at the space she got that feeling; even before stepping foot inside the building she knew it was the one. Her feelings were confirmed inside the apartment where she was instantly enamored with the energy, natural light, and original beams. She immediately called her husband Michel, a senior manager of global compliance solutions, and told him she’d found their new home. Luckily, during the next visit with Michel in attendance, he agreed.

The couple immediately got to work renovating their home — opting to salvage as much of the existing materials as possible. Among the updates included the removal of a wall on the first floor, giving the space a loft-like feel and an industrial trowel floor was put in — uncommon for homes back in 2004. But it was their time spent recently in Kenya that not only informed their more recent renovations, but also changed their lives in an even greater way. “We moved to Kenya to become parents to Micah… we found it very important to start there as a family, get to know the country on a deeper level… and make our first memories together as a family in Micah’s birth country,” Manon says.

After over a year in Kenya, when the family returned to Amsterdam they decided to make some updates to their home to better fit their growing family. They turned to interior architect and friend, Rik Alkema, to design a new plan for their first floor. “His style is clean, simple, yet full of refined details and strong lines… we thought that Rik’s signature style combined with ours, which is more earthy/natural, bohemian and eclectic, would create a nice balance of both worlds,” Manon shares. The couple’s travels around the globe and time in Kenya also inspired much of their interior. The result? A home that is still open and airy, but with more thoughtful storage space, both concealed and open, for the growing family. And while future renovation projects include painstakingly removing decades-old paint from the original beams and “small things like hanging a lamp above the table…” Manon recognizes their home is constantly evolving. “I can be a real perfectionist, but over the years I have learned to be content and not to take things too seriously as well. My son teaches me this on a daily basis.”

So no, while a 380-year-old former spice warehouse turned historic protected building might not sound like a “typical” family home, it’s perfect for this family of four. “I moved to Amsterdam when I was a teenager with one mattress and a suitcase full of clothes,” Manon recalls. “I remember daydreaming on the bridge of this very canal and fantasizing living here with my family one day, looking at the block where we are living now. The universe really took good care of that!” —Kisha

Photography by Emma Peijnenburg

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Using Natural Stone Inside Your Home

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Using Natural Stone Inside Your Home

Marble and natural stone have definitely claimed a top spot in home interiors and housewares. Grace has always said that she doesn’t have a lot of “fancy lady” tendencies, but the few she does have revolve around cut flowers and marble. I think it is very safe to say that most of us feel the same way! The cool, swirled surface of marble and the elemental quality that natural stone provides are pretty much the perfect minimalist solution to any design problem. We noticed that people are shifting their budgets to include, or saving up to invest in, natural stone elements for their home. The aesthetic appeal is a no-brainer, but it’s also becoming a splurge-worthy choice because of the sustainability of this gorgeous organic material. It just feels as good as it looks, with so many textures and colors to choose from.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite interiors with natural stone for some inspiration. Click through for the full slideshow, plus some close-ups of our favorite stone! –Caitlin

This post is brought to you in collaboration with MIA+BSI: The Natural Stone Institute. Visit their website here to learn more about using natural stone and marble in your own home.

Image above: Run that marble right up the wall like this beautiful marble backsplash and countertop in Sarah Bedford’s Brooklyn home.

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Working With Friends & Family

Working With Friends & Family

Working With Friends and Family – Adam J. Kurtz for Design*Sponge

We turn to our friends and family for help all the time, so it should come as no surprise when they look to us for help with the things we do best. Build websites? You are now IT for your extended family. Are you a hand-letterer? Here are 300 wedding invitations to address. What might be a perfect personality match may not quite translate to an easy business transaction. Small favors have a tendency to balloon into something more. Unpaid favors are pushed further and further down the priority list. Feelings may get hurt.

It’s tricky to navigate working with friends and family, so many of us try to avoid it entirely. But there’s no reason you can’t do something great with someone that you love as long as you take care to respect each other, communicate ideas without making assumptions and enter into a balanced agreement from the start. With the holidays coming, these casual “hey, what if…” conversations become harder to escape. Prepare yourself before you sit down to dinner (maybe share this post on Facebook as a warning???) and maybe you’ll make it to dessert alive. –Adam J. Kurtz

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The Beauty of Self-Care: Community Gift Request

The Beauty of Self-Care: Community Gift Request

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Attention everyone! Self-care is even more important during the holidays. Yes, there are a few extra days during which a long nap or two can be taken. And yes, there’s some opportunity to hang out with family and friends to celebrate the holiday. But even with all this opportunity for merry-making and extra time for relaxation, most of us will stress out to some degree. Just don’t.

Take that bath, excuse yourself early, read your book in bed, do whatever it takes to meet your own expectations of the holiday. Spread the love, joy and cheer, but remember to honor you.

In the spirit of giving, and since this column has spurred many conversations and suggestions, I thought it would be wonderful if we all shared a self-care tip in the comments section for others to enjoy over the holiday break. Whether it’s “treat yourself to seconds,” or “take tea alone in the tub,” share one thing that you do for yourself that someone else may not have thought of.

Here’s mine: Take a moment and say to yourself “may I be happy and at ease.”

I can’t wait to read yours.

Happy holidays everyone! –Caitlin

 

*Pattern above by Jen Lashek of Willowmark Works

Studio Tour: Helen Levi Ceramics

Studio Tour: Helen Levi Ceramics | Design*Sponge

Studio Tour: Helen Levi Ceramics

Helen Levi’s ceramics are truly something to behold. The finished products are so refined, smooth and beautiful that you almost forget that a real person went through all of the steps and work to create it. Helen’s eye for detail and talented hands have crafted thousands of artisanal pieces out of clay and even beeswax. Her ability to produce so many pieces is helped by her corner-lot studio in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Helen’s decision to move wasn’t completely out of necessity but when she came across this space for rent, she knew she had to make it happen. “When I saw the studio, and it was on a corner with so many windows, and the price per square foot was significantly less than I was paying for my last space, I knew I had to take it. I wasn’t really ready to move out of my previous studio, but I had to get ready quick!” With the help of family and friends, Helen quickly set up her new space and got it running.

Outfitted with kilns, a throwing wheel, tables for creative development and shelving, Helen has made a blank slate studio into a hardworking and inspiring space where she can create. “Function was absolutely my number one priority when setting up my studio. The kilns had to go by a window so they could be vented, but also as close to the power supply as possible, so that determined their location,” Helen explains. “Then it made the most sense to have the glazing area next to the kilns, and then I just worked backwards from there in terms of steps in the ceramics process to figure out the layout.” The natural light, painted brick walls, incredibly tall ceilings, and large, open floor plan give Helen’s studio life. Some parts about the studio won’t ever be a perfect fit for ceramics: The space doesn’t have running water so Helen has rigged a recycled water system by using pumps and buckets, and the hardwood floors make it difficult to clean up clay dust so she has put linoleum down in areas that get messiest. Even so, her beautiful studio has given Helen’s business room to grow in a city with a high demand (and price tag) for space. –Lauren

Photography by Andrea Gentl & Martin Hyers

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In Kentucky, Color and Pattern Make Up a Quirky Family Home

In Kentucky, Color and Pattern Make Up a Quirky Family Home | Design*Sponge

In Kentucky, Color and Pattern Make Up a Quirky Family Home

When Lexington, KY based photographer Hanna and husband Dustin realized that they needed more space, they knew they wanted to find a house that they could turn into their dream home with a little bit of elbow grease. Their fixer-upper dreams were finally realized in a 2,600-square-foot house from the 50s. The family wanted to comfortably be able to accommodate Hanna’s parents, who frequently visit from Finland, where Hanna grew up. With three floors and four bedrooms, the new house offered the required space for visiting family, as well as an office for Hanna, a music room for Dustin and plenty of room for their daughter Eila to run and play.

In the two years that Hanna and Dustin have lived in their new home, the couple has taken on several projects to make the house look and feel like them. They have conquered everything from tiling and light plumbing to reworking vintage light fixtures. The most exciting thing for Hanna and Dustin has been to see Eila learn from them and pitch in, pretending to paint a wall or hammer a nail. Eila loves to be creative, and when peeking into this family’s home, it’s clear that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree — decorating is Hanna’s big passion.

Hanna has a special talent of scouting out vintage treasures that most people might not even notice. Plenty of times someone’s trash has become her treasure. She isn’t afraid of color or pattern, something that is evident throughout her home. She loves to use contrast when decorating, whether it’s between crisp white walls and funky patterns, or IKEA furniture and vintage pieces. There has never been one single vision, but as various projects have been completed around the house, the common vibe throughout has become something Hanna describes as “Modern English Retro Cottage.” Special and memorable pieces can be found around the house as reminders of what this family values most about their home  — “It keeps all our most precious and loved people safe and secure,” Hanna shares. Click through to see how this loving family created a colorful sanctuary for themselves and their loved ones! Sofia

Photography by Hanna Salonen

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Studio Tour: Block Shop Textiles

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Studio Tour: Block Shop Textiles

Striving. It’s a word many an artist and craftsperson uses to describe themselves. Striving to push the boundaries of their work. Striving to amp up their business. Striving for better. Simply put, creators don’t sit still, and we love them for it. This motivation to better oneself doesn’t only apply to business practices though. A brand’s space can always be amplified, too. Just ask Hopie and Lily Stockman. Two years ago we took you inside their company Block Shop Textile’s zippy, pink studio for a behind-the-scenes look at their process, and the space was beautiful. It featured giant windows, colors galore, and a plethora of pattern-filled accents thanks to the shop’s inventory of handmade textiles from India. Point blank, it was one of my favorite interior features in Design*Sponge history. So you can imagine my glee when the women told us they had reimagined the Los Angeles, CA headquarters of their popular brand. I knew it’d be a stunner.

Just as in fashion, the sisters’ scarf, pillow and quilt designs are never the same collection to collection. That being said, this new studio was given a crisp, white look in order to provide a flexible backdrop where new products could be peppered in with ease. Their latest works’ ruddy rusts, browns and the details of their craftsmanship pop more than ever now that they’re set against this neutral palette, There’s also a refreshing approachability to the space. Most of it is decked out in vintage finds and IKEA steals, and we aren’t complaining. The mix is fun and inviting. It doesn’t shout at you or scream for attention. It simply says, “Hi! Welcome to Block Shop. This is us.” Click through to see more of what two years have done for the brand’s flagship. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Laura Dart

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Before & After: A Designer’s Studio Turned Nursery in a Parisian Apartment

A Designer's Studio Turned Nursery in a Parisian Apartment | Design*Sponge

Before & After: A Designer’s Studio Turned Nursery in a Parisian Apartment

When Emily Sells and her husband James moved into their elegant two-bedroom apartment in Paris, France, they set up the large spare room as Emily’s creative studio. She’s been running her stationery and design company, Ever After Press, out of this space since they moved in 2.5 years ago. The stately fireplace, balcony access, gorgeous architectural moldings and high ceilings made it a dream environment where she could create her lovely designs. When Emily and James found out they were expecting their first child, they knew the studio would have to share the space with the nursery.

Emily has recreated the space with baby Elodie in mind without losing her stylist point of view. Keeping it an inspirational, functional workplace was necessary for Ever After Press to remain successful — so Emily decorated the room with light colors, white furniture and modern toys and accessories to combine a sweet nursery for a little girl and a practical, sophisticated office of a business owner. The room is a perfectly adorable space for Elodie to enjoy her formative years, as well as a dedicated place for Emily to keep track of her orders and designs. Elodie is even starting to appreciate the architectural features in her gorgeous space. “We are really grateful to have lots of beautiful, traditional details throughout our apartment. I caught Elodie gazing up at the ceiling rose the other day,” Emily shares. For now, this room has been transformed to work as a beautiful backdrop for when Emily wears both hats as a designer and mother.

Photography by Roxanne Matiz

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Winter Arrangement by Swallows & Damsons

Winter Arrangement by Swallows & Damsons

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The temperatures upstate dipped below 10 degrees this week, so I’m ready for a weekend full of warm and cozy everything. I’ve been dragging in wood for the fire and bringing down all the wool blankets so we can rest up and stay warm. I’ve got a boatload of work to finish before our holiday break, but before I dive back into to-do lists for the next few hours, I’m letting myself soak in the beauty that is this amazing winter floral arrangement (with mushrooms!) that Anna from Swallows & Damsons created for us. If you want a creative way to dress up your mantel, entryway or dining table, check out the full how-to after the jump! Until Monday, have a safe and restful weekend! xo, grace

Photos by India Hobson

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I love these woven shopping baskets, via Remodelista.

Jess’ Crafty Gift Guide is full of fun DIY ideas and tools, via OhJoy!

Joy the Baker’s recipe for Sweet Potato Waffles looks delicious.

This retro-style wall hanging at The Jungalow is a fun alternative to traditional holiday decor.

I love Man Repeller’s look at how magazine covers got more inclusive this year. (There’s still a long way to go, of course.)

Jewel-box colored rooms at One Kings Lane are a great dose of color.

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Must-Reads: Solidarity Sundays (entertaining for a good cause), The Beauty of Self-Care: Lesson 10 – Detachment

Home Tours + Decorating: A Cheerful, Creative Home in Kansas City, MO, In Philadelphia, a Victorian Home With An Urban Farm, Storytelling Through Drawing in a Philadelphia Row Home, A West Chelsea, NYC Jewelry Designer Treasures Home Most of All, 15 Rooms That Unabashedly Celebrate Bold Color, A Vintage-Filled Home in Greenville, SC Designed To Feel Like a Retreat, A 1920s Home Built with Charming Architectural Details

DIY Projects: DIY Oversized Cross Stitch Wall Art

 

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In the Kitchen With: Adrianna’s Roasted Maple Acorn Squash

In the Kitchen With: Adrianna’s Roasted Maple Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash recipe from A Cozy Kitchen illustrated by Amber Day

As we enter a second winter without heat in our home, I cherish anything that produces warmth. Most of all, I look for reasons to turn the oven on and stay in the kitchen — the longer the better. Adrianna Adarme, the author behind the blog A Cozy Kitchen, as well as the books The Year of Cozy and A Cozy Coloring Book, has given me 40 more minutes to cuddle up next to the stove with her recipe for Roasted Maple Acorn Squash with Crispy Sage and Pomegranate Seeds. I’ve bookmarked this page for this weekend, and have a feeling this recipe will be a frequent guest on our winter menu. —Kristina

Why Adrianna loves this recipe: I love this recipe because it is easy as they come, vegetarian-friendly and colorful! When making the recipes for A Cozy Coloring Cookbook, I wanted to create simple recipes that were equally as fun to color. The pops of orange from the squash, deep, olive-like green from the sage and bright pink from the pomegranate, make it a dish that’s both fun to color in and of course, eat!

Cover of A Cozy Coloring Book by Adrianna Adarme | DesignSponge

Illustrations by Amber Day | Portrait by Monica Wang

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Patterned Peel + Stick Floor Tiles

These Moroccan Agadir Tile Stickers would make a great backsplash and add a nice dose of pattern to a small-space kitchen.

Patterned Peel + Stick Floor Tiles

Back when I lived in Brooklyn, I managed to live in seven apartments in 12 years, all of which had linoleum tile. In a few apartments, I got permission from my landlord to swap out the tile or rip it out to use the wood floor underneath, but I was always at a loss when it came to finding something inexpensive — but still pretty — that I could put back on top (in the case of covering cement, particle board or sub-flooring). I tried using matte black restaurant-grade rubber tiles for a while and that was fun, but I always wanted the look of something like a cool patterned cement tile.

Then I stumbled onto Quadro Style on Instagram the other day and felt like I’d hit a gold mine of peel-and-stick tiles. All of Quadro Style’s tile patterns work on floors and/or walls and come in a wide range of styles from more traditional patterns (like quatrefoils) to more modern black-and-white geometrics. If you’re looking for a quick peel-and-stick makeover in a room that needs something easy to clean, check out Quadro Style’s tiles right here, or click through the slideshow above for more of my favorite options. xo, grace

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