Design*Sponge

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A Day In The Life by 7

A Day In The Life of Kelly DeWitt

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Austin seems to have become a breeding ground of sorts for wonderful new design talent, and of the many recent makers to sprout up from this Texas city, one of our favorites is woodworker and furniture designer Kelly DeWitt. Established in the fall of 2013, Kelly’s custom furniture company KKDW features minimal, handcrafted pieces that seem to defy definition. Drawing inspiration from Shaker design principles, the pieces are simultaneously modern and timeless, bare-bones and luxurious. With rich wood and welded-steel constructions, they celebrate both modern forms and a traditional love of craft and material. Although still relatively new to the design business, Kelly seems to be doing pretty well for herself. She currently splits her day between two workspaces—a studio in central Austin and an at-home workshop on her 3-acre homestead outside of the city. We recently had the chance to catch up with this talented maker and were thrilled to be able to take a peek into her everyday life. From quiet morning coffees to lumberyard jaunts with her dog, Ellie, it’s a real treat! Continue after the jump for all of the photos. —Max

Photographs by Arden Wray

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Free DIY Class at Renegade Craft Fair + Best of the Web

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This weekend I’m breaking out my crafting gloves and teaching a full day of how-tos at Renegade Craft Fair in NYC! Along with Paul Lowe of Sweet Paul (he’ll be teaching on Sunday), we’re working at the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day booth to show people how to make quick and easy holiday gifts. I’m going to be teaching people how to make customized wood-burned cutting boards. I’ll be teaching a new round of students every 15-20 minutes and the class and supplies are totally free! So if you’re in NYC tomorrow, swing by the Renegade Craft Fair and come find me at the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day booth for some fun (and free!) crafting. It will be a great day and a fun way to make some handmade gifts for family and friends. xo, grace

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In the Kitchen With: Julia Busuttil’s Pumpkin Tortelli

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I was introduced to Melbourne-based food blogger Julia Busuttil through The Design Files. Admittedly, because I live in Italy, it is quite hard to catch my eye with something Italian because I see it all the time. It has to be extra special and extra beautiful for me to take note – which is why I’m captivated by this recipe. Julia draws her cooking inspiration from her mother, and while living in Tuscany, her passion for humble and simple food grew stronger. Although her recipe for pumpkin tortelli with sage butter is not Tuscan, but from a bit further north, it stays in step with Julia’s approach to food – seasonal, simple, affordable. A tip: Don’t miss out on this great recipe if you can’t find the time to make your own pasta! You can use Julia’s filling to dress a dried pasta with a flat shape, such as bowties. -Kristina

About Julia: Based in Melbourne, Australia, Julia Busuttil Nishimura is the creator of OSTRO — an online collection of recipes influenced by seasons, stories and a love of sharing food. Julia regularly contributes to various publications including two month-long features on popular Australian design blog, The Design Files. She creates cakes for workshops and events around Melbourne and devotes much of her time to these baking projects as well as teaching Italian to school children. Julia and her husband, Norihiko, also run an online store, MINAMI, which stocks beautiful Japanese products for the home, kitchen and everyday life. You can find Julia on Instagram: @juliaostro

See how to make Julia’s pumpkin tortelli after the jump!

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Interview + Chicken Pho Recipe with Hemsley + Hemsley

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When it starts to get cold outside, there are few things I enjoy and turn to as much as a warm bowl of soup. Whether it’s chicken noodle, minestrone, lentil or ramen, soup seems to be the only food that feels equal parts comforting, hearty and delicious. The classic Vietnamese noodle soup Pho is, sadly, relatively new to me. I had my first bowl when I moved back to Brooklyn after college and it’s been a go-to for me ever since. I’ve had all types of variations, but it’s been fun to see modern twists on the dish show up on menus across town for the past few years.

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Today I’m thrilled to share a delicious Chicken Pho recipe from the talented cooking duo of Hemsley and Hemsley. Sisters Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley are based in London where they run a healthy cooking website devoted to clean modern cooking. Inspired by their love of fresh fruits and vegetables, they recently published their first cookbook, The Art of Eating Well, that finds ways to add fresh produce to all sorts of recipes – even chocolate deserts! Today they’re sharing their recipe for Chicken Pho that uses zucchini noodles instead of rice noodles. The broth is still warm and hearty, but the zucchini adds a crisp (and healthy) spin on a classic dish. Melissa and Jasmine also answered some questions from our team and shared photos from their home kitchen with us, too. I hope you’ll enjoy them all. xo, grace

Click through for the full interview + recipe after the jump!

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sights & sounds by 7

Sights And Sounds To Start Your Weekend from Arden Wray

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I first came upon photographer Arden Wray’s work by way of her project Boots & Pine, a series of portrait sessions with creative individuals in their homes and workplaces. Although the basic concept is not unheard of, what struck me about Arden’s work was her eye for detail and her delicate, empathetic hand with her subjects. Rather than mere documentation, we are treated to an uncommonly intimate portrait, one with the nuance and beauty of an Impressionist painting. What began as a relatively small project featuring people around Arden’s hometown of Toronto, Ontario has now become a large-scale, multi-year opus, one that has followed her around Canada and the United States. Arden currently lives between New York City and The Catskills, photographing both professionally and personally. We’re so thrilled that Arden was able to share some of her photographs along with a few complementary tunes, perfect for kicking off your weekend. Check out all of the photos, plus her insights and musical picks, after the jump! (Also, be sure to check out Arden’s Instagram here!)—Max

Image above: “This picture was taken in Hudson, NY, upstate for my project Boots & Pine,” Arden writes. “It’s a portrait of a woman named Margot, photographed in her home, who does wonderful things with wool. I’m continually inspired by the people I meet who are doing creative things and setting down roots in Upstate New York. My mother and stepfather live near Woodstock, so I spend a lot of time up there. It’s a really special place.” | Song: Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Our House

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Image above: “I was lucky enough to be in Morocco for a while last Spring and I really fell in love with Marrakech. I was walking down the street, just outside of the medina, and stumbled into this small, bustling market shop selling produce and livestock and flowers. For me, this picture evokes the smells and sounds of that space.” | Song: Jana Hunter – A Bright-Ass Light Read More

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Before & After: An Unused Garage Becomes A Colorful Craft Studio

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Even for the most meticulous of homemakers, the garage—that nary visited, afterthought of a home appendage—can often function as a full-sized junk drawer. You know what I’m talking about. Although garages are technically meant to house cars (and perhaps the occasional lawn mower, rake, or bicycle), they usually run the risk of becoming contenders for episodes of Hoarders—their walls filled with everything from aging canned goods to rusty gym equipment that you have every intention of using…someday. This is why, whenever anybody has the brilliance and audacity to convert one of these overlooked spaces into a functional room, I feel like it needs applause.

When blogger and crafter extraordinaire Rachel Mae Smith moved to Portland from San Francisco, the apartment that she ended up renting came along with a dingy, broken-down garage. Without a car—or anything really—to fill the space, Rachel decided to put it to an even better use: as an office and studio where she could work on her crafts and woodworking without mucking up her home. Ever the DIY-minded gal, Rachel tackled the project with vigor and aplomb, only running into a few (okay, a lot) of spiders along the way. With colorful touches like a simple, homemade inspiration board and a bright yarn installation, the space is lightyears away from its dreary beginnings—the perfect home away from home…at home. Check out all of the photos, plus Rachel’s design notes, after the jump! —Max Read More

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