Shop Tour: The Farmer’s Daughter Flower Shop

Flowers are like a second language, a language which I have a hard time wrapping my brain and tongue around. Their exotic names often escape me, but I love to think of them like I think about paper or paint- materials to be sculpted or composed. Lauren Work Phillips is someone who can both speak flowers, as well as compose and sculpt them. She pours her passion into her blooms, from planting seeds at her family farm, to delivering painterly arrangements to events in the city. She’s one of the most passionate and energizing people to be around, which makes popping into her Pittsburgh brick-and-mortar all the more enticing.  

Lauren honed her floral skills working for Zuzu’s Petals, a flower shop in Brooklyn. She was surrounded and nurtured by other talented women who really loved flowers, so Lauren learned to appreciate, respect and care for every bloom she touched. Most importantly, she was encouraged to put herself into her work, and though she loved that work, she missed the simplicity and beauty of nature. Having grown up on a farm in Western Pennsylvania, she longed for dirt and fresh air, so she returned to nearby Pittsburgh with a strong vision to create a floral business rooted in her family’s farm.

Her vision also included a shop – a place to combine her floral services with plant-inspired gifts. The perfect location finally presented itself- a storefront in the historic Deutschtown neighborhood of Pittsburgh, and The Farmer’s Daughter Flowers was born. The space was a blank canvas – white walls and a subfloor, which Lauren and her husband Paul spent seven months transforming. The shop’s design had been such a long time coming. Lauren said, “The piece that we built the entire shop around was a 5’x7′ Dutch inspired floral painting. My husband bought it for me while we were still living in Brooklyn to put in my future flower shop.”

Today, shopper after shopper ‘grams that dramatic framed piece. It’d be easy to chalk up the shop to destiny, but “Work” is Lauren’s middle name after all. She has hustled hard and put her heart into her craft, and she takes nothing for granted. “The shop is filled with laughter, music, and coffee. I consider myself the luckiest to be surrounded by the most creative ladies and a wonderful husband on a daily basis. I am also so thankful for the clients/customers the shop attracts. We have created some wonderful relationships with wonderful people!” See what I mean? Don’t you just want to catch Lauren’s positive energy? You owe yourself a visit! –Quelcy

Photography by Quelcy.

Image Above: A wall in The Farmer’s Daughter Flowers showcases Lauren Works Phillips’ desire to combine dark, moody tones with lighter, whimsical products. 

from Design*Sponge

at home with: designer trine skollers.

designer trine skollers' home. / sfgirlbybay

one of my favorite online resources for great design, bolig magazine recently featured the home of designer trine skollers, and it’s a beauty. colorful and a little bit whimsical, trine has mixed traditional favorites with vintage flea market finds creating a home that’s truly eclectic and reflects the personality of its owner and her family. cozy, art-filled nooks are everywhere, and the home feels charming, unpretentious and inviting — the kind of space you’d like to curl up with a good book and a glass of wine, or — host a big dinner party with all your best friends. it’s just that enviable and inspiring mix of personal hideaway and welcoming weekend home. for the full home tour, visit bolig magazine.

whimsical home of designer trine skollers. / sfgirlbybay

art gallery wall. / sfgirlbybay

art gallery wall in home of designer trine skollers. / sfgirlbybay

designer trine skollers' dinign room. / sfgirlbybay

white modern kitchen. / sfgirlbybay

designer trine skollers' kitchen. / sfgirlbybay

designer trine skollers' whimsical home. / sfgirlbybay

art wall in designer trine skollers' home. / sfgirlbybay

designer trine skollers home tour. / sfgirlbybay

designer trine skollers bedroom. / sfgirlbybay

bedroom decor in home of designer trine skollers. / sfgirlbybay

designer trine skollers home via bolig magazine. / sfgirlbybay

• photography by Thomas Dahl for Bolig Magasinet.




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Three is the Magic Number: A Kanban Primer

I’m turning 50 next month and I can’t believe it. It’s all good, but I had no idea that my subconscious would take five decades so seriously. I haven’t become a somber, serious woman — but I’ve noticed some changes that I didn’t consciously enact. One of the major ones is the feeling that I’m simply not that flexible any longer. My schedule has finally become just that. My schedule. If it hasn’t been scheduled and isn’t an emergency that affects what I hold dear personally or professionally, it moves to the rear of the queue. In that spirit of only supporting what I truly love and value, I’ve found myself back into the Kanban method. (Kanban literally means billboard or signboard in Japanese.)

Kanban is a visual productivity method developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota, and it was originally used as a way to track projects or systems, where it was helpful for detecting issues that clog production. The method made its way into the world of software design here in the states at a time when design thinking was being considered as a plausible approach for managing one’s time and stress in everyday life.  When our daily to-do lists exceed one digit, it can produce stress and lower our productivity. It’s why we pull the covers up over our head and hit the snooze bar.

If you know each day you’re going to be doing or moving forward only three things, life becomes manageable. When life becomes manageable, it also becomes enjoyable and allows you identify the sources of that joy. Armed with that positive knowledge, you’ll know how to and when to recharge. This is exactly how I want to spend the rest of my life.

Here’s how you can incorporate a little Kanban into your life. Here are the big ideas to keep in mind as you read (and hopefully practice) this method everyday.

  1. Try to do as few things as possible at a time
  2. Finish the work you have stared before taking on anything


To get started, grab some Post-Its or uniform size paper squares you’ve cut out. One each of the squares, list all the things, projects, tasks and worries that you’re responsible for at work and/or in life. Only include one project, task or to do on a square. You may want to break large projects down to the tasks that it will take to complete the project as a whole. This activity should be pretty simple. It might be a bit painful, so have a reward lined up for when you’ve completed it to thank yourself for taking this step towards creating less stress for yourself.

For those things in the To Do area that have a deadline, just make a note of the due date in the corner and estimate the time you think it will take you to complete it. If it will take days, add an extra day. If it will take several hours, add an extra hour. If it will take 60 minutes, add another 30 minutes.

In other words, give yourself some pad so that the inevitable roadblocks don’t derail you & have you abandon the system.

Next create some type of grid pattern with masking or washi tape if you’re using a small section of wall. Of course, a grid on paper will work too. Clearly label the columns TO DO, IN PROGRESS and DONE. If you’re like me and get overwhelmed with the amount of To Dos, feel feel to cover that column with a blank piece of paper and only uncover it as needed to populate your In Progress column. I do prioritize the tasks in my To Do column so I don’t have to spend much time in there when I go to grab something that I’m moving to the In Progress column.

So, working this method, you’re going to work on only one thing at a time. While your working, you’re not going to check your phone or email. You will only have three things in your In Progress column at any given time. That means you should create a note for even things like checking email and move it back and forth from the To Do to the In Progress column multiple times per day. If you can, limit your email checking to 2 – 3 times per day, unless you’re waiting for some timely information.

Don’t worry about what anyone will say regarding this new system. You can tell them this is how you do your best work — by completing focusing one one thing at a time. Let them know that when you’re focusing on your work that has to do with them, you will be completely focused on that work and that’s how you can best serve them.

At the end of the day, break at least 30 minutes before you plan to leave your desk. Take this time to review what you’ve done, see if your priorities in the To Do column have or need to be changed and pull the three To Dos you plan on working on tomorrow. Don’t move them into the In Progress yet. You’ll do that first thing to get oriented and start your day. If you still have leftovers from the day in the In Progress column, move them back to the top of the To Do column.

After doing this daily for a week or two, you’ll have insights that a consultant would if they observed you and your business. My insights were astounding. I knew email was a endless stream, but I didn’t realize I spent almost 40% of my time reading and answering emails. That’s insane, and leaves me only set up to be behind on projects that we’ve identified as important as a team and that were designed to advance our shared values. By giving away 40% of my time, I was not living according to my values so, of course, I felt stressed. (I now profusely use Canned Replies as much as I can.)

I also realized that I always took a break after doing my email tasks. Once I took a break, it was harder to go back and start a new task. After I limited checking my email to twice per day, I had my lunch break and end-of-the-day to recover and reward myself with a big stretch and long, slow deep breath.

Here’s hoping this method can help you tame your day so you can enjoy it more! If you have any tried and true methods that help you manage your time or organize your day, please share them in the comments. I’d love to know and have them in my arsenal as I approach the big 5 – 0.  –Caitlin 

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new & noteworthy.

Stoneware Clay bowls by licorice moon studios. / sfgirlbybay

1. these Stoneware Clay bowls by licorice moon studios are so delicate and pretty — new leaf Gold Rimmed and Hand Painted — i wanna display these everywhere.

ahhh, summer’s here and you know how i know? cuz it’s over 90 degrees in L.A. and my AC, well it would appear it’s not quite up to snuff. homeownership can be a struggle, huh? but never fear — i’ve gone on the hunt for some light and lovely summer finds on this week’s new & noteworthy. cool, right? pun intended. chill out and enjoy!

new & noteworthy items. / sfgirlbybay

2. i drink a lot of iced coffee these days, so i’m trying to make environmentally healthy choices about the straws i use — thus, these pretty glass straws from food52 — love the colors!; 3. this pink cobra table lamp makes me glow a little on the inside — vintage modern love from artilleriet. as always their items are stunning; 4. i love my pink Handmade tote inspired by Matisse’s ‘Nadia au Menton Pointu.’ and now they’ve made a mint green version. oooh la la! Made by Peu Importe exclusively for Goodwin.

print by artist abbey Withington. / sfgirlbybay

5. corals from the sea — even the title of the print sounds like a trip to the beach. artist abbey Withington’s new prints have a unique charm all their own and i just adore ’em. coming soon!

 OAXACA .01 print BY ANDREW SHEPHERD via the citizenry. / sfgirlbybay

6. a longtime favorite for great furniture and homewares, the citizenry has a brand new travel print collection available, and it’s giving me summer wanderlust. my favorite is this OAXACA .01 print BY ANDREW SHEPHERD.

modern decor and accessries shopping guide. / sfgirlbybay

7. i’m terrible — i really do judge a book by it’s cover, but this book looks really interesting to me, too. reforma is a typographic essay of the signs that line Mexico City’s most prominent avenue. Each page includes a teeny-tiny map to show the location of the sign; 8. i love the elegant, but very vintage vibe this Godet lamp gives off. designed by Pedro Saninis, it’s inspired by the pleats of skirts Perfect for minimal, modern homes, so i had to have one.; 9. This is not a Japanese tatami mat for the floor. instead It’s a cozy throw for snuggling. designer karrie dean of happy habitat Just wanted to clear that up.

ivette rounded mirror. / sfgirlbybay

10. i love the shape and simplicity of this ivette rounded mirror. also quite handy — it’s got a nifty shelf for stashing your favorite bathroom bottles and baubles.

kitchen vinyl service. and pink tote bag. / sfgirlbybay

11. hey, looking for new music? look no further than turntable kitchn’s latest endeavor — sounds delicious is the only vinyl club that delivers limited edition cover albums that are works of art, and recorded by artists you love. rare vinyl delivered to your door. not only do they taste good, turntable kitchen sounds good, too; 12. and lastly i’m smitten with this kistchy South Beach Drawstring Shoulder Bag in Lullaby Pink. i’m always a sucker for a great tote with vintage vibes — time to hit the beach!




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on trend: bauhaus.

blockshop textiles. / sfgirlbybay

sometimes i just start to notice images popping up on pinterest in a series of familiar shapes and lately it’s this bauhaus vibe i’ve been seeing. i went to an excellent bauhaus exhibit at LACMA of artist moholy-nagy and it reminded me how experimental the artists from this art movement were, and how much i love it. and then i began seeing its influences all over the place. from textiles designs by block shop, to tile floors to wrapping paper from accompany, and typefaces, too. i think bauhaus might be back on trend — although its certainly a classic, and for me it never went out of fashion. it’s definitely a favorite of mine.

bauhaus prints. / sfgirlbybaybauhaus inspired tile work. / sfgirlbybaybauhaus prints. / sfgirlbybay bowie in bauhaus inspired costume. / sfgirlbybaybauhaus inspired textiles. / sfgirlbybaybauhaus inspired art print. / sfgirlbybayblack and white bauhaus style inspiration. / sfgirlbybayblockshop textile scarf. / sfgirlbybayblack and white bauhaus inspired prints. / sfgirlbybayblockshop textiles showroom. / sfgirlbybay

•image credits in order of appearance: @blockshoptextiles; bauhaus; artist brian rea; Barcelona Print Wrapping Paper by the dharma door from accompany; cult / xxviii; Josef Muller-Brockmann’s Beethoven poster; block shop textiles’ ripple pillow; David Bowie costume, 1973, by Kansai Yamamoto; uh huh by tauba auerbach; block shop textiles’ temple scarf; quarter circle tiles by smink things; 8 by sawdust design; hable construction’s rise print from revitaliste; le Corbusier by Oat Creative; it’s a long story by artist sarah maxey; new artwork from @maraserene; bauhaus theater study from bagtazo; watching eye print by artist jennifer ament; @timothy evans; Martin Munkacsi, Greta Garbo on vacation, 1932 via flavorwire; pamplemousse scarf by block shop textiles; tiny’s matchbook cover via frank kelsey; magnet pillow by block shop textiles; @blockshoptextiles.




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Jersey City’s Urby Residences

Jersey City's Urby Residences, Design*Sponge

Increasing rents sure aren’t going anywhere. You know who is going somewhere though? The people paying those skyrocketing rents. They’re going everywhere: out to eat, movies, traveling abroad, etc. In a nutshell,  they’re a group unapologetically on the hunt for new experiences, connection and fun, even if that means not saving money with their choice of living space and sacrificing a little square footage.

One company that’s heard the cry of young renters looking for affordable, yet stylish, housing is Urby. Offered in three sizes, the units they’ve created are absolutely more streamlined and quaint than similar housing options. But that’s a-ok with those who live there. What they lack in square footage, they make up for in communal spaces and opportunities to experience new things.

It all starts in the building’s lobby. Upon stepping inside, residents and guests are immediately enveloped by a café bustling with neighbors and creatives collaborating and laughing together at communal tables. Explore the building further and you’ll find community kitchens where the house chef teaches residents the art of cooking his or her favorite delights. If chatting over coffee or cooking isn’t your thing, simply hit up the resident artists or musicians. Both are eager to impart their wisdom on those who call Urby “home.”

I think you’ll agree after taking a peek at its interior and facade that Urby is a playful space, but by the sounds of it, they take one thing very seriously: enriching the lives of their residents. Affordability and enrichment? I’m in! Where do I sign? Scroll to take further a peek at the colorful and purposeful design of Jersey City’s Urby. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Ewout Huibers 

Design by concrete

Managed by Ironstate Development

Image above: The second in Urby’s set of residences, the Jersey City location, boasts communal kitchens that not only offers residents a spot to meet and chill with their neighbors, but an in-house chef who hosts weekly cooking classes. The opportunities to learn don’t stop there though. Urby also employs a music teacher, artist and a farmer that will happily teach any resident their trade.

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Q&A: Celebrating Creative Businesses in Erin Austen Abbott’s How to Make It

Owning a creative business and living a life centered around an artistic trade is a romantic notion, a dream for many who yearn to make one-of-a-kind goods with their hands. But to really make it as a creative entrepreneur is not an easy feat, and as a business with untraditional practices and methods, the path to success inevitably comes with its own unique set of challenges.

Design*Sponge’s own Erin Austen Abbott knows the tales of creative makers through and through — after opening her Oxford, MS shop Amelia in 2009, she became enamored with the stories of the makers whose goods she stocked on her shelves. She continued to admire and document the journeys of these small businesses through an Instagram series over the years, and Erin spent most of 2015 traveling the country to photograph and interview 25 of the creative industry’s successful business owners to write her newly released book, How to Make It: 25 Makers Share The Secrets to Building a Creative Business.

Today Erin is sharing with us about commonalities she’s observed in creative entrepreneurs, what she learned from the trials of these makers, and what touring with bands and selling merchandise has to do with all of it. —Kelli

Photography by Erin Austen Abbott

Image above: A scene from the workspace of Tennessee-based handmade ceramics shop Paper & Clay.

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