Moody Blues: 11 Blues for the Home

Moody Blues: 11 Blues for the Home

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All week I’ve been drawn towards ocean-inspired colors. Maybe it’s the idea of summer creeping closer and trips to the beach, but all I want to do is move the winter whites out of the way and bring in some deep blues that remind me of the sound of waves. From prints and scarves to wall hangings and cutting boards, this quick roundup has a little something for everyone. My favorite is that beautiful print — it’s the perfect piece for friends, colleagues, loved ones and kids alike. xo, grace

Image above, clockwise from top left: Emily Isabella Wallpaper $140, Taos Scarf $120, Candle $48, Tealights $8+, Cheese Board $62, The Pot Book $49.95. 

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Image above: We Are So Good Together by Dylan Fareed, $60 at 20×200

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Image above, clockwise from top left: Rebecca Atwood Marbled Wallpaper $5 for sample swatch, Shibori Stripe by Milton and King $160, Azilal Rug $675

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Image above: Blue basket $48, Marbled Paper Napkins $8

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Image above: Alma Scarf, $75 from Block Shop Textiles

Art Meets Recycling with Anna Church’s Sculptural Photographs

Art Meets Recycling with Anna Church’s Sculptural Photographs

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I first discovered New Zealand-born sculptographer Anna Church on Instagram where her attention-grabbing photographs caught my eye while browsing my explore feed. Totally unique, her arrangement approach to fine art not only creates beautiful pieces, but speaks to her passion for the environment by transforming garbage and forgotten items into art, giving a new meaning to the word recycling. Using whatever she can get her hands on — be it forgotten plasterwork moldings or a Victorian sconce — she elevates found pieces into something extraordinary.

And just as her work tells a story and invites you in to experience the meaning for yourself, today we’re inviting her aboard to chat more about her career path. Anna shares with us how she funded her dreams, the challenges of being a full-time mom and artist, and the wonderfully difficult game of defining what it is you do. –Sabrina

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The San Francisco Victorian of Restoration Hardware’s Creative Force

The San Francisco Victorian of RH Chief Creative Officer on Design*Sponge

The San Francisco Victorian of Restoration Hardware’s Creative Force

Celia Tejada bought her home in the 1990s, about 100 years after it was originally built. This San Francisco Victorian had fallen into major disrepair – the ceilings in some rooms had fallen in, and the attic had no floor – but Celia was up for the challenge. She fixed it up while retaining as many original details as possible, salvaging crown moldings and keeping the original marble sinks in many of the bathrooms. Although the space is always evolving, its clean, black-and-white palette represents the classic and modern elements infused into the home’s style. And as I discussed in my ode to dark walls, the dark ceilings and walls in Celia’s home make the rooms feel as expansive as the night sky. This home was built for entertaining, with intimate and personal settings for friendly gatherings. In fact, every week, Celia has a group of friends over for tertulia, a bohemian Spanish-style culinary and literary gathering.

Celia grew up in Valderredible, Spain, in a small, rural community of just over 100 people. When she was encouraged to seek a more rigorous education in the city, she took the opportunity, eventually attending an Italian design school in Bilbao on scholarship at age 15. After graduating, she worked for a luxury kitchen design showroom for several years before moving to San Francisco, CA. Despite her background in interior architecture, Celia started channeling her creativity into fashion, and launched the Celia Tejada fashion house. After her first fashion show in the fall of 1987, the label took off and she was soon selling in boutiques and department stores like Barney’s, Bloomingale’s, and Neiman Marcus. But after the economic downturn of the 1990s, the fashion line proved too young to survive. As she closed the fashion business, she started a new journey that took her back to her roots in interior design.

When Celia’s friend — who worked at Pottery Barn — realized Celia was looking for a new job, she thought of how much the brand needed her leadership, and insisted that she meet Gary Friedman (CEO at that time). After a long lunch with Gary, Celia was hired into the Williams-Sonoma Group. As Chief Design Officer at Pottery Barn, she led the home decor brand and now she serves as Chief Creative Officer at Restoration Hardware.

Celia’s passion is not just for design, but rather for life. Her home is a testament to this belief – it’s always full of art and often full of people, with a focus on comfort and easy entertaining. Her home is about  gracious, relaxed spaces where people can feel welcome and relaxed. Each vignette in her home tells a story – whether it’s a photograph she took herself, or a message sitting in a typewriter. It’s a mix of high and low that always ends up looking chic- with a coat of black paint. –Kevin

To see how Celia’s home has evolved, check out this tour from 2004 on Oprah.com and her kitchen renovation on ElleDecor.com.

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Geometric Patterns Perk Up a Mid-Century Home in Oregon

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Geometric Patterns Perk Up a Mid-Century Home in Oregon

I have always had a soft spot for intricate, bold patterns. The more offbeat the color combination and the wackier the style, the better. Lately, though, I’ve found myself in the minority as art directors, fashion designers and interior decorators alike continue to scale back on the bigness and detail of the patterns they use. These forward thinkers seem to be favoring more streamlined looks based in simple squares, rectangles, and what I call “squiggles.” Their more basic designs not only stand out when compared to overly-saturated looks, but they creep up and surprise you with how impactful – yet simple – they are.

The stunning paint jobs in the Portland, OR home of Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.’s Marketing Project Manager Summer Wick and her husband Brandon are a perfect example of how simple shapes can leave a lasting impression. Their bedrooms’ walls are decked out in basic triangles, and bold-and-black stripes add drama to the dining nook. The crisp shapes they’ve used in the patterns look easy enough to create. But as with most fundamental designs, there was more to it than meets the eye. It was a tedious, tiring and careful process. Using a stencil and a steady brush, the couple carefully spaced out each element and hand-painted every single one themselves.

These pretty wall treatments truly are the house’s pièce de résistance, but look past them and you’ll find a mid-century modern fan’s dream home. It didn’t land in Summer and Brandon’s lap this way, though. Left untouched for 60 years, the home had avocado walls, shag carpeting and pink tile when they moved in. Swapping out all of these outdated quirks may seem daunting to some, but not for this DIY pair. Huge fans of modern design themselves, the couple saw this as an opportunity to fully express their affinity for the era. Each tweak they’ve made to the space, from new appliances to lighting, has been carefully considered in order to fit seamlessly with the home’s original details. Click through to see just how Summer and Brandon have merged today and yesterday into one cohesive, memorable and gorgeous home. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography courtesy of Jack Wineinger & Summer Wick

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Monday Mood: 2016 Home Trends

Monday Mood: 2016 Home Trends

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Interior trends are constantly changing and evolving, and many are ditching conventions and instead investing in items once worth skimping on, from handcrafted designer tiles to philodendrons. With inspiration coming at us from every which direction, it can be hard to distill what’s in and what’s out — but the great news is, stuffy interior design rules are a thing of the past!

Comprising a collection of the things and people that make you happy, home is what you make it. It’s all about knowing the rules, but also knowing when to break them. My own home has changed dramatically over the past few months thanks to Pinterest, Instagram and blogs everywhere. This Monday morning, I’m hoping to inspire you guys to give your home some tender love, care and attention — and allow the way you live to dictate your design. Whether you love them or hate them, these home design trends are hot, hot, hot. —Sabrina

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Techies + Best of The Web

Techies + Best of The Web

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Earlier this year, Helena Price set out to discover and shed light on those underrepresented individuals (people of color, women, people aged 50+, LGBT, disabled, working parents, etc.) working in the technology space. In an effort to celebrate the triumphs, illuminate the hardships, and showcase a more comprehensive picture of the industry, this week she launched Techies, a portrait project that shares the stories of these Silicon Valley tech employees. Seriously impressive!

Inspired by this project, today’s roundup features the best links from the web this week surrounding storytelling, technology and underrepresented individuals — along with this week’s awesome D*S posts. –Sabrina

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In the Kitchen With: The Salted Table’s Espresso Buttermilk Cake

In the Kitchen With: The Salted Table’s Espresso Buttermilk Cake

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Over the past few months, we have been wooed by the delicious images on Charles Hunter III’s Instagram feed under the name of The Salted Table. The Sunday breakfast pictures of biscuits, pancakes, sticky buns and more are my favorite. This week, Charles is sharing his recipe for a Triple Layer Espresso Buttermilk Cake with Bourbon Vanilla Buttercream. This cake is a show-stopper — try it the next time you’re baking a cake for a friend’s birthday! —Kristina

Why Charles loves this recipe: If a dessert involves coffee, it is usually a win for me. I love desserts with unlikely subtle flavor pairings that surprise you after the first bite, and I feel like this is one of those desserts. I also try to incorporate a little southern influence into my creations because I was born and raised in the south, and I love foods that feel like a warm hug from someone who loves you. This cake is perfect for autumn and winter, but I wouldn’t blame you for making it in the spring or summer… because, dessert.

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Photography by Charles Hunter III | Portrait by Michele Ann Photography

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Cobalt Blue Hues and Playful Style Rule This Canton, MA Apartment

Cobalt Blue Hues and Playful Style Rule This Canton, MA Apartment

Cobalt Blue Hues and Playful Style Rule This Canton, MA Apartment

Twenty miles south of Boston in the town of Canton, you’ll find two programers, Vinaya and her husband Arun. Originally from India, the couple wed five years ago, and since then, they’ve lived in five different homes — a new one each year. Although Vinaya says, “we will be celebrating our sixth anniversary later this year, and I joke we are due for a move soon,” their current apartment has definitely found its way into their hearts. “It’s so close to everything we want, and we have come to love the town we are in.” She adds, “As far as the actual apartment is concerned, we absolutely love the open floor plan and, at the end of the day, this really does feel like home.”

Modern, but comfortable, the couple initially chose the home for its convenient location, but over time, as they’ve styled the space, the interior has become an increasingly bigger plus. “Starting over, again, meant getting a lot of budget furniture,” Vinaya explains, but since moving in, they’ve been slowly swapping their big-box store items with more unique finds that speak to their personalities. Though Vinaya admits she’s no expert when it comes to decorating, the process of filling this apartment has been an exciting learning experience which she shares on her blog. “When I started decorating, I had no idea what my style was. I have gone through several design styles by now — which explains our farmhouse-style dining table and cottage-style bed! I slowly started with little projects at home, and soon fell in love with cozy but modern interiors.”

But for all of the feel-good achievements made in decorating, there are always a few hurdles. Because they’re just renting the space, Vinaya has had to hold back from making more permanent changes — and another sacrifice has come in the form of the train that runs to Boston behind the building. “The first few mornings after we moved in, we used to jump out of bed, startled by the unexplained sounds and vibrations,” Vinaya says. “Although we have gotten used to it, we always warn our overnight guests for what’s to come in the morning!”

Even though the couple’s home still brings a learning curve, having a space to share with friends — and one that allows Vinaya to experiment and have fun discovering her style — is priceless. –Sabrina

Photography by Vinaya George

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15 Pieces of Artwork at $25 and Under

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15 Pieces of Artwork at $25 and Under

With spring cleaning comes spring redecorating, and one way that I like to spruce things up is with new artwork. I love picking up small pieces at maker fairs and vintage shops, but every now and then it’s nice to just make a few clicks and find some great artwork online that won’t break the bank. So today I decided to round up some beautiful artwork that’s all $25 and under. From photos of rabbits and modern graphic prints to floral paintings and intricate illustrations, there’s something here for everyone. Happy art shopping! xo, grace

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A Cheery Home By the Beach in Oceanside, CA

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A Cheery Home By the Beach in Oceanside, CA

Signing off on a rental home sight-unseen is a gamble. Rarely is it going to have everything on the “must-have” list. Arielle Vey and her boyfriend Bennett were living in a 1950s Oceanside, CA apartment just steps from the beach when they received a notice that they had 30 days to find a new apartment — the owner was turning their home into vacation rentals. Shortly after that, though, Arielle and Bennett received some good news: they could rent a one-bedroom apartment right across the street from where they lived. The couple took the apartment without even seeing it. They’ve since lived in their 1970s second-story apartment for three-and-a-half years.

Bennett works as a videographer, and since Arielle is an artist and freelance lifestyle photographer, she works from home during the day. When the couple signed onto the apartment without looking at it first, they weren’t sure if it would have the things they were hoping for. “Something I initially look for is big windows, an open floor plan, and any kind of view,” Arielle shares. “The apartment we were offered happened to have all of those things and more. The process of turning my space into a home has mirrored how I’ve grown into myself and I feel like the older I get, the more satisfied I am with my home. I make additions or little changes here and there.”

Arielle decorates with bright colors, mid-century pieces, lush florals and modern artwork (much of which she painted herself). The pair’s style is perfect for a casual, beachside apartment from the 1970s. “I wanted to create a space that allowed me to not only relax when I needed to, but stay productive while working from home,” Arielle explains. “A space where at the start of my day, the bedroom is in order so I can get to work and at the end of the day, the living room is the sanctuary. This means cozy everything, easygoing pieces, and simple maintenance. My goal for the decor was a mix of vintage-inspired modern pieces with pops of unexpected colors.” Accepting an apartment offer over the phone might have been a risk, but it is definitely paying off for this couple. – Lauren

Photography by Arielle Vey

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In NYC, A 400-Square-Foot Sanctuary

400 Square Feet of Sanctuary in NYC, Design*Sponge

In NYC, A 400-Square-Foot Sanctuary

When I first moved to Chicago, I lived in a 300-square-foot studio… with a roommate. I could cook, do dishes and snuggle into bed all without moving an inch. What the apartment lacked in square footage, however, it made up for in granite countertops, new appliances and hardwood floors. The contrast of theses fancy touches with the apartment’s lack of practical space always cracked me up. So much so, I grew to love the silliness of it. So the second I saw freelance writer and restaurant consultant Tarajia Morrell’s studio in Gramercy, NYC, I grinned. As was the case with my small apartment, her space’s tiny footprint is outfitted with a grand touch: a fabulous fireplace.

She would never claim to have technically “designed” the apartment, but as Tarajia began laying out the space, highlighting that amazing hearth was definitely a priority. She’s cleverly positioned every piece of furniture and accessory in her home in a manner that draws visitors’ eyes to the grandiose detail. You’ll also notice how she’s layered gifts from friends and vintage finds on its surrounding walls. It seems a bit counterintuitive to put a lot of things in a little space, but it truly works in her home’s favor. It takes guests longer to digest so many decorations — perhaps tricking them into thinking the home is much larger than it actually is.

Similar to her guests, Tarajia barely notices how quaint her home is anymore. On the contrary, it fits her like a glove. There’s no place she’d rather be while writing for her blog The Lovage, recounting all of the fabulous restaurants she’s dined in, a log crackling in the hearth and her pup Lola snoozing in her lap. “There’s magic to cozying up by the fire on the most brutal of New York winter nights,” Tarajia shares. It may not be much, but clearly this little sanctuary shelters her from all of the hustle and bustle that NYC is known for, and that’s enough for her. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography courtesy of Nick Solares

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Comfort Zone: Katie Ferris

Comfort Zone: Katie Ferris

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Stepping into Katie Ferris‘ home studio in Brooklyn, NY gives only a taste of what goes on inside of her mind. An artist, jewelry designer, and maker of wearable sculptures made to protect and bring good energy to its wearers, Katie’s space is brimming with nostalgia and personal meaning. From her great-grandmother’s furniture and her uncle’s paintings, to each and every curbside treasure she’s collected, her studio is a constant source of inspiration and an ongoing reminder to stay true to herself.

While her work is meticulous, tedious, and sometimes debilitating, Katie derives strength and courage from her surroundings as much as she does from her spiritual connections — which is evident in every handcrafted piece she puts her heart into making. Today, Katie is joining us to share more about her inner workings, what makes her her, and the beautiful things that can happen if we all just embrace our individuality. –Sabrina

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Fine Art Focus: Yuko Yamamoto

Fine Art Focus: Yuko Yamamoto

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Artists who can turn everyday paper into beautiful works of art will always be my idols. Tiny scissors and X-acto knives are useless in my hands, but in their hands incredible things can happen. I’ve shared some of my favorite paper artists here before, but today I want to focus on one artist in particular who has mastered not just paper cutting, but watercolor and illustration as well: Yuko Yamamato.

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Yuko Yamamoto is a talented Japanese artist who draws inspiration from the natural world for her work. From delicate paper flowers to ethereal watercolor drawings, Yuko’s artwork has such a softness to it and mimics the way delicate branches and petals move. Read on to learn more about Yuko and her work below. xo, grace

Artist: Yuko Yamamoto
About: Yuko was born in Japan in 1977. She received her degree from Kyoto Seika University in textile design.
Work: Yuko works in a variety of media, from cut paper and water color to illustration and product design.
More: You can read more about Yuko and her work right here and here.

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Studio Tour: Elektra Steel

Studio Tour: Elektra Steel

Studio Tour: Elektra Steel

Every morning, Zai Divecha and her dog Simi head out to her humble but mighty 8′ x 12′ studio space in ShopFloor and get to work — which, for Zai, involves design and welding, and lots of napping for Simi. Nestled in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, ShopFloor is a shared metal shop focusing on design and fabrication, housing its own shopJ Liston Design, and Zai’s own Elektra Steel.

Having learned to weld at just 14 years old as a student at Lick-Wilmerding High School, Zai creates striking and functional small-batch, hand-welded objects using a TIG approach — a type of arc welding known for its precision and control. Obsessed with geometric shapes and modern finishes, her signature work is often made of steel, but she occasionally incorporates marble and wood into the mix. “Though welding has been a passion of mine for nearly half my life, it’s only in the last year and a half that I’ve made it my full-time profession,” Zai says. After attending Yale for college and grad school where she received her master’s degree in public health, she worked at an enterprise software company for a number of years in the Bay Area. “Though I loved that job, I missed working with my hands,” she explains, “I wanted to see if I could create a career that would involve both my creative and analytical sides.” After educating herself on the business side of being a creative freelancer, Zai found that launching her own metalworking business was a no-brainer.

Although being a business owner is still scary from time to time, finding a space to call her own (without spending an arm and a leg) was surprisingly easy. ShopFloor, founded by David and Christina Whippen in 2011, houses many other makers in the custom-built, limited production design space; craft microbrewery Harmonic Brewing also operates out of the building. “I found everything I was looking for — and much more — in ShopFloor,” she shares.

Unlike the massive shared workspace, Zai’s own personal studio is less than 100 square feet, so fostering a calm and inspiring work zone was the goal when it came to decorating. “For me, that means lots of plants, clear surfaces, a few beloved objects, and cozy lighting,” she says. In the six short weeks since she took up residence, she’s managed to create a cozy atmosphere by mixing in just the right amount of home comforts — blending tools and equipment storage with things like a dining table and mid-century-style credenza.

A one-woman show, Zai admits that running Elektra Steel can sometimes feel lonely (especially as a self-confessed extrovert), but she’s eternally grateful for having arms-reach access to the other talented designers and fabricators at the shop. “They’re incredibly talented, and they’re all much more experienced than I am,” she shares. “I’m constantly asking them about their favorite patinas and oils, or about which steel suppliers and powder coaters are the best in the area… I’m so grateful to have found a shared space that came with a wonderful and supportive community.” –Sabrina

Photography by Ellen Wildhagen

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14 Dynamic Rooms with Exposed Beams

14 Dynamic Rooms with Exposed Beams | Design*Sponge

14 Dynamic Rooms with Exposed Beams

In college, my introductory interior design courses were based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This concept was fascinating to me, and it has changed how I view almost every space I enter. The hierarchy spells out what humans generally need from the basics of food, water, shelter along with safety, love and beauty. When engineers, architects and interior designers work, designing a proper shelter that meets physiological needs is the most important requirement. Then, the structure’s design accounts for safety, how it works relationally, and the aesthetics that will inspire the people who will live there.

Post-and-beam engineering has been around since the days of the pyramids. As it sounds, this process uses upright posts with horizontal beams to support ceilings and walls. These beams can be wood, concrete, metal or composite. It’s a structural technique used often in modern (and ancient) architecture. Coincidentally, it also brings a beautiful, impactful aesthetic to a space when left exposed — or uncovered later.

Here at D*S, we love that exposed beams remind us that our homes are secure, strong and safe, while also adding to the overall aesthetic. These 14 spaces featured on Design*Sponge over the years show how the same building element can impact design in various styles, forms and rooms. –Lauren

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