Interview: Grace Bonney, Design*Sponge

Interview: Grace Bonney, Design*Sponge

Interview: Grace Bonney, Design*Sponge


Grace Bonney, founder Design*Sponge

We get the scoop on Design*Sponge's new website, Grace's worst DIY fail and from which practice the design genius learns patience and balance.

Grace Bonney’s site is a design mecca. Ruling the blogosphere for a decade, Design*Sponge is a Martha Stewart and New York Times approved, DIY-inclined resource and with the super cool, talented and accessible Grace as the brains behind the empire, we’re sure the company can only keep going up. With tens of thousands of readers a day, the Design*Sponge team tours amazing spaces and interviews the cool people that live in them; gives great large and small home advice; and has some of the best DIY projects on the Internet. Recipe for success, if you ask us! Not too long ago, we transformed part of her Greenpoint office from storage to meeting area and we caught up with her to ask some questions about crafting, inspiration and surprises. Read on!

So, you’re a design genius – how did working with Homepolish help your space come together?

I’m a classic case of “the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” Our space was full of pretty pieces but they never really came together. Amanda’s vision made everything make sense.

Hi Grace! Let’s start! What design project are you excited about starting?

We’re about to work on a makeover (more of a make-under) of our website and I’m dying to get that done. The age of heavily detailed and textured websites has passed (RIP, linen backgrounds) so I’m ready to find a way to make our site look a bit lighter and cleaner.

Rolling Stones or Guns N’ Roses?

Stones. Always.

Just checking. I think the answer to that question will always be the same. And on that note, when’s the last time you were truly surprised?

When I found out my adoption papers for our dog, Hope, were approved. I was a terrible candidate: she was a special needs dog, I had no experience with dogs and didn’t live in a dog-friendly building. But they saw past everything and now our family truly feels complete. I couldn’t be happier that I decided to follow my heart and adopt her.

Your Homepolish designer Amanda Gorski transformed your office storage area from messy deadzone to magical meeting/eating/crafting land. What’s the last craft project you worked on in the space?

Well, at home, we just repainted all the window trim in our apartment (a matte black) and changed the door knobs from standard fake brass to a gorgeous matte black. I’ve found that the older I get, the less likely I am to make craft projects for my own home. I’m happy to make them for gifts or as projects for the site, but I’ve been trying to bring fewer things home. I want calm and less clutter.

How much fun did you have working with Amanda?

Amanda was so fun! It was so great to get a chance to work with someone young, open-minded and not wedded to high-end design. I love how Homepolish and its designers are embracing an audience that likes to try things that are a little bit different, outside of the box and even DIY.

What’s the worst “DIY Gone Wrong” story you have?

DIY paper weights. I ordered the wrong acrylic solution and instead of hardening into a clear dome, it bubbled, got hot and melted the mold it was in. Not fun. I came back a few hours later to discover a huge oozing mess on our craft table.

What are you reading?

Right now, “Living Beautifully: With Uncertainty and Change” by Pema Chodron. I’ve found a lot of comfort and inspiration in Buddhist teachings as I’ve gotten older and Pema is a wonderful teacher.

What’s your favorite Greenpoint restaurant?

I love Selamat Pagi. This is a new Balinese restaurant just down the street from us that was opened by the people who started Van Leeuwen ice cream. It’s delicious, fun and feels like a restaurant neighborhood in the best way.

We love that the end of every house tour you ask the owner what they love most about their home. Very personal and inspiring! So to turn it around… What do you love about your home? And while we’re at it: your office too!

My favorite thing about my home is the way it makes me feel: calm, safe and comfortable. It’s taken me a long time, but I finally realized that “less is more” is actually something that works for me and makes me happy in a much deeper way. Filling our home with only things that mean something to us is incredibly special. Every corner tells some sort of story that’s significant. We recently decided to leave our office to join a collaborative work space in Williamsburg, but I will always love that Eskayel wallpaper Amanda used in our crafting area. That color was just perfect and I was truly sad to say goodbye to that. Thankfully the film company that took over our space has a real appreciation for design and that wall will remain a focal point for their team going forward.