to be or not to be: open shelving.

white modern kitchen with open shelving. / sfgirlbybay

the thing about buying an old house is that there are always renovations to make. you want your house to suit you perfectly, so it’s difficult to not look around constantly thinking how you might go about upgrading. sigh. now that i’ve finished my bathroom remodel, next comes the kitchen, and ouch does it get expensive. i’ve got ikea cabinetry in my current kitchen and it’s pretty nice, but what i’m debating about is taking down some of the existing cabinets and open up the kitchen a bit with open shelving. i have lowered ceilings but if i knock those out i’ll have beautifully beamed ceilings like these pictured up top. i really love the way this looks, and i like my dishes and glassware enough to display them out in the open. i know everyone speaks of the hassle of extra cleaning, but i plan to keep it pretty minimal as far as exposed storage. so, to be or not to be opening shelving — that is the question of the week. would you like to weigh in?

white dishes on open shelving. / sfgirlbybaylittle white kitchen with beamed ceilings. / sfgirlbybay ceramic dishes on open shelves. / sfgirlbybay arched doorway in kitchen. / sfgirlbybay open shelving. / sfgirlbybay tall white shelves. / sfgirlbybay modern white kitchen. / sfgirlbybay pendant lamps on chain in rustic kitchen. / sfgirlbybay open blue shelves in white kitchen. / sfgirlbybay white open kitchen shelves. / sfgirlbybay white walls in small kitchen. / sfgirlbybay white walls in eclectic kitchen. / sfgirlbybaywhite open shelves. / sfgirlbybay

• photography credits in order of appearance: remodelista; kara rosenlund’s kitchen via inside out magazine; My Paradissi; @maraserene; giorgio baroni for elle decoration; Sjoerd Eickmans photography; rue scenic; freunde von freunden; tom delavan; @essicacomingore; gravity home; jj locations; the glitter guide; desire to inspire; aston konaté; atelier doré; roseuniacke’s kitchen via vogue; frankly esoteric; est living; tessa hop’s home via live loud girl; beth kirby’s kitchen via simon said; @mizmaggieb.


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The Start of Summer + Best of the Web

The Start of Summer + Best of the Web | Design*Sponge

Summer is my favorite season. I would much rather be too warm than too cold. I’ve always liked celebrating the official start of summer and I question everyone that starts drinking pumpkin spice lattes and wearing scarves at the end of August. This year especially, the high temps have made it feel like summer since April and if I don’t look at the date, it feels like it’s already halfway through. When I was reminded this week that summer is just now upon us, it made me so excited for 3 more months of locally grown flowers, warm weather, drinks on patios and the beach as often as possible. There’s a colorful bouquet of in-season flowers from a local farm on my coffee table right now but I love that, even on dreary, cold days, the #dsfloral feed is full of blooms and greenery that inspire me that summer is never too far away. I found the stunning images above on #dsfloral posted by Carey Wendel of Bleed Foot Florals, an urban floral farm and design studio. Whether summer is your season or not, a daily dose of flowers is never unwelcome. Happy summer solstice! –Lauren


The Start of Summer + Best of the Web | Design*Sponge

The Start of Summer + Best of the Web | Design*Sponge

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friday finds.

feminine pink wall and copper pendant lights. / sfgirlbybay

i’m not certain of the reasons why, but it would appear i’m feeling a tad on the flirty and feminine side today — one might almost say, victorian. perhaps i can blame it on binge watching the crown, or the fact that it’s officially summer, and that always lightens my mood — and our layers. off go the jackets and sweaters and on go the flowy sundresses and strappy sandals. might i suggest you treat yourself to an afternoon of high tea, or a day trip to your local spa or salon for a dose of what i’m sure is well-deserved pampering? maybe it’s time for a pink pedi to get those toes flip-flop ready. happy friday, everyone, happy summer. xo, victoria

  1. i love the styling in this bedroom — the ephemera casually pinned to the walls, the pink bedspread, and even a tophat — a clever little detail.
  2. the pairing of this swedish fireplace, high ceilings and ornate crown moulding with modern furniture really rings my bells. love it!
  3. this fireplace mantel styling is spot-on. i love all the vintage layering from the sconces to the tassles and prints — just lovely.
  4. from a lightly over the top pink salon to a shimmery pink and gold velvet robe, this is all 100% girly.
  5. this is a beautiful bedroom and the color palette looks like a most soothing space in which to rest our weary heads after the long week.
  6. are you the romantic that saves your long-dead flower bouquets? then this little bit of styling is right up your sentimental alley.
  7. everything about this bedroom is romantic too, but with a vintage modern vibe. very restful, and with those always enviable high ceilings.
  8. and this is probably the most victorian bedroom — just look at those marie antonette-worthy ceilings — but throw in a platform bed and black steel doors and it’s simply transformed!

vintage ornate cabinett with fireplace. / sfgirlbybay vintage sconces and marble mantle. / sfgirlbybay feminine pink decor. / sfgirlbybay electic bedroom with black and gold mantle and pink bedding. / sfgirlbybay feminine bedroom decor. / sfgirlbybay white bedroom with subtle pink details. / sfgirlbybayrustic pink paint in minimalist vintage bedroom. / sfgirlbybay



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In the Kitchen With: Nopalito’s Traditional Spicy Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp Ceviche from Nayarit photo by Eva Kolenko | DesignSponge

Shrimp Ceviche from Nayarit from Nopalito by Gonzalo Guzman and Stacy Adimando

Summer is here and the heat index in Rome has inched past 100F degrees! Never one to let the heat discourage the pursuit of good food, I’ve been on the search for refreshing dishes that don’t require much heat from the kitchen. When reading through Gonzalo Guzmán and Stacy Adimando’s new book, Nopalito, the Ceviche Nayarita de Camarón (Shrimp Ceviche from Nayarit) in the first chapter emerged as one of my favorite no-cook recipes. Nopalito is the name of chef Gonzalo Guzmán’s two San Francisco-based restaurants. This ceviche, also on Gonzalo’s Nopalito menu if you’re lucky enough to be in San Francisco, is spicy, crunchy and refreshing. It also pairs wonderfully with whatever cold drinks you’re serving. To hear Gonzalo’s approach to the food he serves at Nopalito and how he and Stacy wrote their cookbook, see their fascinating Talks at Google here. –Kristina

Why Gonzalo and Stacy love this recipe: GonzaloI like this ceviche because it shows other vegetables from what people are used to seeing in a ceviche. It also represent a particular place in Mexico (Nayarit) and it has layers of clean flavors and textures that you are able to taste. A little history about this recipe — this ceviche is served gratis to patrons at Botanerias. Families gather at Botanerias to enjoy music together and parents have an adult beverage menu to choose from. The cerviche is always on the house.

StacyI love all of Gonzalo’s ceviches, which are so diverse. Some are spicy and chile-based, while others are tangy and tomatillo-based. This particular one is my favorite, with a bright, clean acidity and really addictive crunch from carrots and cooked shrimp. I sometimes make a meal out of just this, with a bowl of salty, thick tortilla chips.

Cover of Nopalito cookbook photo by Eva Kolenko | DesignSponge

Nopalito cookbook cover. Written by Gonzalo Guzman and Stacy Adimando, photography by Eva Kolenko

Food photography and Gonzalo portrait by Eva Kolenko | Portrait of Stacy by Tomo Saito

Nopalito staff meal photo by Eva Kolenko | DesignSponge

Nopalito staff meal from Nopalito cookbook by Gonzalo Guzman and Stacy Adimando. Photography by Eva Kolenko

This is a good ceviche to serve in big batches at a party, or to make a dinner of by piling it onto tostadas. 

Almost every ingredient here is traditional, including the grated carrots, which mix with the oniony, citrusy ceviche juice to lend a sweet flavor. It’s a spicy dish, so feel free to substitute jalapeños if serranos have too much heat for you.

Ceviche Nayarita de Camarón
Shrimp Ceviche from Nayarit
Serves 6


— 1 pound fresh shrimp, preferably the white Gulf variety, peeled, cleaned, and finely chopped
— 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 6 to 8 limes), plus more as needed
— 1⁄4 red onion, finely chopped
— 1 3⁄4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
— 1⁄2 cup grated carrots, grated on the large holes of a box grater
— 1⁄2 cup finely diced cucumber, peeled if desired
— 1 to 3 serrano chiles, finely chopped
— 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
— 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
— Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
— Tortilla chips or salted crackers, for serving


In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, lime juice, red onions, and salt. Let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, cucumber, chiles, cilantro, and green onions and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the lime juice and salt as needed. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and serve immediately with the chips.

photo by Eva Kolenko | DesignSponge

Tiles from Nopalito cookbook by Gonzalo Guzman and Stacy Adimando, photography by Eva Kolenko

About Gonazalo and Stacy: Gonzalo Guzmán was born in Veracruz, Mexico, and came to the United States as a young child. He began working at Kokkari restaurant in San Francisco as a dishwasher, but was soon promoted and went on to work his way up through the ranks at Boulevard, Chez Nous, and Nopa. In 2009, he partnered with Laurence and Allyson Jossel and Jeff Hanak to open Nopalito on Broderick Street. Guzmán is now the chef of both the original Nopalito as well as a second location on Ninth Avenue, just outside Golden Gate Park.

Stacy Adimando is a food and travel journalist, and the test kitchen director at Saveur magazine. Her work has been published by NPR, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, Forbes, and many more. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Follow Stacy on Instagram!

Gonzalo Guzman portrait by Eva Kolenko | DesignSponge

Gonzalo Guzman portrait by Eva Kolenko

Stacy Adimando portrait by Tomo Saito | DesignSponge

Stacy Adimando portrait by Tomo Saito

from Design*Sponge

12 Cozy Breakfast Nooks


Growing up, I was obsessed with breakfast nooks. One of my best friends’ had a great one covered in 70s-era wood paneling and it felt like the coziest place in the world to settle in for some pancakes in pajamas. Breakfast nooks are still one of the parts of home tours that grab me the fastest and I love seeing how people use these tiny spaces to create special moments and memories with their families. So today I’m sharing 12 of my favorite breakfast nooks, from striped and patterned banquettes to sleek modern corners.

Image above: black and white striped cushions coordinate with the antique metal cabinet hardware and modern kitchen cabinet hardware in this historic Kingston, New York home.


This designer’s Portland, Oregon home turns a small patch of wall space into a cozy breakfast (and nap) nook.


Another peek inside Mira’s Portland home.


This Tacoma, Washington home uses an octagonal table to bring together a small kitchen nook.


This Portland, Oregon bungalow has the sunniest kitchen nook.


This NYC home is infused with Hawaiian heritage and a great dose of blue and white in this kitchen nook.

Design*Sponge | Leah Verwey Photo

Portland bungalows often contain sweet breakfast nooks, like this one in Leah and Rob’s home.


This Minneapolis, Minnesota home‘s kitchen nook pairs pale eggshell blue walls with colorful banquette fabric.


Hot pink chairs make this small dining nook in Los Angeles feel bright and inviting.



A clean modern table and wire chairs give this breakfast nook a contemporary feel.


This breakfast nook makeover uses bench seating that doubles as storage to turn a small space into a super-functional one.


This NJ home’s sweet striped banquette picks up on the grey tiled floors.

from Design*Sponge

wear this there: the italian.

wear this there: copenhagen's the italian.

this week’s wear this there may be strictly scandinavian in design sensibility, but when it comes to the fare it’s a trip to the mediterranean coast of italy — a magical mixture no doubt. with shocking teal seating against a pure light wood, and white walled structure the italian is the spot to hang in copenhagen. designed by the norm architects studio, it’s worthy of a few snaps of you in your look of the day. a peachy frock, with your neutral accessory game on point, you’ll be ready to face whatever carbs come at you from the italian menu. our read this there of the week is the sweet novel a gentleman in moscow (obviously we have european cities on the brain), the perfect summer read.

~ michaela d’artois, vérité published.

the italian in copenhagen. / sfgirlbybaywhat to wear to copenhagen's the italian. / sfgirlbybay

wear this there: gap tencel shirred boatneck dress; via raiz crin sencillia necklace; intentionally black joy in black shoe; cuyana leather travel wallet; grei small tassel keychain; Pamela Love Monte Ring; read this there a gentleman in moscow by amor towles; need supply Acne Studios Scientist Sunglasses in Black; w3ll people bio bronzer stick; j. hannah nail polish in agnes; shop vérité les courses tote.

inspiring interiro of copenhagen's the italian. / sfgirlbybay

wear this there: copenhagen's the italian. / sfgirlbybay

teal walls and modern lighting at copenhagen's the italian. / sfgirlbybay

inspiring interior of copenhagen's the italian. / sfgirlbybay

greenery inside copenhagen's the italian. / sfgirlbybay

copenhagen's the italian. / sfgirlbybay

inside the italian in copenhagen. / sfgirlbybay

• photography via est magazine.




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An Old Farmhouse Becomes the Project of a Lifetime

An Old Farmhouse Becomes the Project of a Lifetime | Design*Sponge

Every week we share amazing homes here on Design*Sponge — whether they’re small studios or larger family homes, I’m always left in awe of the amount of creativity and passion that goes into turning various types of spaces into personal and inviting homes. Today I get to share a home with you that I think truly reflects some wonderful values — it’s an old farmhouse that has been restored with love and respect, honoring both the house itself and its charismatic new owners!

I first stumbled across Shawn and Kristofer of The Farmhouse Project on Instagram at the end of last year, when the couple was busy decorating their historic farmhouse for the holidays. It all looked so magical, with pine garlands wrapped around the porch pillars, and beautiful wreaths hanging in each window. I just knew I had to hear Shawn and Kristofer’s story, and how their wonderful farmhouse home came to be.

When Shawn, a designer and artist, and Kristofer, an oncologist, decided to begin the search for a weekend retreat in the country four years ago, they had lived in Manhattan for over a decade. They longed for a slower pace of life, and an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. After looking around in upstate New York, the couple realized that they wanted something less developed than the Hudson Valley. A farm stay in the western part of the Catskills convinced them — Shawn and Kristofer fell in love with the area, and quickly began searching for a house nearby. They spent a weekend upstate looking at a dozen houses, and the realtor saved the best for last. Seeing the final house of the day was a turning point, and the moment that Shawn and Kristofer would embark on the project of a lifetime — renovating a 217-year-old farmhouse in disrepair, and turning it back to life.

Shawn and Kristofer’s Dutch Colonial farmhouse is called “The Woodman House,” and is the oldest house in their village. When they purchased it four years ago, the house had seen better days. Almost every room in the 2,500-square-foot home was covered in 70s and 80s wallpaper that hid damaged plaster walls. Fortunately, none of the original woodwork had been painted over, and the unique details of the house had been left untouched. Shawn and Kristofer were adamant about keeping their design plan as authentic as possible, while still bringing in their own sense of style. Out of respect for the old house, the couple wanted to keep the original floor plan. “Our goal was to think as if we were living in the house when the Woodman family built it. The original details had little nods to different styles, so it was perfect to continue that throughout the interior of the house,” Shawn explains.

One of the most amazing details in the farmhouse is the untouched American Chestnut woodwork. The great room alone is covered in this rare wood from floor to ceiling, and was what first sold Shawn and Kristofer on the house. While scraping off layers of wallpaper in the downstairs hallway, they also uncovered a beautiful hand-painted damask mural. Although the wall was so damaged that they weren’t able to restore it, it proves the amount of detail and craftsmanship that was once put into the house.

During the past four years, Shawn and Kristofer have slowly restored their beloved farmhouse room by room. Although all the major restoration projects are finished, the couple continues to do cosmetic fixes and touch-ups throughout the house. Shawn and Kristofer set out to create a home that combines both of their styles and reflects the long history of the farmhouse. “We love anything authentic that has history and a story to tell.” Decorating multiple rooms also means that things change all the time. “From what our moms say, the process is never-ending,” the couple shares. “What you see in our photos today will most likely be different a month from now or even next week!”

For Shawn and Kristofer, their two-centuries-old farmhouse is the perfect escape — a place where they can reflect on the important things in life and feel free. Over the last year, the couple has slowly transitioned into spending more and more time upstate. From this summer onwards, Shawn will be focusing on The Farmhouse Project blog and a business plan to brand it. This sneak peek is a mini-escape into the wonderful world of Shawn and Kristofer’s farmhouse life. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! —Sofia

Photography by Lawrence Braun

Image above: Shawn and Kristofer with their vintage Ford pickup. “After a long day of projects or being in the garden, we always make time to be in the kitchen or on the porch together with a bottle of wine!” Kristofer says. The wine is from the local Eminence Road Farm Winery.

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