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The One Space in Life You Get to Fully Shape: Grace Bonney, Editor of Design*Sponge

Blogger Grace Bonney focuses her site Design*Sponge on fun furniture/product designs news, as well as other aspects in the home. She is the editor of the site, which was established in 2004. Follow the interview where she answers questions about how she perceives design and why she is intrigued by interior and home product design.

The Interview

1. How did you know that design was what you wanted to blog about?

I've always been intrigued by interior and home product design. It's the one space in life that you get to fully shape to fit your own unique taste, so why not put time and care into the things that decorate it?

2. How would you describe the Brooklyn interior design?

Brooklyn design is changing right now, but for the past 4-5 years it's been all about references to the industrial nature of the northern part of the Borough. Designers have been reusing found lumber, metal and other industrial scraps to create new furniture. They also went through a phase of being obsessed with preserving "throw-away" objects- i.e.: ceramic casts of paper coffee cups, gold dipped molds based on takeaway containers, silver plated necklaces cast from chewed gum- this phase is dying down a bit, but not entirely. But overall, I think Brooklyn design is about making the most with what you have, what you can find around your area and finding a way to modernize it and make it your own.

3. You show many different designs on your site, what are you looking for when selecting them?

I look for something that grabs me from the get-go. I need to emotionally respond to an interior or a product to even consider writing about it-whether that response is happiness, sadness or just curiosity.

4. What is the most common question you receive from your visitors, and can you answer it?

Most people want to know how to make their home feel like "them" on a budget. I always suggest three things:

Update your existing furniture: grab a can of paint, a piece of wallpaper or a little bit of stain and make old things look new- it's amazing how much new life you can breathe into something when you try hard enough.

Focus on a key space in each room: make a bold statement on one wall, or in one place- rather than buying tons of different things. One key focal point is enough to carry the rest of the room and let the rest be simple and understated.

Paint, paint paint. Never underestimate the power of a $15 can of paint. You can paint a bold orange accent wall, add horizontal stripes to create flow, or paint your ceiling a bright color to draw the eye up and create height in a low, basement apartment.

5. What books are your favorite ones, can you name any books that would help people with design?

Right now I'm really inspired by floral design so I've been reading a lot on flowers and terrariums. There's a great new book called "The New Terrarium" I love- for the small-space city dweller, bringing green space into the home is a great way to make an apartment feel less like a crash-space and more like a real "home".

6. Is your home today, the dream home you had as a little girl, or have your taste changed as you’ve learned more about design?

Oh gosh now- I'm a renter so this space is always changing and getting cluttered with old things. I hope to own my own home one day so I can invest in the sort of cabinets, flooring and wallpaper that express my own personal taste. You can't really do that with a rental. 😉

7. I’ve read in an interview that you love Dorothy Draper’s style. Which contemporary designer’s style do you like? (Doesn’t need to work with contemporary design)

Dorothy is my idol, but I also love Kelly Wearstler for her grand decorative statements. For me, she is a modern version of Dorothy.

8. In which blogs do you think you can learn the most about various designs?

It depends on your taste:

• Mocoloco.com is great for contemporary architecture and forward-thinking design.

• I love Inhabitat.com for green design.

• Core77.com for student and industrial design.

• OhJoy.blogs for Comfort feminine, trend-conscious lifestyle design.

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