interior design

D*S Office Makeover: Part One

by Grace Bonney

2014 ds office
The phrase, “Whatever works, until it doesn’t”, has become something of a personal motto for me. Instead of wedding myself to the idea of always doing something one way, I’ve accepted that as life changes, so do the ways you live it. That motto has never applied more than it does to our current Design*Sponge office situation.

Two years ago, Amy and I talked and agreed that working from home just wasn’t working for us anymore. We needed to bounce ideas off each other in person, have a place to work on bigger (and often messier) craft projects and we wanted a space where we could host events, lunches and take meetings that didn’t turn our apartments into storage facilities or de facto lobbies. So we found a fun – but raw – office space in The Pencil Factory, a building I’ve loved and wanted to be a part of for years. Not only was it a short bike ride away from both of our homes, it was also home to some of the most talented artists, designers, craftspeople and musicians around. So we signed a lease and set out with grand plans to decorate this huge open space and turn it into a home away from home.

That was two years ago. And the office still looks pretty much the same – if not worse. We had a brief spurt of energy where we painted the floors black, had shelves and a library ladder hung and ordered a desk and couch. But then work and life took over and everything else on the office decorating to-do list fell by the wayside. I’ve been too embarrassed to share our space here on the site because it’s never quite been finished enough to photograph. And after a serious round of project-making and photoshoots here, we’re left with a mess of a space that needs some professional help.

Thankfully The Home Decorator’s Collection stepped in and offered to help. So we’re going to finally tackle making over the office, starting with a much-needed kitchen/dining area for future Biz Ladies lunches.

Amy, Max and I have been moodboarding like crazy lately, but with our busy book schedule (we’re chugging away on the second Design*Sponge book!) we realized we didn’t have time to do everything on our own. So we called in one of our favorite people, Homepolish designer Amanada Gorski. Amanda is going to help us pull together our ideas and turn this space into a place we’re proud to call home and a space we can more easily invite everyone to visit and join us for classes, meals and meetings. We’re going to reveal the makeover in stages, starting with today: THE TERRIFYING BEFORE SHOTS. Part of me was frightened to reveal the way we’re actually living/working right now and part of me was perversely excited because it’s the opposite of the way we all actually live at home right now. This office is an EXPLOSION of clutter and is crying out for some real help (hence our yard sale to clean things out pre-makeover). I’m so glad help is finally on the way. Stay tuned for the first project report next week! xo, grace


This post is brought to you by Home Decorators Collection, an exclusive décor brand of The Home Depot.

HDC hd

Suggested For You


  • I am really looking forward to what you produce with your new office space. The bones of your space are absolutely fabulous (love that window! and floors! and walls!) that you have a great canvas to work with. Having redone my home office and a studio space myself, I know it’s a daunting task but one that leaves you feeling invigorated and inspired. Looking forward to this series.

  • I was wondering why you never showed off your office space since the fabulous move with the even more fabulous office door! Now I am reminded of what I already knew – you all are just normal folks trying to live the dream as much as anyone else. Very relieved that you are taking us through this step by step process, especially since I just signed up with homepolish myself. YEAH for you all (but please don’t get rid of the library ladder!).

  • The constellation wall hooks are awesome! Where are those from?! Excited to see the transformation!

  • While I do enjoy seeing the makeover of the D*S office, the opportunity to see some candid behind-the-scenes action, and am looking forward to seeing how the progress of this project unfolds…

    I’m even MORE excited (and anxious!), over the mention of the next D*S book! (I can’t believe nobody else has even commented on this, lol!)

    I look so forward to “Book II”. And, in the event that your imminent book tour takes you to South Florida, you better believe that I’ll be among the devotees in line to say “hello”!

  • I too work in a creative field at a small architecture and design firm and we’ve found ourselves in a similar situation. We know great design and provide it daily to the masses. We create dream projects for others, but when it comes to our own space – we never apply it and live in squalor. I think its the nature of the beast sometimes with creative people/spaces. You guys are an inspiration!

  • I love this post because this is exactly how I feel about our workspace right now. We’re in the middle of re-organizing and going through/getting rid of stuff. Feels good, but I can’t wait to be done! As for actually decorating it… that’s a whole other story, ha! Anyways, I can’t wait to see the final reveal. You guys have great taste.

  • I love this post because I’m always feeling terrible about all the unfinished spaces in my house. While some are “done” and I’m so happy with them, there are plenty of other messes! As a designer myself, I always feel badly that life (and money, to some extent) gets in the way of finishing everything up. Glad to see that I’m not alone!

  • This’ll be fun. Of course, (like everyone?) I want to see it all NOW… But, I do like that you’re breaking it down. Before/afters are a blast – but it’s so easy to get discouraged by the ‘unknown’ amount of time & effort. It’ll be interesting to see it in steps.

    And a HUGE thank you for showing us your real day-to-day workspace. Just the thought of anyone seeing my current hovel makes my face hot. Looking forward to seeing your new space (and some good tips)!