Inhabitat: There’s obviously a strong DIY movement afoot, else you would not have put out this beautiful tome. What do you think spurred this on?
Grace: I think the DIY movement was inspired by a few things- people’s reaction to a failing economy and a desire to really connect more with the things at home. For years, design was really about “shiny, new, plastic” and that’s hard to connect with personally. So I think people saw a chance to really take back control of how they decorated their home and make it reflect who they are and what they love.
Inhabitat: Why do you think recycled, salvaged and reclaimed materials used in DIY projects are such a hit right now?
Grace: I think any materials that are eco-friendly have been popular for a while now- primarily because we’ve all realized that we have to pay more attention to how design (even at a small personal level) effects the world around us. But I think these materials have the added bonus of looking more worn-in and weathered- which is something people crave when they’re focusing on creating a look that feels real and not like it came out of a magazine.
Inhabitat: Is the DIY movement more about about keeping costs down, creating unique pieces, both or something else?
Grace: It’s definitely about both. People need to find a way to decorate their homes on a budget, but they also are reacting to a lack of relatable handmade design in bigger box stores, so DIY design is a great way to do both.
Inhabitat: We are huge fans of your Before and After stories with furniture. When looking for pieces to refinish, what are things to look out for so you know you’re buying a good quality piece that can be remade?
Grace: We actually did a whole section on this in the book so we could educate people about furniture a bit more. But my top tips would be to look for quality joinery (dovetail joints over metal hinges) and any sort of stamps or labels that indicate a brand or year it was produced. And of course, hardwood (as opposed to veneer) is always higher quality.
Inhabitat: We talk a lot about daylighting in the architecture and interior projects we cover. What are some easy ways to make a house or a room feel brighter without tearing out holes and adding more windows?
Grace: Mirrors are always a great fix, but I really like to bring in glass or clear materials as much as possible to brighten up a space. I’m a fan of lucite or glass coffee tables because they lighten the visual bulk in the room. I also think that bringing in more natural materials (demijohns filled with branches, etc) really makes a space feel more alive and breathable.
Inhabitat: What are some of your favorite trends in the DIY home interiors movement right now?
Grace: I’m excited to see people covering their walls with salvaged wood. For so many years people seemed to see walls only as a flat canvas to hang art on, but now people are seeing it as a place to play with texture and detail.
Inhabitat: Who are some of your favorite green designers, organic textile makers or architects right now?
Grace: I love Studio Bon and Mod Green Pod – they’re both textile designers who work with green fabrics. And Jessica Helgerson is an amazing interior designer in Portland, OR that knows how to keep things green without sacrificing style.
Inhabitat: How about your favorite vintage, antique or salvage shops in Brooklyn or the New York City area?
Thanks Grace! And good luck with the book tour for Design*Sponge at Home!
Images Courtesy of Design*Sponge