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    Schumacher bought Homepolish. Here’s what they’re going to do with it – Business of Home - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Earlier this year, Schumacher quietly acquired the digital assets of erstwhile online design platform Homepolish, which went under in September 2019. This morning, the company launched a new website (and rebranded Homepolishs social media accounts) to announce the debut of Freddie, a to-be-developed membership community for interior designers that aims to amplify the to-the-trade industry by encouraging consumers to engage with decorators. (The name is a playful nod to Frederic Schumacher, who founded the New Yorkbased design house in 1889.)

    The new brands development has been spearheaded by Schumacher president and CEO Timur Yumusaklar and creative director Dara Caponigro, along with Stephen Puschel, the fifth-generation owner of F. Schumacher & Co., which includes Schumacher and rug and carpet brand Patterson Flynn Martin. The three also brought on Homepolish founder Noa Santos as an adviser, and he has helped shape Freddie around Homepolishs original purpose while offering guidance on how to sidestep some of the challenges his company faced.

    I still very much believe in what we were doing with Homepolishthe mission of helping designers build their business by helping them find clients, Santos tells Business of Home. I also want to make sure that Freddie is set up for as much success as possible, and that it is not falling into the same potholes that [Homepolish] might have fallen in over the years[because] Im intimately familiar with those potholes.

    The Freddie

    Founded in 2012 by Santos and early Buzzfeed employee Will Nathan, Homepolish offered designers a steady stream of leads, marketing muscle, and back-office support. In exchange, the company kept a percentage of the designers hourly rates. At the time, its approachespecially its embrace of clear pricing and entry-level budgetswas revelatory in an industry that largely chases only the biggest projects. For several years, it worked well: Designers built healthy businesses with Homepolishs leads, and clients were happy. But by 2016, facing mounting competition from well-funded online competitors that had entered the scene, the company announced a $20 million round of funding. The resulting pressure to turn a profit, fast, led the company to implement unpopular featuresan unwieldy project management tool designers had little incentive to use, a hastily built platform matching clients with contractors, and a more restrictive contract structure. Running low on cash, Santos looked to raise another round of funding to keep the company afloat, but a deal never materialized and Homepolish shuttered dramatically last fall, leaving many designers owed thousands of dollars for their work.

    In the aftermath of Homepolishs collapse, Santos went looking for the right buyer for the companys most valuable assetsan Instagram account with 1.8 million followers, a robust presence on Pinterest, and email newsletter lists reaching both designers and consumers. (A Marker story in February suggested that one early model he considered was a subscription service where designers and clients pay to be matched.) Once the partnership with Schumacher was secured, Freddie was developed throughout the spring and summer, in part in reaction to the dramatic ways COVID has reshaped consumer thinking.

    Whats wonderful about having Schumacher as a partner is that it is in stark contrast to the venture-funded history we had, says Santos. Obviously we want to make money, but there arent the same expectations that come with venture capital funding. The sense that this is something thats meant to be built slowly and with carein the spirit of the original Homepolish, when we were self-fundedis why I was particularly excited to find this partnership.

    While the vision for Freddie is in place, the specifics of its development are still in flux. In its first phase, the brands landing page invites designers to request an invitation for membership. In return, Freddies initial offering includes exposure on its social media platforms and in email newsletters. Future additions to the platform will likely include a matchmaking tool to more directly connect designers with potential clients, as well as community-building features that enable designers to pick up business best practices from one another. What were trying to do is start low and iterate, listening to the participants on the platform, says Santos. In the beginning, were using the assets to help designers generate business. The obvious best way for us to do that is with our marketing channels.

    The work of Freddies three founding membersdesigners Paloma Contreras, Celerie Kemble and Mark D. Sikesis currently showcased on a page dedicated to featured members, but Yumusaklar says he expects members to ultimately range from emerging to established designers. Once we launch, well have a really exciting group [of founding members] to help us make the whole community a real success, he says. Helping decorators build out their businesses will help them to strengthen the industry at large. Not everybody has the time or resources to build [a social media following] out themselves, so I feel we can be very helpful as a great starting point.

    Its a concept that has precedent. Homepolish in its heyday provided a launchpad for designers who are now inching toward stardom, from Ariel Okin to Orlando Soria. And though Freddie is launching without much of the back-end operations that powered Homepolish, its marketing capabilities remain powerful tools. One of the things we did particularly well with Homepolish was to understand how these platforms all interact with each otherhow, through the customer journey, someone is first exposed, and then they see it again and again, explains Santos. On average, it takes being exposed to something five times before you convert. So the idea is: How do you create that multi-touch experience that gets the person who is thinking about doing their kitchen in six months to actually reach out?

    Throughout its many incarnations, one of Homepolishs greatest strengths was clarity for consumers: The company established an uncomplicated path to finding, hiring and working with a designer. It also acted as a custodian through a stressful process, offering the security of knowing that there was a larger company involved to manage billing and referee misunderstandings. Without that standardization or perceived guarantee, however, the path to consumer confidence will likely be more complicated.

    The most important thing is to keep it focused and simple, adds Yumusaklar. Were not in the business of losing money, but this is coming from a place of strengthening our industry rather than [us] figuring out how we can make the most money off it. The main idea is that were building a great community and a great stage. Thats our mission, and thats what connects us to the mission of Homepolish when it started out, which was to empower designers and provide the necessary resources.

    Timur YumusaklarCourtesy of Schumacher

    Noa SantosJulia Robbs

    Left: Timur Yumusaklar Courtesy of Schumacher | Right: Noa Santos Julia Robbs

    While Freddies membership fee is expected to generate some revenue, its founders say theres no external pressure to fast-track profit-driving initiatives on the platform. In fact, Yumusaklar is just as adamant about what Freddie will not become as he is about its potential. For example, unlike Homepolish, Freddie will remove itself from the design process once it links a designer with a client, and the platform will not take a cut of the designers fee. He is also adamant that the site will not evolve into a project management tool or a marketplace, and that it wont be another marketing vehicle for the Schumacher brand. Its very much open for other brandswell definitely post images of everybodys product, says Yumusaklar. Santos agreed that, in general, the accounts Instagram followers may not even notice a shift beyond the name change: The channel will stay by and large almost identically what it was, which was promoting designers work.

    Freddies basic business mission to help designers is not a new one. Its current model recalls Dering Halls original business plan, which, when it was founded in 2011, promised designers exposure, help getting projects published and a listing in an online directory in exchange for a membership fee. The matchmaking component has also gained digital legs of late: Several membership-based platforms have debuted in the past year, from Estee Stanleys agency, The Eye, to Interior Collab, a nonprofit founded by former Homepolish designers after the platform went offline, which has grown into a collective of nearly 30 firms.

    But Freddie is certainly a product of the current climate, motivated in part by an underlying concern that consumers are increasingly turning to online resources and major retailersfrom Wayfair to West Elm to RHfor design inspiration and expertise. As it presents viable alternatives to well-known retail options on a consumer-facing platform, Yumusaklar sees Freddie as a big-picture play that helps trade brands by supporting their customers (designers) in attracting their customers (consumers) in hopes that designers will keep shopping. Its a giant sales pitch on behalf of every decoratortelling homeowners why they should hire a designer to save them time, finding them better prices and exclusive goods, and preventing them from making costly mistakes.

    Despite the challenges, educating would-be clientsand helping them find the right designeris certainly a worthy goal. After all, for every homeowner out there who hires a decorator for a full-service project, there are hundreds more who dont realize a designer could help themand who have no sense of how much the resulting project would cost. (Santos says that Homepolish once conducted a survey to understand consumer expectations when it came to spending on their homes. The result? Respondents indicated that they expected a fully designed living room to cost $1,500a figure so off-base that the company never released the surveys findings.)

    Santos says that ultimately, Freddies goal isnt just to get jobs for designers, but rather to help reframe the way designers are perceived in the culture of home. If you just see a designer as just an avenue to get a sofa, theres not a lot [of opportunity] there in the long run, because technology will supplant it, he says. But if you see a designer like an artist or a therapisttheres a reason why they havent been replaced by software. Away doesnt sell luggage, they sell the promise of travel. I think the conversation in the industry needs to move from design being a functional and aesthetic exercise to it being a life experience.

    Homepage photo: A project by David Kaihoi, featured in a recent issue of Schumachers biannual magazine, Bulletin | Francesco Lagnese, courtesy of Schumacher

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    Schumacher bought Homepolish. Here's what they're going to do with it - Business of Home

    Final new building now open at Nobility Crest in Ocean Township – PR Web - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Nobility Crests amenity area.

    OCEAN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (PRWEB) October 20, 2020

    Nobility Crest, a 55+ luxury condominium community in Ocean Township, recently announced the opening of Building 6 with only limited opportunities remaining in Building 5. To learn more or to schedule a one-on-one or virtual appointment, call 732-361-4982 or visit All in-person appointments will follow all state-mandated guidelines to guarantee the safety of staff and future residents.

    If the benefits of new construction appeal to you, now is the time to make your move and receive the best pricing on the remaining homes in Building 5 and learn about the last new opportunities available in Building 6, said Robert Adinolfi, Chief Operating Officer at Renaissance Properties.

    Building 6 is the final building that will ultimately complete the 198-unit Nobility Crest. This new building features one- and two-bedroom home designs including some new model types priced from the mid $300s. All homes highlight open living spaces, spacious master suites, and appealing, designer-selected finishes. In addition, each home comes with an assigned parking spot and storage space in a secure, well-lit enclosed garage that enjoys elevator access to and from each floor.

    Just minutes from Asbury Park Beach and Boardwalk, Nobility Crest at Ocean Township also features exciting onsite amenities that can be enjoyed year-round. The community showcases a low-maintenance lifestyle with access to a 4,300 sq. ft. Lifestyle Center with a fitness center, business center, lounge, library, large multi-purpose room, media room, billiard and card rooms. Each new building will also add either a club room with billiards, a fitness room or an all-purpose room. For those with furry friends, a new dog park will also be constructed onsite.

    Following a $1M redesign and renovation of Nobility Crests pool and amenity area, residents spent the summer taking advantage of all that the community has to offer with a beach-entry pool, sundeck, shaded pergolas, barbeque areas, fire pit and more. This community offers the carefree lifestyle our savvy buyers have worked for, said Adinolfi.

    In addition to ample onsite amenities, the Jersey Shore location of Nobility Crest put owners at the center of it all. Nearby shopping includes everything from groceries at Shop Rite just 1.3 miles away to incredible deals on world-famous designer goods at the Jersey Shore Premium Outlets less than three miles away. Need some beach therapy? Make a quick left onto Route 66 and youll be at the Asbury Park Beach and Boardwalk in under four miles. The community also offers easy access from both Route 18 and the Garden Parkway.

    Nobility Crest is located at 7 Centre Street in Ocean Township. Take Route 66 to Cedar Village Boulevard, enter 0827 on the Call Box for the salesperson to open the gate and make a left on Centre Street. To learn more, visit or email The Sales Center is now open, schedule an appointment from 10am to 5pm daily. To learn more, please call 732-361-4982.

    About Renaissance Properties Since its creation nearly 30 years ago, Renaissance Properties has evolved from a small real estate brokerage company to a multi-faceted real estate development firm and home builder with over 1,000 new homes and nearly 800,000 square feet of commercial space to its credit. The dedicated team at Renaissance Properties works tirelessly to ensure quality, integrity and customer satisfaction in all its endeavors. With distinctive designs and accommodating layouts, new home buyers and tenants alike are delighted with the product offered by Renaissance Properties. To learn more, visit

    About Blue Star Group With over 80 years of combined experience in home building excellence and customer satisfaction, the Blue Star Group, LLC is recognized as one of Staten Islands foremost builders. Since its inception in 1976, Blue Star has received continual acclaim both from homebuyers and respected industry associations. Blue Stars standards are set at the highest levels of home design, building materials and craftsmanship to consistently deliver on its promise of bringing the best value to its deserving customers.

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    Final new building now open at Nobility Crest in Ocean Township - PR Web

    We Need Blobs Now More Than Ever – VICE - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The pared-down, ascetic Kinfolk look had a long run, with its muted colors and Scandinavian minimalism. But thankfully, after overstaying its welcome as the de facto "Millennial aesthetic" and peaking with the unappealing drabness of spaces like Kim and Kanye's confusing minimalist mansion, it's dying out.

    The tides appear to be changing in favor of more lived-in, colorful places where you'd actually want to spend time and abandon the unrealistically neat, all-white spaces where you would live in constant fear of spilling your coffee. Now, homes on Instagram actually look fun again, as blank walls and concrete give way to maximalist combinations of colors and shapes on popular interior design accounts like @getclever, @2LGstudio, and @__sitio. We need levity anywhere we can get it right now, and as a result, we want homes that look playful, personal, and generally more visually interestingand wiggly lines and colorful, freeform blobs are just about as different from bare white walls as you can get.

    Instagram has become inundated with artists and sellers embracing this goofy, expressive play on form. From sellers with names like Lotta Blobs and Wiggle Room, there are curvy mirrors shaped like amoebae and others surrounded by squiggles, chunky or thin; wiggly tables whose edges undulate without a single corner; couches shaped like puzzle pieces or oversized organs; pillows bent into chubby knots; and plump, cloudlike candles. Now, it seems, we need blobs more than ever.

    In 2018, New York Magazine declared that "the future of design is chubby," describing the look of "elephantine" chunky shapes, and examining the shift from the angular, geometric shapes of the early 2010s to rise of the blob and its cartoonish compatriots. Vox highlighted the rise of the "blobject" as home decor that same year, with writer Eliza Brooke concluding that the soft, childlike nature of blobs conveyed a sense of comfort particularly useful in times of turmoil. As the world has gotten more tumultuous, the proliferation of blobs certainly has increased, judging by the looks of trendy home boutiques and interior design inspiration pages. By last year, blobs had taken over restaurant design, according to Eater. And amid the ups and downs of 2020, blobs continue to dominate: not just as a passing trend, but more and more, as a balm for our troubled times.

    Looking at a blob like the popular, pudgy, vaguely anthropomorphic Goober candle, designed by New York design firm Talbot & Yoon in 2015, calls to mind a different set of emotions than, say, reading one's Twitter feed, Brooke wrote. Indeed, there is a nonchalantyet also personal and curatednature to blobby, curvy design. A break from the previous image of Instagram-friendly home perfection, it suggests a lack of fuss and even a bit of childishness. Mark Talbot, the co-founder of co-founder of Talbot & Yoon, said the Goobers could be conceived as "toys for adults," though in the product's early days, he recalled, some people read into that concept quite literally, with shoppers at flea markets comparing the Goober to a sex toy and suggesting that it was "perverse" to sell it publicly. It's no surprise that given the state of the world today, with so many of us longing for a little bit of comfort and levity, the homes of young creative types continue to fill with notebook doodle-like decor in all manner of shapes wiggly, squiggly, curvy, and blobby.

    The Goober candle's continued appealand that of blobby design in generalmight have to do with what we as viewers can map onto blobs, Talbot suggested. We can read gaiety into a bright splash of color, relaxation into a mirror's melting form, and even laziness into the languid curve of a Goober, so instead of being another object in a home, blobs can feel like entities; in fact, each Goober was based on an expression: grumpy, happy, promiscuous. "There's already a lot going on in the world and it's a very chaotic place, but if you have these kinds of objects that you can attach some kind of emotional resonance [to], or you feel some kind of emotional resonance with, then you continue to enjoy them," he said.

    As people spend more time at home, they're finding new ways of nesting, as writer Amanda Mull recently described in The Atlantic. If we have to be at home, we might as well make our surroundings more enjoyable. Industrial designers Jazmin Feige and Matias Gonzalez, based in Paris and Buenos Aires respectively, started the design goods brand Bougie Woogie in response to the shift in how we're using our homes. Their made-to-order objects, which include blobby, rounded mirrors and pedestals with curved edges like dripping slime, are meant to make people smile. Though Feige noticed a boom in curvy, blobby home decor over the past few years, she's seen even more interest this year. "As people weren't able to go out, they decided to start dressing their homes," she said. "Our project was born because of that, because we said, OK, we are at home, we want to be happy in this complicated context."

    Feige traced the curvy blob aesthetic to the Milan-based Memphis Group, whose work in the 1980s using squiggles, laminate, bright colors, and strong shapes not only subverted the status quo of sleek, minimalist design, but also came to define the look of the decade. At its inception, Memphis design was seen as a radical departure from tradition and a break from ideas of "good taste," according to Curbed.

    Because trends are cyclical, the style's appeal has made a comeback these last few years. But today's curvy, blobby design looks simultaneously nostalgic and also of the moment; Feige, for example, brings a modern twist through slow design. "Every change of decade is super extreme. Things happen for some reason, and it's not an exception right now," she said. Memphis design was disruptive and necessary during a complex social moment, she added, like the one the world is experiencing now. Amid chaos, the arts are a way of reacting. Art historian Mara Holt Skov, who curated the San Jose Museum of Art's "Blobjects & Beyond: The New Fluidity in Design" exhibit with late husband Steven Skov Holt in 2005, told Vox that although the "golden age of blobjects" has ended, the "human need for comfort, especially at home, is never going to change." To her, blobby forms will always have interest because they shift to people's needs.

    After years of decor dominated by starkness and palettes of white, beige, and light wood, people might feel even more of a pull to things big, bold, and colorful, with minimalism's mathematical lines giving way to the freeness of waves and squiggles. While minimalism is quiet, blobby designs are expressive. But perhaps unlike the 80s, when Memphis's loud look subsumed other aesthetics, the current moment's blobby, curvy designs can be combined with minimalist ones to give an interior a dose of character.

    "The most untrendy thing is to have a too matched home, like some years ago when all people talked about having a 'hotel feeling' and all colors, pillows and details were very matched," said Stockholm-based furniture designer Gustaf Westman, whose curvy mirrors and tables add levity to simple rooms. Especially for generations who care about sustainability, that heavy-handed aesthetic can be associated with an overreliance on fast trends. "So the reverse to that type of interior needs to be weird colors that don't fit together, shapes that stand out, and things that feel more personal in some way." It's easy to peg curvy or blobby design as a fleeting obsession, but Feige thinks it's more than that: a jolt of joy when things feel bleak. "It's kind of a solution that people try to find to feel better," she said. Blobby design is up to your own interpretation, which is perhaps why it's soothing. There's no right answer as to why a blob calls to you, and a blob can be somethingor it can just be a blob. The world is harsh and sharp; blobs, meanwhile, are loose and free.

    Follow Bettina Makalintal on Twitter.

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    We Need Blobs Now More Than Ever - VICE

    Brookline resident wins color and pattern category of HGTV Designer of the Year competition – Wicked Local Brookline - October 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder


    HGTV recently named Brookline interior designer Cecilia Casagrande the editors pick winner of the color and pattern category of the 2020 HGTV Designer of the Year.

    After five weeks of voting and over 36 million page views, HGTV said Casagrandes work stood out among the rest, securing her win in a competitive field.

    I am so honored to win this award featuring my Brookline Victorians colorful living room, especially since color and pattern are at the center of my design philosophy, said Casagrande. These elements are powerful design tools that shouldnt follow trends necessarily but reflect a mood or emotion.

    In Casagrandes five years as an interior designer, she has worked with clients from Boston to Miami. Her work has been published in The Boston Globe Magazine, Boston Home, House + Home, Modern Luxury, LivingEtc, Lonny and The Spruce.

    Casagrande credits her masters degrees in public health and social work and experience in community-based advocacy for her ability to connect with her clients and their space on an emotional level. Her travels across the Americas, Asia, Europe and Africa help Casagrande to interpret cultures and curate extraordinary pieces in her clients homes.

    Casagrandes design philosophy is to create spaces that evoke positive emotions, whether they are for rest, work or play. Casagrande takes care to build from her clients individual style and personality as well as pieces that are already in place.

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    Brookline resident wins color and pattern category of HGTV Designer of the Year competition - Wicked Local Brookline

    $4.5 Million Homes in California – The New York Times - October 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Newport Beach | $4.45 MillionA new Craftsman-inspired house with four bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms, on a 0.06-acre lot

    This house is in the Balboa Peninsula Point section of Newport Beach, just across the bay from Corona del Mar. The neighborhood is family-oriented, with annual Fourth of July and Easter events. Within walking distance is West Jetty View Park, a strip of waterfront that includes the Wedge, a spot known for its high waves and for inspiring the surf music legend Dick Dales 1963 hit of the same name.

    About a mile away is the ferry crossing to Balboa Island, where vintage boats carry passengers across an 800-foot stretch of Newport Bay. Heading inland, John Wayne Airport is about a half-hour drive, while downtown Los Angeles is about an hour away.

    Size: 2,948 square feet

    Price per square foot: $1,509

    Indoors: A low brick wall with a gate separates the front patio from the sidewalk. The front door opens into a living room with white-oak floors that continue throughout the house. Along one wall a fireplace is framed in floor-to-ceiling white stone and flanked by built-in bookshelves. Glass doors at the front of the room open to the street-facing patio.

    The living area flows into a dining space, and both are open to the kitchen, which has a waterfall island with a white-stone counter and appliances from Sub-Zero and Miele. Off the kitchen is a home office with a built-in workstation, as well as a half bathroom.

    An open staircase, brightened by a skylight, leads from the front of the lower level to the second floor. Turning left at the top of the stairs leads to the primary suite, which has a limestone fireplace and more built-in storage. In the primary bathroom, which connects the bedroom to a walk-in closet and dressing area, a separate shower and soaking tub sit across from a double vanity.

    Across the hall is a guest room with an en suite bathroom. At the other end of the hallway, facing the back of the property, are two more guest rooms that share a bathroom, one with a built-in window seat.

    The house includes an Elan smart-home system that allows the temperature, Lutron lighting and Sonos audio systems to be controlled from a phone, tablet, remote or touch panel.

    Outdoor space: A row of succulents lines the path from the street to the front door, and the street-level patio off the front entry has space for a cafe table and chairs. From the dining area at the back of the house, glass doors open to another patio with space for a small seating area. A trio of fountains is set into gravel and framed by colorful flowers. The attached garage has space for two cars.

    Taxes: $52,957 (estimated)

    Contact: Tara Shapiro, Pacific Sothebys International Realty, 949-478-7781;

    This property, less than half a mile from the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, includes five acres of flat land used by the current owner, a chef with restaurants in San Francisco and Berkeley, as a fruit- and vegetable-producing farm. The home, one of the areas oldest farmhouses, was renovated in 2017 and is now a popular rental venue for weddings, writing and yoga retreats, and family gatherings. The Russian River, a major draw in this part of the state, is a five-minute drive, as is the center of Guerneville. Santa Rosa is about 22 miles away, and San Francisco is a 90-minute drive.

    Size: 3,000 square feet

    Price per square foot: $1,500

    Indoors: A paved driveway leads from the road to the main house, which has a two-tiered patio with brick steps up to the entrance.

    The entry is directly into the open living space, which retains a few original details, including a brick fireplace that separates the sitting area from the kitchen. The ceilings have exposed wood beams, and one wall has wood paneling reclaimed from a barn. Between the living area and the kitchen is a windowed dining space.

    During the 2017 remodel, the kitchen got new cabinets and quartz countertops. The range is stainless steel, and open shelving is built onto the back of the brick fireplace.

    Two en suite bedrooms are off the living area. The first has a private sitting area and a brick fireplace, framed by an original carved mantel. The second has a lofted storage space reached by a wooden ladder. Both bedrooms have access to the grounds.

    There are four en suite bedrooms on the second level. One has a private balcony, while another has built-in bunk beds. All of the homes bathrooms were updated during the renovation, with walk-in showers and new sinks.

    Outdoor space: The front patio has two levels, both with plenty of space for entertaining; on one side of the lower level is a pizza oven. On the other side of the house is a second patio, with a hot tub surrounded by a small deck made of teak. In front of the house is a small lawn; from there a path leads to the farm, where crops include garlic, tomatillos, squash, onions and chiles. The driveway has space for at least four cars.

    Taxes: $56,254 (estimated)

    Contact: Cam Thompson, Cam Thompson Team, Coldwell Banker, 650-302-2611;

    This house, near the border of Marina del Rey and the Venice section of Los Angeles, is the residence of Kim Gordon, an interior designer who bought it in 2014 and spent several years renovating it, with a focus on bringing the outdoors inside. Abbott Kinney, a Venice neighborhood known for its upscale restaurants and markets, is about a mile north, and Marina Beach, a quiet cove with a play area, is a five-minute drive. Los Angeles International Airport is about 20 minutes away.

    Size: 3,256 square feet

    Price per square foot: $1,378

    Indoors: A wood-and-iron gate separates the public part of the front yard from a private section, landscaped with grass and mature trees. The glass front door leads into an open living area. At the front, next to floor-to-ceiling windows that swing open to the entrance courtyard, is a space used by the owner as a home office.

    Farther back in the main living space is a sitting area anchored by a fireplace with a distressed-wood mantel. Beyond that is a dining area framed by more floor-to-ceiling windows. To the right of the dining area is an open kitchen with Wolf appliances and a 10-foot island that has space for four chairs. On the other side of the kitchen is a family room with space for a breakfast table and access to the backyard.

    On the second level, four bedrooms are arranged around an open landing. The primary suite is at the front of the house, with a large balcony facing the California pepper trees planted in the front yard. The primary bathroom has a chromotherapy tub with air massage and a separate steam shower. The guest room facing the front has an en suite bathroom, while the two bedrooms that face the backyard share a bathroom off the hallway. Each guest room has its own balcony.

    Outdoor space: In addition to the front yard, which has built-in benches and a wood-burning stove, there are several outdoor spaces in back. The main dining area opens to an outdoor seating area with a built-in firepit and a water feature. The swimming pool has an attached waterfall-style spa, and is framed with landscaping. On the other side of the yard is a paved area with space for a dining table and chairs. The attached garage holds two cars.

    Taxes: $57,007 (estimated)

    Contact: Justin Alexander, Compass, 970-710-1665;

    For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

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    $4.5 Million Homes in California - The New York Times

    Heading to High Point? What to know before you go – Business of Home - October 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The coronavirus pandemic has cratered sales in many industries, but the home furnishings category as a whole is not one of them. Big-box retailers and to-the-trade dealers alike have recordedrecord sales over the last six months as consumers look to enhance their homes for stay-at-home life. And so, after a missed Spring Market, High Point is back this fallbut dont expect it to be Market as usual.

    For starters, it will last for nine days, not five, in order to spread out attendees, who must visit on the dates assigned to their geographical region. Thesocial distancing, limited capacity and safety precautions that have become the norm in every aspect of life will be omnipresent across High Point Markets 180 buildings. Showrooms will be operating at 50 percent capacity (so scheduling appointments is a must), visitors will be required to undergo daily health checks, and typical crowd-drawing events like the Keynote Series and Style Spotters Live! will be virtual.

    But the industry is itching to return and reconnect with clients, masked-face to masked-face. The mood is cautious yet excited, 6-foot distances and temperature checks be damned. So pack your hand sanitizer and ready the Zoom stream. Heres everything were looking forward to, from new collaborations between old favorites to standout products and Market newcomers.

    It Takes Two: 8 of our favorite High Point collaborations this fall

    New Kids on theBlock: 9 Market newcomers were excited to meet this season

    Fresh Fall Finds: 17 eye-catching newproducts to seek out in High Point

    Looking for another way to follow along? Throughout the nine days, 23 top design talentswill take over High Point Markets Instagram account (@highpointmarket) to spotlight their favorite Market finds. Follow along to see what they are loving at the show!

    Keep in mind:Appointments are strongly recommendedand for some exhibitors, may be required. Have a showroom youre eager to visit? Find exhibitor contact information here;for additional information about health and safety protocols at Market, click here.

    Mark Your CalendarThese virtual events promise provocative, of-the-moment conversationsamong industry leadersand you dont have to leave your house to attend.Find links to these online Market events and more here.


    Keynote Series: The Intersection of Wellness and Home DesignFurniture, Lighting & Decor editor in chief Diane Falvey interviews Clodagh, Charles Pavarini III, Michael Peterson and Lori Miller about the future of wellness.


    The Well-Designed Home

    In partnership with Summer Classics, Business of Home editor in chief Kaitlin Petersen sits down with Jamie Gold, author of Wellness by Design, to explore how design professionals can strengthen the link between home and health.


    Keynote Series: The Future of Virtual Design ServicesBOHs Kaitlin Petersen talks to interior designer Nicole White about adapting a firms workflow for e-design, followed by a conversation between BOH podcast host Dennis Scully and Maiden Home founder Nidhi Kapur about the future of retail design services.


    Not Just a Pretty Chaise: Why Communicating Value Matters

    In partnership with Universal Furniture, BOHs Kaitlin Petersen leads a lively discussion with Arianne Bellizaire and Amy Mitchell about how they have tailored the language they use, both in person and online, to attract the right clients.

    Keynote Series: Sustainability in TextilesEdmund Ingle, CEO of Unifimaker of a fiber derived from recycled plastic bottlesspotlights sustainability trends, the benefits of a circular economy, and brands that are making a difference.


    Pinnacle Awards

    In a virtual ceremony, the International Society of Furniture Designers announces the winners of this years Pinnacle Awards (the Oscars of the furniture industry), featuring 20 categories and a keynote address by designer Corey Damen Jenkins.


    Style Spotters Live!

    Three weeks after Fall Market, this years High Point Style Spotters gather to offer insights into the seasons leading looks and on-trend products.

    Homepage image: High Point Markets fleet of buses and vans will be expanded during Market to allow for social distancing | Courtesy of High Point Market Authority

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    Heading to High Point? What to know before you go - Business of Home

    At Home Builds Mitchell Collection As Exclusive Brand – HomeWorld Business - October 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    PLANO, TX At Home is rolling out the Grace Mitchell Collection in a partnership that builds off earlier initiatives but with this one representing a new milestone as it undertakes building an exclusive brand that will develop over time.

    The collaboration that At Home has established with interior designer Mitchell is already vast, at 400 items, and meant to last, as the two parties refine their work together across categories from furniture to home decor to lighting to textiles to tabletop.

    Mitchell, who in addition to doing her A Storied Style blog, has been featured in several HGTV shows including One of a Kind and Design at Your Door, is working in collaboration with a retailer for the first time.

    Chad Stauffer, At Home chief merchandising officer, said the company has been pleased to craft a collection with high-end style at sharp values. Style and value will be critical in the ongoing collaboration that At Home and Mitchell will cultivate and extend. Mitchells classics with a twist styling approach provides a flexibility in development but also a grounding in practicality and practice. In the case of the initial collection, Mitchell based product development on what she experienced in renovating her 100-year-old home in Fort Worth, TX, as well as products she commonly turns to in her everyday doings.

    When Grace set out to build this collection, she focused on the kinds of pieces she loves to use when decorating a room, but often has a hard time finding in stores, Stauffer said. With this collection our customer can get the kind of high-end decorator touches shes always dreamed of but at the amazing prices shes come to expect from At Home.

    In approaching the collection, Mitchell said she wanted to translate traditional designs for todays consumer.

    As far as the process, I came to the table with ideas of some items I wanted to create, whether they were vintage items I wanted to do a fresh take on, or products I wished I could find in stores and never could, she said. From there, we ordered samples and tweaked them as needed. Maybe the color, maybe the style, maybe the size.

    Mitchell said that consumers who have been spending more time home are increasingly inclined to freshen interiors theyve been living with for what seems like too long. Although many, in an era when home decorating information and expertise is abundantly available, have at least some confidence in their ability to switch up the looks of their home, consumers dont necessarily want to just jump on the current trend. Many consumers appreciate a connection to tradition even if they dont feel altogether bound to it. Mitchell said she recognizes that such consumers want to connect the then and now, but with the added notion that they are telling a tale about who they are personally and, very often, about their families.

    The message I get from people is: My whole home design is around the idea of a story, she said. I really was thinking about whoever loves home and wants to make their home feel special and unique.

    As it launched in all 219 At Home stores, Stauffer pointed out that the collaboration with Mitchell emerged, at its inception, from a commonality of approach.

    About a year ago, we sat down with Grace for the first time after being introduced by a mutual friend, he said. We have been incredibly focused on bringing our customer the best new home trends at the best prices, and when we met with Grace, it just clicked. Grace is all about storytelling through her designs and thats something Im incredibly passionate about: How do we use the 50,000 SKUs in our store not only to deliver great value but to help our customer build a home that tells their familys story?

    Stauffer and Mitchell agreed that the collection isnt about a specific target group within the larger At Home customer base. Rather, it has been designed so that just about any shopper entering an At Home store could find something or some things attractive within the collection at an affordable pricepoint, such as a decorative clock at $12.99 or a tufted upholstered bench for $99.99.

    One of the most fun parts of shopping at At Home is we really do have all dcor styles under one roof, Stauffer said. Our customer is creative and passionate about home dcor and were focused on bringing her the best of every style at an incredible value. We have set out a plan to find and partner with the best collaborators in each of the styles our customers love, and we are excited to partner with Grace on an assortment that we know will inspire and delight our traditional dcor customer.

    This isnt the first collaborative collection launched by At Home even if its the first one intended to develop as an exclusive brand. Stauffer said the retailer builds design partnerships based on consistent terms. What was true in the past was true with the Mitchell collaboration even if it will be more expansive.

    First off, we have a rule at At Home that we seek out partnerships with people we genuinely like, he said. That was easy with Grace. We are thrilled to be embarking on a collaboration with a partner we admire and respect as much as her. Secondly, shes Fort Worth born and raised. Were a Texas-based brand and that connection for our first full brand collaboration just made sense. And lastly, her design aesthetic is classic and timeless. Weve seen a lot of farmhouse collaborations in the market over the past few years. We thought our customer would love to see something different. Theres a lot of beauty in what Grace does: Its rooted in classic shapes but it has Graces amazing twist.

    The effort At Home and Mitchell put into developing the collection effectively marks the retailers initiation into building exclusive brands.

    This is really the first time weve pulled together such an extensive and long-term collaboration, Stauffer said. Given our unique model and 100,000 square-foot store, we think this is the sort of immersive shopping experience our customer could only really find at At Home. The response has already been incredible, and were excited to have several more collaborations in the pipeline.

    The launch of the Mitchell collection not only represents a new phase in At Homes evolution but also as a new approach to providing shoppers with something fresh and potentially exciting.

    Its been a hard year for everyone, Stauffer said. Were all spending more time at home, more time with family, and I think customers are going to want their homes to feel happy. Graces optimism and happiness are truly authentic, and it comes through in everything she touches.

    Read more:
    At Home Builds Mitchell Collection As Exclusive Brand - HomeWorld Business

    Real home: this Renovated Edwardian home is full of colour and personality – Real Homes - October 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    How does a fashion professional transfer her design skills to her home? You just need to peek into the colourful abode of shoe designer Jacqueline to see its clearly second nature to some. From gallery walls decorated with a mix of witty prints, floral oil paintings and whimsical one-offs to open shelving crammed with collections of pottery, glassware and ceramics, shes an interiors natural.

    Id say Im a very visual person, and always have been, says Jacqueline. I actually originally wanted to be a fine artist specialising in painting or work in ceramics, but when I was at art college I panicked, and when I discovered a degree in shoe designit seemed perfect for me. My artsy background probably explains so much you see in the house. Also, the more you do design, the better you get at developing ideas.

    If you want to renovate and create a space as colourful and personal as Jacqueline's, we have ideas and helpful advice on what to do and where to start in our feature on house renovation. For more completed projects, head to our hub page.

    The flower- and plant-filled kitchen looks out onto the garden, and Jacqueline has put her favourite armchair in the sunniest of spots. I spent so much time of maternity leave sitting right there, feeding Martha, she says. Kitchen and larder unit, British Standard, painted in Hague Blue and Indian Yellow, Farrow & Ball. Ligne Roset Serpentine lights, Heals. Bar stools, Olive & Fox. Armchair, Ebay. Wall-mounted planters, West Elm. Wall light, Graham & Green. Artwork, Etsy. Brackets, Oak Store Direct. Metal wall sconces, Dowsing & Reynolds

    (Image credit: Jemma Watts)

    The owners Jacqueline Benson (@tinyandthehouse), a shoe designer, husband Joe Mercer, a planning engineer, their daughter, Martha, and cat, TinyThe property A three-bed Edwardian end-of-terrace in Finsbury Park, north LondonProject cost 156,000

    But the house didnt start as a blank canvas just awaiting a few pretty tweaks. In fact, the couples first viewings of the house were far from auspicious. With an overgrown garden, cluttered hallways and boarded up back windows, as well as about 100 tanks of various reptiles and spiders in the house, it was such a wreck that mortgage companies were turning down everyone else who looked to buy it.

    Jacqueline picks up pieces wherever she travels to bring character to her home, and her collection of plants add mood-lifting greenery to the space Restored French antique woodburner, Stove Hunters. Art print, Pure Evil Gallery

    (Image credit: Jemma Watts)

    Our builder actually said it was the worst house he had ever seen, says Jacqueline. It took four men four days and five large skips to remove all the rubbish. They even had to take off part of the roof to get it out of the loft! And we realised that the floor above the kitchen area was about to collapse as they had so much stuff in there.

    For a similar table, try the Ralph, Made. For similar chairs, try Garden Trading

    (Image credit: Jemma Watts)

    Looking beyond the dilapidated state of the property to its potential as the sunny family home its since become, the house was still appealing. Jacqueline says it was the spacious proportion of the rooms and the location, in a well-connected area of London, that sold it to them. From the point of exchanging contracts onwards, the project began, and work started straight away. Everything, including heating, electrics and plumbing, had to be replaced. Builders knocked down walls to create the new open-plan space at the back, and put in two new bathrooms as well as a new kitchen. Everywhere needed re-plastering and painting.

    When I put up a gallery wall, I start with a large piece or a few large favourite pieces and build around it, says Jacqueline. It doesnt have to be in the centre or symmetrical, but its a good place to begin. I keep the smaller pieces to place in between gaps. This artwork is a mix of paintings and prints from galleries around the UK, including Arbon Interiors and Of Special Interest. Orange sofa, Habitat. Lamp and base, Les Couilles du Chien

    (Image credit: Jemma Watts)

    Luckily the renovations to the house didnt need planning permission, so the builders could proceed quickly. But as the previous owners had ripped out nearly all of the original features other than the cast-iron railings on the staircase and the wooden floorboards underneath the worn carpets the couple also had to find salvaged items to put back the period character of the house. We didnt use architects, says Jacqueline. I drew up the plans and then directed the builders. Because the house was in such a bad state, it was way beyond DIY, so we couldnt do any of the work ourselves.

    I often frame things like postcards, birthday cards or anything that has sentimental value or would look good, says Jacqueline. I do love a mix. And I love to contrast colours and styles of frames for interest. SCP Oscar bed and mustard throw, Heals. Bedding, The White Company. Side tables, West Elm. Various artworks by Alana Eakin, Margot in Margate and Juniqe Art. Vase, In The Garden

    (Image credit: Jemma Watts)

    To save on extra rent, the couple stayed separately with relatives for three months while the heaviest work was done. We then moved back in to just a bedroom, a bathroom and a spare room, which we used as a kitchen and a store room, adds Jacqueline. Amazingly, we were bang on schedule and even though we did go a bit over budget, our builders were so hardworking. They finished exactly when they said they would.

    Jacqueline isnt into the typical nursery furniture sets for baby rooms so sourced a vintage chest of drawers and wardrobe for the nursery. They were much cheaper and I think they look beautiful and add character,' she says. Walls painted in Setting Plaster, Farrow & Ball. Jimmy Cricket x Fleur Harris Woodland Teal wallpaper, Bobo Kids. Cot, Ebay. Brand Numero 74 canopy, Smallable. Prints, Easy Vintage, Max Made Me Do it and Creative Studio Caro

    (Image credit: Jemma Watts)

    While there werent many ways to cut costs on the build, Jacqueline budgeted by picking the best they could afford in key areas. The concrete kitchen tops, solid wood kitchen and the Heals lights that hang over their kitchen island were all big ticket items, for instance, but the couple found good value in other areas like the tiles theyve used in the bedroom fireplaces, and the fact that so much of the furniture was bought at auction or on Ebay.

    The couple have fashioned a smart and stylish storage unit by using a mid-century sideboard as a basin unit. The colours in the bathroom are inspired by the paintings of L.S. Lowry, who is one of my favourites, says Jacqueline. Sideboard, Mustard Vintage. Floor tiles, Smink Things. Metro tiles, Tons of Tiles. Burlington bath, UK Bathrooms. For a similar mirror, try Perch & Parrow. Wall lights, Garden Trading

    (Image credit: Jemma Watts)

    Now theyve been in for a couple of years, do they have any other plans for more refurbishments? We almost sold it last year before Martha was born because I have such itchy feet to do another project, Jacqueline laughs. But luckily we stopped ourselves! Well probably stay here for a few years now. In fact, we could extend and create a fourth bedroom and also turn the loft into a fifth bedroom but lets see what happens over the next few years.

    The exterior of the Edwardian house is elegant with double bay windows

    (Image credit: Jemma Watts)

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    Real home: this Renovated Edwardian home is full of colour and personality - Real Homes

    This Iconic British ’90s Home Makeover Show Is Making A Comeback And Twitter Is Wild For It! – Mashable India - October 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    A lot of beloved TV shows really need to remain firmly in the past. But there's an exception to that rule: the universally adored British makeover show, Changing Rooms.

    BBC's Changing Rooms graced our screens from 1996 until 2003 and though its run was limited, its memory lives on in our minds. After the best part of two decades away, the iconic show is returning to our screens on Channel 4 and will be helmed by the ultra funky designer from the original show Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, alongside presenter Davina McCall.

    For those who aren't familiar with this legendary British show, allow me to change your life. A DIY home improvement programme, designers would "transform" and I use that term loosely a member of the public's home. Some of the designs were really and truly out there, and garnered some very dramatic (sometimes painful-to-watch) reactions. And frankly, you couldn't look away from the catastrophic television you were watching.

    Take Linda Barker's teapot disaster back in 2000. The designer decided to build a floating shelf unit to house an extensive collection of antique teapots the pride and joy of the owner of the flat. Well, you can probably guess where this is going. After positioning the teapots on the new floating shelves and adding a row of rather heavy books the designer and her team went home. The following morning, they returned to the flat to see an almighty mess all of the teapots were broken into smithereens and strewn across the floor. The shelves had buckled under the weight of the books, destroying the entire collection of teapots. Handy Andy, the show's handiman, walked through the broken mess of teapot pieces and yelled "Jesus Christ" in disappointment. 20 years later, journalist Amelia Tait recently revisited the devastating moment and interviewed Clodagh, the woman whose teapots were destroyed. Time, it would appear, does not always heal.

    Keeping the same format as the original show, each episode will see two sets of homeowners in the same neighbourhood renovate each other's homes to whatever design they fancy. Anything goes and I really do mean anything. In the good ol' days, the finished renovations looked pretty, err, out there. We're talking trees suspended upside-down from ceilings, a floor-to-ceiling zebra print room (including zebra print painted ceiling, walls, and a zebra bedspread), and inflatable plastic chairs (which were having a bit of a moment back then).

    "Theres no room for beige in our homes and, just as it was in the '90s, Changing Rooms is once more the homestyle antidote to Britains blues (and greys and taupes, and even Magnolia)," said Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen in a statement. "Its taken quite a lot of coaxing to get me under the Changing Rooms banner once more, but nothing like as much coaxing as its going to take for me to squeeze those leather trousers back on."

    Naturally people on Twitter (myself included) couldn't contain their enthusiasm for the return of this exceptional show.

    Changing Rooms is coming back and I can sincerely say I cannot wait. Will it top the DIRE redecorations of the past? Sad that Linda Barker isnt joining. Maybe she doesnt want to risk shattering thousands of worth of valuables again.

    Abby Dorani (@Doranisaur) October 9, 2020

    Beyond ecstatic that Changing Rooms is coming back

    Ashley JD (@AshleyJD88) October 9, 2020


    Olivia Alabaster (@OliviaAlabaster) October 9, 2020


    (also please release all the vintage changing rooms episodes to get us through lockdown 2.0)

    Chloe Donohue (@Chloe_Dono) October 9, 2020

    At present there's no confirmed air date. But for now, we can just revel in the excitement that Changing Rooms is back!

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    This Iconic British '90s Home Makeover Show Is Making A Comeback And Twitter Is Wild For It! - Mashable India

    Solange Knowles Reflects on the Year that Changed Everything – Solange Knowles Fall Digital Cover – - October 13, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The year 2020 has been both destructive and transformative. A roiling pandemic has isolated and divided us. The killings of a seemingly never-ending list of Black Americanskilled out in broad daylight or even sleeping in their own homeshave once more brought a reckoning over racism and racial justice into the forefront of the American consciousness. The toll it's taken has come in devastating ripples, first in human lives, then on our collective livelihoodthe blow it's dealt to commerce and art has been a cruel one-two punch. As night falls earlier and longer, and a contentious election looms, it can all feel sodark.

    And yet, we've seen lightresilience and intergenerational collaboration in the name of fighting the good fight. (Or as the late Rep. John Lewis would have said, "Getting into good trouble.") If the moral arc of history bends towards justice, these are the people applying the pressure. We've seen grocers and delivery people and mail carriers become frontline workers; doctors and caregivers and scientists become our guiding stars. We've seen entrepreneurs and artists innovate to survive. (See: the latest offerings of a pared-down but no less creative Fashion Month.) There is still, amid our confusion and anxiety, joy.

    Like all of us, musician and artist Solange Knowles has been trying to make sense of these strange and conflicting times. So we invited her to do so here, in her very own Harper's BAZAAR digital cover. She styled herself from a hand-selected roster of all-independent, majority-BIPOC designers; she tapped friend and collaborator Naima Green to help photograph her in isolation; and for her cover story, she shares a series of powerful personal essays and poems that lay bare the private challenges and collective pain, the hard-won triumphs, and, yes, the joy that propels us all ever-forward.

    Stillness is goodness.

    Ghost catch up. There's nowhere to run, and all the voices you've been hushing, soothing, and cooing yell at you like loud children demanding answers.

    The ones you've been saying you'd tend to when the time is right tell you there is no other time.

    Then your body follows.

    And for a minute there, things can get hard.

    And every day you make a choice. To honor, listen, and live.

    I once drove across the country watching the landscape change as much as my thoughts.

    The moving made me feel more at home than I had been feeling in a long while.

    I grew up in tour buses watching flashing images out of tiny windows in my bunk, never still enough to memorize names or street signs. Then came the house in Idaho, Houston, back to Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans. Summers in Dakar, Thanksgivings in Jamaica. Movement has been my Holy Ghost.

    For a while there was a Big Bang! I was floating and jumping and coasting and cartwheeling and cruising and gleaming, fingers and toes spread wide, palms facing the light, heart beating in cursive. I was jumping in rivers and dancing on tree trunks. It was the most glorious of all my days.

    But again, Ghost catch up. And deep, old memories I had stored in hidden parts of myself for decades wouldnt just stay in my shoulders, or ribs, or chest breaths, or blood test anymore. They came out, and they came out swinging.

    Most of the work Ive made has been about knowing where youve been to know where you're going. Knowing who youve been to know who you are becoming. Going homedeep home, past homes, mother's home, father's hometo define home. I had answered these questions for myself and that felt good, but I had omitted truths that I just couldnt stand to make a part of my home. They didnt belong in my kitchen, or closets, or even in a shoebox under my bed.

    My stillness started with my body. It refused to be, to go. Id look to moss trees asking for answers as if they could talk back to me.

    I heard a voice saying you deserve joy. Applause from my loved ones and heroes wasnt gonna do.

    Another voice, a critical one, said you got a lot of nerve chasing joy and freedom when you already have so much, but I went for it anyway.

    I honored, listened, and lived.

    Some days were a real pain in the ass. Some were the most beautiful days of my life. This was a different kind of joy. I didnt need to skip in the sun to feel it. Joy was the sleep I got after releasing secrets from my bones. Joy was telling the truth. Joy was making a song that I didnt care ever saw the light of day. Joy was taking a trip alone, and just sitting and staring at the water and seeing my reflection and thinking to myself, Damn I'm fine. Joy was having nothing on my calendar, and choosing what to do with my time. Joy was having a friend who didnt care how ugly I cried, always inviting and encouraging me to just be, however that looked that day. Joy was discovery. Joy was having someone show me beautiful worlds of their own and trusting in the journey. Joy was letting go of control. Joy was just sitting. Joy was seeing how far I had come and waving at my shadows. Joy was accepting that the work is never done, but that every day is a choice.

    Soon I began to feel things that I never felt before. I began to understand who I was becoming outside of all of the many names I had been given and given myself. I began to love differently. See differently. Seek differently. I began to surrender to the work never being done, but finding joy in that there was room for it all.

    I cleared my schedule and took time off from everything else to continue this devotion to the work.

    And then we all had to confront stillness. To collectively honor, to listen, to survive.

    Some days I am on top of mountains. Some days I am weary. Some days I smile and laugh in ways I didnt know I could. Sometimes I grieve all of the loss, looking for pillars or anchors to hold on to. Some days I see so much promise in my future despite the chaos around me because I woke up a Black woman with this spirit in my heart. If I move, I am not running. If I move, it is by choice. I feel good knowing that I surrendered and found answers in my stillness.

    When I see these two Harper's BAZAAR covers, I see the duality of me in these moments. I feel a lot of freedom in not having to chose to exist as one.

    This past May, I jotted down a little jingle to sing when the going gets rough:

    "Doing the work sure ain't pretty, it's like tearing down and rebuilding whole damn cities"

    I never sing it, but knowing it exists is enough.

    Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.


    This gathering of broken pieces is the care and pain of the Antilles, and if the pieces are disparate, ill-fitting, they contain more pain than their original sculpture, those icons and sacred vessels taken for granted in their ancestral places.

    Derek Walcott

    There is a lot of allure in the art of mystery. In the seductive power of the unknown. The whisper instead of the yell.

    The shadow instead of the figure. The veil never quite lifting. But I am ready to be seen. My silhouette is not enough.

    My body is not just a vessel, it is truth. It is living, breathing, alive and well. What will you do with her?

    I've been hanging my clothes on clotheslines, wondering if they will tell me their secrets. If I can air out their demons. If the water from the ends of hemlines can give breath to the grass it arrives on. Making a ritual of hand washing my silks in cold water. I watched a movie about this very thing. How you shouldn't leave your sheets out overnight because spirits might jump into 'em and now u sleeping with a ghost who doesn't even belong to you.

    I was raised by a beauty salon.

    My mother loved me a million different ways. One of the ways my mother loved me was by surrounding me with many a tribe who could care for me; my mom's deliberate choice to make "the shop" my after school care.

    All of the women had their own stories to tell. Women from every background, name, and face in Houston, Texas came to transform within the safety of themselves. Boyfriends and husbands waited in their cars or in the front reception, and women ran the show. They talked shit, cackled, shrieked, cried, or read and contemplated quietlythrilled to escape their lives as mothers, sisters, teachers, and healers. Regulars would greet me with a big hug and ask me how school was, to get them a glass of wine from the back, or ask me to show them the latest dances. I took dance classes weekly, but it was in that shot that performance really began. The theater of the shop and I. It was there that my storytelling became more vivid, elaborate, and exaggerated! It was there that my gestures became language. I watched and studied my favorite womenthe way they walked, dressed, moved their nails when they turned pages. They paid attention to me, celebrated me, and always made me feel safe. My dances soon turned into monologues, and soundtracks soon followed. It was there that performance thrived and became alive. It was there. The shop became my theater. I was raised by a beauty salon.

    The hardest lessons to learn are the longest to learn

    Are the ones that chew you up

    Spit you out

    Make you crawl

    Eat you alive

    Grit your teeth

    Wrench your guts

    And then make you repeat seven times for good luck and riddance.

    Showed up to the Jill and Badu battle, red wine in hand

    Friends on Zoom

    Thinking 'bout the balm that is waking up in this Black woman body and clicking this Black woman's tongue on the roof of this Black woman's mouth

    Wouldn't want it any other way.

    Showed up to the Babyface joint

    Thinking 'bout my mama's warm love and my mama's past pain, and all the ways I took both on, singing each one of those songs on car radios like they were my own stories to tell.

    Showed up to the Brandy and Monica battle

    Thinking 'bout what it means to sacrifice and devote so much of your life to your gifts and how much appreciation we pay forward to being on the receiving end.

    A letter to an unnamed friend:

    I have so much more I want to say, but I'll start with: I want to thank u for energetically holding me accountable. You have said nothing, but I feel it following me like a shadow.

    This past few months it's been really important to me to go inward and recognize the ways I haven't always shown up as my best or most graceful self. To not point this finger of mine so much at others, but take those same fingers to grip a mirror up to myself.

    Reflecting on the ways I could have shown more grace and compassion. Been more thoughtful.

    I am thankful to have a friend like you.

    Friends who say something and friends who say nothing, but even the thought of their presence makes me feel everything.

    Something about your kindness, patience, and love for me makes me want to be a more kind, loving, and patient woman. Thank you. For the growth. For the stretching. For the remaining of the same. For the parts of me that were dormant that have now been awakened. For the joy. For the rain. For giving me seeds I want to water.

    We planted the soil

    the root and the pain

    We lied in the bass of the earth

    Went to the center

    the core

    like a pulp

    Veena like a veinI'll never forget locking hands and fingers and nails and the lines in our palms trying to touch all the feelings like show and tell

    feel and say

    Everything and nothing at all

    So many house sounds

    Voices speaking through ice machines and faucets and air conditioners

    Couches on curbs waiting for hugs

    Saying pick me up, don't nobody want me no more.

    i cry for our pain

    for our protection

    for every forgotten moment we feel robbed of in life

    for the abuse we endure

    for our sickness and loss of health

    for the way the trauma kills us when our oppressors and our own men don't

    for our healing journeys

    for the way we rise for one another when we can't do the lifting on our own


    Today, I affirm, will be a beautiful day

    I will look for the good in all things

    I will look for the love in all corners of time

    I will listen to myself and be okay with the discomfort, but never let fear lead me

    I will be a loving and patient mom

    I will replace feelings of doubt with feelings of love

    I will breathe

    I've been thinking a lot about the importance of honoring, uplifting, and preserving Black collections.

    Like a collection of every Telfar Bag ever made, stored and left untouched.

    In 30 years, what will they say about 2020? About us?

    What will me granddaughters feel about them?

    What does it mean to be a designer right now?

    In a world that's barely making it, where the spirit of survival is all around us.

    When the ritual of dressing up can literally shift how we see ourselves in the moment, and express beauty which in return makes us project more beauty into the world.

    When we are living on survival, why would we reach for that beauty?

    When we live in such an uncertain world, how do we reach for that beauty?

    Original post:
    Solange Knowles Reflects on the Year that Changed Everything - Solange Knowles Fall Digital Cover -

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