The Insider: Grace Bonney

When the Brooklyn design scene was juuust starting to get interesting, Grace Bonney knew that she had to find a way to talk about all the amazingness she was seeing. So she started Design*Sponge—which, as you probably know, is now THE home décor hub of the whole internet. We’ve got mad respect. And Grace has all sorts of interesting stuff to share here. —monica derevjanik

Q: Who are some home designers you think we should be paying attention to right this minute?
A: I’m a pretty intense lover of ceramics, so I’m following Helen Levi closely right now. I love her kind of quirky brand of tabletop designs. Molly Hatch is phenomenal as well. Her Delft series is gorgeous.

Q: What’s the last thing you made with your two hands?
A: Scrambled eggs. Really good ones! Design-wise, I made a pretty great iPhone case using leftover pom-pom strands and paint samples from Martha Stewart’s collection.

Q: Speaking of the great Martha Stewart, it looks like you get to hang out with her a lot. What’s that like?
A: Does she know about these hangouts? I feel fortunate to have met her a few times during our book tour and for some speaking engagements, but I wouldn’t say that I hang out with her. But, man, is she an inspiration! People talk a lot about her being too perfect or too demanding or too anything. Honestly, she is my gold standard. Without her drive and pursuit of perfection, I wouldn’t know what standard to hold myself and my business to. I think the key is to aim for some version of perfection but to be totally ok with the result you get.

Q: Have you had any great, big design mishaps?
A: Too many to list! My biggest fail was probably the kitchen of my old Park Slope apartment. I thought navy blue was a great idea for the walls, but it just ended up feeling like a cave. Then I thought bright red, but it was bad on top of bad. I settled on a bright orange that ended up working, but it made me feel like my paint color skills—which I weirdly prided myself on—were completely shot.

Q: Do you ever feel like you’re constantly changing your tastes, or has working in design helped you define what you like?
A: I feel like I’m constantly refining my taste to become more and more minimal. Being surrounded by color and pattern all day has turned me from a renter that was constantly turning white walls into colorful walls, into a renter that moves in and changes nothing. White walls are a welcome respite after the visual clutter (which I love and feel thankful to see every day) I work in.

Q: Which Of a Kind piece are you loving right now?
A: Doug Johnston’s cord basket! I’m a huge fan of Doug’s work and love all of the ways he’s making me reimagine humble cotton cording. I also wear the small black diamond/gold studs that Caitlin Mociun made. Every. Single. Day. Literally.

Q: Which designer could you wear nonstop?
A: Rag & Bone. I pretty much do already. I’ve slowly been paring down my closet to a uniform-slash-essentials situation so I don’t have to think as much about what I wear. I’ve always been more of a home design person than a fashion person, so I like to stick to what works for me, which is dark jeans and a sweater or some sort of blazer. If I lived a dream life, I’d wear Oscar de la Renta dresses all day and look like Marion Cotillard. But, you know, you have to work with what you have.

Q: What are the last three songs you listened to?
A: I was in Koreatown for a girls’ night karaoke and sang Monica and Brandy’s “The Boy Is Mine” and “Islands in the Stream” by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. The third is “Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens.

Q: We totally snooped and found a Vine of you doing the dance from Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” video. How long did it take for you to learn?
A: That was the best birthday present ever! My best friend organized an afternoon of private dance instruction where my friends and I learned portions of the Robyn dance and some steps from a Beyoncé video. In just an hour and a half, we transformed from a bunch of goofs into a pretty coordinated team of dancers.

Get to know more hugely impressive people right this way.

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Recommended Reading: Erica Weiner Shares Her Faves on Design*Sponge

You know who has ka-razy good taste? Erica Weiner. And if you (DARE) don’t believe us, well, get your rear over to Design*Sponge and read about allll the things she’s feeling right now. Let’s face it: You’re kinda dying to know about the best stapler around. —erica

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Recommended Reading: Shannon Davenport & Julia Wilson of Fortune Favors the Brave Get All Obsessive Over at Design*Sponge

Not that I have to sell you on clicking through with that image above—THOSE SHOES—but now’s your chance to get a load of what the cool-beyond-words duo behind Fortune Favors the Brave is alllll about these days over at Design*Sponge. Oh, by the by: It’s also your chance to score their nearly gone Blackout Studs, which are total holiday-season crowd-pleasers. —erica

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Recommended Reading: Annie Larson x Design*Sponge = AWESOME

Twelve ways to improve your morning? Dive into this rundown of Annie Larson’s dozen of-the-moment obsessions over at Design*Sponge, DUH. And, while you’re there, heck: Troll the archives. —erica

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Recommended Reading: Look at All the Amazingness Lauren Wolf Dug Up for Design*Sponge

Did you know we pull together a column called "Obsessions" for Design*Sponge every couple weeks where we ask an Of a Kind designer to give us the scoop on the stuff he/she’s sweating right now? WELL, WE DO. And this go, we tapped the amazing Lauren Wolf, who between her jewelry line and her Oakland store, uncovers boatloads of coolness daily. Read on…erica

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Recommended Reading: Asia Ragland of Feliks + Adrik Gets All Obsession-y on Design*Sponge

And by that I mean: She talks about what she’s sweating right now. Read! —erica

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Recommended Reading: Tara St James of Study Shares Her Obsessions on Design*Sponge

This is just a taste, y’all. Head over to Design*Sponge for the whole shebang (and check out our guest posts with Erin Considine and Alyson Fox while you’re there!).

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Recommended Reading: Our Design*Sponge “Obsessions” Series

Did we tell you about this? How every other week, we’re asking one of our alumni designers to share the things she/he is sweating right now with our pals over at Design*Sponge? Well, get over there and take a peek—this week is all about the lovely Erin Considine (who made this woven wonder), and the awesome Alyson Fox (behind these necklaces) kicked things off. FUN TIMEZ, guys. —erica

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Don’t Touch That Dial: Listen to Us on the Design*Sponge Radio Show

Yesterday, we had the awesome opportunity to be guests on Grace Bonney’s Heritage Radio Network show “After the Jump.” Not only did we get to chitchat with the founder of Design*Sponge on-air for a half hour—we’re huge fangirls, duh—but we also got to stuff our faces with Roberta’s pizza after as the show is broadcast outta the Bushwick restaurant. 

ANYWAY, you can listen to our “After the Jump” installment right here. The show streams live at 12p ET every Monday, and if you’re just tuning in now, you don’t have much catching up to do: Ours was only the second ep. The first featured the stunningly talented and articulate Todd Oldham, and being on any list that he’s on also makes us feel damn special. —erica

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Erica Weiner’s (Three-Story!) House

That’s the beauty of moving to Red Hook.


For reals: There’s a piano.

When Erica Weiner moved from downtown Manhattan to Red Hook along the Brooklyn waterfront in 2009, she traded a tiny studio for the sort of turn-of-the-century place that can hold a piano. “I found it through Craigslist,” says the jewelry designer with a rabid fanbase. “In Red Hook, you can still get a great place without a broker. The owner is Italian, and he grew up in the neighborhood.” Here’s how she and her new husband made the spot their own.


“The previous tenants had painted the walls fluorescent colors. Most of it was ugly, but we kind of liked the green in this room. We made it even more fluorescent. My sister did that painting in high school. Now she has her masters in painting and is teaching art history at SVA.”


“Chris—my husband—was in the band They Might Be Giants, singing back-up for their albums and playing bass. The wife of one of the band members actually married us. Hanging up there at the top of the stairs is a Victorian morning coat. I got it at a costume house in Scotland—it’s fading in the sun.”


“This cabinet is something they sold to make women’s lives easier in the early 1900s. It has all of these gadgets—high-tech at the time—like a flour-sifter bin: You put your bowl under it, and it sifts flour into it from the bin above. It’s storage and sifting—all my problems are solved! I found an ad in a Ladies’ Home Journal from 1912 for the exact cabinet that I have.”


“This is a chair I found. It’s the skeleton from an old stuffed armchair—it was on the bottom floor of my Chrystie Street studio. I brought it home and made seating and a back for it.”


“That’s my picture wall. I’ve been reading too much Design*Sponge—that’s pretty much required in a house according to that blog. And the padded couch is seating at the dining-room table.”

You’re not going to want to miss out on Erica’s Wednesday release: an updated version of one of our greatest hits. Get on our mailing list, stat, to be the first to know.

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