In the Kitchen With: Frankie Unsworth’s Ice Cream Terrine

In the Kitchen With: Frankie Unsworth’s Ice Cream Terrine

Frankie Unsworth's Homemade Viennetta

Food stylist and writer Frankie Unsworth shares my passion for frozen desserts, and one in particular, the Viennetta. A Viennetta is a commercially made ice cream dessert, but Frankie makes her own type of Viennetta as a semifreddo, pressing berries into her ice cream layers in between the thin shards of dark chocolate.  It requires no machines and is easy to make. She calls her dessert a Frozen Berry and Chocolate Terrine. Even more than the scattered frozen berries, the crunch of the chocolate in each bite is, in my opinion, the biggest draw! —Kristina

Why Frankie loves this recipe: I wish I could take credit for the genius that is the Viennetta, but this glorious frozen swirled ice cream with its delicate layers of crisp chocolate was born two years before I even came into this world, and now enjoys a quasi cult status among us 80s kids. I’d like to say it’s a guilty pleasure of mine, but in reality I’ve never felt an ounce of guilt when tucking into a slice of this groundbreaking invention. My homemade homage to this deep-freeze delicacy is studded with berries for extra impact and is even more of a showstopper for your summer table when accompanied by an extra tumble of the fruit upon serving.

Frozen Berries for Frankie Unsworths Homemade Viennetta

Photography by Lara Messer

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14 Ways to Add Texture and Color to a Room with Cacti

This massive cactus is a showstopper in Sara and Rich's globally-infused San Francisco home.

14 Ways to Add Texture and Color to a Room with Cacti

We have a tradition in my home that, when something good happens, we go to the greenhouse and pick out a new plant. We are a little plant-obsessed around here, but I believe that a room needs at least one plant to feel finished — so the more plants, the better. The exotic look and (painful, at times) feel of cacti add gorgeous texture and color to any room. They need to be displayed in a place where they can receive decently good light and not be forgotten about, because they do need water every so often.

But don’t fret, decorating with cacti is easy because they are automatic showstoppers in any space where they’re able to thrive. For inspiration, flip through this roundup of 14 rooms that perfectly decorate with cacti. –Lauren

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A Historical Landmark in The Hudson Valley Gets Revitalized

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A Historical Landmark in The Hudson Valley Gets Revitalized

The Revolutionary War was raging, and it looked like its latest casualty would be made of stone and wood. Flames ripped up the home’s beams, and its floorboards creaked under the pressure of British boots. The troops had no remorse for the Kingston, NY home they were destroying, and within minutes their fireballs engulfed the 1680s-era structure. Cinders dancing behind them, the army moved down the road, probably giving little thought to whether or not the home would make it. But as their silhouettes shrunk in the distance, so did the fire. In the former home’s place stood a bare-bones structure ready for someone to breathe new life into it.

Since that day in 1777, the grey stone home has seen its fair share of “new lives,” none of which left the space feeling modern or family-friendly. Kat Howard and her husband Aaron Quint didn’t mind, though. They loved the history of the home, and two years ago they bought the historic landmark knowing full and well the challenges it presented. On moving day they stared each one down: “yellowing wallpaper, faded paint, heavy damask drapes, scary bathrooms and [a] dark, hovel-like kitchen.” For five months they lived and breathed the renovation, tackling these design problems, solving others and chipping away at the structure until finally they began to see the happy home at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks to their handiwork, the house is now open and airy. Fireplaces visually anchor most of the rooms, and antiquities passed down through Kat’s family are peppered here and there. While you can still smell the musk of char on the floorboards in the basement, this home clearly isn’t living in the past. A modern paint job and minimalist styling keep it current. It’s like-new, it’s still here, and now it stands pretty thanks to these dedicated homeowners. Click through to take a peek! Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Marili Forastieri. Styling by Zio & Sons.

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14 Floral-Happy Rooms That Bloom and Blossom

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14 Floral-Happy Rooms That Bloom and Blossom

Some of the most memorable moments from my life have been marked by flowers. It could be the lingering aroma marking significant life events, the romantic connotation surrounding everything from childhood games of “he loves me, he loves me not,” to getting engaged, or even the coming-of-age experience of cultivating my first garden as a first-time homeowner. Mother Nature’s bountiful bouquets have a way of making an impression not only on your memory, but flowers have forever dominated the design world.

Whether they’re printed on a wrap-dress, displayed in your table setting, or climbing up your walls in paper-form, florals are a timeless trend that never go out of style — in home design, in fashion, or art. Today, we’re toasting to all things that bloom and blossom with these 14 floral-happy rooms–Sabrina

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An Ontario Home Filled with Art, Light, and Love

Tahsin Dhirani's Home Tour on Design*Sponge

An Ontario Home Filled with Art, Light, and Love

Social media has the ability to tint most things with rose-colored glasses and pretty filters, making it hard to determine what’s real and what’s not — so when you come across an account or feed that feels genuine and good, you tend to take note. That’s how I felt when I happened upon artist Tahsin Dhirani’s Instagram feed over one year ago.

Fittingly known on the interwebs as Tahsin “the good,” everything about Tahsin radiates positivity and authenticity. From her bi-annual “The Good Exchange,” a gathering of likeminded individuals who meet for an afternoon to swap soups or salads (feeding their bellies and their souls while raising money to support a good cause), to her artwork which heavily features uplifting and positive words, it appears that Tahsin’s mission is, simply, to do good.

It’s no surprise that the home she shares with husband and Toronto real estate broker, Mase, and their two young daughters, Daaniya and Niyya, exudes the same positivity, authenticity, and brightness. “I want it to feel homey, a little arty, light, comfortable, and relaxed… I like clean walls and artwork,” Tahsin says of their home, which is just a short trek north of Toronto in Vaughan, Ontario. “I want it to be a very inspiring place for everybody in the home. I want my girls to appreciate the beauty of handmade things and design, because design and art are extremely important to me.”

While the bones of the house are similar to those of many other suburban homes built in the mid-2000s, it’s the attention to detail, design, and purposeful injection of family memories that sets it apart. The mostly white walls set the foundation for graphic artwork, created primarily by Tahsin, punctuated with colors that carry through the entire home; creating a palette of black, white, shades of pink, gold tones and wood.

Equally as influential to the home’s atmosphere are spiritual routines, like an iPod that softly recites the Qur’an in Daaniya and Niyya’s room throughout the day. “… For us, Islam is a way of life,” Tahsin shares. “My husband and myself consciously make decisions of how we’re doing things. The Qur’an being recited is important — it’s soothing.” Add in a healthy dose of found objects — sometimes literally found curbside, other times collected on family vacations in places like Morocco, Egypt, and Mexico — and you’ve got the makings of a home that’s far from cookie-cutter. And while some spaces like the living room and master bedroom remain unfinished projects, they are well on their way.

What the Dhirani family has created is not only a beautiful and functional home, it’s a work in progress that feels genuinely authentic. It’s a sanctuary that inspires everyone who enters and, most importantly, the family that lives there. —Kisha

Photography by Kisha 

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A Stylist’s Historic Beach Home in Oysterville, WA

Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge

A Stylist’s Historic Beach Home in Oysterville, WA

The “Captain Stream” house was originally built in 1869 by Captain A. T. Stream in what is now the historic walking village of Oysterville, WA. Home to a small community that has diligently preserved a host of original buildings as well as the pioneer cemetery, Oysterville’s off-the-beaten-path location on the Longbeach Peninsula means many miss out on its charm — but not Martie Kilmer, a Portland, OR-based interior stylist. Martie’s family ties to Oysterville have allowed her the opportunity to spend much of the last 25 years enjoying the quaint village with its carefully preserved history, natural setting, views of the bay, and of course, oysters.

With Oysterville being one of just a handful of towns in Washington state to be wholly registered as a historic site, available properties are few and far between. Once it became known that the Captain Stream house would be going on the market, Martie and her husband, Steve Romero, made the decision to purchase it. After spending a few years in the home as-is, an addition to the kitchen was planned and got underway after the long process of consulting with the Oysterville Historic Preservation board and all the conditions that entailed. With plans from Seattle architecture firm Res Loci in hand, construction began and it didn’t take long for a devastating discovery to be made: the home was infested with dry rot and powder post beetles. The infestation was so bad, it was a wonder the house was still standing, and it was promptly considered condemned. Faced with the choice of abandoning her home, or rebuilding an exact replica, Martie thankfully chose the latter.

With years of interior design and styling under her belt, Martie wanted to honor the historic charm of the home without turning it into a period replica. Antiques, she says, aren’t quite her thing. Instead she decided on a homemade / craft approach to the design with a focus on custom and one-off items, many produced by local artisans in Oregon and Washington. To complete the heavenly family retreat, the house gardens include an expansive croquet lawn as well as a potager, otherwise known as a French-style kitchen garden. The very definition of “bright and airy,” the end result is so stunning, there’s no doubt in my mind that Captain Stream himself would approve heartily. —Allison

Photography by Allison Burt-Tilden; photos 7, 8 and 16, 17 by Mikola Accuardi 

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DIY Pounded-Flower Tote

DIY Pounded-Flower Tote

DIY Pounded Flower Tote on Design*Sponge

Have you ever heard of flower pounding? Until recently, it wasn’t on my radar at all! The technique is similar to pressing flowers, but instead of flattening and preserving the blooms, you place them face down onto fabric, cover with a towel, and use a mallet to pound them flat. When you remove the flowers, the fabric is imprinted with the colorful pigments!

DIY Pounded Flower Tote on Design*Sponge

It was a lot of fun picking flowers of different shapes and colors to experiment with, and then arranging them on the fabric. I definitely recommend testing flowers before arranging them for your final product — some flowers that looked like they would leave beautiful colors didn’t shed much pigment at all, while others released too much and the color bled and looked splotchy. After some trial and error, though, I’m really satisfied with the results and can’t wait to carry my floral tote bag around all summer! —Kathleen

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Studio Tour: Play Clan

Play Clan Studio Visit on Design Sponge

Studio Tour: Play Clan

Having established a reputation for bright, irreverent and folksy design products inspired by Indian storytelling, Delhi-based Play Clan was established in 2008 by Himanshu Dogra, a fashion design graduate from National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi. 

From collaborations with prestigious names like Sir Paul Smith, Maharaja of Jodhpur, Gwalior Museum, Royal Bhutan and nine stand-alone stores across India, Play Clan has come a long way from the experimental platform it started out as.

Storytelling and playfulness form the foundation of all products, and the brand looks to India for inspiration — traditional colors and silhouettes, fusing graphics with craft to narrate visual novellas. Combining hand-drawn work with artisan workmanship and an illustrative style, collections are created across fashion, home, accessories and art, unraveling traditional folklore with a contemporary interpretation. 

Play Clan’s version of playing cards, for example, were inspired by the Mughal era of in India. The Mughal-e-Azam series features the four important rulers of the Mughal dynasty (Akbar, Shah Jahan, Jahangir and Humayun) and their respective queens and the “jacks” responsible for getting them into power. 

A stroll through their workspace which houses a team of 20 people, including artists, designers, copywriters and technicians, feels like walking across an idea bank. Decor choices include natural elements, which are the center of their inspiration. The design is open and simple, characterized by wood, stone and metal, which add an earthiness to the space. An abundance of potted plants and trees lends color and freshness. And ever so fitting to their brand ethos, the walls are adorned with a number of Play Clan artworks that have been intricately hand embroidered by local artisans. —Rohini

Photography courtesy of Play Clan

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Jolts of Color Restart an Old New Orleans Home

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Jolts of Color Restart an Old New Orleans Home

If there’s one city in the United States with pizazz, it’s New Orleans, LA. It’s fun, it’s bold and it’s vibrant. But the city itself can’t take all the credit. Much of New Orleans’ flair and fabulousness is thanks in part to its creative and inspiring residents. One of them being seamstress, designer and artist, Merry Lake. She and her home are as lively and colorful as the city she lives in.

The early-1800s gem Merry owns struck her the moment she walked in six years ago. It radiated with a palpable energy that told Merry she was definetly standing in her next home. Twelve years of sitting vacant had left the home with its fair share of issues, but there was character in its bones, so she went for it — and she got it. With the keys in hand, she gleefully stepped up to the plate to clean up this diamond in the rough.

Now completed, the house is a masterful example of bold design. It lets you know the moment you set eyes on it. Vibrant dashes of copper, blue and orange highlight the grooves and swoops of the house’s exterior architecture. It’s an unexpected mix, but one that ensures this beauty can’t be missed. Step inside, and it becomes clear that choosing the right piece of artwork is one of Merry’s gifts. Her den’s gallery takes up an entire wall and features an eclectic mashup of artists and styles. The pieces entrance you, make you smile, and immediately you realize you’re someplace special.

What most draws me to Merry’s house, though, is how each room has a distinct personality. Each room boasts a wall color of its own and a signature mix of traditional and modern furniture that gives off a slightly different vibe. Under anyone else’s watch that method could be sporadic and disorienting, but clever Merry’s found the cohesive sweet spot. She’s made them all work together like I’ve never seen before. Click through to see how she’s done it. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Sandy SooHoo

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8 Bedrooms That Offer A Retreat From The Heat

Cara Scarola's bedroom has a crisp, clean hotel feel. The mid-tone grey and bright orange help keep the room bright without the sun, since the heavy blinds block out the harshness of its rays.

8 Bedrooms That Offer A Retreat From The Heat

With the intimidating “Heat Dome” bearing down on most of the country, having a cool, comfortable room in which to retreat is a godsend. Think crisp white sheets, a beverage with lots of ice, and a powerful fan on high, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what room many of us are spending ample time in this week.

These bedrooms with a breezy, beach vibe should help you go to your happy (and nicely chilled) place in this sweltering heat. Sit back and imagine the gentle ocean breeze at the seaside keeping you cool as you relax on a well-deserved day at the beach. Click through to see all of these chill spaces, and a few things that can help make a heat retreat of your very own. —Caitlin

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Using Your Power For Good

Using Your Power For Good

Using Your Power For Good
Each of us holds an innate power to do great things, and as creatives, we have a unique set of skills for putting that power to work. Whether your talent is rooted in words, images, organization, persuasion or just plain having an audience, it is both a manifestation of that core ability and a method to harness it.

Part of recognizing your power is acknowledging your obligation to use it to stand up for what’s right. There’s so much in the world that needs our attention. Some things could simply benefit from a little compassion. Other issues are more complex and require deliberate steps towards change. Remember that you have the ability to create impact of some kind, and when your power is rooted in communication, your silence speaks volumes. You have the tools to do at least something, so please try. Use your power for good. –Adam J. Kurtz

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Comfort Zone: Afiya Francisco

Comfort Zone: Afiya Francisco

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Afiya Francisco spent her early adulthood cutting her teeth in the publishing industry where she worked as editor for top magazines such as Flare, House & Home, and LOULOU. On the outside, life seemed glamorous: she often appeared on TV as a style expert, she attended numerous events, and was constantly saturated with the latest design and style trends. However, during this time, she was still living with her parents. So for all the design skills she gleaned, the only area she had to experiment with and impose her style knowledge on was her humble childhood bedroom.

It wasn’t until years later (which also welcomed the addition of her two children as well as a new on-TV role as resident Style Expert on The Morning Show) that she and her family purchased a house to call home — and one that finally offered Afiya the freedom to unleash her skills. Afiya and her husband Aaron renovated their Toronto home top to bottom, transforming it from a space that they once thought of as temporary, to one where they’re happy to raise their two rambunctious boys. Needless to say, for Afiya, good things in life are worth waiting for, and today she’s joining us to chat more about her career path, the process of fostering her own home, and her fears for the future in light of recent global tragedies. –Sabrina

 

Photography by Anna Lisa Sang
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10 Rooms Flaunting the Depth-Enhancing Wonder of Deep Teal

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10 Rooms Flaunting the Depth-Enhancing Wonder of Deep Teal

When I was a 90s kid growing up in the gardeny part of New Jersey, teal-and-raspberry was the hot suburban decorating color combo plastered all over asymmetrical window valances, geometric ultrasuede sectionals, and so much formica. Once in a while I still wince thinking about this strong, unapologetic high-contrast motif revealed in jagged compositions — pitched to my unassuming parents by designers with complex hairstyles and shoulder pads.

Despite our rough start, I’ve grown to love teal, especially in its deepest variations just on the verge of being distinctly blue, green, and even black. It has a hidden richness that changes in different lighting throughout the day, and also depending on the materials with which it’s paired. Here are 10 gorgeous settings from the archives that boldly bring teal back into the 21st century. —Annie

 

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A Stylishly Eco-Friendly Home in the Second City

A Stylishly Eco-Friendly Home in the Second City, Design*Sponge

A Stylishly Eco-Friendly Home in the Second City

In most cases, the passions of the homeowners we feature influence the look of their homes. Chef’s kitchens, for example, are typically enviable, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more interesting greenhouse than that of a plant lover. In recent years, however, a different type of passion is influencing homes all over the world: being eco-friendly. I hadn’t thought about it until recently, but it has its own unique way of coming to life through decor and style. Such is the case with Green Lifestyle Expert Ashlee Piper’s rental in Chicago’s Roscoe Village neighborhood.

The 100-year-old space brims with recycled goods, vegan products and secondhand finds, the last of which holds the utmost importance to Ashlee. She simply couldn’t have her green home contributing to the creation of any more “things.” In fact, she’s so dedicated to the Earth-friendly movement, a staggering 95% of the Craftsman-style home’s furnishings are either from Craigslist or the garbage! All of this scrounging around doesn’t mean this home is a mish-mash of styles and random finds, though. Ashlee has taken her time to really forage for eye-catching pieces from Urban Outfitters, IKEA and more to give the space a modern and clean personality.

While it took time to make sure her space was affordably decorated while doing right by our planet, Ashlee would do it all over again if she had to. That’s how much she adores the cozy feel of her space. But looks aren’t everything. There’s something more to her house that really gets her every time she walks through the door. Her home reflects her values, and she couldn’t be more proud. Click through to see more. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Amy Mokris

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Crowns of Color + Best of the Web

Crowns of Color + Best of the Web

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All week I’ve been running back and forth between the city and upstate NY for exciting fall projects related to our new book (out on October 4th!), and all I’ve wanted to do this week is collapse into the sofa with Julia and our pets. This morning, I indulged in a little bonding time with our first dog, Hope, and ended up goofing around on Snapchat attempting to put the silly crown on her head. I ended up snapping a pic with the flower crown, but no luck with the regular one. But that got me thinking about an old series of prints I loved from Andrea Pippins called Crowns of Color. These screen prints celebrated women of color looking regal and amazing, surrounded by beautiful patterns and colors. The series isn’t available for sale anymore, but this series still makes me smile and feels like a positive image to focus on when the world news is anything but. Here’s hoping everyone has a safe and happy weekend. xo, grace

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