In Thailand, Finding the Balance Between Kids & Clean Design

In Thailand, Finding the Balance Between Kids & Clean Design

In 2015, Tom’s company gave him and his wife Gumi the opportunity to pick up their lives in London and embrace the bustling, bright-colored streets of Bangkok, Thailand. Without hesitation, the duo was in. With a rich expat community and apartments that come fully or semi furnished, the spot they set out for and the transition there seemed made for ease. And thankfully both have been.

After a stint in another apartment, the couple ended up snagging this stellar pad in Sukhumvit, Bangkok. The building is lovely and modern, full of light and life as nearby restaurants and shops are go-go-going all the time. “It’s so exciting!” Gumi says of their new area. She’s found this exuberant Thai vibe so infectious it’s even had a major impact on her personal style. When it came to interior decor, Gumi used to favor kitsch and mid-century design enriched with a vintage touch. Nowadays, however, her home is more pared back with parts of it decorated in finds from the street vendors that sell right outside her front door. Plants, traditional Thai sarongs and patterned pillows are just a few of the local accoutrements she’s come to love.

But nothing has had more of an impact on the look of Gumi and Tom’s apartment than their little boys Keo and Sami. They’re both under the age of five, and their toys have managed to sneak into nearly all nooks of the home’s 1,000 square feet. At first, this nagged at Gumi. Her newfound aesthetic and contemporary taste weren’t made for messiness. In hopes of finding a compromise between form and function, she and Tom installed a big toy box in the living room with low shelves the boys could reach and boxes to keep all the toys visible and easy to access. That way there’s no unnecessary digging and cluttering. They also got their children’s artwork off of the table and onto the walls, making the boys proud and the apartment’s surfaces that much tidier.

While working to combat the clutter once and for all, Gumi and Tom had a realization. Yes they could work and work to make their home camera-ready all day every day, but in the end these strewn-about playthings give their home something they could never buy in a store. Each one is a tiny reminder that they have two little ones loving them daily. And that’s worth more than any spic-and-span home. Click through to check out how this family has embraced the compromise that is messy kiddos and crisp living. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Gumi Matsumoto

from Design*Sponge

Take Your Blog & Business to the Next Level e-course

I’m excited to announce an e-course like no other that you simply cannot miss… So in case you haven’t enrolled yet, the Blogging Your Way blog boot camp is a must-take! It’s all about taking your blog & business to the next level (or how to start it right if you are brand new). From March 3-20 I’m going to help a small group of you online to build the blog (or Instagram or business) of your dreams, and then how to use it once it has grown… So tell me… Are you in?

Take Your Blog & Business to the Next Level e-course

This class will teach you everything you need to know about profitable BOLD blogging and social media that slays. I’ve been supporting myself financially on my blog since I started in 2006. Yes, that’s ELEVEN YEARS. Talk about business sustainability – I will show you exactly how I did it and how I stay relevant in this ever-changing marketplace year after year. NO SECRETS. Come, learn from me.

Have a blog? Want to start a blog? Have a business you want to promote? Do you need help figuring out how to do something with all of the great fans you’ve amassed? Do you feel stale and in need of inspiration and brand new ways to work online?

This class WILL be a game changer for you.

I will solely teach this class and I will dedicate all of my time and attention for three weeks to ONLY you. This means that you will have direct access daily to talk to me online (except on the weekends) to answer your questions. You can even chat live once weekly with me in our mentor chat and ask any question you’d like and I’ll answer it. One or ten, I’ll answer them all.

This class will be like none before it because we are keeping it small and I’m not scheduling any other work or projects for the full duration so this class is the ONLY thing on my mind which frees me up to shoot above and beyond for my students.

It’s also for all levels but if you are a beginner, please note that we will not teach you HOW to set up a blog. So it’s a good idea to set one up first and then we will teach you what you need to know to get rolling with your blog. And for those of you already blogging, it’s time to up your game!

For more information, click here and SIGN UP because I’m only allowing 50 more students into the class and then that’s it – I’m closing registration. I won’t be doing another class like this until late Fall/early winter this year, so if you want it, come and get it!!!!


Take Your Blog & Business to the Next Level e-course

(Top photo: Toni Vinther, bottom row all by Holly Becker except 2nd from left, by Martin Wehrmann)

The post Take Your Blog & Business to the Next Level e-course appeared first on decor8.

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Late Winter Florals by Swallows & Damsons + Best of the Web

DS Feb Colour WEB-68 copy
This week has been a whirlwind of work behind the scenes here at D*S as we work on an exciting new launch (stay tuned in the next week or two!), plan a new print project and finalize details for some in-person events later this year. All this planning has been distracting me from the mountains of snow covering us at home and looking at the calendar for dates in April, May and June have been helpful reminders that warmer (and more colorful) days are ahead. Until then, Anna from Swallows & Damsons is here today with a beautiful, late-winter floral arrangement to cheer us up and bring some bright colors into our winter palette. Read on after the jump to learn about three beautiful arrangements she made using this season’s most vivid florals. xo, grace

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 Photography by India Hobson, Florals by Anna of Swallows & Damsons 

Interiors: A Rental to Renovation in Columbus, OH, Home Is Where The Heart Is, 10 Ways to Make Any Room Feel Cozier, A Painter and Coffee-Lover’s Kansas City Shirtwaist

Black History Month Spotlight: Anishka Clarke, Maya and Teta Gorgoni

Before & After: Creating a Functional, Healing Kitchen in Milton, Ontario, Gorgeous Fireplace Makeovers

Restaurants: 10 Shops and Restaurants That Warm Up Winter All Season Long

Food: Dumpling Galaxy’s Spicy Beef Dumplings

Art & Design: Paintings by Ashley Mary, 14 Hearts for Valentine’s Day, 10 Pick-Me-Up Patterns for Winter

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“The first necessity of beauty in color is gradation. The second necessity in color is mystery or subtlety. It is the best possible sign of a color when nobody who sees it knows what to call it, or how to give an idea of it to anyone else…” –John Ruskin, The Elements of Drawing 1857I find that at this time of year, I think about color more than ever. Months have passed using very little, winter whites and deep dark moody tones have been the staple. Suddenly there’s that feeling of hope. The worst of the weather has passed and the promise of spring is in sight. For me, the use of color at this time is key. Not only because the seasonal flowers are appearing in abundance, but to reflect the awakening that a lighter time is nigh. There may still be frost on the ground but there’s anticipation of change in the air.

It is of great value to keep pushing oneself creatively, to use the colors that I’m not instinctively drawn to and then explore the gradation. Too often my go-to scheme is muted, subtle and melancholy — it seems wrong, however, not to experiment a little as a new season approaches. I regularly change backgrounds and bring in flashes of complementary colors with objects or furniture.

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We have spent a lot of time looking at the color wheel in our house, as my 5-year-old son is an aspiring artist and revisiting the basics is always a good thing. I’m more interested now in where one color turns into another — that middle ground when paired up with its complementary middle ground is currently where I find my magic. Think browny/mustard yellow with a cool blue/lilac/grey. The concept sounds almost disgusting yet I can see the mystery that Ruskin talks about in this pairing. In these arrangements I’m exploring variation in tone, whether they be bright or muted I’m choosing to commit to a color and explore it from its deepest hue through to its lightest. From its coolest tone to its warmest. Calling on its neighbors a little to join the party. The colors I can’t describe, all harmonious in a visual feast.I’ve taken inspiration from nature and what seasonally ocurs in February. The fresh, greeny yellow shoots, pale pinks in the blossom buds, poisonous shades of orange and red mushrooms, the darkness of the bare soil and blackened Brambles. The longer days are also creeping in with lighter, brighter days and epic wild weather resulting in strange sunrise and sunsets.What happens when you bring a fresh, clean pop of white into otherwise murky shades of orange and peach? It lifts and lightens, but also dilutes the intensity of color. If instead we bring a darker tone into the palette this will give a more exaggerated, saturated look. By creating depth we allow each color to shine.I totally surprised myself on this occasion by falling for the brightest and most intense arrangement of oranges. From almost red vermillion, to salmon and rust with bursts of white, wine and coral, I couldn’t help but feel the warmth of the sunset tones and a renewed energy for remaining weeks of winter. —Anna of Swallows & Damsons 
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friday finds.

pink glass pendant lamp. / sfgirlbybay

let’s end this week on a light note, shall we? i hope you all have some fun plans in the works! i think i’m hitting the long beach flea market which always puts a spring in my weekend steps. don’t you just love shopping for unusual, quirky finds that make your home so uniquely you? i do, i do! here’s a little celebration of whimsical spaces and places with a little sense of humor about them. these friday finds should hopefully make you smile a little bit. have a great weekend! xo, victoria

  1. i love this light little nook — a lovely vignette of pretty pastels including that pale pink pendant lamp.
  2. honor your beloved pets in vintage-inspired portrait paintings — create a shrine to a girl’s best friend.
  3. very sweet table top styling including a glass cloche containing tiny collectibles.
  4. an eclectic looking living room, and i especially like the cheeky eye exam chart as art.
  5. stylist anna malmberg always gets it right, and this barcart is evidence her talents. love the miniature vintage vw bus.
  6. have you got a bunch of mismatched plates laying around? hang them up in a whimsical display that’s sure to cheer you up.
  7. personalize your home by showing off your hobbies, musical talents and love of vintage whimsy.
  8. i also adore unexpected kitchen art — create a unique story with vintage portrait paintings.


pink ceramic vase. / sfgirlbybay

striped area rug with leather sofa. / sfgirlbybay

rustic bar cart and potted plant. / sfgirlbybay

mismatched ceramaic plates. / sfgirlbybay

vintage mantle and home decor. / sfgirlbybay

vintage portrait paintings in a white modern kitchen. / sfgirlbybay

from sfgirlbybay

Paintings by Ashley Mary

I have a soft spot for artists that work in a color palette that celebrates pinks and peaches. Those colors always speak to me and when you combine them with great texture, I’m sold. Artist, illustrator, designer and prop stylist Ashley Mary creates beautiful paintings that highlight my favorite color (pink) and details like gold leaf and mixed-media paper cuts. If you need a little pick-me-up today, head over to Ashley’s website or Instagram feed to check out more of her work. It’s a wonderful celebration of color, pattern and texture. xo, grace


from Design*Sponge

In the Kitchen With: Dumpling Galaxy’s Spicy Beef Dumplings

Spicy Beef Dumplings | The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook | Design*Sponge

It’s no surprise here on the column that I love dumplings, and that dumpling overload is a priority when I visit London and New York City. One of New York’s celebrated dumpling houses, Dumpling Galaxy, has just published a book by the same name, co-authored by its chef and owner, Helen You, and Saveur‘s Executive Digital Editor, Max Falkowitz. For those of you, like me, who can’t make it to Dumpling Shack on a regular basis, these Spicy Beef Dumplings with Raw Garlic Sauce are a small taste of what you’re missing. Use the dough recipe below to improvise with your own fillings until you get your ticket to visit Queens! —Kristina

The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook | Design*Sponge

Photography by Ed Anderson

The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook | Design*Sponge

Spicy Beef Dumplings with Raw Garlic Sauce

There’s no question that beef takes well to chiles—just ask anyone from Sichuan (or Texas, for that matter). In this recipe, which almost begs for a cold beer, the spice comes in the form of homemade chile oil, which delivers a potent lick of heat that tickles the back of your tongue. As for many dumplings in this book, I add a good amount of ginger to this recipe to keep the flavors fresh.

Makes 24 dumplings


— 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
— 1 medium onion, finely chopped
— 1 teaspoon chile oil, store-bought or homemade
— 1 pound ground beef
— 3 scallions, finely chopped, white and green parts
— 2 tablespoons soy sauce
— 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
— 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
— 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
— 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
— 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
— 24 Panfried Dumpling Wrappers (recipe follows)
— 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
— 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Raw Garlic Sauce, for serving (recipe follows)


1. In a medium skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 9 to 10 minutes, until they turn soft and translucent. Stir in the chile oil, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

2. In a medium bowl, use your hands to combine the beef, scallions, soy sauce, oyster sauce, ginger, sesame oil, pepper, and salt, and mix until well blended. Gently fold in the onions and mix until fully incorporated.

3. Make the dumplings as instructed below. Holding a wrapper in your palm, use a fork to add about 1 tablespoon of the filling to the center of the wrapper, then lightly pat down the filling with the fork to get rid of any air bubbles.

4. Fold the dumpling into a half-moon, pinching it shut with your thumbs and index fingers, then press the center of the dumpling while pulling on the corners to push out any air bubbles and shape it into a curved crescent. Inspect the dumpling for any holes and pinch them shut. Repeat with the rest of the wrappers to make 24 dumplings.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, vinegar, and 1 cup of water until combined to make a slurry. Brush the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a medium cast-iron or nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat, until the oil starts to shimmer. Add 6 dumplings with the sealed edges lying flat in the pan, spacing them 1 inch apart, then slowly pour in just enough of the slurry to come one-third of the way up the dumplings. Partially cover the pan, leaving a small gap for steam to escape.

6. Increase the heat to high and cook for 2 minutes for cast iron (1 minute for nonstick). Lower the heat to medium for 2 minutes for cast iron (3 minutes for nonstick). Then lower the heat to low for 2 to 3 minutes for cast iron (3 minutes for nonstick).

7. Cook until the water has evaporated, leaving a paper-thin disk of golden-brown starch on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and slide a thin, flexible spatula around the rim of the pan to loosen the edges of the starch disk, then carefully slide the spatula underneath and flip the disk onto a plate in one piece, crispy side up. Serve immediately, then clean the skillet and repeat with the remaining dumplings. Serve immediately with the Raw Garlic Sauce, if desired.

Panfried Dumpling Dough

Makes 24 wrappers


— 2 cups all-purpose flour
— 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
— 3/4 cup lukewarm water
— 1 egg white


1. Mix the dough. For panfried dumplings: Add the flour to a wide mixing bowl and stir in the salt. Stir in the water and egg white with your fingers. The flour will look shaggy, like biscuit dough; as the dough comes together, run an open palm around the edge of the bowl and fold the flour into the center, spinning the bowl with your other hand as you go, until it all forms a rough clump. It’s fine if there are still pockets of dry flour.

2. Knead the dough. (For steps 2 through 5, instructions for boiled, panfried, and steamed dumplings are the same.) Coat your work surface with a fine dusting of flour and turn the dough out of the bowl. Dust your hands with flour and shape the dough into a fat log about the width of your hand. Knead the dough by pushing your hands and wrists into the log and rolling it forward. Then roll it back and push again. Repeat a few times until the log moves easily, adding more flour if it sticks, then spin the log 90 degrees, shape it into a horizontal log again, and knead a few more times, adding more flour if necessary. Use no more flour than you need to keep the dough from drying out. As you knead, the dough will get firmer and tougher with a texture reminiscent of a gummy bear. It’s ready when it’s smooth to the touch, like the surface of a pearl, not tacky, with no cracks or pockets of dry flour. There may be some lumps. Put the dough back in your work bowl and cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap. Let it sleep for 15 to 30 minutes. While it relaxes, you can prepare your filling.

3. Knead Again. Dust your work surface with a little more flour, then knead it as before. Work out all those lumps; after kneading about ten times you should have satin-smooth dough that forms a clean ball you can easily push into, like the gel of a shoe insert.

4. Portion the dough. Form your dough into a log, dust a dough scraper with a little flour, and cut the dough into four equal sections. Roll each section into a log and chop it into six pieces for a total of twenty-four balls of dough, each about an inch in diameter. Toss the balls with a light coating of flour and cover with a lightly moistened towel.

5. Roll the dough into wrappers. Gently smash the balls of dough into flat disks, then lightly roll an Asian-style rolling pin across them to flatten them out a bit more. Hold one disk by its edge and firmly but gently roll your pin from the disk’s edge to its center. Roll the same edge a few more times, using more pressure at the edge than at the center. Use your other hand to turn the dough disk and reveal a new edge of the disk; roll again. Continue until all edges are rolled out and the wrapper is about 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

Hold your rolled-out wrapper up to a light. If you can see through it faintly, your wrapper is ready to go. Otherwise, keep rolling. Roll the edges to half the thickness of the center of the wrappers.

As you get faster, you’ll notice that all your active hand needs to do is roll the pin back and forth while your other hand just rotates the wrapper. As long as your hands stay in these fixed motions, you’ll easily make even, round wrappers though they don’t need to be perfectly uniform. Place freshly rolled wrappers under a lightly moistened towel to keep them from drying out.

Raw Garlic Sauce

Makes 3⁄4 cup


— 14 to 16 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and finely chopped
— 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice


In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of cold water. Transfer to a glass jar or plastic container and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days to let the flavor mellow. Store in the refrigerator for up
to a week.

The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook | Design*Sponge

Reprinted from The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Helen You. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Ed Anderson. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

About Helen and Max

Helen You is the chef and owner of Dumpling Galaxy and Tianjin Dumpling House in Flushing, Queens. She and her dumplings have been lauded by New York magazine, Serious Eats, Eater, and the New York Times, which named Dumpling Galaxy a Critics’ Pick and awarded it one star. She lives with her family in New York City.

A native of Queens, Max Falkowitz grew up hunting dumplings and dosas. He is the executive digital editor of Saveur and was previously the senior features editor of Serious Eats. Find Max on Twitter, here.

Chef Helen You | Design*Sponge

from Design*Sponge

wear this there: gracias madre.

gracias madre in los angeles. / sfgirlbybay

this week we’re bringing it home for our wear this there, right to our local favorite — gracias madre. this west hollywood haunt has the dreamiest interiors (and gluten free tortillas) that will stick with you long after you’ve left. their use of tiles gives us serious feels against an otherwise minimally bohemian space that you’ll want to recreate in your own home. we say mix up the cool girl style with a bright yellow frock and a short pom pom heel — the spicy marg won’t be the only fuego moment. a good pair of frames, and the perfect tote bag will have you fitting right in with this chic crowd. this week’s read this there is the Frida Kahlo: The Gisèle Freund Photographs, the works of Gisèle Freund who was welcomed into the mexico city home of legendary couple Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

~ michaela dartois, vérité published.

wear this there: gracias madre. / sfgirlbybay

wear this wear guide: gracias madre. / sfgirlbybay

wear this there: zara poplin dress; zara leather mid-heel pom pom sandals; bones and feathers collective sun earring set; need supply Karen Walker Marques sunglasses in Marigold/Brown; read this there Frida Kahlo: The Gisèle Freund Photographs by Gérard de Cortanze; need supply Academy Time Zone Necklace; anthropologie Frayed Bazaar Straw Tote; luv aj full bloom ring set in rose gold.

wicker chairs at gracias madre. / sfgirlbybay

white brick walls and wicker chairs at gracias madre in l.a. / sfgirlbybay

white exterior with colorful awning at gracias madre. / sfgirlbybay

wood floors and white brick hallway. / sfgirlbybay

moroccan tile bar at gracias madre. / sfgirlbybay

wear this there: gracias madre weho. / sfgirlbybay

• photography courtesy of gracias madre; remodelista; one kings lane and decor8.

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