It’s no secret that we here at D*S are totally obsessed with flowers. We’re constantly posting and reposting our favorite blooms @designsponge where an endless stream of vibrant arrangements saturates our social screens. We’ve long been fans of these 14 Florists to Follow on Instagram, and have yet another crop of talented florists to share today. From here in New York to across the world in Sydney, we’re in love with the work of these 15 designers and their distinct points of view. Add your own creations to #dsfloral. —@anniewerbler
Finding a new place in which to start over proved to be a positive transition and a bit of an adventure for artist and designer Stephanie Ryan. After becoming single for the first time in her adult life, Stephanie packed up her dog Luna almost a year ago and began searching for a home and studio environment that would refresh and inspire her ART + ALCHEMY watercolor painting brand. When she found an early-1800s stone farmhouse overlooking a gentleman’s farm — with cows and horses roaming in the pasture and a quaint little church across the street — she knew it was the right decision to relocate there to Honey Brook, PA. It was essential for Stephanie to find a place with a lot of character, a great view of the sky, and one surrounded by nature to nurture her creative spirit. Random-width wood floors, deep sills, exposed beams, and antique hardware made her decision easy. The 234-square-foot formal dining room quickly became her painting studio because of its beautiful built-in cabinetry, including a hidden wet bar that’s perfect for cleaning paintbrushes.
Stephanie makes watercolor florals, abstract landscapes, and organic intuitive paintings, and is currently in the process of translating her art into products like pillows, fabric, and stationery. “It was very important to find a house and studio that really supported me and my creative life and vision,” she shares. “I feel like my art fits so perfectly in this space — almost like it was meant to be!” Stephanie already had the two functional flat files and a table from the Martha Stewart Craft Series, but she needed a new desk that would complement the style of the house, be a focal point of the room, and help her look forward to spending time there. Luckily, the house is a short drive to Lancaster County where she picked up a stunning handcrafted wood piece, a table for her sewing machine, and a great rustic bench to use as a styling prop and for project display. Linen pin boards from Pottery Barn hold inspiration as well as current works. As Stephanie creates new art, she likes to hang it on the walls and experiment with frames. She is always on the lookout for objects that can be used for styling her photography, so the room is full of glass bottles, crystals, fabrics, and unique pieces that complement her aesthetic. She added some temporary lighting from IKEA over her work station using Command Strips and linen sleeves to hide the wires, providing better visual clarity to her workspace.
The historic qualities of the studio make it feel unique, and the countryside view keeps her grounded while working. Stephanie wanted to create an inspiring and nurturing environment that supports her practice on a daily basis. “Even though finding this space came from a difficult place,” she reflects, “It has opened up a new door for my creativity and a new chapter in my life.” —Annie
Photography by Chaucee Stillman
Homeowners Jessica Rogers and her husband Matt Hayden found their 1906 “shirtwaist” style house two years ago in the historic South Hyde Park neighborhood of Kansas City, MO. The neighborhood was developed along Gillham Parkway and housed many downtown small business owners in the late 19th century. Today, many of the historic homes have been restored and the neighborhood is growing and thriving with young families alongside neighbors who have lived there for generations. The couple fell in love with the area and immediately began renovating the house to reflect their lifestyle, celebrating local art and culture. They share the space with their sweet 8-month-old, Sonny James Hayden, and an occasional house guest.
Jessica owns Cart Wheel, a creative lifestyle brand specializing in textile design and housewares. She is responsible for countless pop-up events around the Kansas City area including local maker fair, Gypsy Market. Her creative energy is expressed in every pocket of the home. “I am constantly shifting, replacing and rearranging things,” Jessica shares. “I like to see spaces in different layouts that give us a new perspective. I will find an amazing rug or painting while traveling and change an entire room based on that one piece.” Jessica’s decorative process weaves together family relics, local artwork and inspiration gathered from traveling around the world. “We try and bring back the colors, patterns, scents and sounds— everything we experience on our travels. Our home is a way we can capture those memories and relive them every day.”
As a fiber artist, Jessica is always bringing projects home from her studio. “I try and keep them contained to the desk in our guest room, but they tend to overtake the dining room table and I do a lot of my dye work in our backyard.” Her work spills onto the walls and hallways of the house through quilt samples, indigo dye tapestries, bold patterns, and rich textures. Jessica pairs saturated colors and plant life, reminiscent of her native South Florida, with unusual travel artifacts and antiques that are symbolic of the Midwest to create captivating room compositions. Her free spirit and experimental approach make the home a sanctuary for creative thinking. —Bethany Joy Foss
Photography by Bethany Joy Foss
When we begin the process of making our homes truly our own, we often draw inspiration from colors, decades and places that speak to us. Finding our own voices in the midst of all the trends, fads and the do’s and don’t’s can be challenging. I’ve recently found myself wondering when and how my own home will turn into the best possible reflection of myself. When I visited Ulla-Maija Wesander’s home in Helsinki, Finland, I immediately got my answer.
Five years ago, Ulla-Maija, a dental surgeon, decided to make a big change in her life by moving from a quieter neighborhood to the city. She settled in Ullanlinna, a central neighborhood known for its beautiful and decorative Art Nouveau buildings. Having spent a lot of time there in her younger days, the neighborhood had a certain nostalgic appeal. After renting for a while, an apartment went up for sale in the building that she lived in. She couldn’t resist the unique details of the perfectly spacious one-bedroom apartment, which include an original tile stove and a round window bay with a view of the sea. The 11-foot ceiling height was the icing on the cake.
Although the bones of the apartment were excellent, there was still some work to be done. “Before I started renovating, all rooms had ornate wallpapers. It was well executed, but it just wasn’t me,” Ulla-Maija explains. The kitchen was outdated and lacked adequate storage space, which is why it needed a redesign. The renovation took nine months, and allowed Ulla-Maija to create a bright and personal space while respecting the history of the building. Decorating the apartment didn’t come without challenges. With so many windows and doors, the wall space is limited. It took many tries, but eventually each piece found its place.
Ulla-Maija’s home is the perfect combination of natural tones and eye-catching details that bring the rooms to life. Her ability to mix and match colors and patterns to create surprising and beautiful spaces is no hidden talent. “I love the contrast between old and new,” she shares. “There are a lot of antiques in my home, so I wanted to create a fun contrast by adding some mid-century and modern pieces to the mix.”
Paintings, sculptures and ceramics can be found throughout the apartment. A passion for art runs in the family, from her grandparents and parents to her own children. The gallery wall in the dining room has turned into a family tree of sorts, displaying portraits of family members dating back to the 1800s. Ulla-Maija’s home is a reflection of both her roots and her own life journey, and that is what makes it feel so inviting. “A home isn’t created in an instant. You add to it as you go, and little by little it becomes a reflection of who you are and where you’ve been.”
Ulla-Maija’s home, filled with heirlooms and pieces that reflect a truly unique sense of style, made me realize that the answers to my questions all have to do with time. The meaningful pieces are the ones that stay and, over time, they create a home that represents us — where we’re from, who we are, and what we want to be. –Sofia
Photography by Sofia Tuovinen
Most big cities rightfully earn the moniker “concrete jungle.” It makes sense. Oftentimes trees are sparse and the grass isn’t green because it’s barely there at all. But not all is grey and made of stone in our country’s metropolises. Look hard enough, and you’ll find little pockets of lush life that loving home-dwellers like Summer Rayne Oakes have carved out for themselves. Her Williamsburg, Brooklyn home proves that even amidst the energy of a burgeoning city, plants and greenery can thrive.
As you peek around the space Summer rents, it quickly becomes clear why her garden grows in abundance. She has done everything she can to set her potted pals up for success. From rigging planters from scratch, reflecting light here and there, to hand-pollination, her plant collection is healthy and well loved. The results of these efforts even serve as the main decoration for her industrial space. In one corner, dripping vines creep through window frames and in another, the apartment’s walls are literally covered in flourishing buds. They don’t grow so dense that a little color can’t seep through, though. A palette inspired by Central and South America pokes its head out here and there, lending the space a relaxing earthiness.
Summer says all of the lush foliage, along with her home’s exotic color scheme, do wonders for her daily vibe. These features keep her smiling and happy as she mediates in the living room or casually reads in her hammock. Simply put, in either spot and on any given day, she feels relaxed and reset after simply being in her home. What more could you ask for from your corner of the sky? Click through to take a look inside one of Brooklyn’s secret gardens. Enjoy! —Garrett
Photography by Sander van Dijk & Summer Rayne Oakes
The sun’s out, and the birds are chirping. That can only mean one thing: time for a summer soirée! If you’re anything like me, the first thing you think of when it’s time to host isn’t the menu. My head goes straight to what the look of the party will be. Decorations, accessories, the ambiance: they’re each just as important as the meal itself, I say. Sometimes the inspiration simply doesn’t come to me, though, and the idea of not hitting it out of the park can be a bit of a downer.
When I hit a creative-brainstorming wall like this, I try and not go back to the same well of inspiration. But where to go? Luckily for us, Indian fashion/craft publication and agency Border&Fall is here to save the day. They’ve helped us put together five summer tablescapes by five of their favorite designers that are sure to make your next summer shindig a hit. Raw Mango’s tablescape pays homage to India’s heritage while showing off natural elements. Shift’s interpretation puts an often-overlooked staple front and center. Rashmi Varma focuses on materials, en Inde celebrates the farm-to-table movement, and Atmosphere’s look is all about the details.
While each is unique, they all embody the same ideals. They all strive to promote a forward-thinking India, one ready to redefine its design standards and blaze a trail towards a modern look. Click through to take a peek at their work and get ready to click “bookmark.” Their tablescapes are that good. Enjoy! —Garrett
Louise Ljungberg is a self-described “Jill of all trades.” After making the move from the beautiful woods of Värmland to Stockholm, Sweden over a decade ago, she jumped right into the hustle and bustle of the city. As a PR specialist at creative agency House of Radon, a freelance photographer, teacher at Berghs School of Communication and as digital manager of Creative Mornings Stockholm, she likes to keep busy. But after a period of job burnout, and wondering how to better enjoy life, Louise and her fiancée Filip Lundqvist decided to sell their wonderful city loft apartment and move outside of the city center. “The reason?” she begins, “To make room to afford a car and to spend more free time at the countryside.”
When the couple found an ad for this 800-square-foot attic apartment, they saw its potential right away. Located in the turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau quarter of Aspudden — an up-and-coming suburb 15 minutes to Stockholm city and close to green and lush areas — the first thing they noted was how quiet and private the apartment was. The second thing they noticed? The massive amount of work it needed. Louise describes: “The floor plan didn’t make the most of the apartment, and we struggled with the light (it felt very dark and narrow), so we had to transform the place into ours.” But as is almost always the case, the renovation was more work than they anticipated. With the goal of letting in more sunlight, walls came tumbling down, nearly every room was gutted, and they installed several new large industrial windows and doors to create a restful retreat.
“Both me and Filip are hardworking people who recharge in environments that breathe harmony,” Louise shares, so of utmost importance was fostering a relaxing space that would be home to oodles of plants and soft colors. Also, nearly a year into renovating, they learned that they would have to make room for one more addition to their family — a year later, they welcomed baby Leopold into their lives.
For Louise, life is sometimes more hectic than ever, but that only makes the simpler moments of stillness more meditative and beautiful. It’s all about “finding the little things in everyday life that make me happy,” she explains. “I just love my little family so much and I’m proud of the home we built together.” –Sabrina
Over the past few days I’ve been focusing on learning more, listening more and trying to balance, in some small way, the images of violence and death in the media with imagery that celebrates life and happiness. This is not an attempt to forget what is happening in our world, but to remember that there are still moments of happiness in this complicated mix.
Paola “Pao Pao” Mathé is one of the stylists we featured on DS two weeks ago and her feed has been a wonderful oasis of positive, colorful and hopeful images that celebrate the moments of beauty we find in between moments of heartbreak. If you’re looking for a place to feel uplifted for a moment and find some visual inspiration as well, check out Paola’s feed right here. xo, grace
- Time to get crafty: these 5 summer DIY ideas from OKL are chic and fun.
- Keep it Tidy: These inexpensive Japanese storage solutions at Remodelista are spot-on.
- Snip snip snip: This DIY cut paper wall hanging at Oh Joy! is colorful, fun and easy to make.
- The Best Music: Erykah Badu is using her concert funds to support the victims of sexual assault and rape in Detroit.
- Good Work: The New Stereotype (TNS) is celebrating “the many diverse layers of black life in America through fashion, photography and film.”
- Stairway to Heaven: I can’t get over these amazing patterned stairs (it’s a carpet!) I saw on Instagram.
- Must-Reads: The Space Between What We Say And What We Hear, 10 Instagram Feeds For Coffee Lovers
- DIY Projects: DIY Summer Pom-Pom Doorknob Garland
- Food + Drink: Jordan and Rejina’s Beef and Veg Glass Noodles, Ping Coombes’ Five-Spice Pork Rolls
- Decorating: 5 Decorating Ideas for Workspaces from Ministry of New in Mumbai, Lions, Tigers, Bears & Beyond: 15 Rooms That Celebrate Animals in Artwork
- Interiors: A Mid-Century Ranch House Gets a Major Renovation in Mississippi, In Pennsylvania, A Car Dealership Becomes An Industrial Home, A Wyoming Home Filled With Rainbows and Tumbleweeds, A Playhouse for Two Freelance Photographers in Emeryville, CA, An Actor’s Brooklyn Brownstone Honors His Heritage, In North Texas, a Maximalist’s Layered Bohemian Home
- Before & After: A Colorful Dual-Zone Space that Works Hard and Plays Hard, Making Safari & Outer Space Work for Baby and Guests Alike
- Life & Business: Dreaming Bigger Than Your Current Circumstances With Ashley R. Ryles
One of the most exciting things about delving into new-to-me cuisines is learning about new ingredients. Since having Bo Ssam prepared by food stylist Adam Pearson, I started my intro into Korean cuisine with the book Our Korean Kitchen by chef Jordan Bourke and his wife, fashion designer Rejina Pyo. Among the many fascinating ingredients I learned about were sweet potato glass noodles! They can be used in this week’s recipe for japchae, or Beef and Vegetables with Sesame Glass Noodles. Don’t worry, if you can’t locate them, you can use regular glass noodles for this filling and easy-to-make dish; perfect for a quick weeknight meal. —Kristina
Why Jordan loves this dish: This was the first Korean meal Jina made for me, and it totally won me over and sparked my obsession with Korean food. The glass noodles are naturally gluten-free, if that’s your thing, and are perfect for soaking up all the delicious flavors.
Nicknamed the “Maximum City,” those who know Mumbai, India will relate to its reputation as a hurtling metropolis, where noise, color and sensation can sometimes leave you struggling to catch your breath. I have often wondered what it would be like to be a professional working in the city with all the challenges the hugely populated urban sprawl throws at an average local.
Dutch art director turned entrepreneur Marlies Bloemendaal and Natascha Chadha struggled with these very challenges, and as a result co-founded Ministry of New — an inspiring and collaborative work environment in the heart of Mumbai. A breath of fresh air away from the bustling road below, the 8000-square-foot workspace is housed inside a space once used for numerous wholesale book businesses. Intended to be an oasis in the Maximum City, the space is resplendent in sky blue and ocean hues, natural materials, playful working spaces, and plenty of textile and pattern play.
Setting the tone for its place in the design industry, pieces from some of the most talked about players in contemporary Indian design are woven into the space. Modern India inspired furniture pieces by Bombay Atelier dot the interior, a collection of Studio Wrap’s daybeds made of layered monochrome mattresses creates a playful meeting spot, antique Jaipur Rugs adorn the floors, and ombre paper lamps by Pepe Heykoop liven up the boardroom.
A flipped home can sometimes get pigeon-holed into the “generic” or “safe” category in an attempt to appeal to the masses. But for Lindsay and Chris Jackman, each home they’ve purchased, renovated, and flipped has been personalized with their own eclectic touches and marked by their family’s milestones.
After struggling to find an affordable house in their preferred neighborhoods in Greenville, SC, the couple stumbled across a foreclosure downtown. It was a former university frat house, and they spent their first years of marriage renovating it top to bottom. Lindsay and Chris fell so in love with the process that they decided they wanted to do it again… and again and again. “We’re now on our third house,” Lindsay explains, “but we’re so grateful to that first house for all that it taught us and the family adventure it set us on.” Since then, the couple has welcomed a baby girl into their lives, Rosie Mills, and along with Gracie, their Great Dane, their life is “a crazy ride of moving, renovating, and doing it all over again,” Lindsay shares, “but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
In their most recent home, a 1950s Craftsman bungalow, space was limited at 750 square feet, so with their family growing, they decided to add an addition to the back and vaulted all of the ceilings to make it feel larger. Making semi-tiny living more accommodating for a large dog and an infant also meant creating multifunctional spaces, such as this colorful office and child’s playroom.
A room that literally works hard and plays hard, Lindsay chose to keep the wall where her desk sits bare and free of distractions save for some billowing, pink curtains and decor which lends itself well to getting down to business. Elsewhere — in areas where play is the name of the game — she layered on the pattern and color much thicker. “I wanted to go with a colorful, bright home,” Lindsay notes. “I have fallen in love with mixing unexpected colors and patterns and have really tried to have fun with that here.” Before, the room acted solely as a bare-bones office, but now it’s a dual-zone space where Lindsay can work while still keeping an eye on their growing daughter — and one which also offers little Rosie a place to grow into and call her own. –Sabrina
Tackling a home restoration project is not for the faint of heart, but restoring an abandoned building and the entire community surrounding it? A project of that scale requires vision, energy and a dose of adventure. To find two people with that level of heart is seemingly impossible, but John and Gisele Fetterman are two powerhouses who fit the bill.
The Fettermans call Braddock, PA home. It’s a borough just outside the city of Pittsburgh, and like so many Rust Belt cities, Braddock suffered the decline of the steel industry. Once a bustling, urban hub, the neighborhood John discovered in 2001 was a poor, violent ghost town. He came to lead a GED program, but after experiencing the persisting sense of community and envisioning its potential, John wanted to restore Braddock. That’s why today the title of “Mayor” precedes John’s name, and that’s why Braddock is nearly unrecognizable. Community centers, artist residencies, a craft brewery, an urban farm and a green-energy startup have replaced the blight.
John’s wife, Gisele, is equally responsible for the restoration. Born in Rio de Janeiro and raised in New York, Gisele was always troubled by the ease with which some could waste what others so desperately needed. This inspired her to create Braddock’s Free Store, which redistributes surplus and donated goods to neighbors in need via colorful, converted shipping containers. Gisele also co-founded 412 Food Rescue, which collects healthy food that would otherwise be discarded and distributes it to those in need.
John and Gisele have an ability to see potential in even the most challenging restoration projects, and their home was no exception. Others may have shied away from the vacant building containing abandoned cars and boarded up windows, but John and Gisele immediately saw the potential of their Braddock address. Built in the 1920s, their industrial home was originally a Chevy dealership, and historically, one of the very first indoor car dealerships in America!
The couple was sold on the history and unique bones of the building, including the original concrete ramps used to move cars from floor to floor. They bought it, moved in and set to work. Over the course of eight months, they moved from corner to corner of the space, while their children befriended the contractors who helped the Fettermans complete the transformation. Today, it’s a restoration symbol for the entire community! —Quelcy
Photography by Quelcy Kogel
Situated in the charming town of Fairfield, CT and just half a mile away from the beach lies a 1,100-square-foot Cape-style house, home to blogger and designer Brooke Christen, her husband Kevin (an athletic trainer), and their children, daughters Ella and Lola and son Finn. The family moved to the East Coast from Utah nearly two years ago seeking a peaceful place to raise their children, and one close to New York City, where Kevin works.
“We now, finally — after a year and a half — can say that [our home] feels complete, but I am sure I will find something new to update,” Brooke begins. After overhauling two bathrooms, the kitchen, and changing the home’s floor plan (their master bedroom is where the old kitchen used to be), the last task on their to-do list was creating a haven for friends and family to enjoy when they visited from Utah. But with the anticipated arrival of their baby boy, Brooke quickly realized the work wasn’t done, and one more challenge was ahead of her: crafting a multipurpose room that could act as a nursery for Finn while still offering a spot in which guests could stay.
Working with the essentials — a daybed, crib, comfortable seating, and storage — Brooke managed to create a space that didn’t feel overly juvenile or too stuffy. Using a soft, neutral palette and lots of fun decor that marries outer space and safari, the room is inviting and comfortable for guests of any age, while still giving Finn all of the things he’ll ever need or want. “Finn loves to stare at the astronauts and stars on his ceiling,” Brooke shares. “Everyone wants to be where the baby is.”
While the transformation was a win-win, the process wasn’t as easy as it’s made to look. With a family of five living in a small home that hosts overnight guests often, “the most challenging part is making room for everything,” Brooke explains, “I have to really evaluate everything we bring into our home… There is no buying something ‘just because.'” This truth, paired with Brooke’s goal of fostering a comfortable space for the family that celebrates their story rather than the latest purchase, results in a home that feels lived-in and loved. As Brooke puts it best, “I am thankful that — even in a tiny house — we can still have six adults come and stay with us, and everyone will have a bed and a cozy spot to eat breakfast in the morning.” –Sabrina
Photography by Brooke Christen
There’s a small, colorful town in Mexico called Sayulita that’s known for its beautiful beaches and great surfing. I was eager to explore the bordering towns while staying in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico for a wedding and planned a short day trip there. Sayulita is a walkable town saturated with color, crafts, good food (I had the best coconut paleta/popsicle in my life there!) and expats. Everywhere I looked were brightly colored storefronts and modern takes on traditional handicrafts, like amazing dream catchers and long pom-pom garlands in neon hues.
I was mesmerized by these garlands and so inspired by this vibrant town that I wanted to recreate some of Sayulita’s summery beach vibes back at home. Here, I’ve made a Mini Pom-Pom Garland to hang from a doorknob, and you can adapt this project in lots of ways. Make it longer, like a full garland, to drape over a headboard or curtain rod, or make even smaller versions for possibly the most fun curtain tie-backs and lamp pulls. Either way you make it, it’s an easy, cheerful project that adds a big pop of color and fun. —Jessica
When Emily Blount, restaurateur of Saint Leo, and her family decided to move to her husband Dan’s home state of Mississippi, it was both exciting and terrifying. Emily was looking forward to the idea of having more space for their two young boys to grow up in, but leaving behind NYC was also pretty scary, since she had called it home for the last 13 years.
After a few moves and a lot of crashing with family, they finally settled into their new home two years later, in Oxford, MS. What began as a simple house hunt quickly turned disappointing when a deal fell through on the house they had their hearts set on. The hunt continued.
Unsure if their new find was the right house for them (due to its size and look), Emily turned to an architect to give her the push and vision that she needed to see this house for what it could be. The grey brick mid-century ranch house got a fresh coat of white paint, and new windows and french doors replaced the two windows that once made up the front of the house. After all was said and done, 1,700 additional square feet were added to the home, giving the family the open floor plan they were looking for, space for their two young boys to move about, and a home to entertain their large extended family and friends for gatherings.
Making sure to blend the original floor plan with the new addition, Emily became really good at editing furnishings and making sure the flow throughout the home was exactly what they wanted. When it came to the decor, she turned to her husband’s uncle, an interior designer, to help her narrow down what she was looking for. By the end of the process, she was able to mix old family pieces with ones that she and Dan picked up over the 13 years they lived in NYC and collected from Emily’s home state of California, giving the family’s house a polished, yet inviting look.
A few of Emily’s go-to spots when looking for a new piece of furniture or decor are ABC Home, 1st Dibs, and Matter Matter. Whether you are taking on a full remodel or just hiring someone for a small project, Emily has this piece of advice, “Interview people and make sure you can really talk to them, trust them, etc. Try to get as specific as possible about your needs and wants to get the most accurate price, be very specific about who is responsible for what.” Because in the end, after plenty of collaboration and communication with experts on a home they initially weren’t sold on, the Blount Family found exactly what they needed. —Erin Austen Abbott
Photography by Erin Austen Abbott
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