friday finds.

modern dining room with louvered windows. / sfgirlbybay

at long last, friday. sigh — it’s been a busy week around here — how about you? when the weekend comes i’m all about being outside, either in my backyard or a park or the beach as much as possible and when i’m home, i love bringing the outdoors inside. so for this week’s friday finds we’re taking a look at some pretty ways of being in nature no matter where you are. enjoy your weekend, everyone and go outside! xo, victoria

  1. i’ve always had a thing for louvered windows, and this dining room makes my case. it feels much more outdoors than indoors, right?
  2. this is such a pretty covered porch area, too. it feels so simple and calming, like you’re dining in a tree house.
  3. i like this clever idea for bringing the outdoors in — some DIY shelving for potted plants right across the window.
  4. this bedroom is all that and a bag of [sun] chips. so very zen, so close to nature feels like you’d sleep so peacefully.
  5. love this tranquil setting too. very simple, but perfection all the way. just a few cacti and succulents to make the scene ideal.
  6. how about this for a loungey outdoor spot? looks like a wonderful place to nap, read and relax. adding the tarp makes it extra cozy.
  7. this is a great little outdoor dining deck. love how they’ve made it more intimate with the slat wood screen and pergola over top.
  8. and lastly, this has to be the happiest fiddle leaf fig i’ve ever seen. she’s just reaching all the way across this room making you feel like you’re dining al freso!

covered porch dining area. / sfgirlbybay

diy shelf with potted plants in window. / sfgirlbybay

tranquil white bedroom with houseplants. / sfgirlbyaby

ombre potted cacti. / sfgirlbybay

cozy patio decor. / sfgirlbybay

covered wood pergola over outdoor table. / sfgirlbybay

fiddle leaf fig tree in dining room. / sfgirlbybay

from sfgirlbybay

wear this there: de maria.

de maria restaurant in new york. / sfgirlbybay

nolita’s latest locale is where the independent art scene meets killer fare. de maria is a feast for the eyes (and our tummies) — the chef herself is instagram star camille becerra, so you know it’ll be pretty. designed in true Bauhaus style by dynamic duo amy morris and Anna Polonsky, co-founders & Creative Directors of new york-based concept, design and branding studio the MP Shift, the elements are simple and artful functionality, with a 70s’ flare. behind the bar, a stunning mural by artist david novros that’ll hold your gaze while you wait for your dinner. you wouldn’t want to disrupt the good vibe of the place so in matching fashion we say go a little simply retro. to fight that new york weather be sure to prep before you subway with a mizen nourishing mask, and throw a bottle of herbivore botanicals face mist in your very cheeky clutch! this week’s read this there is the late carrie fisher’s book the princess diarist, on audible of course.

~ michaela d’artois, vérité published.

colorful art at de maria. / sfgirlbybay

wear this there: de maria. / sfgirlbybay

wear this there: cos top with frill detailed sleeve; anthropologie atoll gold beach pants; j.crew Honeymoon tassel earrings; listen to this there the princess diarist by carrie fisher; mizen enjoy vital-up time nourishing mask; herbivore botanicals rose hibiscus hydrating face mist; Need supply co. Acne Studios Scientist Sunglasses in Gold; front row shop naked man bag; and loeffler randall lulu mule.

bauhaus inspired interior of de maria. / sfgirlbybay

fresh foods at de maria. / sfgirlbybay

sunlight dining room at de maria. / sfgirlbybay

art on wall at de maria restaurant. / sfgirlbybay

white walls at de maria restaurant. / sfgirlbybay

green table tops at de maria restaurant. / sfgirlbybay

inspiring interior at de maria restaurant. / sfgirlbybay

dining table and chair at de maria. / sfgirlbybay

de maria dining room. / sfgirlbybay

• photography courtesy of nicole franzen, nikki brand, and heidi’s bridge for the MP Shift.

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Small Business Focus: Growing Flower Haus, Part Three


In today’s online world, content is king. That means in addition to creating your product or performing your service, you’ve also got to get the news out about all of the wonderful things you’re doing. It’s a lot. And honestly, most small businesses can not afford to hire some help for all of these social updates and marketing schedules.

So what would you do if you were able to recover an entire workday during your work week? Mark and Darin came up with a long list of satisfying, creative endeavors that they could actually do if that were the case. These things, done in that reclaimed time, would improve their overall business longevity and allow them to take an actual break after long weekends during the spring/summer/fall wedding and event season.

We’re going to share how they did it.

One of the biggest selling points of switching over to their Squarespace site was the heaven-sent ability to easily blog on the platform and distribute their entries in one step, instead of four. Previously they had to create a blog post and then go to their social platforms, edit their copy and add a link to send their readers back to the post. Then they had to create an email substantial enough to not leave the feeling that emails from their business were simply filling up the inbox of their readers. And then they still had the task of getting their subscribers to click on the link to go to the actual blog post for more news. That was a big ask of their readers and an entire hour each time they performed this unrewarding cycle several times a week.

Now onto their new and improved method! We’re going to use bullet points to keep it clear and concise.

  • Take a look at what’s coming into your store next month (or in the next 30 days).
  • Pick a 2-hour chunk of time on your calendar in the next three days.
  • During that 2 hour-block, write as many blog posts about the products and/or news you want to share with your customers as you can.

This method is called “batching” and you need to take full advantage of it now. You can see the Flower Haus blog page of the new website above. What you can’t see are the smiles on Mark and Darin’s faces as they batch-produced their blog posts, knowing they’d be automatically sent via RSS to their email subscribers through the Squarespace + Mailchimp integration and posted automatically to Facebook and Twitter by Squarespace. Let’s do a quick how-to and get that time back below!

This is a sponsored post produced in partnership with Squarespace. All of the words and opinions in the post are ours. Thanks for supporting our sponsors like Squarespace who help us craft original content for you every day.  


Here’s the process.

1. Create a Blog name and a logo. We used a royalty-, copyright-free image in the Creative Commons of a tropical plant Victorian urn. (Squarespace has got you covered too, with their free logo maker!)blog logo2. Go to the Pages menu and go to your Blog page. Upload the image to the Blog page so it serves as your Title image and sets the stage for the content you’ll be producing over time.insert logo3. Click the + sign to add a new blog post.

add blog post4. Add a cheeky title and write the post, add tags that relate to the post and the categories that apply to the post topic. And, of course, add some gorgeous products shots! This is a Mother’s Day post we’re batching ahead of time since we know that Mark and Darin have a ton of flowers to order and phone calls to answer.

write post insert5. Once the post is drafted, by simply clicking icons for the type of content you’re adding like, image, text, etc., add some categories and tags so that visitors to your site can see what you’ve done in the past and love it. In this case we’re adding tags and categories around Holidays, Mother’s Day and Roses.

tags cats6. Next, we scheduled the post to launch 2 weeks before Mother’s Day. So easy.

schedule7. Once our “batched” post is scheduled, we can see it in the blog post lineup clearly marked as scheduled.

momma sched8. Since the Flower Haus blog has text on the main blog page that displays the posts in chronological order, we added a text excerpt of the post to encourage website visitors to read the entire post.

connect social9. We’re also distributing the blog post onto our social feeds automatically when the post publishes on the site and to do this, we simply make sure we’ve linked our social accounts on the Settings page. Again, easy.

apple news10. On the Blog Page settings, we can set up our blog RSS feed and have it work with Mailchimp to automatically send out the post as an email to our email subscribers, too. Eventually, as Flower Haus grows, we can connect the blog to be distributed via Apple News. There might even be a podcast in the future!

blog post

Above you can see a sneak peek of what the “batched in advance” Mother’s Day blog post will look like.

We’ve covered a lot today, so we’re adding an additional post to this mini-workshop series. We’d like you to have a solid overview of the e-commerce and payment side of the site, since it can be one of the most intimidating parts of making changes for the better. Originally, we were going to deep dive into that area today, but honestly, we want you to digest these content creation and distribution how-tos because they will save you so much time. Remember, “batch,” “batch,” “batch”!

Next time, we’re going to share the simple consolidation on the e-commerce and inventory side of the site. This was the second most important reason Flower Haus decided to make the switch to Squarespace. Think analytics, inventory management that offers insights and tools, plus a one-platform payment integration that can work in-store and on their new website. We’ll debut the new site then too! Stay tuned. –Caitlin

If you’d like to follow this mini-workshop and create or implement these changes on your own Squarespace site, try Squarespace for 14 days risk-free. See all of their E-Commerce templates here. When you’re ready to subscribe use code ‘DESIGNSPONGE‘ for 10% off your first website, online store or domain purchase!

For help getting your online store started with Squarespace visit this helpful page, or contact Squarespace’s 24/7 customer care team.

from Design*Sponge

Shop Tour: Heritage Mercantile Co.


Making big life changes can always leave you asking, am I making a mistake? Will I have regrets? You can come up with a million questions to talk yourself out of things, but know that you aren’t alone — we all do it in these moments of change. For Jennifer Bloch of Heritage Mercantile Co., based in Costa Mesa, CA, she was in the same shoes, asking those same questions, which eventually led her to open her shop four years ago.

Finding the right time and place to open Heritage Mercantile Co. felt meant to be, Jennifer shares: “My children were just becoming teenagers, and it felt like it was time. It was this kind of knowing, that if I didn’t do it at that point, I might never do it. So I quit my teaching job, [and] went on the search for a building that had character and soul. But that proved to be much more difficult than I anticipated. I could see the design and concept of the shop in my head, and knew it needed to be in a historic building, not a strip mall. However, finding such [a] building in Orange County was more daunting. I searched everywhere I could, driving around for hours each day trying to find the space that felt right. Proving ignorance is bliss sometimes, I remembered a building I had driven past 14 years prior, lost on my way home one day. I drove for hours that day in tears, [thinking] that maybe this idea of my own shop was [unrealistic] and I shouldn’t take such a risk for my family. I believe fate intervened and as I came around the corner, I saw the building and a tiny ‘for rent’ sign in the window. I immediately knew my life was about to take a dramatic change.”

Jennifer continues, “I don’t think it was coincidence that the woman I was about to meet, who was renting the space, had just had her second child. She was trying to let go of a career she had spent the past 10 years building to become a stay-at-home mom. I was trying to let go of being a stay-at-home mom/part-time teacher to [build] back to the self I left behind after having kids. We talked for hours, about motherhood, life and career. We agreed that I would ‘borrow’ the space from her, for a time. And if she felt like she needed it back, I would give [it] back, no questions asked. I would give my dream a try and she would give hers a try as well, that we would jump off this bridge of uncertainty together. Two years later, she was ready to let me have it completely. I will always be grateful to her, for the gift she gave me.”

Jennifer also discovered an interesting fact about her shop location that seems fitting for her desire to find a space with a historic spirit in which to run her business. “The building was once a goat farm,” she shares. “Heritage Mercantile is housed in what was once a holding pin for milking goats. Attached to my building is a drive-through dairy, where they once sold goat milk and cheese. Across the driveway is where the caretakers lived, which is now an upscale surf shop.”

From its beginnings to the way the shop changed hands, Heritage Mercantile Co. is a beauty of a space, and I hope you enjoy this tour. —Erin

Photography by Jeffrey Allee

Image above: Outside view of Heritage Mercantile, with its strikingly beautiful greenery.

from Design*Sponge

Before & After: Two Rustic Rentals in Chicago

Before & After: Two Rustic Rentals in Chicago, Design*Sponge

On Chicago’s southwest side lies Little Village, aka the “Mexico of the Midwest.” Deemed so for its burgeoning population of immigrants, the neighborhood boasts one of the most vibrant cultural voices in the city. The undeniably spirited vibe of the area is largely in thanks to its bustling thoroughfares and close-knit community. Hit one up, and you’ll find yourself strolling to a soundtrack authentically Mexican. The tinkling bells of push-cart vendors hit the high notes, and shoppers’ bellies hit the low as they rumble from the smell of freshly-made tortillas.

Two big fans of the neighborhood are husband-and-husband duo Dom and James of Kingsman Labs. They love this community so much, in fact, for the past four years they’ve been remodeling two rental properties in one of its vintage walk-ups. Dom even left his job in advertising to handle the renovation full-time. And it’s a good thing he did. Once he and James got into the nitty gritty of flipping the space, it was clear there was a lot of work to be done.

One of their biggest challenges proved to be the garden unit’s revitalization. Situated on the ground level, the lower of the two apartments had flooded before Dom and James took over. The damage was so extensive that nearly every aspect of the space had to be recharged; from the kitchen, to the walls, to the bathroom. With James handling these plumbing and electrical setbacks, Dom went about drywalling and tackling the aesthetics of each room. The most ingenious decorating move he made has to be the use of Teddy Roosevelt’s biography to wallpaper the bedroom. Over the course of two days, Dom meticulously adhered each page to the wall, creating a written mosaic for their houseguests to enjoy.

This one-of-a-kind design trick isn’t the only eye-catching renovation move the couple has made. As you’ll see, each space has been given a rustic overhaul complete with vintage finds, trendy paint tricks and warm textures. Click through to take a look at both units’ facelift then head over to the couple’s Airbnb page to book a few nights in either one. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Dom Cordilla

Image above: Handmade end tables and pages from a biography decorate the garden unit’s walls.

from Design*Sponge

at home with: ayla gurganus of soulflowers.

at home in atlanta, georgia with ayla gurganus. / sfgirlbybay

today we’re dropping in on the bright, light and very charming abode of Ayla Gurganus. ayla is a floral designer who runs soulflowers in Atlanta, Georgia specializing in everyday bouquets, intimate weddings, and events, as well as designing home parties. energized by the elegance and beauty from florals, ayla combines that with a passion for foraging in nature to compose free flowing, whimsical arrangements. Soulflowers originally started as a mobile flower cart bringing pre-arranged fresh floral designs to the streets of Atlanta and has now grown into a complete floral studio. and ayla has most recently been in the process of opening a micro flower shop inside of a local boutique, young blood in Atlanta that will open their doors this week. she resides with david, her sweet husband of three years and their two pups, Ziggy and Olive. let’s check out their home sweet home, and for more from ayla, follow along on instagram.

floral designer ayla gurganus' home in georgia. / sfgirlbybay

at home with floral designer ayla gurganus. / sfgirlbybay

wood and floral details at home with: ayla gurganus. / sfgirlbybay

ceramics on open white shelves. / sfgirlbybay

home tour with ayla gurganus. / sfgirlbybay

cluster of gold pendant lights over wood dining table with large floral arrangement. / sfgirlbybay

minimalist dining area at home with: ayla gurganus. / sfgirlbybay

at home with floral designer ayla gurganus. / sfgirlbybay

at home with atlanta floral designer, ayla gurganus. / sfgirlbybay

light wood desk with green plant in vase. / sfgirlbybay

floral designer ayla gurganus' bohemian bedroom. / sfgirlbybay

details at home with: ayla gurganus. / sfgirlbybay

floral designer ayla gurganus and her husband and dogs. / sfgirlbybay

inspiring interior of floral designer ayla gurganus' home. / sfgirlbybay

at home with: ayla gurganus. / sfgirlbybay

open kitchen shelving above stove and cutting board. / sfgirlbybay

globe light and vintage rug in ayla gurganus' atlanta home. / sfgirlbybay

• photography by Morgan Beatton for Ayla Gurganus.

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color palette: mint + peachy pink.

modern mint and peach decor. / sfgirlbybay

last weekend, i checked out DTLA’s brand new museum of ice cream and found myself inspired by two particulars installations (and my favorite ice cream flavor) mint chip, as well as the pretty pastel sherbet room. so i return today with another color pairing, minty fresh green and pale, peachy pink. pastel hues ideal for lightening things up for the spring season. consider painting an accent wall or cabinets, adding some light fixtures (pastel barnlight fixtures are ideal), adding a fun-colored eames chair, some peachy-keen artwork and a few fresh flowers or plants. presto — an instant ice cream-inspired makeover.

mint dining chairs and pastel photos. / sfgirlbybay

peachy pink and green color inspiration. / sfgirlbybay

mint green and marble kitchen decor. / sfgirlbybay

green and pink bathroom decor. / sfgirlbybay

green kitchen cabinets. / sfgirlbybay

pink and green color palette inspiration. / sfgirlbybay

green and pink chinese silk lanterns. / sfgirlbybay

subtle pops of mint green decor. / sfgirlbybay

• photo credits in order of appearance: this is paper magazine; fresh design pedia; joey five cent; let my inspiration flow; creative color schemes; coffee klatch; Georges Perec’s Life A User’s Manual; casa vogue; Banksia Still Life by Chris Hobel; oh happy day! studio kitchen; daniella witte; lovely life; freunde von freunden; visit jess janz; @styleaddict; pantone; Balladurisme by Eric Dufour Photography; style at home magazine; steve collins photography; pantone; milk decoration; SVK Interior Design.

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