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Thursday, 22 September


10 Overlooked Wedding Gifts to Add to your Registry Design*Sponge


A few weeks back, we were lucky enough to share our team member Lauren’s beautiful outdoor wedding. So many of you reached out to thank her for the inspiration that we started to think about how hard it is to tackle the wedding registry process, between choosing flowers, a venue and all of the other details for the big day. We thought we’d share some of the most overlooked pieces that don’t end up on the list in hopes that any of you out there planning (or helping plan) a wedding find it helpful in the throes of wedding planning stress.

Take a peek and let us know what you’d add to the list so we can incorporate it into our upcoming wedding series that will come with a printable guide of tips from us here at Design*Sponge and you, our readers! We’re teaming up with Macy’s who has mastered the registry process, making it quick, easy and stress-free with nice surprises like really good price points on big-ticket items. I registered with Macy’s years ago and everyone literally thanked me for keeping it down to one registry venue. I wish I would have had this list, though! Not a day goes by that I don’t long for a fancy vacuum to battle my daily pet hair clean-up ritual. —Caitlin

*Image above from our team member Lauren’s beautiful outdoor wedding this summer in Iowa.

No. 1: A Great Vacuum

This is a must-have, especially if you’re a pet owner! Laying out a small fortune is often not in the newlyweds’ budget, so getting a little help from family or friends for a reliable (and powerful) vacuum is a huge help. Our favorite is the Dyson Animal Canister vacuum.



*This post was created in partnership with our sponsor,...


A Modern, Light-Filled Home Softened with Textiles Design*Sponge

A Modern, Light-Filled Home Softened with Textiles

After falling in love with the creative spirit of south Austin, TX, Ryan and Beth Vanderfolk knew exactly where they needed to put down roots. With raising their adorable toddler in the forefront of their minds, they found the perfect neighborhood with all the amenities – a spacious park, pool, and mature trees – and decided to build their dream home.

Starting from scratch, the couple was able to design a home that completely matched their wants, needs, and personal style. “We wanted the house to feel super open and airy, with a ton of natural light,” Beth shares. They used large windows and high ceilings to make the home feel “… as close to living outside as possible,” with a beautiful view of trees and sky.

However, the abundance of natural light paired with white walls, expansive concrete floors, and an open-concept layout created a cold canvas that Beth needed to warm up. Using contacts she made in Istanbul, she found textiles in all the right sizes to fill her space. After she was done finding what she needed for her home, she continued sourcing pieces she loved and launched her own shop, Vander Interiors.

The Vanderfolks also wanted a home that’s designed around cooking, entertaining, and gathering. With an open-concept floor plan and a large backyard, it’s easy for their guests to feel welcome in their space and socialize. —Tawnee

Photography by Alysha Rainwaters


Master bedroom
Rug – Rugs USA
Bed – West Elm
Benches – Target
Desk & chair – Ikea
Blue chair – OneKingsLane
Lamp – West Elm
Leather chair – vintage
Nightstands – Target
Dresser – Land of Nod
Round mirror – Wisteria
Necklace stand and cloche – Pottery Barn
Glass frame – Kate Spade
Floor mirror – Vintage
Horses print – Z Gallerie
Bell garland – Piece Collective in Venice, CA

Master bathroom
Bath mats & towels – Pottery Barn
White ceramic tray – Homegoods
Glass frame – Kate Spade
Countertops – Caesarstone Nougat from Treehouse

Vintage kilim from Turkey
Prints from various Liz Lambert hotels framed by Framebridge
Pendant light – Artecnica Shayk from

Guest room
Chair – Furbish Studio
Print – Public School Advertising (Austin)
Side tables – Threshold for Target
Day of the Dead print –...

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Wednesday, 21 September


Maker to Market: Lisa Fetterman Shares Her Nomiku Story Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers

LisaQFetterman-33Lisa Fetterman was a cooking enthusiast who wanted to make sous vide devices more affordable, and that meant learning some maker skills.

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The post Maker to Market: Lisa Fetterman Shares Her Nomiku Story appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.


EspoTek’s Labrador Packs 5 Lab Instruments onto a Single Board Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers

The Labrador comes packed with an oscilloscope, waveform generator, power supply, logic analyzer and multimeterFor a board that includes a multimeter, oscilloscope, and logic analyzer, the EspoTek's Labrador seems like a promising option.

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The post EspoTek’s Labrador Packs 5 Lab Instruments onto a Single Board appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.


Control Animatronic Halloween Props from Your Phone Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers

Screen Shot 2016-09-12 at 1.22.54 PMScare trick-or-treaters precisely when you want to with the help of some Wi-Fi enabled microcontrollers and Node.js.

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The post Control Animatronic Halloween Props from Your Phone appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.


Samaritan’s Purse Planning 500 Earthbag Houses in Nepal

“Nepal’s April 2015 earthquake destroyed 91 of the 97 homes in Kumari Maya Tamang’s village a two-hour drive on bumpy and winding dirt roads from Kathmandu.

Almost all of the destroyed homes were two storeys high and made from red bricks mortared layer upon layer. When the earthquake hit, the brick walls quickly buckled and fell. The same thing happened in dozens of other Nepalese communities—killing more than 8,850 people, injuring almost 22,000, and leaving 3.5 million temporarily homeless in the nation of 26 million.

Because Tamang is 84, you might assume she’s reluctant to embrace new construction methods—insisting instead on a replacement home that’s almost identical to her old one.

But Tamang, a widow, is one of a handful of people in her village excitedly preparing to move into new homes that are nothing like their old ones. Samaritan’s Purse, in partnership with a Christian organization in Nepal, is building five model homes made from stacked bags of earth, similar to military bunkers.

“I’m so happy,” Tamang said, her weathered face breaking into a broad smile. “I’ve never seen this type of technology but I’m not afraid. I’m feeling very confident as I’ve watched skilled workers build my home.”

She pointed toward one of her village’s old-style houses and said: “I’d rather have a new-style home. It seems safer. And I am thankful to the people who have donated for these earthbag houses to be built.”
Samaritan’s Purse has approval from the Nepalese government to build 500 of the earthbag homes in various communities, Lakshmeshwar says. “We’re going to build . . . for especially vulnerable people.”

More at the source: Samaritan’s Purse
Questions for the builders:
Are they using continuous barbed wire between courses the correct way or only using little short pieces placed perpendicular to the walls?
Rebar pins only in the corners?
No buttresses?
Reinforced concrete bond beams?
My email is at the top of the page under About Us if you want to talk about these things.



Design*Sponge Book Tour: Philadelphia! Design*Sponge


I have been feeling anxious and excited for our Philadelphia book tour event for In the Company of Women because it feels so amazing to be organizing an event celebrating strong talented women during an election with the first female candidate on a major party ticket ever. Regardless of your politics, this is a huge moment and this panel talk, right after the election, is certainly going to be an especially meaningful discussion.

I’m thrilled to be joining these amazing women for a panel discussion on Thursday, November 10th at Moore College of Art and Design along with the AIGA. Come join me to talk about life, work and how to work on achieving your career goals with: artist and designer Veronica Corzo-Duchardt, chef and author Klancy Miller, florist and event designer Sullivan Owen and artist and designer Kimberly Glyder

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE! Thanks so much to AIGA and Moore College of Art and Design for having us!


Each ticket includes a copy of In the Company of Women, the panel discussion, a...


The Beauty of Self-Care: Lesson 3 – Practice Design*Sponge


Here we are with our third installment of our Self-Care series, and we’re humbled by all of the comments, emails and notes we’ve received from readers. I didn’t realize how empowering it would be to share these posts and exercises with you all. It’s made my own self-care a seriously happy endeavor simply because I know there are so many of you out there in the world working alongside me. Today I thought it was appropriate to share some tech solutions I use when I am waiting for things in life that really try my patience (Lesson One), like waiting in my doctor’s waiting room and standing in a sea of parents when I pick my daughter up from school and feeling guilty for not chatting it up. It’s times like those when I struggle with my breathing and sinking into a calm place, so I tend to rely on technology for a little help. I don’t consider this a bad thing or in opposition to device-free time. In fact, I’m grateful these apps exist because they help me realize my phone isn’t evil — it’s simply a tool for many different things and I can choose what I need from it at any given time.

This week’s lesson is focused on Practice. I’m actually not referring to the type of practice that yoga practitioners refer to. I’m talking about good, old fashioned practice as in doing something again and again! That’s why technology is helpful at the beginning of a self-care routine — it actually helps guide you and reminds you to practice. So don’t feel like you’re cheating when you whip out your phone to get into some self-care. You won’t need it forever!

Please click through for my favorite digital tools that help me remain in the moment and keep me smiling. I’d also love to know if you have any favorites that I haven’t included, so feel free to add them to the comments. –Caitlin

Image above by the talented Alea Toussaint.



10 Must-Read Books for Women in Business Design*Sponge

10 Must-Read Books for Women in Business

All summer long I devoured business book after business book, looking for some last-minute inspiration and motivation as I hit the road to celebrate our new book, In the Company of Women. There are so many incredible business books on the market, but I really enjoyed focusing on books that were meant to address some of the unique issues facing women. Whether it was a firsthand account from a mother who had given birth and headed back to run her company the next week, or the stories of women who work to overcome and combat sexism in the workplace, their stories gave me the courage and strength to head out this fall and talk about all of these issues across the country with some of the most inspiring women I know in business.

So today I’m sharing 10 books I think any woman in business should have (whether you’re an established pro or are just hoping to launch one day) on their shelves or pick up at their local library. Here’s to more women in charge of their own amazing businesses! xo, grace

*Some of these books are older, some newer. Some are business-focused and others are more outside of the box, but I promise you’ll find inspiration in each one.


13 Airy and Open Floor Plans We Love Design*Sponge

13 Airy and Open Floor Plans We Love

From a design standpoint, it can be easier to decorate a home’s main living spaces when they are separate, divided rooms. Couches have designated places to go, the wall color can differ room by room, and the mess in the kitchen doesn’t have to affect the company hanging out in the living room. An open-concept living space means that the aesthetic has to be fairly consistent throughout, but when it’s done well, it’s gorgeous.

The common living area is designed for community. We love that these spaces aren’t closed off, but instead encourage visual engagement from area to area. We’ve seen so many lovely open layouts over the years on Design*Sponge and we’ve selected a few of our favorites to share here today. Find inspiration for creating a cohesive and comfortable look in these 13 large, open living areas. –Lauren


Design*Sponge Book Tour: Washington, D.C.! Design*Sponge


Washington, D.C. will always have a special place in my heart because it was always my “big city” to visit while growing up in Virginia. My first big solo car drives were done on the way to Georgetown in 1997 (where I was smitten with Urban Outfitters’ vintage resale section — back when they used to do that). So I’m thrilled to be heading back again this fall for our In the Company of Women book tour!

On Tuesday October 25th I’ll be joined on stage by some amazing local business owners: Sarah Gordon and Sheila Fain of Gordy’s Pickle Jar, Amanda McClements of Salt & SundryNicole Crowder of Nicole Crowder Photography and Charlotte Cannon of The Vintage Vogue. We’ll be talking about community, their paths to success, and what they’ve learned from times when things didn’t go according to plan. My family is driving up from Virginia for this event, so I hope you’ll come join us for one heck of a fun event with the whole Bonney crew!

GRAB YOUR TICKET HERE! Thanks so much to KramerBooks and Dock 5 for having us.


Tuesday, 20 September


Raw Craft with Anthony Bourdain Is Back! Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers

glowfaceElizabeth Brim is the focus of the latest episode from Anthony Bourdain's "Raw Craft" series, and this blacksmith is a delight.

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The post Raw Craft with Anthony Bourdain Is Back! appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.


This Commodore 64 Emulator Comes in a Tiny Package Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers

StaringLizard’s MEMWA2 is a tiny Commodore 64 emulator and features a custom PCB, a STMicroelectronics MCU, Alliance Memory DRAM and Analog Devices HDMI transmitterThe MEMWA2 c64 Emulator isn't perfect, but it could be the smallest commodore 64 emulator in the world.

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The post This Commodore 64 Emulator Comes in a Tiny Package appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.


Illuminate a Dog Collar with LEDs Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers

DogCollar_44Does the sweet pupper or lovable doggo in your life need a light-up collar? Sure, why not.

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The post Illuminate a Dog Collar with LEDs appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.


Maker Spotlight: Chris Clark Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers

Screen Shot 2016-09-18 at 4.47.13 PMChris Clark built Shaper Studios out of his love for surfing and crafting custom surfboards. Meet him next month at Maker Faire San Diego!

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The post Maker Spotlight: Chris Clark appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.


DIY High Back Bench Shanty 2 Chic

Hey there! Join us on Instagram and Pinterest to keep up with our most recent projects and sneak peeks! Check out our new how-to videos on YouTube! Make sure to subscribe to our channel so you don't miss any! THIS! This is hands down one of our very favorite builds! If you caught the Davis {...Read More...}

The post DIY High Back Bench appeared first on Shanty 2 Chic.


Kristie Wolfe Builds Underground Home in Rural WA Hobbit Village

Please read my comments below this blog post. This project could have been significantly improved by using earthbags instead of wood framing.

“Inspired by the success of the Hawaii treehouse she built for $11,000, Kristie Wolfe began searching for land to build a “Hobbit”-inspired village. Knowing that there is land to be found for cheap in this country (she bought her Hawaii property for $8,000), she began to search the Northwest for sites.

“There’s a lot of land everywhere, if you look on craigslist, if you look on zillow, you can find property so it’s not really that there’s not a lot. The issue is with property that’s in my price range- I’m looking for property that’s $10,000 to 20,000- usually there’s a reason why it’s cheap, it’s either an easement problem or you have to drive through a crappy neighborhood… but if you’re wanting to be off-grid, it opens up a whole world of selections, there’s a ton out there.”

Wolfe paid $18,000 for 5 acres on a hillside above Lake Chelan, Washington. Being a couple miles down a dirt road, there was no option to be on the grid so Wolfe put in a solar panel, septic and a water tank (filled by truck for now) and began to dig the first of her underground homes.

At 288 square feet, Wolfe’s “tiny house in the shire” was over the maximum square footage allowed for an un-permitted build so she went to the county for approval. With only hand-sketched plans on graph paper, she was able to get a permit.

The structure went up in a few days “with a lot of help from family and friends” and it was “wrapped and roofed” in a few weeks and then Wolfe finished the interior on her own.

She doesn’t plan to change much of her design except to make the windows larger. The completed “village” will include an above-ground communal kitchen built to look like a thatched-roof English-style pub.”

Thanks to Kirsten Dirksen for another great video. As wonderful looking as this hobbit house is, I just moaned a loud ohhhh no when I saw they framed it with toxic pressure treated wood. This is such a shame, such a lost opportunity. This type of structure (underground or earth bermed with living roof) is PERFECT for earthbags. As long-time readers already know, earthbags (sand bags) are used to retain soil along highways and to build other similar projects. Based on testing, the US Dept. of Transportation estimates polypropylene sand bags can last over 500 years. Still not sure if earthbags are strong enough? Just look at the giant sand bag/earthbag retaining wall in this blog post. Giant retaining walls like this are designed by geotextile engineers. It’s a sub field of engineering. My point is earthbag technology is extremely well proven to retain the massive forces against underground structures and retaining walls.

In addition to the above suggestions, consider making a curved back wall with horizontal layers of geotextile fabric for even greater strength. See how Jake is building is earthbag earthship: His engineer and architect can get a structure like this code approved at lower cost, and it would be stronger, more durable, nontoxic and more sustainable.



No-slide, Removable Small Parts Drawers Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers

noSlidePartsDrawers_1At Jer's Workshop, Jeremy Schmidt builds a series of wooden lock-into-place parts bin drawers.

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The post No-slide, Removable Small Parts Drawers appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.


35 Awesome Projects from Our New Community Platform Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers

communityWe've had a lot of great additions to our new community projects page! From cotton boll stems to DIY weather stations, we're seeing lots of great stuff.

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The post 35 Awesome Projects from Our New Community Platform appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.


My Young House Love Podcast Interview!

Happy Monday guys and gals!  It's always hard to get back into the weekday schedule after a few days off, our family struggles just like any other.  But Monday's are so much better now with Young House Love's new podcast!  

If you haven't yet heard, John and Sherry from Young House Love now have a podcast.  I listen to John and Sherry's new podcast every Monday, it's like a wonderful cup of coffee to start my work week off.  




My Guest Episode

In this week's episode it is a great honor for me to join John and Sherry, and chat about how I got started building, and how you can too.

I hope you have a chance to listen to the podcast, and subscribe and check out the show notes page here.





Topic Links

Just in case you want more information about a few things we chat about on the podcast -


Farmhouse Bed - This was my first big project, and one of the first plans that I shared on my blog.  Almost a decade later, it's still sturdy and beautiful.  You can grab the plans here.





Getting Started Building - If you'd like to learn more about the tools I use and recommend, you can check out my Getting Started Guide here.




Our Dream House Build - 15 years of saving, dreaming and planning and it's finally happening!  You can subscribe to get updates of all new episodes here.


Thanks for listening, hope you enjoyed!

XO Ana


A Vintage Lover’s Home in Long Beach, CA Design*Sponge

A Vintage Lover’s Home in Long Beach, CA

 You can find just about anything online these days, including the perfect house. After randomly Googling “homes for sale in Long Beach,” Michelle and Karim Qazi found themselves on a website that specializes in Cliff May homes. With king palms, a swimming pool, and more windows than walls, they were more than sold on their first home – they were in love.

Before moving in, the happy couple knew that they needed to tear down walls, move the laundry out of the kitchen and into the garage, and gut the kitchen. They got the renovation process started and left for a few weeks to get married in Hawaii. When they returned, the only place that wasn’t completely torn up or full of storage was the garage. They opened up the garage door and tried to eat some drive-thru tacos – their first official meal at home. But without a working light in the garage, they had to open and close the garage every two minutes to trigger the overhead light to stay on.

Fortunately, they’ve come a long way since then. They now have two kids, two dogs, and a beautiful home full of unique treasures. As the owner of 6th and Detroit, a vintage store located in Downtown Long Beach, CA and online, it’s only natural for Michelle to express her creative spirit in decorating her home. Her goal was to “…create an inviting, warm space by mixing mid-century styles that feel current and using as many textures as possible. [She] wanted to embrace indoor/outdoor living and utilize all the natural light.” With a clean, functional home surrounded sunlight and plants, the Qazi family created their own paradise in California. —Tawnee

Photography by Christel Robleto



Living Room
Green Couch – Custom design by David Galindo
Embroidered Pillows – Safavieh
Rug and Coffee Table- Vintage by 6th And Detroit
Mirror – Homegoods
White Potted Plants – Peacock & Co.

Detail Living Room Shot:
Painted Sun Mirror – Vintage Etsy
White Circle Wall Sconce – Ikea
Cane Club Chair – American Standard Supply Co.
Pillow, Rug, Rattan Plant Stand and African Market Basket – Vintage by 6th And Detroit
White Potted Ponytail Palm – Peacock & Co.

Detail Living Room Shot
White Potted Fiddle Leaf – Peacock & Co.
Ceramic Lamp – Vintage Etsy
Speaker Table – Long Beach Flea Market
George Nelson Herman Miller Sofa Tab...


A Split-Level Gem Where Two styles Have Become One Design*Sponge

A Split-Level Gem Where Two styles Have Become One

When most homeowners start to look for a new abode, it’s all about location, location, location. It makes sense. Buying a home is a big investment, so where it stands isn’t something to take lightly. But when you love every corner of your city as much as LUSITANO1143’s founder Carlos João Parreira and his partner Greg do, location takes a backseat to finding a gem you can make your own.

Nearly two years ago, these New Yorkers decided to leave the rent race and find a spot to call their own. When they did, Carlos and Greg expanded their search well beyond the Tribeca stomping grounds they were so familiar with. No borough was off-limits, and no apartment was outside of their consideration. They were looking for outdoor space, a place that would let them combine their styles, and a spot to settle down with their two pets. In the end, a stand-out, split-level apartment situated in one of Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s old cheesecake factories proved to be the perfect option for the pair.

The sleek – yet casual – apartment boasts private, outdoor space and three stories worth of renovations. When all was said and done, the biggest undertaking proved to be re-outfittting the kitchen. It took over 20 trips to IKEA to finish up the space! The pair loves entertaining, though, so renovating the social hub of their home was worth it. Now, guests are greeted by a marble waterfall countertop and streamlined, white cabinetry. When the entertaining is done, it’s now easier than ever for Carlos and Greg to plop down in bed thanks to another of their renovations. The previous owners had a simple ladder leading to their suite, but the full staircase Carlos and Greg installed is much more to the pair’s liking.

While the overhaul was challenging, the changes have proven to be the perfect backdrop for worldly accessories from Carlos’ Portuguese upbringing and Greg’s stint in the UK. The combination of their collections gives the space the dash of personality they’d always wanted in a home. “Our favorite spaces have always been those that reflected the people that lived there, those that made us want to have a cocktail with the [owners],” the couple tells us. I think you’ll agree after taking a peek inside their Brooklyn space that Carlos and Greg have created such a home as that. Anyone would be lucky to sip on a cocktail while soaking up this pretty apartment. Until that day comes, you can virtually visit this stylish set’s first home together after the jump. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Carlos João Parreira...

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