In the Kitchen With: Chiron Cole’s Cured Beef and Potato Crouton Salad

In the Kitchen With: Chiron Cole’s Cured Beef and Potato Crouton Salad

Cured Beef and Cress salad photographed by Chiron Cole | DesignSponge

My favorite type of menu to put together for entertaining is a buffet composed of many salad-type dishes. I used to think the reason was because it is easier to prepare in advance. Recently, however, I’ve realized that it’s because I love the chance to try out so many new recipes. With increasing specific dietary requests, a buffet, rather than a set course meal, also offers the opportunity to provide something for everyone without highlighting anyone’s specific needs. This week’s recipe by photographer Chiron Cole for Cured Beef with Watercress and Potato Croutons is one such dish. Though the original recipe calls for cured beef, Chiron substitutes the beef with roasted beets (though any roasted vegetables will work), often serving both the meat and the vegetarian version when she entertains so that everyone can enjoy the dish. If you decide to use beets instead of other roasted vegetables, Chiron advises you be sure to slice them thinly and cook them with a good dose of salt, otherwise buy pre-cooked beets and sprinkle them with salt before serving. —Kristina


Why Chiron loves this recipe:
I love this recipe because it ticks lots of boxes. It’s tasty, really easy to make, easy on the eye and perfect to share with friends. Though the original version by Aphrodite from Aphrodite’s Food involves cured meat, the vegetarian version has a simple substitute, too, so no one misses out!

Sunday Dinners by Chiron Cole | DesignSponge

Photography by Chiron Cole | Portrait of Chiron by Tim Cole
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14 Small Space Journeys to Follow on Instagram

Small Space Instagrammers on Design*Sponge

14 Small Space Journeys to Follow on Instagram

Most of us are familiar with the tiny house movement that has been sweeping across the U.S., which satiates the desire for an affordable and ecologically friendly lifestyle. An attempt to clarify an overwhelmed life, accompanied by the financial pressure of the last decade, makes a small living space an attractive solution that often connects an indoor routine with an outdoor one. But finding solace in simplicity is far from a new idea. Henry Thoreau wrote in Walden; or, Life in the Woods in 1854, “I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Additionally, artists and designers have been considering alternative living spaces in structure and form for a long time through studies like the Keret House installation in Poland, “House in a Suitcase” by Eva Prats and Ricardo Flores, Philip Johnson’s Glass House or disaster housing to aid in crisis.

Many of us wish to express our lives at home as a meaningful self-portrait of our souls — craving to live a fulfilled and well-designed life. Small spaces often allow a return to simplicity, but simple doesn’t mean unsubstantial. In fact, I think it is the opposite. Simplicity at home becomes about organization and balance in life and possessions and a challenge to make use of every inch with purpose.

This lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but we can all learn a little bit from those who choose live with a minimal footprint. Maybe it just means making small changes that transform your space in a big way or assessing basic needs at home. Perhaps it is as manageable as transforming a cozy room with a dark color or organizing that overflowing closet. Check out a few of my favorite small space Instagrammers that combine grit and romance, sharing their lives on and off the road in under 1,200 square feet. —Bethany Joy Foss

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Studio Tour: Isabel Halley Ceramics

Studio Tour: Isabel Halley Ceramics, on Design*Sponge

Studio Tour: Isabel Halley Ceramics

Ceramic artist Isabel Halley occupies a sunny corner of New Clay Studios in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, which retains the soulful details of its turn-of-the-20th-century beginnings as an apple distribution plant. Thirteen years ago, ceramicist Amanda Moffat took over the space and transformed it from a pile of bricks into a beautiful and safe clay studio. Runoff grates on the sides of the room allow for areas to be hosed down at the end of each day, and everything is on wheels for the easy relocation of both heavy and fragile items. “Clay dust is a ceramicist’s biggest enemy,” Isabel shares. “Being able to easily clean one’s space is paramount to keeping your lungs healthy.” For a positive mood, seven skylights provide enough of the sun’s rays that bulbs aren’t even often necessary.

Having everything she needs at eye level is Isabel’s key to staying organized. When she has to go looking for miscellaneous items stored in milk crates found Upstate, she gets easily distracted by the rediscovered treasures she finds. Her chairs, rulers, sieves, buckets, measuring cups, and desk all come from hunting tag sales in that New York region. She also keeps her tile tests right in front of her for inspiration. “You can’t tell what any colors in clays or glazes are going to be until they are fired,” Isabel explains. “That means that every time I make a new clay or color, I have to send it through two kiln firings to find out what it really looks like. It makes things very exciting or very disappointing!”

This labor of love is steeped in complicated processes. For example, large pieces such as her Seder Plate and 1000 Pinch Bowl need lots of time in which to dry. They must first be wrapped in plastic, then draped in plastic, draped in cotton, then covered with newspaper — and only then are they usually dry. But even once the pieces make it all the way through these steps they can still cause heartbreak. “You have to be very careful that the kiln does not heat up too quickly or cool down too slowly because this can cause the pieces to crack,” Isabel says.

Isabel has been obsessed with clay, Silly Putty, kneaded erasers, and squishy textures since she was a little kid. Having grown up in Tribeca in the 1980s, Isabel found herself surrounded by a community of artists — a lucky circumstance that inspired her future vocation. The tips of her fingers are still very soothed by soft things, and the textures of all of her pieces are created by their pinching. “Being an artist can often be super solitary,” Isabel conveys. “I can get lost in podcasts and clay.” While going to the sink, Isabel is glad to check out the other talented people working around her, providing her very own grown-up community of likeminded makers. —Annie

Photography by Cory Antiel

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Studio Tour: Gorgeous and Green

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Studio Tour: Gorgeous and Green

Pilar Zuniga of Oakland, CA’s Gorgeous and Green is a true testament to not only following your dreams, but also giving yourself permission to let your dreams evolve. Eight years ago while working in the health education sector for a non-profit company, Pilar began to see that there was a need for resources in wedding design and event planning that were both sustainable and earth-friendly. What began as a mere vision quickly developed into selling sustainable floral designs and offering design services out of her garage.

Shortly thereafter, Pilar was able to leave her day job and open a retail space where she offered locally made and sustainable goods (plants, flowers, and jewelry) that supported 30 to 40 other eco-friendly businesses and makers. After six-and-a-half years of retail, Pilar was ready for another transformation. She left her retail space to transition Gorgeous and Green into the design studio it is now, offering floral design services for businesses and events, floral decor and gifts that are available by delivery via their site (and delivered locally by bike!).

In addition to Gorgeous and Green being sustainable itself, the move to the new studio location was in part to be more supportive to Pilar’s own work life. When Pilar heard that a fellow business woman she had provided floral designs for in the past had opened workshare studios (just eight blocks from her home), she knew it would be a great opportunity to make a connection with fellow creatives and the local community.

Pilar describes her studio space’s beginnings as “basically a large corrugated metal shed.” She has since created a beautiful and heartfelt space that highlights the space’s brick wall and concrete floors, and she added light through the reclaimed french doors so that her floral creations have the light they need to be captured in all their glory. Her first project in the new space was the floors — she spent roughly a week removing old oil marks, staining the concrete, and adding a clear coat. Pieces from her previous retail space and added natural elements play off the existing features, like the reclaimed wood shelves and new cubbies. The result is a space where Pilar can create pieces both big and small, spread out as much as she needs, do the less glamorous details (emails), and also have an inviting space for clients and events. And after seeing her gorgeous flower arrangements in front of that blue wall, you may want to want to splash some blue paint on your own walls! –Rebekah

Photography by Sorella Muse

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A Farmhouse in Florida Rich in Colorful Rustic Decor

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A Farmhouse in Florida Rich in Colorful Rustic Decor

Morning commutes in the city can be a drag: standstills and grimy seats. Sigh. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have minimal commuting time? And what if the commuting time you did endure was through greenery and whinnying horses? Homeowners Jimmie and Gany Bernal are familiar with this scene, that’s for sure. They own and operate Hollywood, FL’s Blue Stallion Farm from a lush piece of property that just so happens to sit right outside their front door.

Without a doubt the ease of going to and from work is enviable, but it was for family that the Bernals truly bought the barn and accompanying farmhouse.”It was always important to me that my daughters and I share something special during their growing up years; an activity that we did together that was just ours and a fond part of our time during their childhood,” Gany tells us. Horseback riding proved to fit the bill just perfectly, so they began searching for a property that would let them live and work from the same space. For the past six years, Blue Stallion Farm’s 10 acres has done the trick. It wasn’t always ideal, though. Before the house was the cozy nest it is today, Gany had to get her hands on it and mold it into a home.

Gany describes her space’s new style as rustic and bohemian, a look she loves for its no-rules attitude. Colorful art, custom tables and boldly-painted walls are just a few of the brazen choices she’s made alongside the West Palm Beach, FL design team at studio|C. What I love most of all about the house and barn are those unapologetic uses of color. Overall, it’s a rainbow of fun and, in my opinion, a fabulous place for the couple’s kids to grow up. The four Bernal kiddos get to be outside and roam the grounds, live amongst animals and come home to a bright and happy retreat at the end of the day. Pretty dreamy. Click through to see more, and enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Rikki Snyder

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10 Cozy Spaces We’d Escape to on a Chilly Day

Best of Cozy Space on Design*Sponge

10 Cozy Spaces We’d Escape to on a Chilly Day

It’s officially the best time of the year. I am not shy in sharing how much I love sweater weather, fire pits, leaves changing colors, and ultimately, being cozy. I feel completely more creative and energized in the fall than any other time of the year (that might be because I live in the South and it’s hard to feel much of anything, other than heat, when it feels like 112 degrees outside at night in the summertime).

“Cozy” could be the feeling a paint color gives you, a small nook you like to retreat to, a place you like to create on a cold day, or a warm bed. Either way, fall is here, and we have rounded up 10 spots from the archives that will make you want to curl up, relax and get cozy. —Erin

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11 DIY Projects to Transition Your Home’s Decor for Fall

11 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Cozy for Fall | Design*Sponge

11 DIY Projects to Transition Your Home’s Decor for Fall

My house has been a disaster this past week. It started with turning my second bedroom from its previous purpose as junk storage into an organized guest bedroom. From there, I’ve been cleaning, organizing and redecorating my house room-by-room. It’s exhausting and thrilling at the same time. To me, it’s inspiring to see a room take shape and to find functional and beautiful solutions to a home’s problems. With the temperatures finally starting to drop, the tweaking around my house has included me pulling out more candles, comfier throw blankets and richer, cozier colors.

This collection of 11 past Design*Sponge how-tos and DIY projects will get your home ready for cooler temperatures, nights spent in, and holiday entertaining. How do you prep your home for the changing seasons? Any must-do projects we need to know about? –Lauren

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Studio Tour: Consort Design

Studio Tour: Consort Design

Studio Tour: Consort Design

Stumbling into Consort Design‘s brick-and-mortar studio-shop nestled on Melrose Ave. in downtown Los Angeles, CA may feel like you’ve accidentally walked into someone’s home. Founded by Mat Sanders and Brandon Quattrone, Consort’s 2,000-square-foot shoppable showroom is the ultimate showcase of their comfortable, cool design aesthetic. Purposely set up to feel like a home, all of the rooms are accessible through various hallways, offering a unique and immersive experience. “We really wanted people to see themselves living in the space,” Mat explains, “so the store is fully decorated like different rooms of a house.”

Having cut his teeth in New York City where he worked as a stylist, as a market editor for Apartment Therapy, and on the Domino Magazine team, Mat first met Brandon at Mat’s going-away party in Brooklyn, NY. Mat was moving to California to launch MyDomaine, and Brandon — who had previously worked in the interiors division at SHoP Architects where he designed projects such as Jay-Z’s Barclays Center and the Shopbop office headquarters in NY — was working on the design team at Soul Cycle at the time. Coincidentally, Brandon was relocated to LA six months later, and the stars suddenly aligned for the couple.

“There is so much great design shopping out there, so it really forced us to dig far and wide for things nobody has seen before,” Mat shares. “We scoured the world and fell down some social media rabbit holes to find artists and makers that were new and next.” For Mat and Brandon, happening upon this blank canvas may have been serendipitous, but the location was no accident. “We chose to set up shop in a corner of LA that is on the cutting edge of design, with a nice mix of high and low shopping,” Mat notes. “The adjacencies are incredible. Across the street we have Cliff Fong’s Galerie Half empire, next door are our friends at Lawson Fenning, and around the corner on Highland you’ll find Blackman Cruz and J.F. Chen. It feels like where all the cool kids are hanging out!”

The perfect space to host their ever-changing gallery of what’s cool and trendy in furniture, art, and decor, the shop is more than just a great location: it has offered Mat and Brandon a home base that New York could have never offered, and one where they could live out their love for decorating. “Now that we have a shop, our home has become an ever-rotating carousel of design,” Mat begins, “When we find great pieces on our scouts, so it’s hard to give them up right away!”

Splashed in color, texture, edgy surprises, and tons of graphic touches, items new and old are constantly in rotation, so visiting the shop is always a different and fun experience — and that’s just how they intend to keep it. “We’re so thankful that we have a space to let our imaginations run wild,” Mat says. “We have the ability to give the public more access not only to the Consort aesthetic, but also a place to come explore all the cool designers and artists we love in one spot.” –Sabrina

Photography by Colin King

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The Beauty of Self-Care: Honor Your Senses

The Beauty of Self-Care: Honor Your Senses

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In today’s lesson, we’ll be focusing on the sense of smell and just how connected it is to your mood, well-being and most importantly for our purposes, memories stored deep inside your brain. To give an example on an emotional level, I’ll share a quick story about my daughter, who had a traumatic birth and lasting emotional issues around separation that stem from her abrupt entry into the world.

There was a mystery that occurred on laundry day each week. I’d just dump all of the dirty clothes from the hamper into the wash, but when it came time to fold the clothes from the dryer, I noticed that most of my shirts I’d worn during the week were missing from the clean wash. After a few weeks, while helping my daughter clean her room, I found a huge pile of my dirty shirts cut to shreds underneath her bed. I was confused, angry and very worried. When I asked her about them, she said she liked to hold them when she wasn’t with me because they smelled like me. She went and got her backpack and pulled out scraps of my clothing from all of those little pockets that don’t get much use. She thought she was in trouble. I hugged her reassuringly and we came up with a plan that did not include taking the majority of my wardrobe. Then we laughed together at the thought of me taking her to school without a shirt.

That night, alone in my bed, I thought about my own memories and the smells associated with them — I love the smell of mulch because it’s a sign that spring and summer are really going to happen. I hate the smell of salty seaweed because it takes me right back to a very difficult breakup. Whether it’s an aroma that evokes a person, event, or a place, our sense of smell transports us to a moment in time buried deep in our brains and in our emotional lives.

Today’s exercise is a collaborative effort from us here at Design*Sponge and the experts at Aveda. We’re going to take advantage of that olfactory expressway to our brain and use our sense of smell to develop good habits that help us with self-care rituals. Click through for a printable pocket guide to aromatherapy and this week’s short exercise that will have you working hand-in-hand with your sense of smell to train your brain and empower your senses. –Caitlin

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Our Beauty of Self-Care series is made possible with support from one of our favorite companies, Aveda. Please join Design*Sponge and Aveda each Tuesday at 1 pm for some self-exploration + exercises to build good habits and instill positive self-care into your everyday routine. We couldn’t be more thrilled to work on this content side-by-side with a company that shares our values and has such a thoughtful approach to self-care and beauty.

Image above: Rifle Paper Co. Lookbook collaboration between Rifle’s Anna Bond + Brooklyn-based floral design and D*S alumni Amy Merrick. Circa 2013

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How To Apply Design Theory to Life and Get Unstuck

How To Apply Design Theory to Life and Get Unstuck

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I could not have discovered this book at a better time. I’ve reached a peak in my self-care routines — they’re now actual habits — and I’ve found my brain wandering into scary “who do I want to be?” territory. I’ve built a strong foundation that allows myself time away from mothering, work and volunteering. I’ve mastered breath and patience. But, of course, once you master one thing, you’re ready to be a novice at something new and I can feel myself wanting to grow into something lately.

Designing Your Life, written by Stanford professors William Burnett and David. J. Evans, is a catalyst for life changes, big or small. And it feels like a natural progression to incorporate into my self-care practice since I’ve developed the ability to let go when I need to. In our Beauty of Self-Care column, I’ve talked about my personal struggle as a woman to rein in my empathy and not try to solve everyone’s problems. One thing I haven’t shared is that I actually love to problem-solve, just not so much with my own issues. I think this is true of a lot of us. While my self-care practice has helped me detach emotionally so I can move forward at a steady pace, I sometimes miss the adrenaline rush of a intensely applying methods to solve problems and that invincible feeling one has when they come up with “a plan.” That’s exactly where this book comes in.

Designing Your Life started as a course at Stanford University, where students apply design theory, which is essentially problem solving, to some of their life issues. Using concepts and techniques that designers of all kinds use to create an optimal design (with practice), it becomes second nature to reframe all the “pain points” we experience and then take actionable steps to move past them into a more fulfilling and positive experience. In my life, this sounds something like, “If I can get my daughter to enjoy math, I will be happy.” I realistically should be thinking, “True happiness will come from my joy watching my daughter find her passion.” So, how can help my daughter find her true passion? This is the point where I stop. I do not move forward. I do not jot down steps I could take towards that goal. I tell myself I will start figuring this out when everything else is more settled, more stable. And that day never comes.

Designing Your Life actually gives me a roadmap and tools to answer some of my big life questions in a detached, academic way that is extremely human-centered. I just happen to be that human. Designing your life means you have so much more to do, consider, prototype and experience before you lay out “the plan.” The plan, in its most idealist form, is kind of a sham. Designing your life is much more about getting to a place where you’re comfortable throwing out a lot of ideas, acting on some and trusting your intuition to notify you that this feels right, this is resonating with me. I love how this book has encouraged me to be more curious about myself, enough that I’ve stepped out of my new comfort zone of cocooning self-care to see what else might be out there for me. Or honestly, what else might just be inside me.

If you’re feeling stuck in a certain area of your life right now, or have been stuck in the recent past, take a moment to identify that one pain point you wrestle with frequently. Write it down. Share it in the comments if you feel comfortable. Next week, we’re going to apply some design theory to some common issues and share some methods from the book that help boil down the issues so we can come up with solid, actionable ways we can move forward to get “unstuck.”

I’m very happy to be giving away three copies of this important book! It fits so perfectly into a new or existing self care practice in such a seamless, helpful way. Even if you haven’t had the time to make self care a priority, reading this book and working through its exercises will help push you in a positive direction in a way that works best for you. If you’d like to be entered to receive a copy of the book, please say hi in the comments and let us know you are ready, willing and excited to design your life.  –Caitlin

P.S. This book is already number one in its respective category on the New York Times Bestseller list!

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Designing Your Life. All words and experiences are my own and I highly recommend this book as a tool for moving forward into a thoughtful, considered life that you’ve designed.

Finding Your Creative Vision & Sticking to it with Andrea Pippins

Finding Your Creative Vision & Sticking to it with Andrea Pippins

Finding Your Creative Vision & Sticking To It | Design*Sponge

Words of empowerment can be life-changing. Sometimes they come from others sharing their experiences and wisdom, and sometimes they have to come from ourselves to finally overcome the negative self-talk within. These words are crucial because everywhere we look, there are people telling us to change direction and that we’re going to fail if we don’t conform. Andrea Pippins has done things the way she felt the world wanted her to, and then learned to do them the way she felt was best for her. Andrea’s experiences in overcoming obstacles, fear and seasons without work have all taught her to value her creative vision above all and to center her work around it.

Andrea is an artist, illustrator and author. Her newest book, Becoming Me: A Work in Progress: Color, Journal & Brainstorm Your Way to a Creative Life releases today! Read her interview after the jump for her inspiring work process and business values. Then go pick up a copy of her book and doodle your way to developing your own creative vision for your work. –Lauren

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DS Book Tour: This Week and Next!

DS Book Tour: This Week and Next!

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The first week of our In the Company of Women book tour has been an absolute dream come true for me. In New York City, Boston and Austin, we gathered almost a thousand women together for conversations, honesty, advice, wisdom, moments of vulnerability and connections that led to real support, new friends and budding collaborations. Those moments are all I have ever wanted from this project and I can’t wait to hit the road this week and next for the next leg of our tour!

Some of our events are already sold out, but we have a few tickets left in the upcoming dates, so if you want to come join us for heartfelt conversation and meaningful panel talks, click the links below to grab a ticket (each ticket includes a book!) and join us on the road! See you soon!

*Photo above from Shadi Petosky (who is also in the book!) whose entire team at the Amazon series, Danger & Eggs, got copies of the book!

12 Nicely Neutral Rooms without White Walls

12 Nicely Neutral Rooms without White Walls | Design*Sponge

12 Nicely Neutral Rooms without White Walls

I’ve mentioned a few times before that I’m drawn to neutrals over bold colors in my home. It’s nothing against colorful rooms. I’m easily overstimulated by my environment if it’s too messy, too sterile, or too colorful so I find it way easier to build a room with neutral walls, furniture and plants and then add interesting objects and artwork that incorporate color (which I can add to and subtract from).

While I love a good bright-and-light room, a white-walled space can get boring quickly. There are so many neutral wall options that can find a good balance between interest and subtlety if you’re like me and prefer to keep the color to rugs, blankets and pillows more than on the wall. Neutral doesn’t have to mean “safe” either: onyx or deep evergreen walls can make a sophisticated impact without overpowering a room with color. These 12 neutral rooms from past Sneak Peeks show us how to keep the color palette minimal without defaulting to white walls. –Lauren

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A DIY-Inspired, Rock & Roll Home for Two Washington, DC Creatives

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A DIY-Inspired, Rock & Roll Home for Two Washington, DC Creatives

There’s an undeniable change in the air in Washington, DC, a city known for its wonks and notorious for its nondescript steakhouses and political scheming à la House of Cards. For those of us who don’t spend time downtown or on the Hill, the city has become a blossoming artistic hub — a capital that welcomes and fosters creative growth and exploration, whether it takes the form of food, drink, visual art, the written word, or even DIY spaces where experimental collaboration can take place.

Nowhere is this spirit of artistic community more present than in the home of Morgan Hungerford West and Mitchell West, two artists who have done admirable amounts of work to pave the way for other DC creatives to do their thing. Morgan, a content creator and consultant for several local brands and blogger behind Panda Head, is the founder and director of A Creative DC, an Instagram hashtag turned real life event and workshop. By day, Mitchell analyzes political media campaigns for Kantar Media/CMAG; by night, he fulfills all of your (and my) secret rock star dreams as the bassist for DC-based punk bank Loud Boyz.

Their home is an eclectic, unique and fun mélange of art, memories, and conversation-starters — from a blown-up and framed A Creative DC Instagram snap (a token from a street art project), to their enviable record and guitar collection. At 780 square feet and boasting two stories, their apartment is spacious by DC standards, with plenty of nooks and crannies for a DIY-loving, creative type to work their magic. However, though the couple has lived in the apartment for 11 years now, it wasn’t until recently — when Morgan moved her freelance equipment into a studio space in DC’s Brookland neighborhood –that they were truly able to start styling it. They’ve since dedicated time to turning the space into their dream apartment, including a full kitchen remodel they recently completed to make room for Mitchell’s home brewing projects.

The couple’s apartment is truly a snapshot of their incredible relationship with each other, with their friends, with their families, and with this amazing city. I’ll let Morgan take it from here. Enjoy scrolling through! —Nicole

Photography by Morgan Hungerford West

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A Home Designed for Fun in Memphis, TN

See Carmeon Hamilton's playfully designed home in Memphis, TN.

A Home Designed for Fun in Memphis, TN

Getting unpacked within only four months of moving in is hard enough, but having it ready to photograph in that time is mind-blowing! It comes as no surprise that Carmeon Hamilton is a woman who can get things done. Not only does she work as an environmental designer, merchandiser, and buyer of Stash Home, but she also works with residential and commercial clients with her own interior design business, Nubi Interiors.

As a designer and DIYer, Carmeon had plans formed and ready before the ink was dry on her mortgage. “Once we moved in, I was off to the races,” Carmeon shares. Although she busted out the common room areas quickly, she’s taking her time finishing the bedrooms. Having a finished place to relax gives her breathing room for all of her future projects. Plus, it’s easy to relax when your home is stocked with a full-on wet bar.

Fortunately for us, we get a rare preview of the beginning process of her family’s remodel and can follow along as her home evolves. From wallpaper to changing up her 18-foot ceilings, Carmeon has big plans and we can’t wait to see what playful design choices she makes. –Tawnee

Photography by Josh Edmiston

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