d*s book

d*s book preview: chapter openers + exclusive B&N edition

by Grace Bonney

For today’s weekly wrap up I’m sharing one of the final D*S Book previews. After two long years of writing, shooting, editing and planning, Design*Sponge at Home will finally hit stores next month and Amy and I will hit the road to visit over 30 cities and celebrate (and craft) with readers and friends across the country. I can’t believe it’s finally happening, but I’m so glad it is.

Before I jump into today’s book preview, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for making Design*Sponge at Home the #1 selling book on Barnes & Noble.com last Wednesday through Friday! I can’t tell you how much it meant to me (and all of us here). We’re so thankful for all of your support and want to thank Barnes & Noble for offering D*S readers 50% off.

I also wanted to add that anyone that purchases a book from Barnes & Noble (online, in-store or pre-order) will receive a special exclusive edition of the book! Your book will have a sticker with a code on it that gives you 15 extra pieces of content that will live on Design*Sponge.com. Your password will open a page with 5 extra home tours, 5 extra DIY projects and 5 extra before & afters that won’t be shown anywhere else! So if you’re interested in even more D*S content, pick up a copy right here. Thanks again to B&N and everyone who pre-ordered during last week’s special sale.

On to the preview! After the jump I’ll walk you through the process (and fun) that was creating chapter openers for the book (All of which were photographed by William Brinson). Let’s just say it involved buying every darn ribbon M&J Trimming had in stock. I’m convinced the store thought we were punking them by buying that much ribbon… xo, grace

Below is a summary of this week’s highlights:

Details about the D*S Book chapter openers continues after the jump…

Ribbons! For the chapter openers in the D*S Book we knew we wanted to keep the ribbon theme going. It was an idea I latched onto early in the process and wanted to keep consistent throughout the book and new website design. In order to play around with the idea of ribbons, it involved a serious ribbon-finding mission. Luckily my partner-in-crime, Julia Rothman, was up for the challenge.

Julia and I hit up M&J trimming (where we randomly ran into Erica filming a segment for Elle Magazine!) where we proceeded to look through and buy just about every red/pink/peach/orange ribbon they had in stock. See that photo above? We pretty much took all of that (times 10) home. On the way out we grabbed a couple extra metallic ribbons that ended up becoming the main ribbons on the D*S website redesign.

Once we zeroed on on the ribbon idea we had to figure out how best to arrange them. We went through several ideas with Jenny and the team at Also, including the idea of doing something with a peg board for each opening, where we spelled chapter titles in ribbon:

As it turns out, it’s not easy to spell words like that. They look super blocky and don’t have the soft, feminine feel we wanted. So that got nixed. On to the next one…

Jenny and Julia came up with the idea of using the ribbons in more creative ways for each chapter opener, rather than using them in the same way for each opener. A rough sketch was made:

After we had the ideas, we hunted down the necessary components (ribbons, a tiny sewing machine, things to paint and about 9 gallons of pale pink spray paint) and found a photographer who we loved: William Brinson. If you ever get a chance to work on a photoshoot with Will, do it. He’s an absolute pleasure to work with.

On the day of the shoot Julia and I showed up early with boxes of ribbons and props to style for each opener. We wanted to use the ribbons in a way that spoke to each theme: homes, DIY, DIY basics and makeovers. Here’s what we came up with:

The Sneak Peek chapter starts the book, so we wanted something that reminded us of the beginning or front of a home: doors. We collected old key locks, knobs and keys and spray painted them a uniform color so the ribbons would be the primary attention. I played with the ribbon until it created a shape I liked and we left room on the right where text would be inserted digitally. When we finally finished we had a shot that we felt was graceful and still playful and reminded us of opening doors into people’s homes.

The next chapter is a series of 50 DIY projects. I knew I wanted to play with the idea of a toolbelt so we ordered one online and ended up using oh…5 cans of spray paint to soak it thoroughly to get a pale color. Lesson learned: don’t try to spray paint something made of suede. It takes forever. And is a waste of paint. Also, you’ll get a serious headache if you spend that much time around spray paint.

We painted the toolbelt and nails (my favorite part- those nails are adorable) and then worked with a great stylist (Naomi De Manana) to wrap all the tools in ribbons so they felt like they were actually made of ribbon, rather than metal and plastic. The overall look had the fun feel we wanted. Although I never see a can of pink spray paint again it will be too soon.

This shot is my favorite- and was the easiest to do. For the DIY basics chapter (which breaks down simple skills like upholstery, sewing, wiring, etc.) we bought a teeny tiny vintage sewing machine on eBay and painted it the same pale pink color. We weighed down ribbons at different angles to suggest sewing with the ribbons and, at the last minute, added a tiny spool threaded with velvet ribbon. This was so simple, but the clean layout really became my favorite.

After the DIY chapters is a section on Flowers- my favorite. We wanted to make ribbon flowers, but after a disastrous afternoon of trying to make them on our own in Julia’s living room, we gave up and called Naomi. She’s a floral stylist for Martha Stewart and was way better at making ribbon flowers than we were. Naomi created all sorts of flower-inspired shapes out of different ribbons and we styled them to suggest an ombre fade from one end of the page to the other. I saved all of these little ribbon flowers to mail out with books to friends, family and D*S editors.

There’s another chapter opener in the book but I wanted to leave something to be a surprise, so the B&A chapter will hopefully be a fun surprise. It involved buying out a billion cheap cups from Fishs Eddy last minute, so if anyone wants a few bags full of pale pink cups, we’ve got you covered.

I’ll be sharing more from the book soon, but for now I hope this little peek was fun. You can read more (and pre-order) from the D*S book right here.

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