Best of the Web + Dusen Dusen for Paperless Post



Two years ago, Max did a great piece on the revival of Memphis-era design trends. Giant squiggles, geometric shapes, and bold primary colors were popping up everywhere – and one of our favorite artists exploring the modern interpretation of that style was Ellen Van Dusen of Dusen Dusen. I loved Ellen’s last collection (modeled by Aidy Bryant), so I was excited to hear that she was launching a new capsule collection with Paperless Post.





The Dusen Dusen for Paperless Post collection has 10 brightly-colored invitations inspired by rooftop parties and late-night dancing. Each design features a vivid graphic and/or geometric pattern that feels perfect for summer parties. I love seeing all of these colors after a cold winter of neutrals, so these are going on my wish list for any summer soirees. Click here to check them out online and to order. xo, grace




    • Taste of Streep: one of the funniest Instagram feeds ever. Yep, it’s a collection of Meryl Streep collages. Just what the Internet was made for.
    • This new IKEA collection is so Scandinavian-chic. I get so excited when IKEA works with great designers to do capsule collections like this one.
    • I wouldn’t mind having my own private island. But I’d want to invite everyone to come join us in our tiny lake-within-a-lake. (via Greg)




Before & After: An Esquire Magazine Library

Before & After: An <em>Esquire Magazine</em> Library

Longing for a grown-up space in which to house the artifacts of their special family history, Sarah and Archie Smart tasked Residents Understood with creating an elegant den – in a spare room previously filled with a random assortment of toys belonging to their two young children. Jessica Centella and Kiera Kushlan, the principals at the Washington, DC design firm, sought to bring the 275-square-foot room back to its original 1936 Colonial-style glory, with some contemporary flair added for good measure.


Archie’s grandfather David Archibald Smart co-founded the men’s lifestyle publication Esquire in the 1930s, and left him with an incredible collection of magazines and family photos matching the age of the home. The couple wanted to transform their bonus room into a space worthy of displaying the family’s rich story. Taking cues from the original millwork, built-in storage was added for the many magazine volumes. The room’s heavy wooden finishes and paneling remain for budgetary reasons, but were modernized and highlighted by a few generous coats of deep navy blue paint. Additional built-ins mirroring those on the fireplace wall provide floor-to-ceiling book storage while bringing balance to the room.


In a small area built for lounging, the furnishings needed to be comfortable but not bulky – so a large leather sofa is balanced by a sleek, tufted grey model across the way. Unique architecture left little wall space on which to display framed photos, so clearing an area behind the seating results in the creation of a personal gallery. Finally, a colorful shag rug, faux fur throws, and shiny accents add warmth and texture to the scene. Both Sarah and Archie now have a space to call their own – one fit for a refined gentleman or woman alike. –Annie


Photography by Bonnie Sen


DIY Spring String Light Garland



I’ve been patiently waiting for the longest winter ever to end – and for spring’s floral bounty to arrive. With all the bright poppies and versatile viburnum in full bloom, I just want to put them everywhere!


The spring weather also has me back in the groove of entertaining – which basically entails hanging out with friends and a pitcher of sangria on the fire escape. It’s a venue crying out for some fun decor. So for this project, I’m using my favorite spring blooms in a garland wound around a string of twinkling fairy lights. The perfect cure for spring fever, not to mention providing an easy touch of seasonal pizazz. –Gwendolyn


Photography by Ella Ordona







    • string lights (I used these)
    • floral sheers
    • floral wire
    • flowers of choice

When choosing your flowers, make sure to go with several different types. I already knew I wanted to use some gorgeous coral poppies, so I built the rest of my arrangement around them. Snowball viburnum makes a great filler and goes so well with the delicate green ornithogalum (also known as star of Bethlehem). To these I added muscari (aka grape hyacinth) and purple freesias for a pop of color.   




Step 1: Ready? Before you do anything else, prep your flowers and greenery. Cut the blooms of the snowball viburnum off the woody stems and strip off any leaves. Trim down the rest of your flowers, leaving yourself about 6 inches of stem to work with.




Step 2: Now for the fun part: Starting at the end of your string lights, twine the blooms onto them with floral wire until secure. Layer with small flowers, filler, main blossoms and so on until you’re happy with it and repeat all the way down your string lights.




Step 3: If you’re using wire string lights like mine, take extra care to position them in open areas of the garland so they don’t get lost under the heavier petals. I positioned some of mine in the middle of the snowball viburnum and it lit up the entire bloom!




Step 4: Secure the garland to your railing using floral wire – then sit back and wait for your guests’ oohs and ahhs.




What’s that? No fire escape or balcony? No worries: Just get that step ladder out of the closet and take your spring floral decorating to new heights.




How To Get Over Common Creative Fears (Maybe)

How To Get Over Common Creative Fears (Maybe)


If you think about it long enough, pretty much everything is a little terrifying. Our brains and bodies are built to protect us, and they’ve got to remain on high alert as life teaches us what to stop worrying about. Are carrots safe? Yeah! A first date? Maybe. A job interview? AkjhdsFl;sadfsldgsdfglskdfjgsdfgklsdfg.



Though we’re learning to conquer our individual challenges, there are some fears that probably ring true for all of us. These are some of those fears, and we’re going to get over them. Maybe. –Adam J. Kurtz




How To Get Over Common Creative Fears (Maybe)


How To Get Over Common Creative Fears (Maybe)


How To Get Over Common Creative Fears (Maybe)


How To Get Over Common Creative Fears (Maybe)


How To Get Over Common Creative Fears (Maybe)


How To Get Over Common Creative Fears (Maybe)


How To Get Over Common Creative Fears (Maybe)


How To Get Over Common Creative Fears (Maybe)


How To Get Over Common Creative Fears (Maybe)





Still need a little something extra? My “TINY PEP TALK” generator might help. Play the video and pause quickly for a fresh pep talk every time. You can even take a screencap to send to a friend!




A video posted by Adam J. Kurtz (@adamjk) on Apr 26, 2016 at 6:47am PDT









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).








An Airy Modern Greenhouse in Brooklyn

An Airy Modern Greenhouse in Brooklyn

When Dana Arbib of A Peace Treaty offered to take us on personal tours of her friends’ most beautiful homes (after sharing her own stunning apartment), we couldn’t wait to see all the spaces that mean the most to her. The first is that of her “fauna curator” and former roommate Christan Summers, who now lives with partner Ivan Martinez in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Dana couldn’t be happier to see her friends – and the brains behind Tula, a mobile plantscaping shop – growing and thriving in a greenhouse of their own. “I’ve always been inspired by Christan’s nurturing spirit,” Dana says. “I love that we share a similar drive to embrace, and modernize the ‘old-meets-new’ process – while never compromising the integrity of ancient techniques, education, and history. Christan’s apartment is a luscious sanctuary, and really showcases her keen eye for design, composition, style, and the beauty of nature.”


The 930-square-foot modern loft offers a mezzanine for Christan and Ivan’s stock of handmade planters, at least until their proper retail showroom space is complete. The pair like to keep things “as minimal as plant and art lovers can,” Christan explains. “No clutter, no unnecessary objects that collect too much dust. If you take away all the plants, this place is pretty empty. We love the feeling of a gallery space – we can always change the arrangement.” Ivan brought the sleek essentials, like a table, chairs, and bookcases, while Christan introduced some beloved vintage furniture from her grandmother and parents. And despite the two-story vertical, the couple has made a point of hanging few pieces of art. “We like the walls left white – we fill the space with green instead.” –Annie


Photography by Genevieve Garruppo


Happy Passover + Best of the Web



For the past few years, I’ve celebrated Passover with Julia’s family, and this year we’ll be hopping in the car and heading north to meet with the rest of her extended family to honor the holiday. I love family heirlooms and beloved hand-me-down pieces, but a part of me always longs to see artists and designers tackle traditional/religious elements in a modern way. So when I heard from Isabel Halley in Brooklyn about her contemporary Seder plate, I was in.





Isabel uses a pinching technique to create these lightweight handmade pieces that make up her “Not Your Grandmother’s Seder Plate” design. Each piece features hand-painted writing in hebrew (on the undersides) and is finished with a clear glaze and 22-karat gold rims to create a sophisticated contrast. I love the idea of a young family investing in this piece and turning it into something special that will be handed down for generations to come. If you’re looking for something modern and special to use on your Passover table, click here to check out Isabel’s new design. Until Monday, best wishes for a safe and happy holiday (and weekend!). xo, grace




    • I cannot believe Prince passed away. I am still in shock. I can only be happy for the next galaxy or planet he’s on now – they’re going to love him so much. “Life is a party and parties aren’t meant to last.” So true, but so sad.
    • This article on why the web ISN’T dead (yay!) makes me happy. I love the connections that form online and how strong of a community-building tool it can be.
    • Speaking of patterns, I just splurged on this French Dot swim suit at J Crew. I also bought a long sleeve rash guard because I’m always too cold to go in the water.
    • Julia’s cookbook is available for pre-order! I have watched Small Victories come to life over the past few years and I could not be prouder of her. This book is 30 years in the making and overflowing with love, inspiration and practical advice to help anyone and everyone put meaningful (and delicious) meals on the table. And that gingham spine? It’s like Julia, in book form. I love it.



My Personal Anthem: Why I Dream In Purple



March 1987.  My first year in NYC at the School of Visual Arts. The big apple was rotting from the crack epidemic. I saw it first hand, felt it grab at my neck looking for gold chains and I smelled it at night on my corner. I was mugged five times at knifepoint. I worked as a coat check girl at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square, when it was an empty, dank place. I survived on tips and stealing toilet paper from my employer. It was all a sign of the times.



I had graduated from the emotional haze of Purple Rain, singing Let’s Go Crazy at my high school graduation, to the deep, dark tunnels of NYC, taking the A train at midnight train from Times Square to my 11′ by 17′ room at the Sloan House YMCA on 34th and 11th.


Prince taught me the good, the bad and the ugly. He taught me how to dress and how to snarl. He taught me you can look like a girl boy or a boy girl, or both and then fall in love riding off on a motorcycle without a care.


He made it ok for me to walk in through the out door and shop at second hand stores. He elevated me from the white kid in the projects wearing Goodwill threads, to a movie star, a confident young thing who could rock an Edwardian collar like no one’s business.


His androgyny slayed me. His talent made me stand still. His lyrics made me feel butterflies.


And his style – his style humbled me.


No matter where I was, or how dark it got, Prince Rogers Nelson always whispered this in my ear:


Honey I know, I know, I know times are changing


It’s time we all reach out for something new


That means you too


– Prince, Purple Rain






DIY Paper Coral Charm Peony



When West Elm Seattle asked me to design a paper flower workshop for February 13th – the day before Valentine’s Day – I immediately thought of Leslie Knope’s Galentine’s Day celebrations on Parks and Recreation. I loved the idea of creating a fun event to celebrate female friendship, and no flower seemed like a more fitting mascot for Galentine’s Day than the coral charm peony. It’s big, bold, bright, and stylish. It’s everything that sad grocery store roses are not.



I brought candy, gals brought pals, and we had a blast.




In the interest of keeping the Galentine’s Day spirit alive year-round, I offer this tutorial. Order up some crepe paper from the wonderful Castle In the Air, invite some gals (and guys!) over, and whip up some peonies. (If you’d like to send one to a friend, but are more a paper flower admirer than a paper flower maker, I also have some finished flowers available in my shop.)



Finally, on the subject of wonderful gals: I’d like to give a shout-out to the very talented Natalie Lynne, who was the first flower maker I ever saw create a peony seed pod in this way. Check out her beautiful work on Instagram (@a_bloom_time)! –Kate Alarcón


Photos by Grace Kim




A Note about the paper:


This peony is made up of layers of different weights and colors of crepe paper. The heavy crepe gives it most of its structure, while the fine and doublette crepe help it to look more delicate. If you’d like to try different weights and colors of crepe, don’t worry about layering them in exactly the same order. But some combination of heavier and lighter crepe will help to recreate the structure and texture of these. With the exception of the moss green from Papermart, I’ve used the color names from Castle in the Air to make ordering easier.




You will need:


-Fine crepe (30-60 gram) in corals and reds for the petals, and orange or yellow for the stamens. I’ve used “Raspberry,” “Red,” and “Orange” from Castle in the Air.


-Heavy crepe (160 or 180 gram) in corals, reds, and pinks. I’ve used: “Peachy Pink,” “Candy Apple,” “Pink Pansy,” and “Burgundy” from Castle in the Air, and “Moss Green” from Papermart.


-Doublette crepe in “Light/Dark Salmon”


-Aleene’s original tacky glue


-Stem wire (18 gauge, cloth covered)


-Template (download here)




A note about grain:


The grain of the crepe paper runs parallel to the roll or fold. Crepe paper stretches horizontally, but not vertically, so you will almost always cut petals with the grain, placing the template so that the tiny wrinkles in the paper run up and down the template, not across.


Creating the center:


Use template 1 to cut a small rectangle from the red fine crepe. Use your scissors to round the upper corners so they aren’t too sharp. Gently stretch the top edge of the rectangle. Dot a very small amount of glue on the lower two thirds of the rectangle, wrap it loosely around the stem wire so that the top third extends beyond the tip of the wire, and then scrunch the lower two thirds closely to the wire.




Cut a ¼” strip 10” long across the grain of your green crepe. I’ve used “Moss Green” from Paper Mart, but any medium green would be fine. Dab small dots of glue down the strip and attach it to the top of the wire, on top of the coral rectangle. You’ll wrap this piece around the wire to create an elongated ovoid shape. To achieve this, you’ll need to wrap the strip up and down the top inch of the wire, making sure that more of the layers end up in the middle.




Start wrapping from the top, holding the strip at a 45-degree angle to the wire. When you’ve covered about an inch and a half of the tip of the wire, start wrapping back toward the tip of the wire, again holding the strip at a 45-degree angle to the wire. When you reach the midpoint of the section of the wire you wrapped on the way down, hold the strip at a 90-degree angle and wrap the middle several times, creating a kind of doughnut around the mid point. Once you’ve got a nice, thick middle, continue wrapping toward the tip of the wire. Make one more pass up and down the pod to create a fairly smooth covering for your pod. This time, you don’t need to stop to thicken the middle. Snip any extra strip. Spread out the pod frill so that it’s not too compressed.


Repeat to create 2 more seedpods.


Cut a ¼” x 10” strip across the grain of the green crepe and dot with glue. Hold the three stems together using the strip to wrap them tightly from just below the pods to about three inches down the wire.




Using template 2, cut a rectangle from orange or yellow fine crepe. The short sides of the rectangle should run parallel to the grain of the paper, while the long side of the rectangle will go across the grain. Fold your orange rectangle in half horizontally, so that the two long ends line up. Unfold. This crease in your unfolded rectangle marks how far down to cut the fringe.


Now you’ll fold the rectangle in the opposite direction twice to create four layers, so that it takes fewer cuts to make the fringe. Fold it vertically so that the two shorter ends line up. Fold in half again, so that the two short ends line up with second fold. Your grain lines should be parallel to the folds.


Make a series of parallel cuts (about 1/8th inch apart) across the top edge of the rectangle to create a fringe. The cuts should stop at the crease you made when you first folded and unfolded your rectangle (this line is also marked on the template). Working in sections, gently twist the fringe in one direction, untwist and gently straighten with your fingers. Its fine if a few of the stamens fall off in the process.




Unfold the rectangle, and dot glue along the bottom edge beneath your fringe cuts. Wrap the fringe loosely around the stem twice so that the bottom of your cuts is just below the seedpods. Snip off any excess. Scrunch to adhere the paper tightly around the stem.


Cutting the petals:


The peony is made up of five rows or rounds of petals that radiate out from the center. The petals in each row are a different color and shape. The first and last rows are heavy crepe, which will stretch out much more than the lighter weights, so these templates are narrower.


For each row, I’ve listed which template to use, which paper to use, and how many you’ll need to cut to complete the row. Then, once you’ve made it all the way around, you’ll move to the instructions for the next row.


If you choose different paper for a variation of this peony, just be sure to match the heavy crepe templates with the heavy crepe.


Optional: I’ve found that substituting a bright bluish pink petal in heavy crepe (such as “Pink Pansy”) adds a nice highlight amongst all the coral. I use template 5 and make two of these pink petals. I like to insert one in rows 2 and 3, fairly close to each other. You’ll still want the same total number of petals for that row, so you’ll be substituting a petal, rather than adding an extra.


Row 1: template 3, 6 petals of light coral heavy crepe (“Peachy Pink”)


Row 2: template 4, 6 petals of coral fine crepe (“Raspberry”)


Row 3: template 4, 6 petals of doublette crepe (“Light/Dark Salmon”)


Row 4: template 4, 7 petals of red fine crepe (“Red”)


Row 5: template 6, 8 petals of dark pink heavy crepe (“Candy Apple”)





A petal from each layer before and after shaping.



Shaping the petals:


To create the cupped shape of the peony petals, hold the center of the upper third of the petal with two hands, between your thumbs and sides of your index fingers. The goal is to stretch the inner part of the petal, while leaving the rounded outer edge unstretched to create a little bowl. For the petals that are lobed, or heart-shaped, cup each lobe and then the area under the lobes. The fine crepe will only cup slightly, while the heavy crepe will give you the nice, dramatic cups that give the flower its structure.




Attaching the petals:


Dot glue along the bottom of the petal and apply just below the seedpod.




You’ll be able to feel the ridge where the pods end and the wire begins. Always push up into that ridge when you’re applying petals; this will counteract the tendency for the petals to gradually drift down the wire, creating a cone shape. Apply the petals evenly in rounds around the center. The precise degree of overlap is less important than having them evenly distributed around the flower.




The calyx:


Use template 7 to cut three shorter calyx pieces and template 8 to cut three longer calyx pieces from the “Burgundy” heavy crepe. Apply the shorter pieces evenly around the base of your peony, just as you did the petals. Apply the longer pieces so that they fall between the shorter pieces.




Wrapping the stem:


Cut a “Burgundy” ¼” x 12” strip across the grain and dot glue up and down the strip. Wrap the stems, covering the bottoms of the calyx, just underneath where the seedpods meet the wire, and then all the way to the bottom of the stems. This may require a few strips.





Finishing touches:


Curl back the long pieces of the calyx by scraping them between your thumb and the blade of your scissors, as though you were curling ribbon. Gently spread out any seed pod frills that have been compressed, and arrange the fringe so that it’s all standing up and evenly spaced. Straighten any petals that have been mussed, and use your thumbs to reshape any petals whose cups have been collapsed.


If you’d like a looser peony, stick your fingers between the first two layers down to where the petals meets the seedpods and gently spread, working your way all the way around the flower. Repeat for each layer.












About Kate: Kate Alarcón makes paper plants and flowers and teaches workshops in the Seattle area. She offers regular small releases of single blooms and tiny arrangements via her website You can see her most recent work on Instagram @cobralilyshop.


About Grace: Grace Kim is dedicated to capturing and creating beauty and helping people live life to the fullest. You can find her work at GH Kim Photography and Carpe Diem Collective. Follow her on Instagram @graceperdiem.


10 Trends in Surface Design to Bring Home

10 Trends in Surface Design to Bring Home

A space can be given interest through color, texture, furniture design, intriguing objects and art but one of the surest ways to convey a style or attitude in a room is through pattern. A single pattern or layers of them on cushions, curtains, walls and hand towels bring personality immediately into a space. New spins on timeless botanical, geometric, tribal patterns are almost always in style for homes while freehand illustration, people, pets and graffiti prints are contemporary takes on prints for soft goods and wall decor. Click through the slideshow to see 10 categories (and their gorgeous examples) we’re seeing in surface design recently. –Lauren