A Hint of Bohemian Austin in Historic Virginia

DesignSponge Sneak Peek

A Hint of Bohemian Austin in Historic Virginia

Jennifer Elsner and her family moved into this townhouse in Richmond, VA just over a year ago from Austin, TX. It’s fair to say that these two cities are different in many ways, but especially in terms of architecture and interior design. How does one take the best from Austin and merge it with the best of Richmond? Jennifer says, “Having moved from Austin, where horizontality and the line between inside-outside space is blurred, we’ve brought along our Barbara Bestor ‘Bohemian Modern’ vibe. However, we’re sensitive to the architecture and history of a place. Being in Richmond, VA now, there’s a conservatism (and verticality) that we’ve incorporated.”

After a five-month gut renovation, Jennifer and her husband David have created a space that is the best of both worlds. The newly renovated space reflects the open-plan approach they loved in Austin, allowing for ample light to pour in and great air flow. At the same time, it still maintains the grandeur of a historic home, with its sweeping ceilings, charming pocket doors and copious (if not functioning) fireplaces. David loves the way the house lights up at sunset, “We’re at the top of a hill so we get a lot of sun — for a long time.” Jennifer loves their tiny powder room downstairs, “clad with Scalamandre’s classic zebra wallpaper in red. It’s a jewel box.”

Jennifer is a creative director and artist and David is the Chair of the Department of Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University. They love spending time in their new home, either hosting parties (celebrating anything from Passover to the Earl of Sandwich’s birthday) or relaxing in their pajamas on a lazy Sunday. Most importantly, Jennifer, David and their son, Sam, created a home that balances what they loved about Austin with the character of their new city of Richmond. —Shannon

Photography by Chelsea Fullerton of Go Forth Creative.

VIEW MORE

A Home Rooted in Hawaiian Heritage

The cottage-style bedding, "goes hand in hand with a place to sleep." Bedding by Serene & Lily, Muji and Les Toiles du Soleil. Monoprint by Rebecca Mendez.

A Home Rooted in Hawaiian Heritage

Darren Namaye of Ideas on Purpose needed to create a space that would be warm and relaxing not only after a long day, but after a long flight. Splitting his time in his home state of Hawaii and New York City has Darren racking up the frequent flyer miles, and means his aesthetic is a truly unique mix of breezy influences and modern, clean design. A friend of Darren’s discovered Concord Village — what most people consider the last great deal in NYC — and he was hooked. The location was perfect, but Darren knew he would have to start from scratch when he moved into the one-bedroom unit. He just couldn’t resist the Manhattan views, though, and saw the potential the second he stepped foot into the space. A new coat of floor stain, a custom banquette and a totally updated kitchen brought the 50s-era home to this century in a snap. It was no easy feat, however. While design setbacks were minimal, it was the home’s decor that Darren found challenging. “I second guessed everything: Paint the walls white? Grey? Should I go Scandinavian? All neutrals and minimal? I went with my gut and…while I love Scandinavian and minimal interiors I also love the idea of warmth and coziness; a space that would help me relax after a day in the city,” Darren explains. “Growing up in Hawaii, I was influenced by water and I have always gravitated towards a cottage aesthetic and coastal vibe. I also wanted touches of Hawaii here and there coupled with Japanese farmhouse influences.”

At 27 years young, I still haven’t been to the Hawaii that Darren so lovingly speaks of. Having grown up so close to the Mexican-American border, it was always those beaches that called my family when it was time for a little R&R. What draws me to Darren’s home is that it gives me a glimpse into a culture and style that I am not knowledgeable about. One that’s far more subtle and restrained than the stereotypical “Hawaii” we mainlanders think is the standard. With a breakfast nook you’ll never forget, the most envy-inducing indigo gingham I’ve ever seen, and nods to Darren’s childhood in Hawaii, this apartment proves that you may be miles away, but you never truly leave home. Enjoy! —Garrett

All photos by Robert Kato and Anna Tan

 

VIEW MORE

How to Shop for Fabric on Etsy

webfab

How to Shop for Fabric on Etsy

Last week I shared some unedited and un-styled updates from the upstairs and downstairs of our new home upstate. I can’t begin to describe how much it meant to me to hear your feedback, comments and questions, and also to see the conversations that came from that post, both here on the site and on social media. I have a big list of questions and requests that came from those posts and today I wanted to start with one that was asked a lot: How did I find the fabrics I used for our DIY headboards on Etsy and what’s the best way to search and select fabrics from the sea of sellers there? So today I’m going to walk you through my tips and tricks for shopping (and saving on) fabrics on Etsy. I’m also going to share my favorite shops to pick up small and large pieces of fabric, for upholstery and other around-the-house craft projects. Fabric is pretty much all I seem to buy on Etsy these days, so I hope this will come in handy! xo, grace

*If I missed any type of fabric or area of the search/find that you need help with, just let me know and I’ll add it in the post or the comment section right away!

VIEW MORE

Abigail Borg Wallpaper + Best of the Web

Abigail Borg Wallpaper + Best of the Web

LR-wp-width-fri-slat_WEB
I’ve been on a wallpaper kick all week. It seems like everyone is gearing up to launch new collections at the big design shows this spring, so social media has been full of great previews and sneak peeks. One of my favorite lines that I’m hoping to see in person belongs to British designer Abigail Borg. Abigail’s work takes its inspiration from the world outside. Whether that’s a beautiful Fritillaria flower, Dahlia or Foxtail, Abigail’s wallpapers feel like a lush field of flowers that’s come to life on the wall. I love the slightly retro color palette she’s working with, too — it’s the perfect combination to create a larger-than-life version of the flowers and plants we see around us in real life. Abigail uses her patterns for textiles and stationery, too, so if you’re interested in checking out her work or ordering online, click here to visit her site. Until Monday, have a wonderful weekend! xo, grace

WEB2

bestofweb

BESTOFDS320

In the Kitchen With: Valeria Necchio’s Spaghetti with Clams and Agretti

In the Kitchen With: Valeria Necchio’s Spaghetti with Clams and Agretti

Final_ITKW_SpaghettiClams_ValeriaNecchio
Not too long ago, London-based food photographer, Valeria Necchio, shared a quick and easy Venetian recipe with us for Polpette di Baccalà. Cruising through her Instagram feed last week, I saw a picture of her lunch of spaghetti with clams and agretti (Monk’s beard), and asked if she might share the recipe with us. Monk’s beard is the edible leaf of Salsola soda. It is a green succulent plant that grows in warm coastal areas in the spring and early summer. It has a mineral, savory flavor reminiscent of spinach or samphire, but its crisp, crunchy texture really sets it in a league of its own. Venetians used to treasure it for its ability to turn into soda ash when combusted – an essential raw material for the production of precious Murano glass. A very interesting fact for such a delicious vegetable! If you are unable to find it in a market or the grocery, you can try buying seeds (US here, UK here) and planting for next year!  Kristina

About Valeria: Valeria Necchio is a food and travel photographer and writer of Venetian heritage. A curious eater and keen home cook, she shares her cooking endeavors on her blog, Life Love Food, punctuating her stories with bright images shot in her tiny, yet very well lit, London apartment. Valeria’s work has been featured on a number of online and print publications, including Food52, Kinfolk, Die Zeit and Chickpea Magazine. She is a food columnist for leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. Find her on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

VIEW MORE

Updates Around Our House Part 2: Upstairs

We painted the walls BM French Canvas, the trim BM White Dove and the floor a standard porch paint white. We painted our "headboard" wall BM Onyx and the big purchase for this room was the pink and white striped rug from Dash & Albert. Julia made our faux-bedframe by combining three pieces of pine from Lowes with L-brackets to hide the mattress. The bench is from Julia's family's Passover table and the artwork is an old papercut I found at Hammertown in Rhinebeck. (The tiny bed on the floor is Hope's.)

Updates Around Our House Part 2: Upstairs

Earlier this week I shared an update on all that we’ve been working on downstairs at our new (but very old) home. We’ve only been here for four months, but we really wanted to push to finish a few projects right away. The biggest of those projects was repairing and re-drywalling our upstairs hallway and ceiling because they were covered in rotting wallpaper and portions were exposed, leaving insulation, wires and other nasty bits out in the open. So once we had that project out of the way, we let paint do the heavy lifting of finishing the second floor and we plan on taking our time to do the rest. No matter how long it takes us to get the upstairs “finished,” Julia and I both feel so happy and grateful to have room to welcome our friends and family. Click through to see what we’ve done so far… xo, grace

VIEW MORE

Home Ec: Waste Not, Want Not

Save Your Electronics: Not many people know, but humidity and moisture can creep in to your electronic cords and equipment and damage them. If you have a box or storage area where you keep your printer, cables, cords, etc, take an old pair of stockings and fill leg with kitty litter. Knot at both ends and store with your electronics to absorb any excess humidity so your cords and cables will live a long, full life. [Image: DIY Braided extension cords]

Home Ec: Waste Not, Want Not

No matter where you live and what your budget is, cutting down on waste and saving a buck or two is always a good idea. Until this year, I’ve never had much space to manage on my own, but now that Julia and I are learning what it takes to clean, run and heat a home, we’re learning to be smarter and more efficient with our spending and planning. So for this week’s Home Ec post, I thought I’d share some tips that will help you reuse things you already have and save money, resources and time around the house.No idea is too small and even the tiniest of changes can make a big difference over time. I’m still playing catch-up myself on ways to save around the house, so if you have any ideas and tips you swear by for wasting less and saving more, please share them in the comment section below. I’m sure we could all benefit from our collective advice and experience. xo, grace

unnamed

This post and the Home Ec section are brought to you by Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. Visit the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Home-Grown Inspiration section featuring 20 DIYs, including seven from Design*Sponge!

VIEW MORE

Before & After: An RV to Call Home

The living room, after: Lacy and Cliff replaced all the furniture and had a built-in bookshelf made. Then they added divider curtains (shower curtains!) for privacy when they are parked at night. Lacy keeps her shoes in the baskets under the couch and Cliff keeps his in the cabinets over the bookcase.

Before & After: An RV to Call Home

It’s always been a dream of mine to travel cross-country in an RV. Maybe it’s all those years watching National Lampoon’s Family Vacation as a kid, but the idea of being on the open road (while still having some of the comforts of home) seems so liberating and exciting. So when I heard from Lacy Young that she and her husband Cliff sold everything they owned to move into an RV and travel, I was all ears.

Last May, Lacy and Cliff sold or donated almost all of their belongings and bought a used 1994 Safari Continental. Excited to make some changes and get on the road, they started looking into things and discovered they had a mold problem that required a total gut rehab. Lacy explained, “It has been, and continues to be, a BIG adventure and I’m convinced that adventure really means advanced troubleshooting!” These two have done an amazing job of transforming this space into a warm, welcoming home in just a few months. I love all the personal details (Lacy used different knobs for each room’s cabinets to differentiate the space) and the way they maximized space by adding storage under their seating. Lacy and Cliff are on the road as we speak (somewhere in the mountains of California) and I hope I can run into them on the road one day and see this great makeover in person. Read on to hear about how they tackled each area — and the mold. xo, grace

VIEW MORE

Wallpaper by These Walls

Jade Wallpaper in Midnight: This paper is so stunning. I'd love to see a full bedroom in this style.

Wallpaper by These Walls

There’s something about wallpaper that always makes me happy. It might be all that pattern on such a grand scale, or maybe just its ability to add so much texture and life to a room in one fell swoop (of the glue brush). Lately I’ve been noticing so many incredible wallpaper companies popping up and I’ve been bookmarking all of them for future projects and making lists of samples to test, because one of my home decorating dreams is to have our closet wallpapered inside. I did that on my own to my old closet and it made me happy every time I opened the door — it inspired me to keep it neater, too.

These Walls is a fantastic wallpaper company run by artist Sara Hingle, who has worked as an editorial illustrator for Frankie Magazine and Smith Journal. Her pattern designs feel both modern and timeless, with a wonderfully muted color palette that would be right at home in a contemporary apartment or a more historic home. From her studio in Queensland, Sara designs and prints her patterns on both paper and fabric, so if any of these patterns suit your needs, but you prefer it in pillow form, be sure to check out the textile section of her site, too. I really love seeing more wallpaper designers embracing neutral color palettes like this. As much as I love a bold, bright paper (and I do), these muted colors work so well in a wide range of home styles and I enjoy seeing the color palettes you would have found in older homes combined with such modern illustrations. Click here to check out more of Sara’s work online and stay tuned for her home tour on D*S soon! xo, grace

VIEW MORE

Before & After: A Small Nook Becomes a Sewing Station

I love the curtains Maddie added - they really elevate the space from a closet nook to a homey office corner.

Before & After: A Small Nook Becomes a Sewing Station

Keeping sewing supplies and small craft supplies organized can be an uphill battle. I’ll never forget the day I discovered my friend Llubav’s sequin and bead collection and marveled at all the tiny glass vials and containers that organized everything into such neat and tidy rows. I’ve never had that sort of organization hardwired into me, but I admire people who do, like today’s first before & after subject, Maddie Flanigan. Maddie is a passionate sewer and seamstress who recently bought her first home, a 550-square-foot condo. She wanted to find a way to squeeze in a sewing studio, but knew she would have to be clever with her planning and design. “When I first designed my sewing space, I hadn’t lived in my new place long enough to know exactly what I needed,” Maddie says. “Over time, I started to see its potential for becoming more functional for my sewing. So, over the past month, I made changes that will hopefully streamline my workflow. My goal was to reduce the time it takes me to set up and break down.” I love how much Maddie thought about her practical needs before designing this clever little space. Not only did it end up looking beautiful, but it allows her to have a dedicated space to pursue the things she loves outside of work and also produce more sewing projects and tutorials to share on her blog. Click through to read Maddie’s makeover story after the jump! xo, grace

VIEW MORE

Studio Tour: Berkley Illustration

With over 100  portraits to choose from, Ryan and Lucy's shop has something for everyone from movie lovers to those who want a Ryan Berkley original.

Studio Tour: Berkley Illustration

It’s 2010, I just moved to Chicago, I have my first real paychecks coming in, and what do I do? I rush to buy myself some “big boy” art, of course. I hadn’t even bought a mattress yet, and the studio I shared with my writing partner was so small we could cook and do the dishes all while sitting in bed. Gosh darn it though, our four new walls would look fab. I literally braved a storm — a tornado, to be exact — to get one of the last copies of Ryan Berkley’s gorilla prints before the storm got too bad. Wrapped in layers of tissue paper to protect it from the gale-force winds, I ran home with a skip in my step. By now, Ryan and the charming animal portraits he creates for his studio, Berkley Illustration, have become bestsellers on Etsy and a go-to for quirky and fun home styling. At the time, however, his style was a totally new concept to me. Here was someone with a new vision and a stylish way of bringing that vision to life. Subtle colors and the wink of his furry subjects make me smile to this day.

Ryan and his wife, Lucy, run Berkley Illustration from their home office in Portland, OR. Their artwork first appeared at the 2006 Crafty Wonderland art and craft show and the rest is history. When talking about the beginnings of the company on his site, Ryan says, “We decided to do an ‘ancestor theme’ for our booth inspired by our love of animals and also ‘old-timey’ portraiture. The ancestor animals did so well at that first show that they’ve continued to evolve and multiply ever since.” The two really are a team in every sense of the word. Lucy runs the business side of the brand filling orders, communicating with customers and making sure everything is running smoothly, while Ryan sketches away, creating his menagerie. Now with over 100 animals to choose from and the likes of Urban Outfitters and Real Simple featuring their work, Berkley Illustration truly is a lesson in how two people can build a brand with a little passion and a unique idea. The couple was generous to let us peek inside their home studio and we couldn’t be more honored. Click through the slideshow to take a look. Enjoy! —Garrett

All photos by Ryan and Lucy Berkley

VIEW MORE

“Doing The Work You Were Born To Do” with Marie Forleo

“Doing The Work You Were Born To Do” with Marie Forleo

Last fall I had the pleasure of sitting down to talk with life coach, teacher, blogger and Youtube star, Marie Forleo. She invited me to chat as part of her regular video series where she interviews people from all aspects of the business and creative community. I knew that anyone who’s worked with Oprah, Tony Robbins and Richard Branson would be on their game, but I was blown away by how fun, thought-provoking and honest Marie’s questions and conversation were. This was, by far, the most fun I’ve ever had during an interview and it left me thinking and planning all sorts of new ideas. I don’t typically post interviews I do here, but I so enjoyed all the real-life issues we talked about and how open and transparent she was — and inspired me to be — about the challenges anyone faces when running a business, especially online. So if you’ve ever thought about starting your own blog, business or just want to learn more about what it’s like to work online in an ever-changing landscape of social media and publishing, I hope you’ll give our conversation a listen. Thanks again to Marie and her whole team for making me feel so comfortable and at home on their set — and for the kind compliments about my shiny shoes that day. xo, grace

DIY Fabric Buckets

DIY Fabric Buckets

Fabric buckets 19
I’ve lived in my apartment for about a year and a half, and in that span of time I’ve collected a number of plants. Some are still alive but many more have been unwittingly neglected beyond repair, which is why I’ve been eagerly reading Grace’s Home Ec posts on saving your plants to find an answer and I think I’ve got it: Over-watering.

In the time I’ve been here I’ve learned that during the summer our kitchen windowsill is the best place for most of our house plants. They drink in the sunshine and soak up vast amounts of water, but when the winter comes they need much less, but more often. I’ve always struggled with getting this balance right. Now that I’m schooled up on where my plants need to be and how to take care of them, I am ready to fill my space with greenery again. I’m so confident I can successfully take care of my collection, so I’ve been making these DIY Fabric Buckets in preparation for my thriving indoor jungle. —Fran

VIEW MORE

Scandinavian Styling in a Swedish Homestead

Sofia and Kristo's renovated, modern kitchen is paired with vintage shelf styling and collected pieces.

Scandinavian Styling in a Swedish Homestead

Scandinavian style, to me, has always meant strictly Scandinavian furniture design, white walls and minimal accessories — almost textbook. I’ve always found it to be beautiful and simple, but I had no idea how lovely it could be when mixed with layered, patterned and vintage pieces. When I stumbled upon Sofia’s home on Instagram, I learned again that style is what you make it and living outside of a design formula creates more meaning and even more beauty.

Shop owner, photographer and stylist Sofia Jansson and musician Kristo Jansson moved from a tiny apartment in the country to a large 1913 home in the city of Katrineholm, Sweden. “When we found out that I was pregnant with twins and we already had two kids under 3 years, we decided to move to the town both Kristo and I were born in,” Sofia says. “We had never thought to move back, so everything happened very fast and without planning. I hadn’t seen the house before buying it. Kristo was in Katrineholm and took some pictures but I was too pregnant. Even though we had four children under the age of four, we started at once with a big renovation of this house. This is nothing I’d really recommend, it was a real chaos for some years. We have renovated everything except the bathrooms.” While an unexpected move and a giant renovation are a lot to go through, the results are pretty, airy and bright with room for everyone.

Over the seven years they’ve lived there, Sofia and Kristo’s home has been styled with incredible objects and furniture. By mixing vintage pieces in a modern way, this Scandinavian home has its own personality that feels genuine and effortless. “Our home really reflects who lives there,” Sofia says. “We have collected things we love and I feel that our home is us.” —Lauren

VIEW MORE

Studio Tour: Victoria Pemberton of Bind | Fold

H.Walker_Bind&Fold-39

Studio Tour: Victoria Pemberton of Bind | Fold

From the runway to the hallway, indigo seems to have taken the world completely by storm this year. Although we had seen whisperings of this emerging trend over the past few years, everything these days seems to be dyed with this beautiful shade of blue. We have our fair share of design-world go-tos who are working with this timeless plant-based pigment, but one of our recent favorites is Melbourne-based designer Victoria Pemberton, the proprietor of the textile company Bind | Fold.

Pemberton originally turned to fabric dying as a hobby while caring for her newborn son, Miles. Over time, however, this hobby turned into a passion and then into a full-fledged business. Employing a wide variety of techniques from shibori to quilting, Pemberton’s process has as much to do with sustainability as it does with beautiful results. “As someone who works with chemicals on a near daily basis,” she notes on her website, “it’s important to me that I work in an environmentally sustainable way. With this in mind, I am currently focusing on using only natural, plant-based dyes in my work.” In addition to her exclusive use of natural dyes and fabrics, Pemberton has also made efforts to curb waste by incorporating fabric scraps into new designs. Victoria was kind enough to share some photographs of her studio and process with us recently — check them all out in the slideshow! —Max

Photos by Hilary Walker

 

VIEW MORE