A Country Home for 16 Animals, 2 Boys and 1 Seamstress in Louisville

The living room. Bekah loves that every piece, from the furniture to the small details, tells a story.

A Country Home for 16 Animals, 2 Boys and 1 Seamstress in Louisville

As I get older, I realize more and more the difference between minimal as a design trend and minimal as a lifestyle. One focuses on form and the other, on function. And the latter is what designer and seamstress Bekah Stewart is all about. Her country home in Louisville, KY, is all about comfort, function, ease of use and keeping her possessions to a minimum.

Bekah works from home where she raises 10 chickens, two goats, one guinea pig and one fish, as well as her two young boys Tristan and Collin and her dogs, Precious the husky and Devner the blue heeler. With a constant tornado of action ripping through her house, her priority is to foster a space that’s functional for everyone under her roof, through every season. Filled with light and life, Bekah’s home truly encompasses what it means to live the simple life (right down to her housewares), which favors rich textiles over decor and the great outdoors over TV (they don’t even own one!). –Sabrina

Photography by Whitney Neal

 

VIEW MORE

Brie Harrison

Brie Harrison

brie
Patterns can be an intensely personal thing. I tend to define myself and my home by a great stripe, but every now and then, I fall head over heels for a vivid floral pattern. If it has a bit of a retro flair, all the better. I’ve loved designer Brie Harrison‘s floral patterns for years now, but I was thrilled to hear from her last week about her brand new website and new products, like her range of paper goods and a new fabric called Carnation, in collaboration with Winter’s Moon. Both Brie’s new fabric and paper goods embrace deep rich reds, blues and greens. It’s the sort of colors I really love to see this time of year, when everything around can look a little too grey and washed out. Click here to check out more of Brie’s work and drop her a line about purchasing. xo, grace

*Click here to check out Brie’s home tour on Design*Sponge!

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 7.17.13 PM
tomato dance repeat
acorns repeat

#DSTexture + Best of the Web

#DSTexture + Best of the Web

texture
As we wrap up this week’s posts and get ready to head out for the weekend, I’m excited to launch a new #DSHashtag challenge! I don’t know how we’ll top last month’s 8,000+ entries, but I’m hoping that this subject, a favorite of mine, will be inspiring to anyone who likes to document beautiful surfaces and materials.

tumblr_lupuu3tKN91qh3fe3o1_500
This month’s theme is #DSTexture! Whether you’re photographing beautifully aged paint, thick swoops of paint on a canvas or details of embroidery and rugs, upload the lovely textures you see in your daily life online and hashtag them #DSTexture and we’ll share our favorites here next month! Until Monday, have a wonderful weekend! xo, grace

[Photos above: Christian Lacroix for Designers Guild and Meandering Roads]

bestofweb26_ds

bestofds26

In the Kitchen With: Kristina’s Carnevale Treats

In the Kitchen With: Kristina’s Carnevale Treats

cast0
Carnevale, a period which passed by me almost entirely unnoticed as a child growing up in Nashville, is inescapable in Italy, betrayed by the appearance of typical carnevale treats in bakeries, coffee shops, and supermarket bread counters. The two most common treats you’ll see around are fried or baked strips of dough dusted in powdered sugar, called frappe in Rome, and quasi-doughnut holes called castagnole (chestnuts). The strict castagnola, from what I’ve come to understand, is a little hard-ish bit of lightly sweetened fried dough rolled in granulated sugar, almost like fried gnocchi. There are probably as many variations on the recipe as you can find people who make them, and this week I am sharing with you one of those variations. This recipe comes from a colleague’s mother, and uses potato starch and ricotta to produce soft, addictive castagnole. -Kristina

About Kristina: I am the food and drink editor here at Design*Sponge. I am currently co-authoring my first book about Roman food. When I’m not working on or photographing recipes, I’m out photographing cities and people. My work has appeared in Need Supply’s Human Being Journal, Atlas Quarterly, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Bon Appetit, kinfolk, and Airbnb. My latest obsessions are pure linen bed sheets, Pusheen, and the color “petrol.”

See how to make castagnole after the jump!

VIEW MORE

Our Kitchen Makeover

The kitchen before and after! While I understand the dark green paint color (it does have a cozy "country house" feel), for us, it didn't suit our personal styles and it made the kitchen feel darker than it really is. We searched high and low for the perfect white and settled on a gorgeous, warm white called "Tibetan Jasmine; RL1007" from Ralph Lauren Paint. But first...more before shots!

Our Kitchen Makeover

Paint color can be a surprisingly tricky thing. And one of the trickiest colors to get right is white. I know it may seem silly, but finding the right balance between cool and warm can be harder than you think. When I said I was searching for a great warm white for our kitchen, I couldn’t get over all of the suggestions I received and how many people had gone through upwards of 10 different colors trying to find the best hue. But for us, it came down to one perfect, warm white (“Tibetan Jasmine” RL1007 by Ralph Lauren Paint) that turned our kitchen from a dark hunter-green space into the bright, white dream room we had always wished for. So today I’m thrilled to share another sneak peek into our new (old) home and how we’ve transformed it in the past two months. xo, grace

Photographs by Maxwell Tielman

This post is brought to you by The Home Depot. View the complete Ralph Lauren Paint collection here.

VIEW MORE

Various Keytags

Various Keytags

slideshow_6
When Julia and I first started dating, we both spoke about how it would be a dream to have a home upstate. As a sweet gesture to the “one day” idea, she bought me a little keychain that says “Upstate.” We never dreamed we’d actually be in that home less than two years later, but those keys meant so much to both of us. Keys can represent so many things: a new start, a big leap or independence. Whatever they mean to you, it can be fun (and sometimes very meaningful) to have them attached to a reminder of what they represent. So when I found out that my little Upstate keychain was made by a company called Various Keytags, I had to check out their full collection.

keys
Various Keytags makes a WIDE range of keytags ranging from playful and mischievous (I won’t repeat them here, in case you have kids reading) to sweet and heartfelt. I gravitate towards slightly-more-sentimental, so I love the idea of giving someone one of these sweet sayings to celebrate Valentine’s Day, a new home, a new office, a fresh start or just a daily reminder that you care about them. You can also get custom designs made, but their range of pre-made designs is pretty far-reaching. If you want to pick up a little something special or funny to attach to your (or your loved ones’) keys, click here to check out their full selection online. xo, grace

Before & After: A Genius Air Conditioner Coverup

Before & After: A Genius Air Conditioner Coverup

ac_1
Air conditioning is not something I spend a lot of time thinking about in the winter, but I do spend a lot of time wondering how to cover air conditioning units this time of year. Most people I know living in apartments have their AC units drilled into their windows, so they can be a pain to remove each year. So most of us seal them up and try to look the other way. But some apartments come with huge AC units that are permanently mounted at the top of the wall that can be a lot more difficult to ignore. For those people, blogger Mara Greenwald of Design Evolving has the solution: a coverup made from IKEA BILLY bookcases.

Mara’s wall unit air conditioner is necessary for her Chicago summers, but sits there like an eyesore the rest of the year. So she decided that building a coverup for October through April was worthwhile. When she noticed that her IKEA BILLY bookcases were tall enough to cover the unit, she decided to create a standing unit that would open and close when she needed — and didn’t need — the system in use. The result is a neat and tidy storage unit that you would never know housed a bulky air conditioning unit. Click through to see more about how she created her coverup! Thanks, Maraxo, grace

VIEW MORE

Home Ec: Cures for the Common Smell (All-Natural Odor Fixers)

Home Ec: Cures for the Common Smell (All-Natural Odor Fixers)

Design*Sponge Odor Eliminators
For this week’s Home Ec lesson I want to talk about the less glamorous aspects of having a home or apartment to care for: odors. Yep, we’ve all dealt with them. From musty old closets and smelly disposals to pet accidents and tiny critters that have died under appliances or in the walls, our homes aren’t always pristine spaces that smell like roses. In fact, I don’t think my home has ever smelled like roses — even when there is a vase of roses in it.

So today I wanted to share some inexpensive and all-natural odor fixers inspired by our Home Ec partner, Mrs. Meyer’s. These are the items that are helpful to keep on hand when you need to rid your house of a smell that just isn’t what you wanted to come home to. The goal here isn’t to make your home smell like chemicals or 10 bottles of perfume, but instead a clean, neutral space that welcomes the scent of whatever you’re cooking or bringing in from the garden or grocery store. xo, grace

*You can also download a version of this info here, too!

VIEW MORE

Living In: Big Eyes

Living In: Big Eyes

BIGEyes_0002_3
LivingIn_Big-Eyes
Art. Scandal. Celebrity. Tim Burton. Check. Check. Check. Check. I am IN. The second I saw the trailer for Tim Burton’s latest film Big Eyes, I knew it was going to be stellar-looking, and I was not disappointed. The film focuses on the true story of Margaret Keane, a talented female artist in a male-dominated field. Possessing an untapped talent, strapped for cash and desperate for a new start, Margaret lets her new husband Walter take credit for her work. The rest of the story played out in newspapers and on TV throughout the 1960s as Margaret and her husband’s star rose and fell in the public eye. Burton cleverly treats each scene as if it were a painting itself, blurring the lines between reality and art in subtle ways. In some instances, it’s as if Amy Adams and the cast tell the story in front of actual oil paintings. Pair that with perfectly-retro 1960s decor and the film truly is a vision. Just in time for the Oscars, here are some simple ways you can bring the movie’s style home for yourself.   —Garrett

BIGEyes_Products_0000_1

1. Geometric Rug | 2. High-Waisted Crop Pant | 3. Splatter Paint Pouch | 4. Vintage Mint Phone | 5. Task Lamp 

See all the links and more product picks after the jump! VIEW MORE

Laura Carlin Animal Tiles

Laura Carlin Animal Tiles

Hand-Painted-Tiles-Cat-Dog-Laura-Carlin-the-new-craftsmen-0021-646x646
The older I get, the more I feel drawn to artwork that has a slightly childlike feel to it. Whether it’s beautifully illustrated storybooks or painterly versions of household pets, this style of artwork always tugs at my heartstrings a little more strongly than any other. I’ve never bothered to play armchair psychiatrist and diagnose myself, so instead I embrace this artwork with abandon and celebrate its simplicity and ability to transport me to a place and time when the world feels so fresh and new and exciting.

10603b596ccd278ae8da08035dbcdd79
shot_0417-copy2-646x484 copy
Laura Carlin is a UK-based illustrator and ceramicist whose work combines a wonderful sense of color and texture with a childlike whimsy and otherworldly quality that I can’t get enough of. Laura published an illustrated book with Phaidon last year, A World of Your Own, that I scooped up and instantly added to my bedside collection of nightly reads. As much as I enjoy Laura’s work on paper, I love the way it comes alive on ceramics. She recently introduced this sweet series of animal tiles at The New Craftsmen (an excellent site for handmade work) that I absolutely adore. From playful cats and dogs to roaring lions and curious bears, it’s just the sort of artwork that makes me want to stop everything and find a place for it in my home. I think it would be incredibly fun and heartwarming to encounter a single set of these tiles mixed into regular tiles on a kitchen backsplash or in the shower. For me, this is the perfect mix of grown-up and storybook imagination that I’m always looking for. Click here to check out and shop Laura’s tile collection online. xo, grace

DIY Beaded Coasters

DIY Beaded Coasters

fran- Beaded-coaster-styled-11-500x333
I’m an all-around hot beverage lover. Of course there’s nothing I love more than a fresh cup of coffee to perk up my morning commute, but an early evening cocoa comes close. If you struggle to get your daily intake of water, then tea is perfect to sip on throughout the day to keep you hydrated, a soothing malt drink will send you sound asleep at night, and who doesn’t love sharing a pot of peppermint tea with a friend while catching up? I think we’ve established my thoughts on hot drinks and we haven’t even covered chai yet. I’m a fan.

fran-DIY-Beaded-Coasters-4-500x750
It’s not often I don’t have an oversized mug perched in my hands so I’m usually on the hunt for a coaster. I’ll use pretty much anything to protect furniture surfaces. Most of my notebooks feature water circles running throughout and I’ve paid a few tea-dyed checks in to disapproving cashiers. The coasters I do own are spread thinly around my apartment in strategic places to preempt my needs, but I still get caught short from time to time. So perhaps it’s time to get some new ones? I started with this colorful DIY beaded set that works great together and each one alone once they begin to travel. -Fran

VIEW MORE

Our Downstairs Bathroom Makeover

When we first saw our downstairs half bathroom, I knew the mirror, sconces, wall color and floors had to go. They hadn't been cleaned or touched in at least five years and everything was covered in a gross, yellow film. I don't know what it was, but it needed a major scrub-down.

Our Downstairs Bathroom Makeover

When Julia and I first found our new (old) home, I knew I wanted to tackle our downstairs bathroom first for a few reasons. First, I think it’s always good to start with a small space when you’re working on a new space. You can (usually) finish things quickly, and that boost of happiness gives you the excitement and energy to keep going and tackle bigger things. So when I saw this little powder room across from the stairs, I knew this was my starting point. It also happened to be the perfect place to use my favorite wallpaper, Seascape by Abigail Edwards, to create a little jewel box of a room. With some help from the new wallpaper, a fresh coat paint from Ralph Lauren Paint and a little DIY tile removal, we now have a fun room that feels more like our style. I’ve been posting bits and pieces on our Instagram feed for the past few months but today I’m excited to share the (almost) finished room. Click through to see the makeover process! xo, grace

Photos by Maxwell Tielman

This post is brought to you by The Home Depot. View the complete Ralph Lauren Paint collection here.

VIEW MORE

Studio Tour: Kieran Kinsella

kieran_kinsella_studio_tour_header

Studio Tour: Kieran Kinsella

One of the many advantages of being an artist outside of the big city is space — lots of space. While artists and designers in metropolitan areas like New York scramble to find studios with fancy amenities like windows, their small-town and rustbelt brethren seem able to scoop up generous accommodations with relative ease. Woodworker and sculptor Kieran Kinsella, whose Rosendale home was featured on this site earlier this week, is no stranger to such perks. With not one, but two gorgeous studio spaces to work in, Kinsella’s workspace setup is enviable to say the least. Some days will find the artist wielding a chainsaw in the yard of his at-home studio, a former chicken coop whose rustic beauty and fairytale charm borders on downright unbelievable. Other days will find him driving a truck up to his Midtown Kingston studio, a more industrial-looking space that houses more tools, an antique lathe, and an old bicycle for riding into town for lunch.

This is to say nothing of Kieran’s work itself which is, to put it quite plainly, stunning. From tables and stools in the shape of teeth to small, decorative objects, Kieran’s work is often experimental and always imaginative. With unusual, sculptural forms and a tendency towards biomorphism, his pieces exude not just artistry but personality. Like clouds or Rorschach blots, they seem to resemble different things, from spaceships to animals, poised to scurry away. His workspaces, filled to the rafters with these objects, seem like creative oases—places where it’s hard to feel lonely, bored, or at a lack for inspiration. —Max

VIEW MORE

DIY Valentine’s Mini-Zine

DIY Valentine’s Mini-Zine

DesignSponge_ValentineZine_01

Finding the one right way to say “I love you” can be difficult, so why not try it eight different ways? This unique Valentine’s Day card, created for us by designer Spencer Harrison (AKA Spenceroni), takes the form of a miniature zine, complete with a slipcover and eight pages to sing the praises of your one-and-only. It uses standard letter-sized paper, so you can create a bespoke one-off for that special someone, or run it through a photocopier and send the sweetness to all of your loved ones. Check out all of the directions after the jump! —Max

DesignSponge_ValentineZine_01

VIEW MORE

50 Shades of Grey: Copying & Credit in Design

unnamed

50 Shades of Grey: Copying & Credit in Design

I’ve had this topic kicking around in my head for a long time and to be quite honest, I’ve been scared to start this conversation. Mainly because a lot of people, myself included, can have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea of any independent artist being copied or hurt by a larger brand. That reaction can make it difficult to have a balanced and open conversation. The David and Goliath analogies are easy to make when you see a smaller artist up against a larger company, but the stories behind those issues are almost always more complicated than they seem.

This essay isn’t inspired by one person’s story, but rather by a decade of seeing the way these sorts of issues are discussed and handled in the real world of design and retail. I by no means have all the answers to this problem, but I’ve seen and heard the behind-the-scenes details of so many cases of alleged copying that it makes me want to open up the conversation and see if our community can have a real discussion about copying, originality, crediting and trend-setting. They’re all different things and shades of grey exist within each, but I think tackling issues like this and listening to each other will help artists and designers learn to better protect themselves and how we, as supporters of their work, can learn to better support them.

If you’re passionate about independent artists and designers, I hope you’ll read on and join me in a deeper examination of one of the biggest problems facing our community as a whole. xo, grace

VIEW MORE