In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter Construction

In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter Construction

When purchasing your first home, you oftentimes want it all. Your laundry list of must-haves tags along to every showing, a reminder that the potential house has to be in the right neighborhood, look a certain way, and be the perfect price. Finding a needle in a haystack can be challenging, though, and when push comes to shove, sometimes being flexible ends up working out in ways you never imagined. Such was the case in 2013, when interior stylist and blogger Heather Jorde and her husband Connor set out to buy their first home together. Letting go of their hope of owning a quirky, older home in Indianapolis, IN led them to a dream in disguise: new construction.

 

This disguise came in the form of bland furnishings and little personality, but those aspects actually served up such a rare opportunity that the couple gave it a shot. The home was a blank canvas where they could let their imaginations run wild. Heather and Connor’s greatest out-of-the-box thinking comes to life in the entryway and their daughter Charlie’s nursery. The “cookie-cutter” entry sings thanks to a snazzy, hand-painted graphic. Its modern shape and rustic decorations both combine Connor and Heather’s styles and set the tone for the rest of their Scandinavian-inspired abode. Follow this stylish entryway’s staircase, and you’ll find more one-of-a-kind surprises, including Heather’s DIY pièce de résistance: the stenciled wall in her daughter’s room. This fun tree design is accompanied by a DIY hanging clothing rack. It simultaneously solves the room’s storage issue and gives the home yet another enviable, custom touch.

 

While this Midwestern home boasts endless pretty moments, it’s the sentiment behind each one that truly makes this house special. Every tweak was designed to bring the family closer together, creating a space that keeps them smiling and laughing. Click through to see exactly how Heather and Connor have made this newly-construced home work for their family and stand out in a sea of sameness. Enjoy! –Garrett

 

Photography by Heather Jorde

 

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Large Scale Affordable Posters + Best of the Web

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As much as I love a gallery wall (and I do), these days my heart really belongs to large-scale artwork. Maybe it’s something about the simplicity of one huge piece or the way that it doesn’t require me to get super precise with a ruler and measuring, but large-scale artwork is my jam right now. The only catch is that it often comes with a higher price tag- especially when you add a frame to the equation.

 

 

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Thankfully Eva and the Sycamore Street Press crew have come to my rescue with a new collection of large scale affordable downloadable posters that you can print at your local copy shop. Even in color, all of these prints (after printing) still come out to be $30 or under, so they’re a great value for anyone looking to spiff up their walls without doing too much damage to their bank account. The artwork comes with a fascinating back story, too. Prop stylist and interior designer, Meta Coleman, found a series of antique paintings at her family’s home in Germany and curated this selection to be available as printable posters at the Sycamore Street Press site. If you’re looking for something new for your wall (my tip: try DIYing your own frame like we did to save some $$!) click here to check out the full collection online. Until Monday, have a great weekend! xo, grace

 

 

bestof623

 
 
    • Liz Libre’s home tour at Cup of Jo is one of the prettiest Brooklyn spaces I’ve seen in a long time. And that’s a borough with some major competition.
 
 
 
 
    • If you need some inspiration to take a big leap with patterned wallpaper, look no further than this post at OKL this week.
 
 
 
 

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How Being Kind To Yourself Can Increase Your Success with Laura Novak Myer

Life&Biz-LNM

 

Entrepreneurship feels so rewarding when things are going well – orders are coming in, customers love your work, and you’re reminded of why you started doing this in the first place. “It’s pure joy to watch all of your hard work turn into reality!” Laura Novak Myer says. However, in running and growing her business, Little Nest Portraits, from a single boutique photography studio into a national franchise, she was surprised to find that she learned more “from the days I wanted to ‘just stay in bed’ than the days where everything ran like clockwork.”

 

At times, her decision to grow seemed to be the worst decision of her life, testing all of her courage and confidence. But it was in these moments – dealing with a space, managing employees, etc. – when she really learned that the key to navigating the waters and thriving in the midst of chaos is something simple, yet often neglected: kindness. She applied this kindness to herself, her team, her vendors, her customers, and even the situations that caused the most stress.

 

Today, Laura Novak Myer is joining us to chat about how being kind to yourself can increase your success with her time-tested tips and tricks. –Sabrina

 

 

 

As entrepreneurs, we are often hardest on ourselves when things go poorly. Dumping blame on top of our current stresses can make our decisions and dreams feel futile. Kindness and compassion towards ourselves can often be the hardest challenge to master.

 

Here are a few of the ways you can reduce those overwhelming feelings when not everything is going according to plan, and use it as an opportunity bring out the best in you and your business:

 

Remember Who You Are Outside of Your Business

 

L_DesignSpongeHowBeingKindToYourselfCanIncreaseYourSuccess

 

In the early stages of entrepreneurship, it’s so natural to spend every waking moment thinking about your business with all the highs and lows it can bring. But this can also increase stress and lead to burnout and exhaustion.

 

My identity as a CEO is really important to me. I jump out of bed every day knowing that I’m going to help a team member, studio owner, or fellow female entrepreneur realize the impact that joy and kindness can bring to their lives. And that’s truly motivational!

 

Over time, I’ve grown an identity outside of being CEO and business owner. Nurturing other activities in my life helps me remember that I am so much more than a CEO. I am a friend, a mother, a wife, a daughter. I am an artist. I am a runner. I am so many things.

 

Now, when issues come up, they don’t feel as personal anymore because my personal identity and self-worth is not as wrapped up in the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

 

Forgive Yourself When You Make Mistakes

 

1DesignSpongeHowBeingKindToYourselfCanIncreaseYourSuccess

 

You will screw up. (It’s gonna happen!) Your numbers will miss the target some months of the year. You’re going to write a social media post that doesn’t get a lot of likes.

 

A lot of times we end up being so hard on ourselves and unforgiving when things go wrong. But when you continually ruminate on a mistake, it’s like throwing sand on a fire. Now there’s no more oxygen for the flame, or your creativity, to thrive.

 

A well-run company is built on the idea that it is okay to take a risk, even if it turns out to not be the best course of action.

 

Let go, be vulnerable, and forgive yourself and those around you. Practice saying, “Hey, I screwed up here. I know I could have done better.” But stop there – don’t over-apologize for mistakes. Simply recognize them, learn what you can, move on, and let go!

 

Take Time To Recharge

 

1_DesignSpongeHowBeingKindToYourselfCanIncreaseYourSuccess

 

It’s tempting to stop taking care of yourself when things are going well, but that’s the time when you need it the most! When you are taking time to recharge as a habit, you’ll have energy on reserve for the stressful moments that can come unexpectedly. Read some great fiction, indulge in a guilty pleasure (Taylor Swift, anyone?), or simply go for a walk without your phone.

 

I love to keep my weekends for family time. Playing in the sandbox with my boys, hunting for rocks in the neighborhood, watching a movie with my husband. All of these things recharge me. I also take time by myself each evening to reflect on my day, and the blessings it contained. I run when I can or go for short walks with friends. All of these little things add up to a calm mind and a reserve of positive energy for when things get stressful.

 

Practicing self-care on a regular basis gives you the opportunity to be your best. [It’s] something as simple as shutting down in the evening instead of continuing to work. Then, when all of a sudden two or three things come up in your business, our tanks aren’t already running on empty. We have the energy and tenacity to handle things gracefully!

 

Be in Community with Other Entrepreneurs

 

Last_DesignSpongeHowBeingKindToYourselfCanIncreaseYourSuccess

 

It’s important to also be around people that can give you a hug when things aren’t going great and cheer you on and be excited for you when they are. I have a wonderful group of creative friends who get together regularly to cheer one another on and celebrate successes.

 

Seeing the concrete successes that have come from kindness are the best gifts of all. Six months ago I witnessed the doors opening of my first franchised portrait studio. The joy of that moment is a permanent bookmark in my imaginary kindness diary.

 

I never would have even had the energy to conceptually imagine the Little Nest Portraits franchise system and help other women open their own Little Nest Portrait studios if it hadn’t been for the community I work within and the kindness I’d given myself leading up to that point!

 

So, when you look at it this way, practicing self-care and kindness is not a luxury, it’s crucial to the success and sustainability of your business!

 

For more practices to grow your business, you can also grab my free PDF with the 4 Key Mindsets that Grow Business Success.

 

Before & After: A Modern Japanese Garden in North London

Before & After: A Modern Japanese Garden in North London

It’s around this time of year when many people in the Northeast start to see their off-season gardening efforts come to life. In England, clients of Katrina Kieffer-Wells hired her firm Earth Designs to turn their North London garden into the calming backyard oasis of their dreams. After finishing a multipurpose basement, the family wanted to extend the style and utility of their interiors outdoors, too. Katrina designed a contemporary garden inspired by Japanese landscapes, with leafy monochromatic forms to mark the influence, in addition to its simple lines and repetitive patterns. She found that the boundary wall and some landscaping had been updated before the project began, making for an excellent starting point for the new plans which she oriented on the diagonal to carve out distinct areas while maintaining easy flow.

 

At the back of the property, a paved terrace can be set with dining or lounge furniture in the open air. Black Perspex screens artfully hide a utility shed, and will become a backdrop to trees and plants in front as they mature. A stone pathway leads to a raised planter dedicated to children’s vegetable-growing experiments, with the hope of inspiring a future love of horticulture. Terracotta human statues provide a strong vertical counterpart to other tall manmade and natural elements in the space. Farther down the path, a timber pergola provides a spot for casual al fresco dining, and is fitted with a mesh roof specially designed to prevent fallen mulberries from the neighbor’s yard from staining the terrace. Geometric shelving partially encloses the room and references Japanese motifs. The view from indoors looks out onto elegant planter lights for nighttime activities, while paved patterns of rectilinear travertine, granite, and sandstone walkways contrast illuminated spheres throughout the garden. The design also features two young Specimen acers and a waterblade feature with a sunken, covered pool. Summer in the city doesn’t get better than this. –Annie

 

Photography by Marcus Harpur

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

Whenever I have fresh flowers in my house, I’m just a little bit happier. A wild bouquet of colorful blooms brightens my mood and makes my space feel (and smell) great. Although, I rarely have fresh flowers out, because my cats love to munch on them. This DIY is all about preserving your flowers in an artful and creative way, or in my case, protecting them from the destructive mouths of small beasts. Whether it’s a special bouquet you’d like to keep forever, or a way to have flowers around even when your allergies or pets won’t cooperate, this project will keep your home forever in bloom. –Jessica

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

 

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

Pressing flowers is an easy way to preserve their beauty. You can use heavy books (remember using phone books? Those work well for pressing flowers), or you can go pro by making your own press. In our wall art, we’ll use pins to float our pressed flowers, creating depth and dimension much like in the artwork of Anne Ten Donkelaar, who uses pressed and paper flower cutouts for her layered and fantastical 3d botanical collages. Check out Anne’s work for a heavy dose of floral inspiration.

 

I visited my favorite local flower and skate shop (yep, best combo ever), Park Deli, for this stunning collection of bold yet delicate and brightly colored flowers. I think the best part of this project is the excuse to get some beautiful fresh flowers. You’ll be able to enjoy them for a very long time with this DIY.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design*Sponge

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 
 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design*Sponge

 
 

Supplies

 

 

– Pressed flowers

 
 

– Floral scissors

 
 

– Parchment paper

 
 

– Heavy books or flower Press

 
 

– Glue

 
 

– Shadow box frame (I used an IKEA Ribba frame)

 
 

– Craft foam sheet

 
 

– Colored paper

 
 

– Pins (I used specimen pins, because I love the gold tops and matte black stems)

 
 

– Tweezers

 

 

NOTE: Specimen pins measure about 1.5″ long, which extends beyond the shadow box frame’s glass. If you’d like to keep your final piece under the glass, you can use another type of shorter pin or cut your specimen pins down with jewelry wire cutters.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design*Sponge

 

1. Cut the flowers close to the base. I experimented with a lot of different flowers, and found that small, thinner flowers that could lay flat worked best for pressing. Thicker, larger flowers took a lot of pressure to flatten and dry. Line a book with parchment paper and place cut flowers on the page without overlapping. Press for two to four weeks until they are completely dry.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

Above is a collection of Chamomile, Thistle, pink Astrantia, orange Asclepia, white Veronica, and yellow Kangaroo paw. I have to say that the Astrantia, with their bold gradation of color and symmetrical starburst pattern, are my favorite.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design*Sponge

 

Tip: Try to press your flowers when they are in full bloom to help get the best shape and colors. The colors will fade, but pressing them in the height of their bloom helps. Make sure they are completely dry, too, or they can mold.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design*Sponge

 

2. Cut the paper and foam to frame size using the mat as a guide. Adhere foam to the back of the paper and frame. I used two layers of foam.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

3. Compose an arrangement of pressed flowers. Once you decide on your layout, pin flowers in place starting with the bottom layer and working up. Use tweezers to easily pick up the pressed flowers.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

Tip: Some of the dried flowers were so delicate that they cracked when pierced with the pins. Layering a small piece of foam just behind the flower as you pin helps avoid cracking and can also aid in adjusting the flowers at different heights on the pins.

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

DIY Pressed Flower Wall Art by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

 

How Being Kind To Yourself Can Increase Your Success with Laura Novak Myer

Life&Biz-LNM

 

Entrepreneurship feels so rewarding when things are going well – orders are coming in, customers love your work, and you’re reminded of why you started doing this in the first place. “It’s pure joy to watch all of your hard work turn into reality!” Laura Novak Myer says. However, in running and growing her business, Little Nest Portraits, from a single boutique photography studio into a national franchise, she was surprised to find that she learned more “from the days I wanted to ‘just stay in bed’ than the days where everything ran like clockwork.”

 

At times, her decision to grow seemed to be the worst decision of her life, testing all of her courage and confidence. But it was in these moments – dealing with a space, managing employees, etc. – when she really learned that the key to navigating the waters and thriving in the midst of chaos is something simple, yet often neglected: kindness. She applied this kindness to herself, her team, her vendors, her customers, and even the situations that caused the most stress.

 

Today, Laura Novak Myer is joining us to chat about how being kind to yourself can increase your success with her time-tested tips and tricks. –Sabrina

 

 

 

As entrepreneurs, we are often hardest on ourselves when things go poorly. Dumping blame on top of our current stresses can make our decisions and dreams feel futile. Kindness and compassion towards ourselves can often be the hardest challenge to master.

 

Here are a few of the ways you can reduce those overwhelming feelings when not everything is going according to plan, and use it as an opportunity bring out the best in you and your business:

 

Remember Who You Are Outside of Your Business

 

L_DesignSpongeHowBeingKindToYourselfCanIncreaseYourSuccess

 

In the early stages of entrepreneurship, it’s so natural to spend every waking moment thinking about your business with all the highs and lows it can bring. But this can also increase stress and lead to burnout and exhaustion.

 

My identity as a CEO is really important to me. I jump out of bed every day knowing that I’m going to help a team member, studio owner, or fellow female entrepreneur realize the impact that joy and kindness can bring to their lives. And that’s truly motivational!

 

Over time, I’ve grown an identity outside of being CEO and business owner. Nurturing other activities in my life helps me remember that I am so much more than a CEO. I am a friend, a mother, a wife, a daughter. I am an artist. I am a runner. I am so many things.

 

Now, when issues come up, they don’t feel as personal anymore because my personal identity and self-worth is not as wrapped up in the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

 

Forgive Yourself When You Make Mistakes

 

1DesignSpongeHowBeingKindToYourselfCanIncreaseYourSuccess

 

You will screw up. (It’s gonna happen!) Your numbers will miss the target some months of the year. You’re going to write a social media post that doesn’t get a lot of likes.

 

A lot of times we end up being so hard on ourselves and unforgiving when things go wrong. But when you continually ruminate on a mistake, it’s like throwing sand on a fire. Now there’s no more oxygen for the flame, or your creativity, to thrive.

 

A well-run company is built on the idea that it is okay to take a risk, even if it turns out to not be the best course of action.

 

Let go, be vulnerable, and forgive yourself and those around you. Practice saying, “Hey, I screwed up here. I know I could have done better.” But stop there – don’t over-apologize for mistakes. Simply recognize them, learn what you can, move on, and let go!

 

Take Time To Recharge

 

1_DesignSpongeHowBeingKindToYourselfCanIncreaseYourSuccess

 

It’s tempting to stop taking care of yourself when things are going well, but that’s the time when you need it the most! When you are taking time to recharge as a habit, you’ll have energy on reserve for the stressful moments that can come unexpectedly. Read some great fiction, indulge in a guilty pleasure (Taylor Swift, anyone?), or simply go for a walk without your phone.

 

I love to keep my weekends for family time. Playing in the sandbox with my boys, hunting for rocks in the neighborhood, watching a movie with my husband. All of these things recharge me. I also take time by myself each evening to reflect on my day, and the blessings it contained. I run when I can or go for short walks with friends. All of these little things add up to a calm mind and a reserve of positive energy for when things get stressful.

 

Practicing self-care on a regular basis gives you the opportunity to be your best. [It’s] something as simple as shutting down in the evening instead of continuing to work. Then, when all of a sudden two or three things come up in your business, our tanks aren’t already running on empty. We have the energy and tenacity to handle things gracefully!

 

Be in Community with Other Entrepreneurs

 

Last_DesignSpongeHowBeingKindToYourselfCanIncreaseYourSuccess

 

It’s important to also be around people that can give you a hug when things aren’t going great and cheer you on and be excited for you when they are. I have a wonderful group of creative friends who get together regularly to cheer one another on and celebrate successes.

 

Seeing the concrete successes that have come from kindness are the best gifts of all. Six months ago I witnessed the doors opening of my first franchised portrait studio. The joy of that moment is a permanent bookmark in my imaginary kindness diary.

 

I never would have even had the energy to conceptually imagine the Little Nest Portraits franchise system and help other women open their own Little Nest Portrait studios if it hadn’t been for the community I work within and the kindness I’d given myself leading up to that point!

 

So, when you look at it this way, practicing self-care and kindness is not a luxury, it’s crucial to the success and sustainability of your business!

 

For more practices to grow your business, you can also grab my free PDF with the 4 Key Mindsets that Grow Business Success.

 

An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off

An Illinois Home Proves Keeping Your Eye on the Prize Pays Off

I love how smooth and painless home renovations are. They always go off without a hitch. In fact, it’s surprising more people don’t take them on, right? Wrong! Who am I kidding? Renovations are tough! They test you, push you to your limits, and make you question so many things about your vision.

 

Such was the case with interior designer and fiber artist Astral Riles’ mid-century home outside Chicago, IL. After having viewed over 40 properties, she stumbled upon this hidden gem and her interest was captured. The two-bedroom home boasted just the right amount of space and a floor-to-ceiling fireplace – not bad. The ranch-style abode did need one tiny thing, though: a total overhaul. Where some may have seen an insurmountable challenge, optimist Astral saw opportunity. Here was the decor enthusiast’s chance to get her hands dirty and make a house into a dream home. Going into the project she knew it wouldn’t be easy, but no one could’ve predicted the tough road ahead. Just like that, the five-week renovation turned into a six-month battle of missed deadlines and spotty work. The situation got so bad, Astral eventually had to let the contractor go, leaving her to find a new partner that could bring her vision to life.

 

Not one to let negativity dampen her dream, Astral forged ahead with a new right-hand man and a newfound determination to correct the bad construction and strip down the space. Thanks to that go-getter attitude, the mid-century ranch is a total looker nowadays, with each and every one of its “functional and comfortable” accessories adding to its colorful and inviting swagger. As you’ll see, vintage accessories mingle with newer furniture as glitzy wall mounts and layered textiles create an inviting vibe perfect for cozying up to the fire on a cold night. All in all, Astral has used every room in the space to bring to life one of her favorite looks, and I truly admire her perseverance. Click through to take a peek around the rest of the home. Enjoy! –Garrett

 

Photography by MGB Photo

 

DIY Faux-Molding Ribbon + Best of the Web

061616 Ribbon Molding_LEAD

 

This week felt like a bit of a blur. The tragedy in Orlando, and seeing so many incredible lives cut short, knocked me to my feet in a way that I can’t fully express. I spent the beginning of this week in a dark, heavy place and I can only imagine how unspeakably heartbroken the family and friends of the victims feel right now. Each and every one of us at Design*Sponge has been focusing on sending all of our energy and love their way, but the weight of the situation and the reality of attacks on LGBTQ people in America have made it hard to think about anything else. I spoke about this in more detail on our social media channels, but I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge that great loss here and that, while we know design and beauty are often wonderful distractions from difficult moments in life, they do not fill the void left by this horrific crime.

 

It’s taken me until today to finally feel ready to look back into design and I’ve been slowing finding small moments of lightness in the words, images and ideas of our colleagues online. While our dedication to being a part of supporting the victims (here are ways to help if you can) is still our top priority, today I wanted to end with a bit of visual levity for anyone who needs it right now.

 

Megan Pflug is always coming up with wonderful DIY ideas and her post at One Kings Lane this week about creating faux-molding with ribbons really caught my eye. It was the first thing that made me smile this week and I hope it, and the links below, can provide a moment of hope and happiness during this difficult time. xo, grace

 

 

 

bestofthewebjune16

 
 
    • This week’s links are all about Instagram and feeds that are most definitely worth following. For starters, this amazing account that tracks gorgeously designed gates in San Francisco.
 
 
    • Like to travel? This feed tracks beautiful and incredible places to visit across the world.
 
    • I love flowers. I also love chicory flavor. So when I discovered this floral feed that combines both, I was sold.
 
 
    • One more great ceramics # to follow: #potsinaction – an amazing collection of handmade pots/ceramics in use in real-life situations.
 
 

bestofds_june16

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Before & After: Southwood Home Renovation by LLI Design in London

Before & After: Southwood Home Renovation by LLI Design in London

As Design Director of LLI Design, Linda Levene often completes projects drawing from her background in fashion and textiles. Her love of form, texture, and color is especially evident in a recent total overhaul of a four-story 1970s townhouse in Highgate – a charming, leafy neighborhood in London. The revamped home, dubbed “Southwood,” now features an open-plan master suite with freestanding bath as well as a statement glass-and-steel staircase between the lower levels. When its new family first saw the space in its untouched 1970s state, they knew it had tons of potential to reference its retro beginnings in a modern way. For example, the brightly lit full-width rooms felt large to the contemporary dweller, but hallways throughout the residence were cramped and dark.

 

The design firm reconfigured the floor plan and “transformed a tall, vertical townhouse into a home with a feeling of expansiveness and laterality, creating an uplifting and comfortable home for the owners.” In the casual living area, a palette of dark khaki, burnt orange, yellow and dark woods paired with industrial metals and mid-century furniture hints at the structure’s original history. More formal zones offer a relaxed feeling of calm with plush neutral upholstery, soft yellow and pale blue accents, and pops of graphic black. The construction and technical home automation were completed by another branch of the company – Pegasus Property & Pegasus Automation. In total, the project was recently awarded the annual Best Interior Design Private Residence in London title by the United Kingdom Property Awards for its warmth, elegance, and tasteful redesign. –Annie

 

Photography by Alex Maguire