Book Shelf: Design*Sponge at Home
In August 2004, Grace Bonney started a blog. Seven years later, the blog attracts 75,000 daily readers across the globe. And the blog has become a book. It goes on sale in Australia today (hooray!), and I have one to give away.
But some back-story first. After escaping her hometown Virginia Beach to study journalism in New York, imagining herself a serious scribe living the free-wheeling life of Carrie Bradshaw in her spare time, Bonney quickly found herself disillusioned with the "bureaucratic and competitive" world of newspapers, so moved back home where she studied English, printmaking and Art History.
Her favourite TV show at the time was Trading Spaces, which inspired her to redecorate her dorm room and seek out information on interior and furniture design from her professors, more particularly one Elizabeth Peak who gave the information-hungry Bonney a bunch of resources to satiate her curiosity. That was the start of Design*Sponge: this searching and gleaning and understanding.
After returning to New York and finding work at a small PR firm, Bonney had brunch with her boyfriend (now husband, Aaron) who suggested she start a blog by way of starting a portfolio with the view to nabbing a magazine job. Brilliant idea! She started on blogger.com, spent a few solitary months writing into the ether, mostly about what she found in her new home, Brooklyn, and then, bammo!, the readers cottoned on, their interest piqued by Bonney's profiles of the people behind the design.
In 2007, she redesigned the site and hired editors to help her keep up the pace (the site is updated 6-8 times a day!) and ensure adequate time for sleeping as the Design*Sponge story gained momentum. She added DIY projects, a section for recipes, city guides and a shopping section, too. "And then one day I realised that what began as my own personal blog had become the design magazine I had always wanted to read – and work for," she writes. Thus, she created her own perfect job, with freelancing for the likes of Domino, House & Garden, New York Home and Everyday with Rachael Ray on the side.
You can be a part of the fairytale story that is Design*Sponge and Grace Bonney with her new book, which takes all the very best pits of the blog and puts them on paper between hardcovers. The first section is devoted to all the amazing homes she has adored in her blogging adventures, from Lyon, France, to London, Melbourne and Singapore, such as the drool-worthy apartments of Michelle Adams (cofounder of Lonny) and Aussie Stephanie Moffitt.
There is something to suit almost every aesthetic and space. Then there's DIY Projects for those who have the inclination, DIY Basics with its beautiful illustrations and a Before and After section devoted to restoration, which is so very now given the movement towards sustainability and revival of the old.
To win a (the) copy, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address and complete the following sentence: "The item in my home in need of revival is..." by EOB Friday 2 September. The most creative answer wins!
Design*Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney (Hardie Grant Books; $49.95) is on sale now.
Girl With a Satchel