Best of the Web + Carrie Mae Weems

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This week I read the exciting news that artist Carrie Mae Weems won the 2016 National Artist Award from Anderson Ranch. I am such a huge fan of Carrie’s work and I love when talented and inspiring artists are recognized for a lifetime of extraordinary work. If you’re not familiar with Carrie’s work, please click through her gallery here. Her black and white photography is so powerful and so striking — it’s most definitely worth spending some time with this weekend. xo, grace

 

 

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    • These “kneaded” rocks are instantly soothing. It feels like watching a really great massage.
 
 
 
 
 

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A Waterfront Remodel on the Florida Coast

A Waterfront Remodel on the Florida Coast

When Lillian and Raymond Garcia bought their 1,150-square-foot beach condo in St. Petersburg, FL, they were looking for a vacation house on the water less than two hours away from their primary home in Orlando. With its waterfront community setting and spacious open layout, the Garcias’ beach home helps them relax and unwind and easily entertain family and friends (as well as rent to vacationers). The couple tasked designer Jenny Kaplan of An Aesthetic Pursuit with giving the space a complete overhaul in seven months. They knocked down walls, replaced the floors, countertops, and cabinetry, and refreshed wall colors and furniture, turning the space from a generic beach home into a bright and modern retreat.

 

The Garcias looked to nature for inspiration, incorporating warm and organic accents that would compliment their beach surroundings. Jenny developed a color palette inspired by the abundant seashells on the surrounding white sand beaches. She also helped the homeowners protect their investment by ensuring that each new piece added was chosen not only for its look, but also for its sturdiness and ability to withstand the wear and tear of a vacation rental property. The floors, for example, are durable tile, not wood, and each finish was chosen to perform well in wet, humid conditions. To maintain a personal feel, the Garcias’ daughter, Lindsey, created artwork for the living area and master bedroom. She sourced local shells and found objects from the beach for hanging shadow boxes, which complement the overall beachy aesthetic. Lindsey and Jenny also handmade the shibori throw pillows used as accents throughout. Read on to see more of their sunny Florida makeover. —Annie

 

Photography by Daniele Napolitano

 

Comfort Zone: Belinda Love Lee

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For anyone who runs their own business, stepping outside of your comfort zone is a regular occurrence. Ever since Belinda Love Lee moved to the UK after growing up in Hong Kong, she has not only had to adapt to the cultural shift, but deal with the fears and unknowns that exist being a freelance designer, illustrator and blogger.

 

 

Last year, we toured Belinda’s home, but today she’s letting us look deeper into her thoughts and feelings from the comfort of her favorite room, her bedroom. A cozy sanctuary layered in soft, neutral tones, her bedroom is the most meaningful space in her home. It’s the only place where she can completely unwind and find peace, and it continues to bring her comfort and feelings of security, despite life’s ever-changing landscape. As someone who shares her life online, Belinda recognizes that balance is vital, and getting as much joy out of what’s in your heart and head is just as – if not more – important that what’s in your online profile.

 

Belinda (who just so happens to be celebrating her birthday today) is joining us to chat more about what makes her tick, being house-proud, and letting go of the reigns. –Sabrina

 

 

 
 

Tell us about yourself.

 

 

My name is Belinda Love Lee and I run a design and illustration studio from the comfort of my own home! I was born in Canada, grew up in Hong Kong, and now currently live in Cardiff, UK with my dear husband.

 

I get my hands dirty by designing, hand lettering, illustrating and working on the computer all day. I first fell into working for myself when I was looking for a graphic design job but none of the doors opened. I knew I was good, but nothing and no one was taking me. It was at that time when I had a couple of freelance gigs going that I thought to myself, “What do I have to lose? Let’s go into the deep end head first” and bam! Here I am now.

 

Aside from work, a couple of things that make me tick: a good documentary to get you thinking (I’m a sucker for conspiracies), wandering around an unknown city and good design of course!

 

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What does home and this space mean to you? Describe it.

 

I really take pride in making our house feel like home. I see home as a complete space to reflect who you are from the inside, out, hence the huge emphasis it has on my life and Instagram. I absolutely love and adore our space.

 

This room specifically featured here is our bedroom, and I’d definitely say it’s my favorite room in the whole house. Other rooms might be more aesthetically pleasing, but I find that in this bedroom I can completely unwind and be at peace.

 

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What makes it so comfortable (physically and personally)?

 

This room is not only the place where rest, but more importantly it’s the place where I do most of my thinking. I’ll often be found journaling my thoughts in bed, sorting through life’s woes! I love being able to snuggle up to my husband, read a good book, or watch a good movie in bed. I also love starting off my day in this room by pulling out my good old yoga mat.

 

What makes you uncomfortable? What is your biggest fear?

 

Change makes me feel uncomfortable. Currently, my husband and I have lots of change happening in our lives. Good change nonetheless, but despite it being good, it still makes me feel uncomfortable! It’s a daily lesson to learn to let go of the reigns and trust and believe that I’ll be taken good care of and that things will work out.

 

My biggest fear is the fear of failing. I’ve always had a fear that I won’t ‘make it’- whatever that means- and it’s definitely held me back in areas of my life. But nowadays I’m trying to make a conscious effort to conquer that fear.

 

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Have you ever thrown caution to the wind and departed from your comfort zone? What happened as a result?

 

I think the first time I really stepped out of my comfort zone was when I first started blogging, back in 2008. I remember putting all of my work, thoughts and opinions out there. I was just so scared of it not being a success. The fear of failure held me back for so many years, but once I decided to step out of my comfort zone, and posted that first blog post, I realized, “Heck, that wasn’t too scary.” Since that one act of putting myself out there, my life has forever changed. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be the designer and blogger I am today if I hadn’t taken that first step way back then.

 

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What would you do if you had a day, a week and a month all to yourself?

 

If I had a day to myself, I’d probably spend it getting into some kind of craft like shibori dyeing or leather making. If I had a week to myself, it’d probably involve going on a crazy thrift shopping find, hoping from shop to shop, buying whatever goods that come my way- without my husband’s Do we really need that?” holding me back, ha! And if I had a month to myself, I’d definitely spend it traveling. I’ve never backpacked and have always been a fan of it, so I’d definitely give that a go.

 

What have you learned as an adult that you wish you knew when you were younger?

 

Growing up, I’ve always been the type to go against the grain, and was often called a rebel. I use to think that it was wrong of me to be different, especially in a more traditional society like Hong Kong, where it’s either status quo or no go. But now as an adult, I wouldn’t trade that off beat side of me for anything.

 

I’ve never been the type to fit within the 9-5 work mode; it just doesn’t motivate me. And because I’ve capitalized on my difference, I’ve now been able to make a pretty good life for myself. Learn to accept and love yourself for who you are. Being a ‘rebel’ isn’t that bad after all.

 

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How do you unplug, recharge and unwind?

 

Obviously your usual: watching New Girl, Modern Family, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is always a good switch off. But lately I’ve been trying to make it more of a habit to unplug and get away from that dreadful screen. I already spend too much of my life working on it. So as a result, I’ve really gotten into reading fiction! I say that with such excitement, because never in my life have I been the type to choose a book over anything. Being a bit dyslexic, it’s not my automatic go to, but since I’ve given books a go, I’ve really been enjoying it. I also love decorating and re-decorating our house a lot. I find that within a month, I change the walls and decor around  2-3 times. I spend days on end trying to make it look fresh!

 

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Have you ever experienced burnout? How do you get back on your feet and stay inspired?

 

Thankfully, I haven’t experienced a burnout before. I’ve had the privilege of working for myself since being out of school, so I make a very conscious effort to have a good work and life balance. Weekends = no replying to emails. After 5:00pm = no work what so ever. The only work I do on the weekends is keeping up with my Instagram. But even if I feel too much pressure to have to post, I make sure to take a step back and remember that I’d prefer to keep my sanity than to feel overworked.

 

What do you think the world could use less of, and more of?

 

Self hate, Self love.

 

What’s one question you wish you had the answer to?

 

How much a dollar really cost? -Kendrick Lamar

 

Embroidered Saint Patrick’s Day Table Runner

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There’s no question about it, green has quickly become my new favorite color. Emerald, mint, forest, turquoise- I love it all. With St Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I can’t help but want to embrace this color even more.

 

 

Most of the St. Patrick’s Day decorations I’ve seen are a bit over the top, so I decided to make a hand embroidered table runner for today’s project. The touch of green is a subtle nod to the holiday, and you can easily reuse the runner for other occasions. –Kathleen

 

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Supplies:

 

 

-Cotton fabric

 
 

-green embroidery thread

 
 

-needle

 
 

-scissors

 
 

-embroidery hoop

 
 

-pencil

 
 

-black marker/pen

 
 

-paper

 
 

-straight pins

 
 

-iron and sewing machine (not pictured).

 

 

Steps:

 

Step 1: Cut your cloth into a long runner to fit your table. I cut mine to about 44” long and 11” wide. Don’t forget to include seam allowance – I allowed for about ¾” on each side. Warm up your iron and press the edges down once and then again, so that you have nice pressed hems on all sides. Pin in place to secure.

 

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Step 2: Use your sewing machine to sew around the hem you just pressed and pinned.

 

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Step 3: Use a black pen to draw your edge design on a piece of paper. I drew open-ended triangles, but you can use any shape you like. Place the paper behind your table runner and trace onto the cloth using a pencil. Make sure to keep the design lined up with the edges.

 

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Step 4: Put your table runner into the embroidery hoop and thread a needle with green embroidery thread – I split the 6-strand thread in half so that I only used 3 strands at a time. Tie a knot at the end of the length of thread and starting from the back, start embroidering over your design. When you run out of thread, tie off, and replace with more. When finished, give the runner a good press with your iron.

 

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Life & Business: Nasozi Kakembo

Life & Business: Nasozi Kakembo, Design*Sponge

 
 

Earlier this month, creative director Nasozi Kakembo gave us a peek inside her Brooklyn home. Draped in indigo, mudcloth and pattern, the globally-influenced space is one of my favorite features we’ve ever run. “An inspiring individual must live here,” I thought to myself as I clicked through picture after picture. Sure enough, I was right. As it turns out, over the past five years, Nasozi has been tirelessly building xnasozi, a home textile company that all started with six pillows.

 

 

For years, Nasozi spent her workweek promoting international rights and social justice. But even after a successful and long day’s work, she left her office feeling unfulfilled. Her nighttime hobby, on the other hand, invigorated her. Into the wee hours of the morning she’d work with various textiles picked up on trips to her second home in Kampala, Uganda. After one particularly inspiring trip, Nasozi opened an Etsy shop with the hopes of selling the first six pillows she created. It was a decision that would lead to creative fulfillment.

 

Night after night for two years, she worked to help the shop grow. And in 2013, she achieved enough financial success that she could focus on xnasozi full time. From that point on, she continued to push her brand by offering a more robust collection in order to keep customers interested in her products.

 

Her trips to Uganda have changed a bit now that she’s at the helm of a thriving brand. Now when she travels, she eagerly looks forward to not only seeing familiar faces, but spending more time than ever alongside locals, crafting new designs for pillows, baskets, throws and even furniture. It’s the time spent creating a network for these African artisans that Nasozi finds the most rewarding about her new job. Read on below to hear more. Enjoy! —Garrett

 

Portrait by Miisha Ayana Nash. Photography throughout by Nasozi Kakembo

 

 

 

Why did you decide to start your own business, versus work for someone else?

 

I had been working for an international human rights and social justice philanthropy for four years and started there when my son was four-and-a-half months old. I had tried for many of those years to make the job more fulfilling and challenging, but it wasn’t happening fast enough for me. My son was also preparing to start elementary school by that time, and apart from the subway logistics of having a kid in school in Brooklyn, and a nine to five in midtown, I knew I wanted to be able to participate in his school activities. In order to do that, I needed to be able to set my own schedule, even if that meant working during unconventional hours and in unconventional places. The third and final impetus was the growth of the business. I started my company in 2011, on a whim after a work trip to Senegal. I came back with amazing fabrics and launched an Etsy shop with six pillows (and horrible pictures) a couple of months later. From 2011 to 2013, business had picked up to the point where I knew I wanted to give it 100% and see if I could actually be my own boss. I quit my job with modest savings in the bank in case the business suddenly came to a halt after my leap of faith.

 

Life & Business: Nasozi Kakembo, Design*Sponge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image above: xnasozi’s African mudcloth butterfly chair is available here.

 

Can you remember when you first learned about your field of work? How did you discover what it was and how you knew it was what you wanted to do? 

 

My acceptance into Renegade Craft Fair really was transformative and eye-opening. I participated in my first of many just two months after quitting my day job, and it single-handedly introduced me to not only the world of home decor and lifestyle, but creative-based entrepreneurship. I met so many talented and intrepid business people, and it was reassuring knowing that I wasn’t the only one who sacrificed life as I knew it in pursuit of something unknown.

 

What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?

 

Something to the effect of “If it’s coming from your heart, you can’t fail,” and “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Haha.

 

Life & Business: Nasozi Kakembo, Design*Sponge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image above: Nasozi on a recent trip to Uganda, where she met with local tailors to craft bags for her brand.

 

What was the most difficult part of starting your business?

 

Managing expenses and deciding on which products or designs to focus on. I had so many ideas I wanted to try out, but it’s important to pace yourself because sample production can be costly.

 

Life & Business: Nasozi Kakembo, Design*Sponge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running a business?

 

Never undersell your work. It can be tempting, especially if the request is coming from a buyer or client you’ve been courting for a while, but if they appreciate your work and quality, they will pay. It’s a hard cycle to break once started, so it’s best to set your prices right at the very beginning, and stick to them.

 

Can you name a moment of failure in your business experiences that you learned from or that helped you improve your business or the way you work? 

 

Early on, I spent a lot of money on market events that ended up not being so great for me. [While] a costly mistake financially, it helped me to appreciate the classic economical definition of “market” and to analyze who and what my market is.

 

Life & Business: Nasozi Kakembo, Design*Sponge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image above: xnasozi’s pillows. 

 

If you were magically given three more hours per day, what would you do with them?

 

Get a mani-pedi and go for a swim in a quiet, blue cenote. I’m not sure if those can happen near each other or even within that timespan. Haha.

 

What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting your business?

 

I definitely had to sacrifice time I spent with my friends and some other social activities at home. That was the hardest part.

 

Can you name your greatest success in your business experiences?

 

The first time I saw my work in a magazine, I pretty much stalked the newsstands until the issue came out and then bought way more than I would ever need. That was such a proud moment though! A close second was seeing my home on Design*Sponge! I’ve been a loyal follower for so many years, so it was an honor to share my home with other members of the D*S audience.

 

Life & Business: Nasozi Kakembo, Design*Sponge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image above: Mudcloth in Nasozi’s home office.

 

What resources would you recommend to someone starting a creative business of their own?

 

Etsy’s former “Quit Your Day Job” series was definitely on my daily digest when I was still at my day job. Today I’ll occasionally read an article form Entrepreneur Magazine or WSJ. I was terrified of economics until I had to take a class in grad school. Thank goodness for that because I actually ended up enjoying it, and much of what I learned has guided my understanding of business principles and how to engage customers.

 

Has failing at something or quitting ever led to success for you? Walk us through that.

 

The most challenging position I’ve been in was when I had a pre-order sale for a product that ended up being stranded in Uganda for several months. I have the most amazing customers on earth, because they were all so patient and understanding of the situation. But I had some serious damage control to do despite that, and I made sure to communicate with them directly. Then I sent them all an extra gift when I finally shipped them their orders. Now I know which means of transport to rely on for work that I bring in from Uganda.

 

In your opinion, what are the top three things someone should consider before starting their own business?

 

1. Why are you doing this? What are your motivations? Are you passionate about it? Are you doing it for the money? Do you have something original to contribute to the field?

 

2. Can you devote 100% of your attention to this or have a plan to be able to?

 

3. Where do you want to see your business in two, five and then ten years?

 

What’s the first app, website or thing you open/do in the morning?

 

Instagram, then NY Daily News for kicks, and then I listen to NPR radio at work all day.

 

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss that isn’t obvious?

 

The hardest thing about being my own boss is shutting off, especially since I’m a mom. I used to work every weekday and then events on weekends. After about a year of working like that, I decided to stop doing weekend events so that I could do things again like having a lazy Sunday with friends or taking my son to swim class. I’m so happy I made that decision because it has had a huge impact on my quality of life and my finances haven’t take a hit.

 

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba, on Design*Sponge

 
 

When I daydream about all the cool careers in our community, Design Director at the creative agency Mother New York is at the top of my next life list. Alex Proba has this coveted day job, where she gets to refine innovative visual communications. But it’s not the only gig on her roster. She’s also the founder of Studio Proba, where she somehow finds the time to create A Poster A Day. Alex says that, for her, “Design is more than just a daytime vocation, it’s a way of existing in the world.” Now heading into her fourth year of this daily project, it has become more than just a daily routine for Alex, “it’s [become] my personal diary.” Involving social media followers in the project came naturally, and now devotees can submit questions in hopes of receiving visual responses as daily works. Read on to hear how Alex balances agency life with her many extracurricular pursuits. Annie

 

 

Images courtesy of Alex Proba and Mother New York

 

 

 

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba, on Design*Sponge

 

What was your career path like?

 

I am from a family of doctors. When I was about sixteen years old, I studied as an exchange student in Ohio where I learned to appreciate art and craft. I started drawing, painting, and experimenting with materials and objects. I felt something special when creating. After I came back home to Germany, I didn’t stop creating. My parents thought of my newfound creativity as a hobby – but I didn’t. But when it was time to decide on a career, I initially chose the expected route to become a doctor. After spending some time in the sciences, I started to explore the world of spatial and graphic design, as well as product and furniture. And I feel so incredibly fortunate to have chosen the path that’s right for me, and I feel very lucky to be able to do work I love. But what actually happened was that I started my career by getting into med school. Very quickly I realized that medicine wasn’t the path I truly wanted to take, and so I took my chances and followed my heart by applying for design school in Hamburg, Germany. And then it just fell all together from there. It was the best decision I’ve made.

 

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba, on Design*Sponge

 

What did you study in college?

 

I studied spatial design in undergrad, which was a mix of architecture and graphic design. And then I went to study contextual design (furniture and product) at the Design Academy Eindhoven.

 

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba, on Design*Sponge

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

 

I always wanted to be something creative — I was just unclear about which type of creativity. I could have seen myself becoming a baker, florist, or a even a coroner. But I’m still dreaming and am not letting becoming a baker and florist go just yet… 🙂

 

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba, on Design*Sponge

 

Image above: The Mother New York office and team

 

Can you describe a typical day?

 

My day now starts with a pretty long commute. I live in Bed-Stuy and the Mother office is located on 44th Street and 11th Avenue in Manhattan. I use the time commuting to answer my studio mail and get my thoughts together. Then at Mother, I usually start my day by checking in with my team on how they are doing and what the to-do items are. Then I come up with a plan of action. Some days are filled with internal and external meetings, and some days I just sit in front of my screen and design. As a design director you have around 3-5 accounts at the same time, and sometimes it is hard to foresee what the week will look like. When I get home, I mostly do my poster a day and then continue on working on my personal studio projects. But I try to not do it every night.

 

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba, on Design*Sponge

 

What’s the best part of your job?

 

Making. And the people I am making things with.

 

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba, on Design*Sponge

 

And the hardest part of your job?

 

Time. Being able to give 100%+ at Mother and then at night and weekends at my own studio.

 

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba, on Design*Sponge

 

What else would you love to do in another field, perhaps related to your additional expertise in graphic design and illustration?

 

I am finally getting back to working with ceramics. And I’ve decided to become a member in a Manhattan-based ceramic studio so I can go in whenever I feel like it and throw some things. It calms me down and helps me relax.

 

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba, on Design*Sponge

 

What’s the holy grail in your field – what’s your Oscar?

 

The moment I receive a reaction from someone to a specific poster. I feel like I made them happy, even if just for a second. But also important for me is to stay true to myself, being happy, and continuing to work on meaningful projects for greater than aesthetic purposes.

 

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba, on Design*Sponge

 

How do you stay inspired? (And where do you get your ideas from?!)

 

I think that life, our day-to-day, gives us the inspiration we need. At least it works for me.

 

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba, on Design*Sponge

 

Do you have a favorite project that you’ve worked on? Or one that you are most proud of?

 

I’m most proud of my A Poster A Day project, which has been going on for almost two years. A Poster A Day started rather spontaneously when I was working on a project late at night and felt extremely uninspired and stuck. Usually I would take a break and start reading a book, or go and start watering my plants to get my creativity flowing again. But instead of doing the usual I started to play around with images. I just created beautiful graphics by playing with random shapes and colors and without thinking about what I was actually designing. While having fun with shapes, lines, and imagery, I realized how happy it made me to create for the sake of beauty. I asked: “Could this become a new routine?” To challenge myself, I decided to make one poster every day, with just one restriction — time. And that was the start of A Poster A Day. In the first year, the rule was that I was not allowed to spend more than 30 minutes on each poster, as this, to me, was the only way in which the project could succeed. Without overthinking the process, and with no limits or restrictions. At one point I realized that it was more than just a daily routine — it started to become my personal diary. When I look back at my posters, I can exactly recall what happened the day I created each one. It restores my past and that is magical. When I was close to finishing my first year of A Poster A Day, I knew that I wanted to continue, but also add a slight change to it. I decided to turn the project away from myself and my personal life and make it about my community, the people who look at my posters every day. The second year was about You and it is called Yours — A Poster A Day. People around the world were submitting their stories to me daily, and I would take them and translate them visually. This was such an incredible year for me to work so intimately with humans I would normally never have met. I was overwhelmed with the amount of stories I was receiving from all over the world. Every story is unique and they are all so different — they vary from sad to happy to crazy to unbelievable, etc. I feel like I am doing something more purposeful. After Yours, I still wasn’t ready to stop the project, and so created the third year – Ours. Now it’s a conversation between me and my community. They are able to submit a question, and I answer it visually. Today marks day 976 and I am actually planning the fourth year. This project is also my favorite one because it has made me who I am today and led me to many interesting, new creative endeavors.

 

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba, on Design*Sponge

 

What’s coming next for you? Are there any projects coming up you’re excited about? Or dream projects you’d like to tackle?

 

I have a bunch of exciting projects planned for 2016. A Poster A Day will live on as my daily project, but my focus is now more on the transformation of graphic design to furniture and products. To give you a sneak peak of my launch list for the new year: a second edition of my textile rug collaboration with Aelfie in the spring, a furniture collaboration with the talented gentlemen from Bower, custom ceramic tiles, and much more.

 

We Want Your Job: Alex Proba, on Design*Sponge

 

Building Your Creative Toolkit

Building Your Creative Toolkit

 
 

No matter what your thing is, you rely on your tools: sharp pencils, no-slip rulers or that tape that sticks to stuff without screwing it up. But when just starting out on a new project or venture, you’re suddenly faced with the daunting task of stocking up. Sure, you can run through the store impulsively buying rubber stamps, but should you?

 

 

I’m not the expert on minimalism, but I am a huge tool so I have some insight here. By honestly considering who you are and what you want to accomplish, you can build a useful collection of tools instead of a bunch of expensive stuff stashed in a tote bag under your desk. –ADAMJK

 

 

 

Building Your Creative Toolkit

 
 

Building Your Creative Toolkit

 
 

Building Your Creative Toolkit

 
 

Building Your Creative Toolkit

 
 

Building Your Creative Toolkit

 
 

Building Your Creative Toolkit

 
 

Building Your Creative Toolkit

 
 

Building Your Creative Toolkit

 
 

Building Your Creative Toolkit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adam J. KurtzAdam J. Kurtz (better known as ADAMJK) is an artist and author of 1 Page at a Time: A Daily Creative Companion. His dark (but optimistic) humor comes to life in an offbeat line of gifts and small trinkets. Follow him at @ADAMJK or in real life (he lives in Brooklyn because of course he does).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letting the Details Shine Through In Portland, OR

Letting the Details Shine Through In Portland, OR

The first inhabitants of a simple yet stylish Portland, OR home, Design Survivalist Rebecca and art director husband Mike Guss are glad to let its thoughtful architectural details take center stage. The couple doesnt feel the need to populate their rental property with lots of stuff, preferring to display items that have personal history, practical function, and beautiful lines even with a small child and cat in tow. The house, with its modern matte black framed windows, concrete floors, and centerpiece slatted staircase, demands pared-down, calm, and clean decor. Its austere furniture and curated artwork are always agreed upon by both Rebecca and Mike, or otherwise deemed unnecessary. The picture rails in the bedrooms are a perfect system for us because we can change things out frequently, she explains. Washi tape and picture-hanging strips work well for rotating things like our daughters artwork. But for now, we like the white walls.

 

Mike, who spent his formative years in Japan, and Rebecca, who enjoyed childhood summers in Montana, prefer an uncluttered aesthetic, in part due to their early influences. Now that Im older, I miss the wide open spaces, the visual clarity and pauses, Rebecca reveals. I think thats part of the reason why I find myself attracted to our living space being so minimal.

 

Carving out a place for Rebeccas home office was another reason to make the free-flowing, organic vibe a priority. She and Mike gave their daughter the bigger bedroom, then dedicated a workspace nook in their own. Their daughters room stays organized because the majority of her toys, clothes, art supplies and even her dresser go right into the closet storage system. And luckily for the appreciative but discerning family, the landlord felt equally as passionate about providing excellent functionality in the original design. Their unit is built with eco-friendly features like a split-ductless heat pump system in each room of the house, a tankless gas water heater, energy-efficient appliances, and low VOC paints and finishes. Keen attention to detail encourages the tenants to expose the beauty inherent in these (and other) choices. According to Rebecca, That really makes everything else possible. Annie

 

Photography by Rebecca Guss

 

34 Beautiful Storefronts + Best of the Web

34 Beautiful Storefronts + Best of the Web

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I’m so excited to end this week with the results of our most recent DS Hashtag Challenge: #DSStorefronts. My goal with this challenge was not just to find visual inspiration from great storefronts, but to also highlight some of the great brick-and-mortar shops across the globe. And your photos did not disappoint! From Mexico, Argentina, the UK, Australia and beyond, your snaps of amazing shops, stores and restaurants have given me so much inspiration. Beautifully lettered logos, neon signs, painted exteriors — these spaces have it all, and there are so many ideas here that could be carried into both home and studio designs.

 

 

So until Monday, here’s wishing you all a safe and happy weekend and lots to spark your creativity! Thank you again to everyone who shared their #dsstorefronts photos with us! Click through the slideshow above to see them all. xo, grace

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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