In the Kitchen With: Danielle Chang’s Nasi Goreng

In the Kitchen With: Danielle Chang’s Nasi Goreng

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When I learned that Danielle Chang, founder of LUCKYRICE and host of Lucky Chow, had just released a new cookbook called Lucky Rice, I knew I wanted to share something of hers here. Danielle is an ardent advocate of both Asian culture and Asian food culture. This week, as a treat, we have two recipes — perfect steamed rice and nasi goreng, or Indonesian fried rice. The former is a dish all passionate cooks should be able to make, and the second is simply addictive; the spicier the better. If you make any variations on this nasi goreng, let us know! —Kristina

About Danielle: Danielle is the founder of the LUCKYRICE festival, a national celebration of Asian cultures and cuisines that has taken place in more than seven cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. She is also the host and creator of Lucky Chow, a PBS series about Asian food culture in America. Born in Taipei, Danielle lives with her family in New York.

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Before & After: A Fixer-Upper Gets a New Kitchen in Denver, CO

Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge

Before & After: A Fixer-Upper Gets a New Kitchen in Denver, CO

Anna and Austin Smith knew there would be work to do when they bought this fixer-upper, sight unseen, in Denver, CO. Anna‘s interior design career made the opportunity even more appealing — she wanted to get her hands dirty. From the moment the couple put an offer in on the home, Anna was designing and dreaming about how to transform the kitchen from dark, cramped and dated to bright, open and modern.

When they moved in six months ago, they got to work. Austin and Anna did everything other than the electrical and plumbing themselves. While problems did arise during demo (asbestos in the walls!), Anna and Austin took it all in stride and stuck to the vision in their heads: a beautiful new kitchen. “What we love most about our space is that we created it ourselves! We’ve never tackled anything like this before, and we learned so many new skills along the way — for instance, I now know how to frame a window, mud drywall, and lay flooring, whereas before my home skills were limited to hanging a picture on the wall or changing a lightbulb,” Anna says. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish from Googling and watching YouTube videos — or even asking your neighbors! I think it’s really added to my knowledge as a designer because I understand the labor and skill that goes into remodeling, firsthand.”

The result of their hard work and long hours spent on the renovation is a dream — marble countertops, hexagon tiles (all installed by the couple), gorgeous new fixtures and a green eat-in bar. “In our new home, I’m trying to stick to a tight, neutral palette with warm accents like brass and wood, and the kitchen is no exception,” Anna shares. “We love the simplicity and clean lines that the white cabinets and marble countertops afford, along with subtle details like the white hexagon backsplash with brass trim.” Now that the first project in this fixer-upper is completed, we can’t wait to see what Anna and Austin do with the rest of their home. –Lauren

Photography by Chandler Kim

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Fine Art Focus: Magdalena Atria

Fine Art Focus: Magdalena Atria

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For the past few weeks, I’ve been dealing with some not-so-fun health issues that I’ve been working with doctors to figure out. I don’t have a full diagnosis yet, so my life right now feels like one long string of tests, imaging and scans. Looking at your own body and organs that way can be pretty disconcerting, but I’ve been trying hard to keep my head up and find ways to see it all as informative, rather than scary. And oddly enough, this week I found an artist whose work is making me see the beauty in some of the scans and tests I’ve been doing.

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Magdalena Atria is a remarkable Chilean artist who often focuses on abstractions of the human body in her work. Her hyper-colored pieces, like the one above, remind me of beautifully reimagined brain scans from another planet. Or a cabbage that’s been cut in half. Either way, they make me think about health in a good way. Beyond her work related to the human body, I love the way that Magdalena works with incredibly bright colors and applies them to inanimate objects — like rocks, baskets and architectural structures — to create these bold moments of contrast. I could look at her work all day. Read on to learn more about her work below. xo, grace

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Artist: Magdalena Atria
About: Magdalena was born in Santiago, Chile in 1966. She received her MFA from Parsons in 1997 and her BA in 1989 from the Universidad Católica de Chile.
Work: Texture, color and the human body play huge roles in Magdalena’s work. She says, “Some constants in my work are the tension between the rational and the emotional, the collective and the personal, the real and the ideal, the formal and the symbolic. I explore these notions through different mediums — painting, drawing, sculpture and photography — always with a particular emphasis on the materials and processes I utilize.”
More: You can read more about Magdalena’s work here, here and here.

All work (c) Magdalena Atria. Images via abstractioninaction and artealdia

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Before & After: A Fun and Affordable Treasure Hunt

Before & After: A Fun and Affordable Treasure Hunt, on Design*Sponge

Before & After: A Fun and Affordable Treasure Hunt

Floral designer and prop stylist Frances Harjeet isn’t afraid to use a little – or a lot – of color in her decorating. This small apartment in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver, CO features tons of her signature saturated blues, which we couldn’t get enough of in A Victorian Home With Countless Treasures. Spending less than $8,000 on a revamp consisting of new paint, hardware, furniture, and finishing touches, Frances had a blast getting crafty while making the space feel fully styled. “It was an excuse to do some epic thrifting and Craiglisting,” she says. “I love to treasure hunt, and this project gave me a good reason to scout all around town for fun and affordable pieces.”

The 1912 Italianate building with interior Craftsman detailing gave Frances the perfect jumping-off point for composing an eclectic mix of the things she covets. Wanting to create an inspired and relaxing space with boho touches, Frances found opportunities around the home to showcase the character and cultural offerings unique to Denver. Playing cards, coloring books, and board games in the apartment offer some homeward-bound diversion, while lots of magazines for reading on a comfy velvet loveseat make spending time indoors refreshing. Just three blocks away from an art museum, the apartment pays its respects with handmade touches and art books scattered about, too. Frances welcomes guests with open arms, and is happy to see them enjoy the made-over pad just as much as they enjoy exploring her beloved home town. —Annie

Photography by Tara Bielecki

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Shop Tour: A Stroll Through India’s Serendipity Delhi

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Shop Tour: A Stroll Through India’s Serendipity Delhi

You may remember Serendipity Delhi from our recent roundup of Inspiring Indian Instagram Feeds. I’m sure the shop’s melange of delicately-draped clothing and luxurious furniture stuck with you as much as it did me. I was so enthralled by the brand, I reached out to self-taught textile and furniture designer Kuldeep Kaur, the woman behind the remarkable store, to learn more about how it came to be.

After returning from an inspiring trip to Morocco, Kuldeep stumbled upon this old  “haveli,” a large, Indian home that surrounds a courtyard. The structure, unfortunately, was in a state of total disrepair. The courtyard was a mud pit, the once-grandiose home had been chopped up and turned into workers’ quarters, and paint was chipping off of every wall. But the bones of the structure were perfect in Kuldeep’s eyes. Behind the grime were beautiful columns, colored glass, and the opportunity to finally open a brick-and-mortar store of her own. The lucky find was a serendipitous sign; the push she needed to bring the shop to life.

Her 20 years of design experience proved invaluable when it came time to renovate. Once the clean-up crew restored the haveli back to its original splendor, Kuldeep went about adorning it with the vintage decor, reupholstered furniture and one-of-a-kind textiles Serendipity Delhi has become known for. Today, shoppers can stroll through seven open-air rooms of goods while sipping on coffee they’ve snagged from the shop’s cafe. If they’re lucky, customers may even catch one of the space’s literary or artistic events.

One day, I hope to make it to India and visit the shop. How splendid it would be to enjoy a coffee while taking in the sunny property. Until I can leave chilly Chicago behind, I’ll just have to escape through these pretty snapshots. Click through to poke around the gorgeous grounds yourself. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Serendipity Delhi

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What’s In Your Toolbox: Cláudio Silva

What’s In Your Toolbox: Cláudio Silva

What's In Your Toolbox: Cláudio Silva, on Design*Sponge

Craving the freedom to play a leading — rather than supporting — role in his own life, leather artisan Cláudio Silva started his Lisbon, Portugal-based company Project 226 in 2014 after leaving the corporate world behind. “Instead of spending my time at a desk shuffling papers, I wanted to work with my hands,” he reveals. Inspired by the apparel his seamstress mother created throughout his childhood, Cláudio had picked up some crafting skills over the years, and recognized that his ultimate dream was to shape handmade goods like bags, belts, and wallets for people interested in “knowing where they were made.”

After polishing his leather technique, the designer launched his business, the success of which depends upon inspiration taken from “daily walks discovering the old and new parts of the city,” — the opposite of his former routine. “First, my work should make me and the buyer happy, and second, it should last a lifetime.” Today, Cláudio is glad for the satisfaction, wisdom, and body of work he has amassed since setting out on his own path, and has zero remaining doubts that “we should stick to what we love and not follow trends. Make our own way.” —Annie

Photography by Cláudio Silva

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Indian Splendor

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Indian Splendor

As I have been delving deeper and deeper into trends within Indian design for this column, I’ve been excited to explore a side of modern Indian design that doesn’t get a lot of airtime: well-designed luxury.

While these goods may come with higher price tags, I feel like more of us are buying less these days and focusing on investing in speciality pieces, whether that’s from independent design studios or vintage pieces. These Indian design studios provide a visual feast of materials, jewel-like colors, blown glass, mother of pearl and all the good stuff you can imagine. These are the sorts of pieces that are definitely worth admiring and investing in when and if the time is right. –Rohini

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DIY Marbled Clay Hooks

DIY Marbled Clay Hooks

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As my necklace collection grows, I find it gets harder to organize them in an effective way. I’ve used a standing necklace tree in the past, but most of my necklaces are too long for it so they rest on the dresser and become tangled.

I’ve really liked using these DIY clay hooks instead – I hung them at the perfect height above my dresser and keep my favorite necklaces on it. Or, you can always hang it by your front door as a key rack instead. Kathleen Ballos

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Life & Business: Gail Davis

Life & Business: Gail Davis

Life & Business: Gail Davis, Design*Sponge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking points — they come at different times for each of us, but they all come with the same feeling: a certainty and pit in your stomach that says, “it’s time.” Gail Davis, founder of GMD Interiors, knew her time had come after growing fed up with her mundane job and corporate life. This revelation set her off on a blazing path to becoming an interior designer — and fulfilling her dream of carving out a more creatively stimulating life for herself.

Her current success doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows Gail. Even as a child, she had a penchant for pretty things. She credits her grandparents’ home with kickstarting her curiosity about design. Their landscaping, in particular “…made you want to discover the goings on [inside],” she recalls. Years later, a job at Saks Fifth Avenue’s corporate headquarters introduced her to the wonderful world of visual design and the miraculous makers that crafted the beautiful store and corporate office. “I want to do that,” she thought.

In retrospect, these moments lit the way for Gail; instilling in her the confidence needed to pursue the satisfying career she has today. Since becoming her own boss, she has learned a thing or two about self-management, making time for herself, and the sweet success that comes with a happy client. Read all about these lessons and more after the jump. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Crystal N. Davis

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An Eclectic 1950s Ranch House For Family and Furry Friends

Home To Family and Furry Friends, A Cultivated and Eclectic 1950's Ranch House

An Eclectic 1950s Ranch House For Family and Furry Friends

After immigrating from Brazil nearly two decades ago, Patricia Kohlhepp landed in Monterey, CA, where she met her husband, Allen, a market researcher specializing in qualitative research. After stints living in Washington and Georgia, the couple returned home to sunny California and settled in Corte Madera in Marin County. Nestled in the foothills of Mt. Tamalpais, they found and renovated this 1950s three-bedroom ranch, close to parks, bike paths, waterways and their daughters’ schools. As a previous school teacher herself, Patricia’s natural desire for all things creative is what led her to start her own textile business. While raising a family, Patricia also runs Wanderluster Bazaar, which sells one-of-a-kind products made from vintage textiles she sources globally. Just like her products, her home is awash with eclecticism. Rather than sticking to a singular style or trend, Patricia’s interiors are accented with mixes of classic staple pieces from across the globe.

Cultivated and colorful with surprising pops of color around every corner, the family home is anything but precious. On top of running the vintage textile shop Wanderluster Bazaar, Patricia opens her home up to dogs of all kinds (although mostly pugs) through her dog walking and boarding business, Wanderlust Dogs. On any given day, their 2,500-square-foot ranch home is filled with family and dogs, including their own schnauzers, Maggie and Samba. “Yes,” Patricia laughs, “I am the crazy [dog] lady!” Due to this, the renovations the family embarked on when they first moved in made for a chaotic and exhausting few months, which is just the way Patricia likes it. “Everything happened pretty quickly, because I like to move fast!” she says. “We had great contractors and sometimes it felt like a zoo with our dogs, the contractor’s dog, our chickens, and all of the materials strewn about the yard, but it worked out.”

The home offers great views from its location on a small hill, plenty of privacy and some of the only redwoods in all of Corte Madera. Although each day can be a bit of a whirlwind, the family couldn’t be any happier with the outcome and to have a cozy, welcoming space to call home. “Now I’m ready to move and do it all over again,” Patricia half-jokes. –Sabrina

Photography by Matt McCourtney

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Her Story: An Interview with Executive Producer Kate Fisher

Her Story: An Interview with Executive Producer Kate Fisher

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Three episodes into Her Story, a new online series about love and dating in the trans and queer communities, I heard a line that resonated so strongly with me I had to stop, rewind and hear it again. Allie (played by Laura Zak) is explaining to Violet (played by Jen Richards) why an incident involving her high school newspaper changed her life forever. Her newspaper exposed a story of abuse in her school and led to the end of that behavior and real change. It was that moment that made her, “realize the power of a true story well told.”

I think a lot about stories, truth and vulnerability here at D*S, namely because they’re all issues that affect the way we feel in our day-to-day lives, and by sharing them, we’re able to create places that feel safe — places that feel like home. But I often think about how many people’s stories are left out of movies, music, television and publishing. These people are either not given the chance to tell their stories in their own voices, or their stories are deemed in some way too different to be relevant to the “mainstream.” As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I care deeply about hearing stories from all people who identify as LGBTQ+, but as a human being, I know that these stories are important not just within our own community, but the community at large. At the end of the Her Story series, Allie says, “Our great disservice is not just to those we’ve excluded, but to ourselves, for our world is less rich without their stories, their laughter, their voices.” Celebrating and embracing all of these stories and voices is what we believe in here at D*S, and today I’m so excited to talk with the executive producer of this incredible new series, Kate Fisher.

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Kate, along with co-executive producer Eve Ensler, director Sydney Freeland and writers Jen Richards and Laura Zak, worked together with an amazing crew to create this series, which debuted last week online. Today, Kate took time out of her busy premier schedule to talk with us about how this series came to be, what filmmaking has taught her about life and work, and what we can all learn from people sharing their stories in their own voices. Read on to learn more and click here to watch all six episodes of Her Story online for free. xo, grace

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Life & Business: Campbell-Rey

Life & Business: Campbell-Rey

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For Duncan Campbell and Charlotte Rey, curation and storytelling is a natural tendency that bleeds into all areas of their lives, from how they dress, to the decor in their homes, to how they see the world. Although they attended different schools — Charlotte studied fashion and history theory in London, and Duncan studied law in Paris — their friendship was grounded in their shared love and unique perspective towards visuals. Their point of view and penchant for curation only continued to gain them recognition and, after school, they both became editors for Acne Paper, an in-house publication by notable Swedish fashion house Acne.

Over time, the demand skyrocketed for the team’s thoughtful visuals and understated but elegant approach towards art and design, and they found themselves torn between their day-jobs in roles they loved, and the promise of the future. Although neither Duncan nor Charlotte had experience starting a business, they both saw the opportunities in front of them and decided to embark on their own career path. Together, they launched the London-based creative consultancy Campbell-Rey, offering their signature intuitive approach to visual storytelling to lifestyle brands. Hallmarked by rich, classical aesthetics, their work has landed them clients from Bentley and Bulgari to Baccarat and Coach. Today, Duncan and Charlotte are joining us to share some insight into their process, how they got to where they are, and what rock n’ roll has to do with it all. –Sabrina

Photograph above by Robbie Lawrence

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SEEKING & ACCEPTING HELP FROM OTHERS

SEEKING & ACCEPTING HELP FROM OTHERS

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As creative, hands-on people, there’s an incredible amount of pressure to do things ourselves. That mindset may be what got you to where you are: accomplishing goals you set for yourself, turning a passion into a job, or building your dream home bit by bit. As a result, you now feel invincible. You might have even made yourself a needlepoint or woodblock print that says “I can do anything.” But can you, reeeeaaaaally?

There are a lot of things that we need. We need websites! We need to give our employees health insurance! We need a 60-second video pitch for Shark Tank! It’s not easy, but it’s time to learn how to seek and accept help. You’re the best at your thing, and you rely on clients and customers to need you. Now it’s time to go need someone else. A paintbrush is a tool and so is an accountant. Use both to create beautiful work. –ADAMJK

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Missoula, MT City Guide

Missoula, MT City Guide

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With a humble population, Missoula, MT is small, but mighty. Surrounded by five mountain ranges and myriad rivers, many recognize Missoula for its University — but as today’s city guide writer, Jessica Lowry, knows firsthand, this great city is much more than that. An editorial and commercial photographer, editor and writer, Jessica was born and raised in Atlanta, GA and earned her degree in Journalism and Telecommunications from the University of Georgia. Although her work has taken her everywhere from Rome to the inside of a bat cave in rural Tennessee, Jessica followed her lens and heart all the way to Missoula, where she and her husband have lived for nearly a decade.

Filled with oodles of options categorized into Missoula’s various popular neighborhoods, today, Jessica is sharing the very best that Missoula has to offer — including adventurous outings and the best spots to find succulents, bibimbap and charming paper goods, and the perfect places to go to for a greasy spoon breakfast.  –Sabrina

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What’s In Your Toolbox: Jacqueline Davis Moranti

What’s In Your Toolbox: Jacqueline Davis Moranti

What's In Your Toolbox: Jacqueline Davis Moranti, on Design*Sponge

As a young girl born in the U.S. to South American immigrant parents, Jacqueline Davis Moranti couldn’t communicate with the other kids in English. She turned to drawing her thoughts as a form of expression, and continued the routine even as she further assimilated into her homeland. As an adult, Jacqui tackles a range of creative projects from cartoon editorials, to high fashion illustrations, to web design and typography. Jacqueline’s blog Burgundy Whispers tracks the overlap between her professional work and personal wardrobe, as she reworks items she already owns in new ways. The practice is an extension of her studio process, where she makes lists of words opposing her ideas to tease out interesting tensions between concepts.

“We live in a world full of content, and it’s up to you to figure out how to make it your own and share your edited version with the world,” she explains. For someone who enjoys making a great first impression, we think Jacqui can cross that item off her to-do list for today. —Annie

Photography and illustration by Jacqueline Davis Moranti, portrait by Kevin Michael Smith

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