Caring for Indoor Plants During Winter

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Caring for Indoor Plants During Winter

While winter hasn’t quite made its presence known in my area (we’re usually covered in snow by now, but it’s still dry and sunny here), the temperatures are dropping and I’m keeping a close eye on all of my indoor plants to make sure I’m not drying them out or letting them get too cold by the windows. I inevitably lose a plant or two over the winter, but this year I’m hoping each and every one makes it through to spring. Thankfully, Damien and Jackie of Harrison Green are here today to share their expert tips for caring for indoor plants during the winter. From pointers on placement and light to types of hardy plants that will weather the winter well, their advice will help you get through the winter with plenty of happy, healthy plants. Just click through the slideshow above for their top 8 tips and a list of great indoor plants. xo, grace

Photography by Nicholas Calcott

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In the Kitchen With: Nicole Taylor’s Apple and Bok Choy Salad

In the Kitchen With: Nicole Taylor’s Apple and Bok Choy Salad

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I must admit that I was a little frustrated over the holidays. I had psychologically prepared myself for abundant meals, lots of sweet treats, dried fruit, and nuts. I saw none of that. I was so crestfallen that we didn’t receive a single panettone or pandoro that I made Tara O’Brady’s cake! For those of you who were lucky enough to overindulge, however, I have chosen food maven Nicole Taylor’s Apple and Bok Choy Salad for this week’s recipe — to ease you back into lighter eating. This recipe is from Nicole’s debut solo cookbook, The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen, which published last fall. Nicole, a Georgia native, is great at marrying Southern ingredients with those she finds in New York markets. This salad is a testament to that. To try more of Nicole’s food which we’ve featured on this column, see her Cherokee Rose Pound Cake, and her Rice and Harissa Chickpeas. —Kristina

What Nicole loves about this salad: Most times, I grill or steam this Asian vegetable, but raw is my new go-to method because I love a sturdy salad with nuts and crunch, and this is probably one of my favorite recipes in UpSouth. Feel free to switch out the nuts with almonds or your nut of choice (a friend uses pine nuts). I could have used kale here, but why not bok choy?

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What’s In Your Toolbox: Malene B

What’s In Your Toolbox: Malene B

What's In Your Toolbox: Malene B, on Design*Sponge

Handcrafted custom carpet enthusiast Malene Barnett is a frequently-appearing face on D*S lately, generously sharing her expertise on everything from solo entrepreneurship to playing the PR game. As president and design director of her company Malene B, she works on all facets of the business, and today gives us a peek into the tech tools and creative inspiration that keep her entire operation running smoothly. Though she learned her craft drawing by hand, Malene has embraced the utility of choice software programs in combination with the backup of her tactile yarn poms, and paper to-do lists are still a daily routine. In order to bring joy to the work in her Brooklyn-based practice, Malene has at times immersed herself in different cultures throughout the world, subsequently inspiring many collections.

If it were possible, Malene “would love to have the magical power to give everyone a passport to travel,” and experience the same. A visual thinker, the designer has proven equally adept at bootstrapping a growing business by staying “open to opportunities as they may not present themselves in the package that you envisioned.” New tile and wall art offerings based on her signature vibrant patterns are just the latest result of her singular perspective. —Annie

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Peeking Inside Richmond, Virginia’s Quirk Hotel

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Peeking Inside Richmond, Virginia’s Quirk Hotel

Katie and Ted Ukrop’s Quirk Gallery has been a roaring success since it debuted in Richmond, VA’s arts and design district in 2005. So successful, in fact, that the brand has recently expanded to include a second Quirk just a few doors down from the original. This new outpost isn’t a second gallery/shop combo, though. It’s an art-focused hotel!

Opening a gallery and starting a hotel are two very different challenges, and not surprisingly, Quirk Hotel was not a speedy project. For the past eight years, Katie and Ted have worked alongside the architects at 3north and the designers of POESIS design to beautifully transform what was once a 100-year-old department store into the newly-minted hotel. Much of the time was spent conceptualizing ways to seamlessly combine customized furniture and fresh, local art with the space’s original architectural details.

The results are so stunning, I’m sure the hotel is bound to get the arts and design district all of the attention it deserves. That is the simple goal behind both of the team’s Quirk projects – to shine a light on Richmond’s often-overlooked design district and its artisans. What better way to get locals and tourists alike to consider visiting the area than by giving them a pretty place where they can dine and stay? Click through to take a further look at the renovation. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Kip Dawkins

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Robyn Andrea Burgess’ Whiskey Cream Puffs With Cinnamon Apple Caramel

Robyn Andrea Burgess’ Whiskey Cream Puffs With Cinnamon Apple Caramel

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The desire to experiment in the kitchen came early and organically to Robyn Andrea Burgess, owner of the conscious cooking recipe website, Runaway Apricot. Through her blog, Robyn creates recipes from local and seasonal produce to deliver simple and exquisite meals. She began cooking at age 8, was selling cakes to her classmates at age 13, and by 15 she was working on the line at one of Washington, D.C.’s top restaurants. Her undergraduate studies in Anthropology at Columbia aided her in the exploration of where food and culture intersect. A genuine desire to create recipes that embrace taste and texture is what fuels Robyn’s passion for cooking.

Today, Robyn is sharing with us her recipe for Whiskey Cream Puffs with Cinnamon Apple Caramel. Petite pillows of pastry are filled with a decadent whiskey cream filling and then drizzled with cinnamon apple caramel. Your family and friends will welcome their bite-sized shape and layers of honest-to-goodness flavor. When you combine homemade cream and caramel, plus a dash of whiskey, the results are going to be delightful! —Emerald

Why Robyn loves this recipeAhem, whiskey! Any fancy dinner party needs to end with a memorable bang, and whiskey is a wow-factor ingredient that will make guests prick up their ears. Folding in a good whiskey you wouldn’t mind sipping neat — I used Henry McKenna Single Barrel — the cream takes on the best of the drink’s woody vanilla flavors. Together with the fruity cinnamon apple caramel, this is the pastry form of the fall cocktail of my dreams. I also love how this dish is made by stirring and whisking the ingredients by hand, rather than relying upon powered kitchen tools. The skill and focus as the ingredients change color and texture reward a sense of accomplishment for making it the classic way. Assemble just before serving and encourage guests to eat with their hands, licking the sweet caramel from their fingertips as the party draws into the night.

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A Dutch Home with Pretty Paint and Clean Lines

A Dutch Home with Pretty Paint and Clean Lines, Design*Sponge

A Dutch Home with Pretty Paint and Clean Lines

“Minimal” can often mean “sparse” in design, but a few strategically-bold items in a pared-down home can make your space feel full of style. ICU nurse Rick and administrative worker Maartje aren’t strangers to that strategy. Their Helmond-city house in Holland proves that brilliant wallpaper and paint are all you really need to craft an impactful abode. For a month and a half after moving in, Rick and Maartje went about painting walls and getting the space in working order. Neither are great with tools, so simple fixes and hacks were the way to go. This included new cabinetry and a basic clean-up throughout. “The space itself is not special or unusual, but we like to believe that the way that we decorated and painted it makes it special,” the homeowners say.

The bold paint job serves as the perfect backdrop to the couple’s continually changing decor. For the past five years, they’ve kept their home feeling fresh by shuffling around the furniture and decor inside. Whenever they are feeling a bit stale or stuck in their ways, a little tweak here, a dresser moved there  – and poof! – a new home is born. That being said, you should take a peek inside their home now. Who knows what it will look like tomorrow? Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Rick and Maartje

 

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Before & After: A Bohemian Makeover in Nebraska

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Before & After: A Bohemian Makeover in Nebraska

In a charming 1917 Omaha, NE home, interior decorator and blogger Megan Pettipoole helped the Whealy family play up coveted classic details like recessed window nooks, French doors, and original woodwork. Megan wanted to see the personalities of the people who lived there (including mom, dad, and two small boys) reflected in the decor, which it did not accomplish previously. “It just didn’t yet reflect the vibrancy and creativity of its residents,” she notes. She went for a look dubbed “grown-up bohemian — basically a little whimsical, but still luxurious and refined.”

After detailed conversations with her client, Darby, Megan quickly envisioned an ideal design scheme, but sourcing the items was a slower process full of antique shopping for the perfect pieces. Her patience ran out in the endless hunt for a light-wood dining table, and she called off the search, instead deciding to make it herself. “I’m not a carpenter or craftsman by any means,” she says, “Just possibly too naive and single-minded to care.” The living and dining room combo was completed in three months, and incorporates unique vintage finds on top of practical retail purchases. All decisions work toward maximizing the space’s natural light, aided by bright colors and patterned wallpaper. The original furniture layout in the living room was anchored by the fireplace with a sofa just steps from the front door. Reconfiguring this arrangement allows the space to be better-utilized with more breathing room, secures a tighter connection to the window seat, and offers a less obstructive view upon entry. In the dining room frequently used for entertaining, beautiful details were once lost in a drab color palette. “By choosing to paint the walls a darker and richer color,” Megan shares, “I was able to inject a little warmth as well as interest into the space.” She also replaced the impractical sconces that could only be shut off by unscrewing their lightbulbs!

Creative collaboration with homeowners allows Megan to “join a new family, see how they live, and create a space where their passions, goals, and dreams are realized and can flourish.” Satisfying the needs of appreciative clients is always a pleasure for Megan, but to team up with “a fellow lover of color and weird, whimsical objects” made it an absolute blast. —Annie

Photography by Bethany Gilbert

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A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West

A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge

A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West

A home lover through and through, Katie Bennett — a finalist in our own essay contest, as well as half of the Red House West blogging duo — created a cozy Eugene, OR pad with her husband Cameron Bishop and their squad of cats and chickens. Though the homeowners work in the sciences, they thoroughly enjoy the creative art of nesting in their quirky 1930s residence. They have decorated accordingly, honoring the age and and style of the house, but not forcing themselves to be constrained by it. Every piece of furniture they have (save for one) is either thrifted or handcrafted by Katie and Cameron themselves, or someone they know personally. Certain placeholders remain until the pair can find the perfect things, but the combination of all the unique, decorative elements raises more basic pieces to great heights. Katie, for her part, loves the mix of modern and vintage elements.

Due to its advanced age, nothing in the house is square or level, so every building project taken on requires extremely detailed measurements and always-helpful shims. When Katie and Cameron moved in, there was only one closet upstairs (in the master bedroom) — a situation that had to be remedied quickly. The house did offer lots of other storage solutions, however, with its little cupboards and crawlspaces tucked under eaves and stairs. “Every kid who ever comes into our home immediately suggests playing hide-and-seek,” Katie shares, which is just fine by her. Colorful textures, mid-century furniture, and original details satisfy her desire for a stylishly welcoming home. “Nothing can be too precious or fussy.” To Katie and Cameron, working on their house is a joy, and they’re grateful for a place in which they can be creative and safely make mistakes in the process — only to have fun trying again.

Be sure to check out some common threads at the home of Katie’s Alaska-based co-blogger Mera Matthews in A Red House Legacy Way, Way West. —Annie

Photography by Katie Bennett

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26 Paper Flower Artists to Follow on Instagram

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26 Paper Flower Artists to Follow on Instagram

One of my favorite things about Instagram is how easy it is to find, follow and support small (or huge) communities of makers online. I’ve been working on a few posts that highlight specific materials, techniques and styles on Instagram, and today I’m starting with one of my favorite crafts: paper flowers.

It’s safe to say that any type of flower (fresh, paper, clay, etc.) is my favorite decorating tool, and I love the way that paper flower design has really taken off in the last few years. From wildly detailed and intricate petals that are nearly impossible to distinguish from the real thing to larger-than-life paper plants and arrangements that feel like something from a beautiful dream, designers across the globe are creating stunning flowers from paper that provide endless inspiration. Whether you’re looking for a little visual pick-me-up or want to source some paper flowers you can use at home (no water required, and they’ll never die!), these 26 Instagram feeds are a must-follow if you love the art of paper flowers. xo, grace

*Update: Thank you for all of the amazing recommendations! I’ve expanded this list from 12 to 26!

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Safomasi Textiles

Safomasi Textiles

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I have been silently stalking Delhi-based textile studio Safomasi for about a year now, and I’m obsessed with their beautiful Instagram feed, illustrative textiles with exotic narratives, and their cross-cultural creativity. In 2010, Sarah Fotheringham moved from London to Delhi to work at creative agency Wieden + Kennedy, and there she met Maninder Singh — who had recently returned to India from living in Melbourne — at a photo shoot. Together they formed Safomasi.

After just over a year in business, the duo’s Camel Traders print won in the “Bedroom” category at the ELLE Deco International Design Awards and they became darlings of the Indian design press. In a country where an online presence alone can make you stand out (a lot of great, established Indian brands still don’t have websites), I was super keen to get to know this savvy duo — one of a group of emerging young creatives in Delhi’s exciting design industry. While the pair was in London last month exhibiting during the Design Festival at Tent for the first time, I jumped at the opportunity to get to know them beyond my iPhone and settled in for a long chat about designing and making in India, taking risks, and Delhi’s burgeoning design scene. —Rohini

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12 Small Changes That Make a Big Impact at Home

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12 Small Changes That Make a Big Impact at Home

It’s hard to resist the allure of a full blown makeover. New paint, new furniture, new lighting — the full shebang. But for a lot of us, that top-to-bottom upgrade isn’t an option. Total makeovers require a lot of time, money and professional skills (I’m still nervous to do my own electrical work), and not everyone has all three handy.

So what do we do if we want to upgrade our homes and make a change without giving up weeks of time and cutting too deeply into our bank accounts? We make small changes — small changes that make a big impact. From swapping out light switch covers to recovering your chairs, this list of 12 quick and inexpensive changes are a failsafe way to dress up your rooms for 2016 without blowing your budget. Bonus? Most of these can be done DIY-style, so I’ve included tutorials for each if you want to get started today. *All of these ideas can easily be done in a day, too! xo, grace

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DIY Geometric “To-Do” Magnets

DIY Geometric “To-Do” Magnets

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Like many people, I’m a big list-writer. I always have at least one to-do list on the go, either for specific days, weeks or more longterm planning. Usually my lists are written in my agenda and are full of things that I need to get done. Lately, though, I’ve noticed that the lists I make for weekends affect both me and my boyfriend.

With this in mind, I made this simple clay “to-do” magnet — and matching minis — so that I can keep the list up on our fridge. This way, we can both add to the same list and know what the other wants to accomplish at a glance. —Kathleen Ballos

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A Modern Elysian Heights Home for Two Creatives

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A Modern Elysian Heights Home for Two Creatives

There are few things more terrifying at home than a fire. For the first six months after we bought our house, I spent every hour away from it worried that something would spontaneously combust or slowly burn inside the walls. I knew a few families that lost their homes to fires growing up, and I still find myself checking and rechecking for heat near sockets on a regular basis. Casey Caplow knows firsthand how devastating flames can be — but he managed to find a silver lining when his home was devastated by a fire in 2012.

Casey, who is the co-founder and CCO of GOOD Magazine, discovered and became smitten with a 1912 California Bungalow-style house in the Elysian Heights neighborhood (in the hills of Echo Park) back in 2010. “It feels a bit like a little mountain village, right on the edge of a huge park,” he says. The first house Casey saw during his search turned out to be “the one,” and he made an offer on the spot. Two years later, the house was devastated by a fire and Casey had to tear down the original structure, a heartbreaking prospect. But with a fresh start comes new possibilities, and in the end, Casey relished the bittersweet opportunity to create the dream home he’d imagined. So he put his undergrad architecture studies into action and decided to try the design process on his own.

A year and a half into the design, permits and construction, Casey met and fell in love with Ellen Bennett of Hedley & Bennett. And what initially began as Casey’s solo dream-architectural project turned into a meaningful collaboration between the two incredibly talented creatives. Ellen and Casey chose every element and detail in the house, from the floors and window trim to the colorful kitchen stove. The result is a bright, airy space with the energy and excitement you’d expect from two people who have made creativity and happiness their life’s work so far.

Casey and Ellen said they were going for a “modern Japanese/Scandinavian/Californian” sensibility, combined with “strong pops of color.” Their goal was to create something that would feel, “really warm and cozy, but still generally minimal and modern,” and I think the final product is just that — a happy space full of playfulness, warmth and love. Thanks so much to Ellen and Casey for sharing their home with us. xo, grace

Photography by Chloe Berk

 

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DIY Bead Crochet with The Well Done Experience

DIY Bead Crochet with The Well Done Experience

DIY Bead Crochet with Well Done Experience for Design Sponge by Jessica Marquez
Today I’m excited to share with you a bead crochet project from my friends Bert and Dana Freed, the mother-and-daughter creative team behind The Well Done Experience. Together they design and create beautiful jewelry, sell finished pieces, patterns and kits, teach classes throughout NYC, and authored the book, Bead Crochet Jewelry: An Inspired Journey Through 27 Designs. Their necklaces and bracelets — bold strands of colorful, textured beads — are truly wearable art. I’ve never seen these two out in the world without rocking their jewelry, which I am always in awe of. Even on Dana’s wedding day, she made a special piece just for the occasion.

In this how-to, Dana walks us through the steps of creating one of her Chain Stitched Necklaces. The necklace is versatile and can be worn a few different ways — loosely draped or wrapped a few times. It’s a quick project, a great introduction to bead crochet, and would make an elegant handmade gift.

We’re lucky today, too, because Bert and Dana are giving one reader a chance to win a copy of their book, Bead Crochet Jewelry, and one of their Chain Stitched Necklace Kits. Bert and Dana believe, “The process of making something is as valuable as the finished project.” For a chance to win, just leave a comment by Sunday, January 10th, sharing an experience of making something you truly enjoyed. —JessicaDIY Bead Crochet with Well Done Experience for Design Sponge by Jessica Marquezdesign-sponge-bead-crochet-1143DIY Bead Crochet with Well Done Experience for Design Sponge by Jessica Marquez

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Finding Peace & Quiet in California’s Noe Valley

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Finding Peace & Quiet in California’s Noe Valley

Designer and founder of Neon Gold Interiors Samira Gagné Ludwin and her software-CEO husband, Adam, first met at a conference in Arizona when they were teenagers. Intent on catching her eye, Adam did a little magic trick. Lo and behold, Samira was charmed and the two became fast friends. It wasn’t until they reconnected 10 years later, however, that the two realized they were meant for each other. Since then, they have gotten married, moved in together, and their jobs and ambitions have taken them far and wide. Their latest stop is San Francisco’s Noe Valley, where they call this 1,200-square-foot rental “home.”

I recently vacationed in San Francisco and instantly fell in love with the city’s eclectic shops, people and sunny weather. For Samira and Adam, the serenity and sense of calm that permeates throughout the coastal city couldn’t be ignored. Their LA studio was simply too loud and wasn’t creating the sense of zen that the pair longed for after a tiring day. While they now have this relaxing spot all to themselves, the process of snagging it didn’t exactly embody tranquility. While Samira was away on business overseas, Adam had to scour Craigslist looking for listings, keeping in mind Samira’s one request: a bedroom with a door! No more studios for this couple. To ensure his family would be able to rent the apartment, Adam showed up to this listing’s first showing with all necessary paperwork already filled out and beat 12 other renters to the punch. That’s San Francisco real estate for you!

Once they got the keys, the 100-year-old building got an unintentional, rosy paint job. There was a bit of a mix-up between swatches and installation, but the shade actually pleased Adam and Samira so much, they ended up keeping it. A few furniture upgrades — courtesy of Samira’s growing chair collection — also decorate each room. (She owns 17 at the moment and doesn’t see any sign of slowing down.) Overall, the two took a nod from nature when designing their calming oasis, mixing organic colors and elements with geometric shapes. Since this is the couple’s first home together, the prospect of building a space from scratch truly motivated the team to make their home especially “them.” A year after moving in, the Samira and Adam are loving their home – where they comfortably relax, entertain, and (occasionally) get some work done. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Ashley Batz

 

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