DIY Project: Simple Linen Apron

DIY Project: Simple Linen Apron

DIY PROJECT: APRON
It is that time of year when gatherings fill the best of our time, bringing in many baking and cooking moments. If you are like me, your kitchen may be a bit of a disaster while baking, and typically a change of clothes is needed before guests arrive. Although I try to stay clean, somehow one thing or another ends up all over me. An apron is one of my essential kitchen pieces. This apron is a favorite of mine. It is large enough to take care of any mess that may happen – it has a towel holder to keep one close to you and it has large enough pockets to hold any cooking essentials. It is a great piece to have in your kitchen not only for you, but also if you have any guests helping out with cooking as well. It is always a gift to gather with the important people in your life, so don’t worry about rushing to clean yourself up when you will already be prepared for anything with this apron on. Go enjoy your people. -Lindy

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Studio Tour: Andrew Molleur

Studio Tour: Andrew Molleur

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Call me a total snob, but when I first moved upstate to Kingston, NY, I wasn’t quite sure if the design scene would compare to that of the big city. Sure, there were fabulous flea markets and stunning historic homes, but I was worried that a potential dearth of creative-types might find me at a loss for inspiration—and things to write about! What I found, however, was quite the opposite. Over the past year and a half that I’ve lived here, I’ve been completely bowled over by the sheer abundance of creativity that this region has to offer—from beautifully designed homes to thriving craft and design businesses. Each day, it seems, I’m introduced to some new, wonderful artist or designer. Ones like Andrew Molleur, the phenomenally talented Kingston-based ceramist I was introduced to at this autumn’s Phoenicia Flea.

With geometric and architectonic forms, Andrew’s work defies preconceived notions of what ceramics can and should be. Although his body of work includes both functional objects and fine art, many of his pieces toe the line between these two distinctions; beautiful design objects and artistic studies in form, material, and color. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to pay Andrew a visit at his midtown Kingston studio. Located in a nondescript garage on an equally nondescript street, one would hardly imagine the treasure trove of beautiful objects and works-in-progress within. Inside, this one-man-show is a wonder to behold. With a million-and-one things going on at any given moment (moulds being made, pieces being fired in the kiln), there is no shortage of interesting things to look at and inspect. After nearly an hour and a half of poking around and snapping photos, I may have overstayed my welcome, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was still more to see and more to learn. Check out all of the photos from my visit after the jump and—if you’re in town—come meet Andrew this weekend at The Hudson Valley Hullabaloo holiday market! —Max

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DIY Project: Woven Ceiling Light

DIY Project: Woven Ceiling Light

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Unique light fixtures have been making their way throughout design – especially lately – creating beautiful additions to almost any room in the house. When designing, light fixtures can often be an afterthought, but it should be one of the primary pieces to consider. Light fixtures are typically the indirect centerpiece of gatherings and should go with the rest of the space’s styling, and sometimes can be art pieces that are great talking points with guests. It is always exciting when you can create a light on a very low budget that captures all of these qualities! If that is what you are seeking, you came to the right place!

As a designer, I am constantly seeking new styles of fixtures that bring out the best light and are statements pieces to any space. When seeing the GADDIS baskets at IKEA, I had to grab them to create this light fixture. This is a simple DIY that can revamp your space instantly. Not only is it cheap and easy to create, but it bends and divides the light through the space, while also being an art piece. Check out the step-by-step instructions below! -Lindy

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The Importance of Customer Holiday Greetings

The Importance of Customer Holiday Greetings

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The holiday season is right round the corner and while you may be dealing with mundane details like turkeys and last minute travel arrangements, it’s important to take 30 minutes to review those amazing moments and clients you’ve collaborated with over the past year. Not only is this a generally pleasant experience, but it also gives you a free-form way to visualize the types of work and relationships you want to focus your energy on in the coming new year.

A really wonderful and thoughtful way to reach out to those valuable customers and clients you’ve worked with is to create a holiday greeting that goes above and beyond the typical professional holiday card and chocolate bar with your logo on it. Taking the opportunity to create a “year-in-review” greeting that reminds your clients of all of the great collaborations you’ve done over the last 12 months is not only thoughtful, it’s just plain smart.

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Image above: The cover of my client holiday + project review Booklette™ by Minted

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This post was created in collaboration with Minted. We’re so happy to discover their Booklette™!

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Design*Sponge Brit Kits!

Design*Sponge Brit Kits!

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To celebrate our 10th year of blogging, I thought it would be fun to try out a few different collaborations and partnerships. In addition to our (now sold out!) Quarterly gift box, we also worked with the team at Brit + Co. to come up with a fun DIY kit that would make for both a great holiday gift and a fun at-home project.

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We taught wood burning lessons across the country for our book tour back in 2011, so it’s a technique I’m incredibly fond of. Mastering just a few basic wood burning skills means you can create a huge range of DIY projects and gifts, from customized cheese and cutting boards to decorated wooden cooking spoons, jewelry boxes and much more. For our Brit Kit we decided to focus on cheese and cutting boards – pieces that are quick and easy to make, but are also super functional for entertaining. Each kit contains all the pieces you need to make your own decorative board: a wood burning tool, attachment kit (for letters and shapes), practice wood and a cheese/cutting board that’s ready to go. If you want to make your own gifts this year (or just want to make something for your home) check out the kit here – it’s got all your tools and supplies in one place! xo, grace

Thanksgiving DIY Projects: Sun-Print Place Cards

Thanksgiving DIY Projects: Sun-Print Place Cards

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One of the greatest joys of living on the east coast is experiencing the changing seasons. While I love and miss my home state of California, there’s nothing quite like the explosion of colors autumn brings. It seems almost ceremonial to walk through canopies of yellow-, orange- and red-topped trees and kick up crunchy leaves. The other day while walking through the city, yellow leaves were raining down on me for blocks. It felt otherworldly and wonderful.

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This Thanksgiving, I want to bring that feeling indoors and to my table, while adding another striking complementary color, Prussian blue. Using a sunprint paper, much like the 19th century cyanotype, we’ll make place cards that are miniature works of art and also gifts for your guests to enjoy throughout the year. -Jessica Marquez

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A 1950s UK Home Mixes The Old and The New

A 1950s UK Home Mixes The Old and The New

A 1950s UK Home Mixes The Old and The New
Older homes with plaster walls are near and dear to my heart. Last year I made the scary leap to becoming a homeowner of a 1950s build and while they can be a pain in the you-know-what, I find comfort in their quirksgood and bad. So when self-described designer/maker, blogger and mama Sarah-Louise Kimmer spoke about the challenges of even hanging a photo saying, “I tend to use [Command Strips] and tape as opposed to attempting to screw anything now,” I couldn’t help but grin and nod with understanding. While older homes can cause some frustration, it seems that back in the day all home builders were expert problem-solvers and masters of function. The attention to detail made towards the flow and layout of an older home is something I always notice, and something that Sarah-Louise and husband David, who runs his own digital/brand design agency, kept top of mind when they were first looking for a home just over a year ago. Needless to say, they found what they were looking for: “I fell in love the second I stepped through the door,” says Sarah-Louise.

Located in the outskirts of Arundel, West Sussex, UK, the home was originally a police house. While it’s located on a somewhat busy street, the backyard opens onto fields and a small forest of trees which the sun sets over in the evening. (Talk about romantic!) When it came to decorating, Sarah-Louise comments that it’s still a work in progress. It’s the first time she’s had to compromise and find balance between her style and David’s style, but the design goal they do share is to maximize the feeling of light and space while keeping it cozy, comfortable, organized and family friendly and I must say, I think they’ve more than met those goals. The way they’ve combined the new with the old, hand-me-down and inherited pieces is brilliant. And though there’s myriad textures and colors in every corner, the restraint and subtlety balances the busy with the simple just so.
—Sabrina

Photographs by Sarah-Louise Kimmer

A 1950s UK Home Mixes The Old and The New
Images above: Sarah-Louise’s daughter Boo plays and jumps and does what all children do so well in Sarah-Louise’s lounge, which oozes with plenty of texture and gorgeous sunlight. It may be large (allowing Boo plenty of space to play and jump around) and bright, but it still feels comfortable and lived-in.

A 1950s UK Home Mixes The Old and The New
Image above: Sarah-Louise snatched up the Ercol day bed and glass factory trolley-turned-coffee table from eBay. The cushions are handmade by Sarah-Louise and the blanket is from House of Rym. “The lamp was borrowed from my mother… I’ve always had my eye on it… I think it’s staying!”

A 1950s UK Home Mixes The Old and The New
Image above: What a beautiful #WeAreFamily2014 moment, right?!

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Biz Ladies: 8 Tips To Incorporate Social Good Into Your Business

Biz Ladies: 8 Tips To Incorporate Social Good Into Your Business

I think one of my favorite social trends from the past year (and yes, I would call it a trend of sorts) has been the exponential increase in socially conscious businesses and collaborations. It always seems that as soon as I fall in love with a brand, they go and create a campaign in collaboration with a non-profit group, making me fall even more in love. So if you were toying with the idea of incorporating some social good into your business practices, you’re in luck because today Kristin Moses of DesignGood & DesignGood Studio is sharing some easy tips for making that happen. She’s sharing eight steps for infusing a little more social good and awareness into your own life. -Stephanie

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Reno, NV City Guide {UPDATE}

Reno, NV City Guide {UPDATE}

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The Biggest Little City has had quite the Renaissance since we last posted a guide (2010!). As more businesses flock to the area to start their restaurants, retail stores and more, the area has become a bustling desert city and local artist and photographer Sarah Stevenson knows all about it. She spent most of her professional life as an interior designer, working in Chicago for large corporate clients. But now, Sarah calles Reno home, where she facilitates an annual women’s art retreat called create.explore.discover, while also creating and selling her own work through Redline Design. Today she gives us a glimpse into blossoming Reno with her updated guide. -Stephanie

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Design*Sponge DIY Videos for Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

Design*Sponge DIY Videos for Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of collaborating with the team at Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day to create a wide range of DIY projects. Using nature and gardening as inspiration, I spent a week creating all sorts of quick and easy projects like woven plant hangers, tree branch organizers and decoupaged tin can planters that use seed packages as decoration. Along with Paul Lowe of Sweet Paul Magazine and Maxwell Ryan of Apartment Therapy, I’m going to continue sharing creative ways to decorate and spruce up your home throughout the year.

Today I wanted to share the first little DIY video, where I’m making decoupaged tin can planters. I had a blast filming this and even got to spend a few days in one of our favorite Brooklyn home tours ever prepping everything for the film. I just found out this weekend that these videos will be running on Hulu, so you might see some of us pop up before and during your favorite TV episodes! xo, grace

Two Shopkeepers At Home In Brooklyn

Two Shopkeepers At Home In Brooklyn

Design*Sponge | Home Tour: Asumi and Kuni Tomita
When interior designer Asumi Tomita and her husband Kuni decided to open a shop in 2013, they wanted it to be a reflection of their collective styles and a place to showcase their favorite artists and objects. Named Kanorado Shop, the online store features a tightly curated assortment of beautiful home goods, gardening supplies, and clothes—some designed by the couple, some vintage. With an emphasis on simplicity and minimalism, the objects held by Kanorado have a quiet beauty about them. In many ways, the shop is an extension of Asumi and Kuni’s Brooklyn home, a place that the couple has shared for six years. Drawn to the space originally because of its killer features (hello, exposed brick!) and nearby parks and shops, the apartment has become a place for the couple’s style to evolve and coalesce. With the same minimal aesthetic as Kanorado Shop, the home provides breathing room for individual objects and ideas to shine. —Max

Image above: The bedroom. An antique marine signal flag hangs above the bed. Bed linens from Area Home. Side cabinet from IKEA with hardware from Anthropologie.

Design*Sponge | Home Tour: Asumi and Kuni Tomita

Image above: An alternate bedroom view. Table lamp a vintage find from an Upstate flea market.

Design*Sponge | Home Tour: Asumi and Kuni Tomita

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A Photographer’s Colorful Escape In the Big City

A Photographer’s Colorful Escape In the Big City

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Filled with loud noises, mysterious smells, overwhelming crowds of impatient people, and teensie-weensie apartments, life in a city like New York can present numerous challenges—especially to those who are interested in maintaining whatever they have left of their sanity. This is why, when it comes to apartment-dwelling in the so-called concrete jungle, it helps to carve out a little space for yourself—an urban oasis, if you will. This is precisely what photographer Julie Holder and her husband Bo Powell were looking for when they moved into their Greenpoint, Brooklyn apartment. Far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan to feel like it’s in a different world, their neighborhood features charming brownstones, tree-lined streets, and just enough character to remind them that they are, in fact, still in New York. The apartment itself is on the smaller side—and what NYC apartment isn’t—but big on character. “It can be difficult finding a way to bring together items from different places, especially in a small space,” Julie says, “but I like that everything we have tells a story.” Filled with a strangely cohesive assortment of vintage finds, heirlooms, and judiciously-chosen objects, the space is infused with color, character, and life, three things that are often needed after a long day surrounded by grey. —Max

Image above: The living room. Assembled from salvaged wood from an old barn, the large cabinet was purchased at an antique shop in Upstate New York. “The ‘Relax’ sign was a side-of-the-road find outside of Austin, TX,” Julie says. “We carried it on the plane back to NYC, which thankfully was a pretty empty flight. We were afraid people would get annoyed with us, but they mostly just laughed.”

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Image above: “The bar cart is a treasure trove,” Julie says. “We have the coolest animal hunt cups from Bo’s hometown in Mississippi, mixed and matched floral china, silver mint julep cups from our wedding, and vintage ombre’d pink shot glasses mined from an antique store in upstate NY. The ice bucket and silver tray are two of my favorites. They both have the initials ‘HP’ and are special to us because of our last names, Holder and Powell. They are from the Hotel de Paris in Monaco and were used for champagne service in the 20s.” 

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A Bright Norwegian Nest Sure To Put a Smile On Your Face

A Bright Norwegian Nest Sure To Put a Smile On Your Face

A Simple, Functional Norwegian Nest Sure To Put a Smile On Your Face
I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled to beautiful Norway myself—though was unlucky to tear a ligament in my ankle on the trip, moments after a successful (and yes, I’ll admit, typical) “I’m in Europe!” mid-jump photo. However architecturally gorgeous, the cobblestone streets weren’t fooling around that day. But not even a cast could stop me from soaking in and swooning over the history, culture and Scandinavian design and architecture. It’s a design style that’s stuck with me over the years and one that I often browse and seek out online, so when I was scrolling through my Instagram and came across @BenesNordicHome, I just had to get in touch.

Characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality, Scandinavian design has become such a popular design trend in the last few years, but what a lot of people don’t know about this movement—including myself until I experienced it firsthand—is that it’s also very much about creating a space that evokes happiness. So when I asked photographer Benedicte Thomassen what her goal was when she and husband Daniel were searching for a home and decorating, I wasn’t surprised when she came back with “My goal was a happy home!”

Built in 1887, Benedicte and Daniel’s wooden townhouse is nestled on a quiet street near the city center of Skien, a region in southern Norway. When Benedicte and Daniel first saw the home, they knew it was the right home for them, their two Chihuahuas Zoe (3 years) and Chanelle (6 months) and budgies Pipp and Papp. They instantly fell for the white-painted wood exterior, the large windows and the modernized aspects of the historic home. “There was an original timber wall in the kitchen, stairwell and wooden floor in the living room,” explains Benedicte, “The house will never be [perfect]… but that just makes it charming.” —Sabrina

Photographs by Benedicte Thomassen

A Simple, Functional Norwegian Nest Sure To Put a Smile On Your Face

Images above: Benedicte’s living room is her favorite place to hang out, whether it’s reading a book, styling her cabinet filled with beautiful trinkets, sneaking in a nap or cuddling with her dogs. Her sofa is from Muuto’s Connect Sofa System and the feline pillow is a custom print of a photo she took in loving memory of her cat.

A Simple, Functional Norwegian Nest Sure To Put a Smile On Your Face

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A Day In The Life of Kelly DeWitt

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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