A Home For Family and Friends In The Northern Beaches of Sydney

A Home For Family and Friends In The Northern Beaches of Sydney

A Home For Family and Friends In The Northern Beaches of Sydney

Inside Caleb and Tess Guinery‘s home, there’s no shortage of love, adventure, creativity and chaos. Caleb, a stunt-man for film and television, and Tess, a graphic designer and visual communicator, just welcomed the first addition to their family — their daughter, Peaches Wilde. A few years prior, they made the move from the coastal town of Mollymook, Sydney to a small apartment by the sea, nestled in the northern beaches of Dee Why. It wasn’t long before they fell in love with the relaxed beach lifestyle with restaurants, shops and cafes just a stone’s throw away, so once they discovered that they were expecting a child, they were determined to find a way to stay in the location they had fallen in love with. They managed to make their tiny studio apartment work for a while, but once Peaches came along, they quickly realized they needed a bigger space, but as luck would have it, an apartment became available just down the street! The home was cluttered and dark when they first toured it, but Tess saw potential in the space’s high ceilings, large windows and square footage — but perhaps the biggest perk was discovering that close friends lived right next door.

Since they moved just a year ago, their late 60’s apartment has become so much more than the space they live; it’s where Peaches took her first steps, among many, and has been host to countless dinner parties with friends and family. “Caleb cooks and I set the ambience and light candles,” Tess explains, “but we enjoy quieter nights too… at least once a week we play Skip-Bo and enjoy a glass of wine whilst listening to Caleb’s extensively and carefully curated Spotify playlist.” Caleb and Tess’ passion for their friendships is something they hold dear, and though the home is still a work in progress, perhaps Tess says it best: “Our life isn’t perfect but we love what we have been blessed with and we love our home.” –Sabrina

Photography by Alex Caryle

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Eleanor Ambos Interiors

Eleanor Ambos Interiors

Every now and then I’m reminded of just how powerful video can be in the world of interiors. Sometimes stills and words can’t do justice to the moving, breathing story of someone’s incredible life. I felt this so strongly when watching this video about the life and work of Eleanor Ambos on Aeon Video earlier this week.

Originally from Germany, Eleanor Ambos moved to New York from Germany when she was only 20 years old. Now 86, she’s growing her interior design business and managing an impressive collection of buildings she owns, despite losing her eyesight to macular degeneration.

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I first watched her video through a link on my friend Becca Kallem‘s Facebook page, and have been digging for more information on Eleanor ever since. Her life and work is the subject of a documentary made by Nomadique but there’s also an excellent extended video about her work and her amazing buildings (you have to see the furniture she restores!) here at Aeon Video. That video isn’t embeddable so please click here to watch it.

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The team at Nomadique sums it best on their Vimeo page where they say, “…with no immediate family besides a dog who rarely leaves her side, the fiercely independent Ambos still approaches her life with humor, but also with the nagging knowledge that her body is a structure she’ll never completely restore.” Her story is slightly bittersweet, but still inspires me endlessly to pursue the things I love and to make the most of any situation we come across. If you’ve got a few minutes to watch this video today, please do. Whether you’re excited by the furniture she’s restoring (the 4-poster bed is incredible), her maze of a furniture warehouse building in NYC or just want to know more about her as a person, it’s a video you won’t soon forget. xo, grace

DIY Punched Copper Votives

DIY Punched Copper Votives

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I always took Alfresco dining just to mean simply eating outside, but in fact directly translated Alfresco means in the open air. I really liked this thought and it made me think of something different to being seated next to a car park or on a roof-top bar in a busy city. It made me think of getting out of the crowds and finding somewhere natural and open and fresh! I could imagine picnics on the beach or finding secret places in the forest, but living in a big city right in the centre of the country means more often than not this is a pipe dream. Luckily we have friends and family with beautiful gardens so we can settle for a healthy compromise. There’s something a little magical about sitting around a table with your loved ones as the sun begins to set and dusk arrives. All you need are some tapas style dishes, great wine and twinkling lights to feel like you’re recreating a scene from a magazine.

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These candle votives are the perfect centrepiece to add atmosphere and warmth as the sun disappears and it cools. Even if you’re not dining Alfresco you can enjoy the ambience anywhere in the twinkling candle light. -Fran

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Life & Business: Successfully Scaling Your Business with Phin & Phebes

Life & Business: Successfully Scaling Your Business with Phin & Phebes

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Dreaming big when it comes to your business is exciting and contagious, but having your visions come to fruition is a different animal altogether and mis-managed growth is often the down-fall of many fledgling companies. Despite your best intentions and eager wishes, creating a business that can grow requires careful attention and a specific approach from the get-go, which is something Jess Eddy and Crista Freeman of famed ice cream company Phin & Phebes know all too well. Phin & Phebes didn’t become a national brand and change the way people think about ice cream overnight —  their success took a lot of careful planning and attention. Today, Jess and Crista are generously sharing seven mega-important things to consider in order to successfully scale your business, from discovering your BHAG (AKA your big hairy audacious goal), to testing and discovery, to implementation and managing your day-to-day. –Sabrina

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Life & Business: Melissa Sonico

Life & Business: Melissa Sonico

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Since graduating in 2012 with a BA and MFA in Fiction from Cal State San Bernardino, Melissa Sonico has been carving her own career path as a freelance writer, lifestyle and fashion blogger, Instagram personality, and, most recently, has launched a line of handmade mixed-material necklaces, made to order. Ever the creative dabbler, her interests are varied and her future, wrought with possibilities (and the much-anticipated welcome of her husband and her’s first baby boy due this fall)! She’s a great example of a modern-day solopreneur and jack of many trades, and we’re thrilled to have her with is today to share some insight into business and the modern community of independent makers. –Sabrina

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24 Hours in Miami, FL

24 Hours in Miami, FL

24 Hours in Miami, FL

Next weekend, I’m flying from Toronto to Miami to host Making It: a round table for women in creative industries at The Wolfsonian in the Art Deco District of Miami Beach, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve never been to that part of Florida and, though I’m only in town for a day, today’s 24-hour guide from Abby Kellett could not have come at a more perfect time.

Abby is a freelance interior stylist and shop owner of Gretel Home, an online design store. She and her husband have two daughters, Beatrice (7) and Josephine (2), and have enjoyed watching Miami change over the years, making it “the perfect place to live and not just vacation,” Abby says. Similar to our Orlando guide last month, Florida has seen a lot of change over the last decade; there’s tons of new museums and music venues, and truly inspirational fairs that take over the city such as Design Miami/, Art Basel and Maison & Objet Americas. Though Abby’s schedule may be hectic, if she had a day all to herself in Miami, today’s guide would be how she’d spend it. –Sabrina VIEW MORE

An Eclectic Home in Bristol

A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge

An Eclectic Home in Bristol

Sometimes I see these rules floating around the internet about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to decorating. There are rules on everything from frame size, to how may objects should be grouped together, to buying the correct-sized rug. Generally, they are helpful guidelines, but sometimes I feel stuck or even wrong if the rules don’t seem to work for my spaces. Creating a space that is unique, beautiful and personal takes some rule breaking. Lou and Dan have made their home whimsical, cheery and lovely – and without sticking to a formula.

Lou Archell, lifestyle writer and blogger, and Dan Taylor, painter, decorator and craftsman, moved into their 1890s Victorian home 10 years ago. Since then, they’ve had two children, Charlie (9) and Rufus (7), and have renovated every room in the house. Finding the home was simplified by knowing what area in which they wanted to live. “Our neighborhood, to me, is one [of] the best places to live in Bristol. It is full of independent shops and cafes and has a great community buzz to it. After renting in this area for many years prior to buying this house, we knew this neighborhood was for us,” Lou says. “We chose this house as it lives on a small, quiet street. It was in a poor condition and needed modernization to make it a liveable family home. The price, of course, reflected this and we bought a bargain.” Lou and Dan didn’t just restore this house – in the end, the transformation reflects their family and their creative vision in every room.

The bright accents, vintage pieces and playful arrangement of artwork and decor makes every corner, shelf and wall come alive. “Ten years on, we have completely gutted and renovated every room in the house. I wouldn’t say our home is finished, as there are always projects on the go,” Lou says. “I love decorating, changing rooms around and rethinking spaces. Decorating our home had to reflect our personalities. Dan and I love handcrafted items, furniture, ceramics and also natural elements. Our space has evolved over time.” This eclectic, welcoming home isn’t by-the-book and it is a lovely example of the power of intuition. —Lauren

Photography by Laura Pashby

 

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An Australian Home Gets a Pre-Fab Addition

An Australian Home Gets a Pre-Fab Addition, Design*Sponge

An Australian Home Gets a Pre-Fab Addition

Stylist Anna Critchley and her husband Michael firmly believe that a happy home makes a happy family. Because of this, they traded in their new construction for a place where their daughters Eadie and Lilah could flourish. “[Our old house] was nice, but it didn’t inspire us in any way. We found that we weren’t excited to go home. We wanted a home that we couldn’t wait to get back to and spend time in,” the family says. While in between places, the family temporarily stayed in Anna’s parents’ rental. It didn’t take long for the couple to realize that the property’s pastoral view of Hinton, Australia and “quiet lifestyle were perfect for [their] young family.” Before they knew it, the four were putting down permanent roots in the three-bedroom spot.

The 1970s-era house was “nothing exciting or glamorous,” to begin with, but with guts and a little patience Anna and Michael decided to “create a house that [they] loved as much as the block and location.” Their biggest undertaking was the pre-fabricated addition they attached to the front of their home. The Critchleys chose to contrast the existing traditional facade with über-modern new construction that would help it stand out amongst the other houses on the block. After about seven weeks of development under the guidance of architect Jodie Dixon and Timberline builders, the new structure finally left the factory in three pieces and was craned into place. “A central, light-filled hallway,” was added to seamlessly connect the pre-fabricated portion to the existing structure. As you’ll see when you click through the full tour, this new wing of the home holds the entry, kitchen, dining room and open living area.

This all seems quite enough for one pair to undertake, but the family didn’t stop there. New flooring throughout the entire home, paint jobs around every corner, and a new deck and garage round out the renovation. All in all, it took 18 months to bring their vision to life, but from the looks of it the challenge was absolutely worth it. You can feel this family’s joy as you comb through the colorful photos. I hope you enjoy taking a peek inside as much as I did! —Garrett

Photography by Nail & Twine Photography

 

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A Uniquely Renovated Brooklyn Brownstone

A Uniquely Renovated 1886 Brownstone Nestled in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

A Uniquely Renovated Brooklyn Brownstone

After living in the upper west side of New York for a decade, Melissa Lee, and her husband Keye developed a yearning for a larger space with a more relaxed vibe that would allow them to grow as a family and offer a space for Melissa to run her event, interior design and styling firm, Bespoke Only. They went about the house-hunting process very casually and didn’t take the hunt too seriously, but when the couple stumbled upon this gorgeous Brownstone in the creative and vibrant neighborhood of Clinton Hill that offered a truly blank canvas, they were quick to call it home for themselves and their three cats, Pishkin, Vader and Monkey.

It wasn’t love at first sight, but the space offered plenty of functional space and oozed with potential. It needed a lot of work and, just when they were becoming overwhelmed with it all, Melissa and Keye were lucky to find Sarah Jacoby from Simpson Jacoby Architecture to help them turn it into the home of their dreams. “There were phone calls from the crew every other day about some unforeseen issues inside of this over 100-year-old house,” Melissa says. “Roof leaks, unexpected load-bearing walls, electrical that was not up to code, the kind of renovation horror stories that we all have seen on TV — you name it and we had it.” Though the six-month-long process was stressful and had them crashing on family members’ couches most nights, the process wasn’t without some unforeseen perks as well — they learned patience and the value of living more simply. The constant moving forced them to shed a lot of their belongings, and they came to realize that a lot of their possessions weren’t necessities. “There are many things that we can actually live without and life still goes on,” Melissa explains, “It’s become a lighter way of life.” Of course, in the end, the result was also worth the wait and one they are forever grateful and thrilled with: a truly unique home, renovated and finished to their taste and lifestyle. –Sabrina

Photography by Ty Cole Photography
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Happy 4th of July + Best of the Web

Happy 4th of July + Best of the Web

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The 4th of July holiday totally snuck up on me this year, because we’re deep in planning mode for our new book. Kelli and I have become email/Google doc/photoshoot scheduling machines, so this weekend she’s flying out to New York to finish up our master travel schedule in person (we’re planning over 100 photoshoots in 2 months!) and hopefully catch a little R&R time by the pool, too. I hope all of you celebrating the holiday have a safe and happy weekend and for those of you not celebrating, we’ll see you right back here on Monday with beautiful homes and much more inspiration. Until then, here are some great, July-4th-perfect grilling recipes, cocktails, decorating ideas and the history of the American Flag– just in case you were curious! xo, grace

*Image above from Jen Altman’s home tour.

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In the Kitchen With: Casey Barber’s BBQ Pulled Pork Pierogies

In the Kitchen With: Casey Barber’s BBQ Pulled Pork Pierogies

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Casey Barber, cookbook author and editor of Good. Food. Stories, is no newcomer to the column. She has already shared recipes with our readers over the years, including Drunken Spaghetti with Clams and Coconut Cherry Suzy Qs. In honor of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, she is sharing a recipe for BBQ Pulled Pork Pierogies from her upcoming book, Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food. Having just returned from a quick trip to Nashville — where I did manage to get one pulled pork sandwich in — I must say these pierogies are a great option to have available at your holiday festivities. As Casey notes, you will have a lot of pulled pork left over, which means plenty of sandwiches for later! Happy Fourth! —Kristina

Why Casey loves this recipe: The cliché is that bacon is the gateway meat, but I feel like I could make a pretty good case for pulled pork. It’s just as intoxicatingly fragrant, it’s tender and juicy, and you get much more bang for your buck with a pork shoulder than a belly. This pierogi is much easier to eat than the Pulled Pork Pierogi Stacker, a sandwich served at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ ballpark. Instead of trying to squish pierogies on top of a pile of pulled pork on a sandwich, why not just put the pulled pork directly inside and eat it in one bite? So much simpler, and SO satisfying.

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Margherita Pizza Recipe from Moby’s in East Hampton

Margherita Pizza Recipe from Moby’s in East Hampton

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It’s a holiday weekend, so I couldn’t resist doubling up on recipes today, in case anyone needs some extra ideas for backyard cooking. Julia and I have been grilling just about every meal outside lately (I really want to try this idea for breakfast), so I’ve been wanting to set up a simple pizza we could try on the grill. Thankfully chef Gary King and the team at Moby’s in East Hampton came by with a recipe for simple but delicious Margherita Pizza that’s just what I’m looking for. So if you need a fun meal that you can work your summer garden ingredients into, this pizza is perfect. Thanks so much to Gary for sharing this with us! xo, grace

Photograph above by Nicole Franzen

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Before & After: Bronson Canyon Home Makeover

Before & After: Bronson Canyon Home Makeover, on Design*Sponge

Before & After: Bronson Canyon Home Makeover

Just a few months after Mimi and Brenden purchased their Bronson Canyon, CA home, the couple approached ModOp Design to help prepare the residence for their next major life change — baby Mia’s arrival. Firm principals Alexandra Becket and Greg Steinberg, who focus on the architectural restoration and mindful updating of mid-century modern structures, were excited by the possibilities for the 1946 2,200-square-foot Hollywood Hills house. During the course of the job, the team fully overhauled a bonus room above the garage (affectionately nicknamed “the barn”) by exposing the pitched roof, and adding skylights and larger windows to create a spot brimming with sunshine. Additionally, custom seating was crafted with the utility of a built-in storage bench. They also covered a spiral stairwell in spirited wallpaper with help from the good folks at Hygge & West, who were kind enough to scale up a Julia Rothman wallcovering pattern to better suit the area’s generous height. Finally, the dirty work — three bathrooms were gutted and finished with Heath Ceramics subway tile in different colorways, giving each space a distinctive personality, but sharing a common thread throughout.

With a six-month timeline before the family’s newest member would arrive, the design duo’s biggest challenge was staying on top of the contractor and crew to get the project finished before her birth. They began the fast-paced task by proposing how best to reconfigure the bonus room and bathrooms to make use of their square footage and maximize available daylight. Pinterest was an essential tool in exchanging images amongst the group. Becket and Steinberg would use it to propose ideas, which they pulled from their inspiration boards, their own previous projects, and from online searches of visual stimuli. The designers created boards for each room that would include pins for layout suggestions, vanity options, tile schemes, and products from which to choose. They then sorted through collections with the homeowners and edited down to the final selections.

Once construction began, the upstairs bathrooms were remodeled first so the occupants could live downstairs temporarily. When that work was mostly finished, the downstairs guest bathroom took center stage, as did reviving the bonus room and stairwell. The designers were thankful to have clients who brought a lot of their own creative ideas to the table, and who were very collaborative in the project’s development and decision-making processes. This close partnership, along with the presence of a bubbly resident infant, compel the proud new parents to say, “What was once a house now feels like our home.” —Annie

“After” photography by Charmaine David

 

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A Chicago Family’s Victorian Cottage

A Chicago Family's Victorian Cottage, Design*Sponge

A Chicago Family’s Victorian Cottage

Andersonville is one of my favorite neighborhoods here in Chicago, IL. The Swedish community not only has some of the most fabulous design shops in town, but my friends and I look forward to its Midsommarfest every year. The family-friendly and artistic neighborhood north of downtown is not only perfect in my eyes, but turned out to be the perfect spot for Angela, Gene, Enzo and Luca when they decided to move eight years ago. Their quaint cottage is a master class in how good things can come in small packages. According to Angela, the lots in Andyville – as my friends and I call it – are so close together “you could honestly pass a cup of sugar to your neighbor.” This presented a unique set of design challenges that Angela and Gene attacked head-on after moving in.

Determined to make the home feel larger and brighter, the family decked out their entire 1890s Victorian in shades of barely-there grey. Before this, “each room was painted a different color and every room had a different colored floor,” creating a disparate and uninvitingly dark feel. This new paint job, however, was just the beginning. From the get-go the family wanted a Scandinavian aesthetic with light floors, a lot of candles and a fireplace, but how exactly that would come together was up to the home itself. Angela let the home speak to her for a year before making any big decorating decisions. I have seen the results and think you’ll agree that a year’s worth of design development has resulted in a refined and warm place to call home. Click through to check it out. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Amber Hampton

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An Artistic Couple’s Toronto Home

"The first thing we did was have my cabinet maker put in our custom built-ins for the library/office/studio space. Michael has a substantial collection of books and we needed storage and a place for us both to work," says Lori. "We were coming from an apartment where we each had separate working spaces so this was a bit of an adjustment. Luckily the room is spacious and with the wrap around desk - it works really well."

An Artistic Couple’s Toronto Home

Relationships in which both people encourage each other’s passions and dreams just seem to work a little better. When Lori stepped out of the 9-to-5 to become a full-time artist, her husband Michael couldn’t have been more excited. Finding a home that would give them the studio space and creative vibes they were looking for was challenging but they have found a home that supports both of them well.

Lori Harrison, artist, designer and entrepreneur, and Michael Clark, organizational designer moved into this home 3 years ago. The building had been a co-op in the 1950s and transformed into apartments in 2010. “After looking at a dozen other condos when I saw our home, I instantly knew this was the one,” says Lori. “It was so different than all the others, it had just recently been renovated and was done so beautifully and so me.” From there, Lori and Michael have used their combined creativity to make a space that is minimally designed with lovely personal accents throughout. “My goal was to create a home that reflected both Michael and my aesthetic and a space that honored our treasured things. The process of making our space a home is one of my favorite things to do. I love nesting.”

Like any form of creating, there is a trial an error process in making a space into a home. “One challenge we had was with art. We have quite a collection and in our old apartment we created an art wall which worked beautifully to minimize less desirable pieces and highlight others. We thought we would try a similar effect in our new hallway area,” says Lori. “We spent most of the day hanging something like 25 pieces of art all measured and spaced out perfectly and when we were finished we looked at it, looked at each other and said, ‘crap, it totally doesn’t work!’ So we spent the next day taking it all down, filling all the holes and painting the entire wall. Sometimes there is just no way to know for sure unless you try it.” Their gorgeous home is beaming with creative energy and seems to be a place they can both live and work to the fullest. – Lauren

Photography by Stacey Brandford and Courntey Lee Photography

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