Design*Sponge

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#DSHappy

#dshappy instagram challenge
One of the apps I shared yesterday in my obsessions list, Happier, has really made a difference in my daily life lately. It asks me to record a little moment each day, in image or text form, that makes me feel happy and appreciative. At the end of each week it feels so good to go back and flip through the moments that made my week a good one. I find those times of reflection have not only inspired me to appreciate small moments more, but they’ve also motivated me to reach out to the people who were a part of them or who were responsible for them happening. That one tiny picture or note is sometimes all I need to turn my day right-side-up and give me the energy I need to push through a difficult patch. So to honor that simple idea, this month’s hashtag challenge is all about happiness.

All September, we’re asking readers to upload images to Instagram with the hashtag #DSHAPPY. What should you upload? A photo of a moment, place, time, person or thing that made you happy. Whether it’s a flashback to a quiet moment on vacation or a spur-of-the-moment garden you stumbled upon on the way to work, we hope you’ll join us in sharing the little moments that make your day a little bit happier. I hope that at the end of the month we’ll have so many beautiful moments to flip through and share together and share that good feeling with everyone reading and joining in. xo, grace

*Photo above by Verbena Florist, from the #DSCOLOR feed

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Before & After: A Calgary Kitchen Gets The Minimalist Treatment

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If  you were to ask me my opinion on clutter and “stuff” around the home, I would probably tell you that some clutter is A-Okay. Books, personal mementoes, souvenirs, objets d’art—all of these bits and bobs add to what makes a living space feel like a home. I am all for a little bit of organized chaos. There are, however, exceptions to my rule. If there is one place that I simply cannot abide by clutter (and please note, this is a personal preference—no offense meant to the clutter-bugs amongst us!), it is the kitchen. I’m pretty good at functioning like a normal human being when I’m surrounded by extraneous or distracting items in my space. When I begin cooking, however, my OCD ramps up to Howard Hughes levels and I go practically apoplectic when confronted with things that simply do not belong on a kitchen counter. This is why, when Calgary-based photographer Maria Lang’s kitchen dropped into my inbox, I went into full-on #YAAAAAAAASSSS mode. Worked on in the wee hours of the night by both Maria and her husband, this stunning space is a true labor of love—one that encapsulates all of the ways to do minimalism right. Brilliant white cabinetry keeps everything tucked away neatly, a beautiful concrete countertop adds texture and a touch of naturalism to the scene, and select objects of kitchen design punctuate the space almost like pieces of sculpture. The result is a space that is at once functional and refreshingly zen—one that I would not mind spending a whole evening (or day) in! Check out all of the before and after photos, plus Maria’s design notes, after the jump! —Max Read More

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Ferm Living’s Kelim Carpets

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Oh, Ferm Living, you shameless temptress, you! Every time you unveil a new collection, I think to myself, there is no way they can outdo the last one. Except BAM—there you go again, putting yet another fabulous spin on classic Scandinavian style, getting my heart racing and my bank account crying. This fall’s latest Ferm Living collection is by no means any exception—with stunning marble-topped tables, darling little cabinets, and candleholders upon candleholders, I can feel my self restraint crumbling by the second. Although the entire collection is a delight, I’m particularly taken with Ferm’s new Kelim rugs. Made from wool and cotton, these simple textiles feature geometric, almost Bauhausian patterns and a gorgeous palette of muted pastels and earth tones. We asked Ferm’s founder and head designer, Trine Anderson, to give us a little bit of background about the carpets’ inspiration. Continue after the jump for her notes and some more photos of Ferm’s fall collection!

Above: Kelim Carpet

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11 App Obsessions

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I’ve spent the majority of my life being the last one to the tech party. My parents all but forced me to get a cell phone my senior year of college because they didn’t want me driving between college and home without one. I keep every computer I’ve ever owned until they literally fall apart (when I dropped off my last laptop to be repaired, the guy at the desk said it started smoking when he turned it on) and when social media platforms first started I distinctly remember laughing at how pointless they seemed. I’ve since learned my lesson (big time) and while I may not be refreshing tech sites for the latest developments every hour, I am always looking for new apps and programs to check out. Not only are they fun, but apps have become clever ways to help me work more efficiently and stay creative when I’m feeling a little run down. I posted some of my favorites earlier this year, but I’ve got a whole crop of new favorites to share today, from productivity tools and educational guides to photo editing tools and a peek inside some of the best museums in the world. I hope these will inspire you to learn or try something new on your lunch break. It never ceases to amaze me how many great ideas pop up in the app store on a daily basis. xo, grace

Click through for all 11 apps after the jump!

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Best of Oregon Homes

Design*Sponge | Leah Verwey Photo
Although, I haven’t had the opportunity to explore as much of Oregon as I’d like, I’m lucky enough to have a couple of Design*Sponge trips to Portland under my belt. The trips were short, but they were just enough to fall head over heels for the city (Portland seems to have that effect on people). The highlight of my last Portland trip was visiting the tiny house of designer Jessica Helgerson. Jessica has been a Design*Sponge favorite since almost the very beginning of the site. The way she is always able to bring the outdoors in – in a subtle, relaxed way – seems very like the state itself. And as a rule, Oregon homes seem to be as varied as the state itself. But “nature,” “relaxed” and “casual” are key words for all of these homes.  -Amy

(If you are planning a trip to Oregon, don’t miss our 24 Hours in Portland with Kinfolk Magazine and 24 Hours in Portland with Egg Press)

Image above: In this creative Portland home “comfort” is the key word.

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Image above: This home in Salem, Oregon is surrounded by nature, but the inside was initially a bit of a cosmetic nightmare with mint green walls and blue shag carpet. But now that the renovation is finished, the inside is as bright and beautiful as the Pacific Northwest scenery right out the front door.

Click through for all 10 homes after the jump!

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DIY Tassel Curtain Tie Backs

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I spent the last week soaking up the final days of summer in my hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia. If there’s one thing I learned in addition to how nice it is to start every morning at the beach, it’s that I really need to get some window shades going in our home. My parents have really nice blackout shades, so Julia, Hope and I slept better than we have in a long time. Our apartment in Brooklyn is on the top floor of our building, so we don’t need shades for privacy, but rising with the sun every morning does make sleeping in a little difficult. So I’ve been looking for a way to integrate curtains that won’t overwhelm our space. We don’t have a lot of room for huge curtain hooks either, so I’ve been toying with the idea of making my own. Thankfully Janet and her team at For the Makers helped us out with a quick, simple and affordable DIY curtain tieback solution that you can whip up during a quick 30-minute episode of your favorite TV show. All you need are some colorful beads, string, leather cord and you’re good to go. Hopefully these will help you ensure you wake up and let the sun in only when you’re ready to start the day. Thanks, Janet!

Click through for the full how-to after the jump!

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