Before & After: Converting 188 Square Feet on Wheels into a Home

Before & After: Converting 188 Square Feet on Wheels into a Home

If there’s some passion or wish you’ve been secretly harboring inside those inner archives of wild dreams, then meet Mandy Fierens and Kevin Holesh, a couple who may just convince you to say those wishes out loud. More importantly, they may inspire you to take some giant leaps of faith and go for those wild dreams!

During her horribly insecure teen years, Mandy fell in love with fashion, but her 5’10” curvy frame didn’t fit the typical mold. Naysayers told her the barriers to enter the fashion industry were too high (adults are the worst!), but she didn’t let that stifle her. Today, she uses The Curvy Blogger as a positive corner of the web, where she hopes to help girls all over the world find confidence in their own skin. If the photography on her blog is impressive, it’s because Mandy is also a wedding and elopement photographer. She credits her other half, Kevin, with giving her the boost in confidence she needed to ditch a steady day job in order to pursue those creative passions.

Kevin is an iOS developer (check out his app, “Moment,” to help you curb your phone addictions), who can pretty much figure out anything he puts his mind to. The one idea on both of Mandy and Kevin’s minds? Travel! After marrying and settling in Pittsburgh, PA, the two borrowed an aunt’s pop-up camper and spent two months traveling the South. They were totally hooked, and the return to apartment life left them feeling cooped up.

Where others may have tried to just swallow that nagging feeling, these two brave souls had a real talk about their desire to travel. They put words into action, lived frugally to save money, consolidated their lives in a major way, and when the right “fifth wheel” presented itself, they committed to living in 188 square feet, which they dubbed the “Keystone.” Whether you have the same travel bug and work freedom, or your life is completely tethered to one place, you can dive into their adventures and live vicariously through their blog, 188sft. Enjoy! —Quelcy

Photography by Mandy Fierens | Family portrait by Krystle Castillo

from Design*Sponge

stable life.

Ibiza interiors home tour / sfgirlbybay

it’s hard to imagine that this beautiful home in ibiza once housed horses, not human beings. recently featured on design milk, this former 200-year old stable was given a brand new life by Ibiza Interiors and Standard Studio who collaborated on this rather daunting renovation project. together they’ve created such an incredible loft-like mix of rustic meets modern by using the original stone walls and beamed ceilings, but adding an eclectic assortment of mid-century modern furnishings like their fab collection of eames chairs and unique light fixtures. the result is an interesting and welcoming, warm space. for the full tour, visit design milk.

natural wood beamed ceilings in ibiza home / sfgirlbybay


beautiful home in ibiza / sfgirlbybay

home tour in ibiza / sfgirlbybay

home exterior in ibiza / sfgirlbybay

ibiza home tour / sfgirlbybay

• photography by Youri Claessens, via design milk.


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Studio Tour: Hello Miss May

Studio Tour: Hello Miss May

I love how Instagram has connected the design world from every corner. Every day I scroll through my feed and see work from countless designers and creatives from all over the globe. Hello Miss May is a favorite of those accounts. May Leong of Hello Miss May is based in Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia. Her colorful and playful illustrations and styling instantly caught my eye when I first stumbled upon her work on Instagram.

Hello Miss May doesn’t just create beautiful things for social media — this creative company run by May conceptualizes and executes photo shoots for companies such as Oreos, Pokey Sticks and Happy Socks to name a few. May also sells greeting cards, pins and brooches designed with her signature illustration style. May has successfully turned her side business into full-time work, giving her the need for a studio space.

May’s studio is located in her Surry Hills home. The space was originally a lounge or living room area, but she was able to make the dining room act as a dual-purpose spot for both living and dining. “I call my space, ‘The Weekend Studio’ as it gives me the chill-out kind of feeling,” May shares. “I used to work part-time at the geekiest (and somehow, coolest) tech store in the world, and I never had the weekends off. Now, I have seven days in a week all to myself, to do whatever I want to do in the studio.”

Her creative space is an eclectic mix of colors, modern style, vintage pieces and Hello Miss May inventory and props. “Friends think I have way too much stuff in my house (and they probably think I have a tendency to hoard), but I see myself as a collector, appreciating the cute and the colorful.” The studio is exactly as it should be for May: inspiring, creative and practical for this talented designer and stylist. –Lauren

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Seven Pajama Sets for Fall

Seven Pajama Sets for Fall

This fall, I’m gearing up to hit the road for our In the Company of Women book tour, and if there’s anything I remember from the last book tour, it’s that treating myself to a new pair of pajamas is a good idea. Back in 2011 when I toured 30+ cities (yipes), I got myself a new pair of PJs that made my “on the road” nighttime routine feel special and calming.

Not being in my own bed for that long was really unsettling (I really love routines), so I’ve been looking around for a new pair that will come with me on this year’s tour and help me ensure I stick to a nighttime travel routine that keeps me well-rested and ready to go in each city. I thought I’d share seven of my favorites here today in case anyone’s looking for something fun to spruce up their nighttime wardrobe. xo, grace

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unexpected guests: isobel schofield.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

I’m thrilled to introduce today’s unexpected guest and she is Isobel Schofield, the lovely founder and clog designer of Bryr Studio, located in the heart of San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. Since discovering her work over a year ago, her custom shoes have become an essential part of my weekly wardrobe. Every season she introduces new designs and colors and I’m continuously adding new pairs into the mix. I often find myself popping into her studio and recently she completed a redesign of her space. It was beautiful then and even more so now. Here are some pics of the “before”. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about Isobel and her work + the “after” tour of the new bryr studio.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

You’re originally from England. How did you find yourself in SF?
I’d lived here in my late 20’s and after I left, I always wanted to move back. When I started my own company, I knew it was the perfect time. I love the mix of urban and nature that you get to experience on a daily basis here. Whether it’s hiking to the top of Tank Hill, or heading out to West Marin on the weekend. The access to nature fuels me creatively.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

And why clogs? 
I love the simplicity and sculptural quality of clogs, the endless options within a simple recipe of just wood and leather.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

Why did you choose the Dogpatch for your studio?
This neighborhood is so vibrant and filled with tons of interesting small companies, from maker incubators, to farm-fresh flowers, to custom messenger bags, to traditional butchers. It’s a tiny microcosm of creativity and entrepreneurship.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

Your studio has a cool bit of history. Tell us about it.
The building we are in is called the American Industrial Building, and was a cannery in the 19th century… but as coincidence would have it, in the early 70’s it was owned by a clog maker. His son now owns the building, and likes to make visits to talk shop with me.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

What before and after changes did you make to the studio?
When I moved in, the studio seemed massive and way more space than I could ever need. But in the past year and a half, we’ve grown into it. We created a small shop space in the front for when we have visitors. We’re always looking to improve the making space.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

And the one change you are most proud of?
I think designing a elegant and functional storage wall for the bases. We were constantly tripping over boxes full of bases, so when my friend, Jude, suggested making the storage both functional and beautiful, we jumped at the idea.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

What goes into the making of a clog? And how long does it take to receive a pair?
Every pair is made-to-order: The leather is cut, then buckles, rivets or laces are added depending on which style it is. Next we staple and stretch over our last (the foot form). They dry for about 24 hours, then we finish, box and ship them to you. Our turnaround is currently about 30 days.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

Have you had any unique or strange clog requests?
Part of our internships is that our interns get to make their own clog during their stay with us. This summer we had our first guy intern and when it came time to make his clog, he asked if he could make a pair for himself—but we don’t make men’s clogs! So we came up with a style for him using our mid-base. We were pretty happy with it, but we don’t have any plans to add guy’s clogs to the line anytime soon.😉

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

Who and what keeps you company in your space?
We are a team of 5 (kick-ass) women, plus Lola the studio dog. We tend to have pretty eclectic music tastes, but lately we’ve been listening to a LOT of Chances with Wolves. On Open Studio days, we listen to what my team like to call Isobel’s-twangy-country-lady music, like The Watson Twins, Jenny Lewis, Dolly Parton, Stevie Nicks and Frazey Ford.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

And what are some nearby spots folks should visit when they stop by your studio?
Dogpatch has some GOOD EATS, but my two favorite spots are Neighbor Bakehouse (my favorite is the mushroom tart!) and Dogpatch Saloon (where you’ll find us on Fridays after we close.🙂

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

What local artists, makers and designers are you currently admiring?
I’m pretty obsessed with ceramics, and I really admire the work of Linda Fahey, Sarah Kersten, Heath Ceramics, and East Fork Pottery. I can’t keep my eyes off the amazing weavings of Sienna Dafonseca and Rainbow Kimono. As a team, Black Crane and Ace & Jig are pretty much the unofficial uniform of the shop.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

And where do you like to go or frequent for inspiration?
I head out to West Marin pretty much every weekend I can. I love Bolinas, Point Reyes Station, Marshall. Breathing in the salt air and eucalyptus.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

Any upcoming travels or dream destinations and why?
I’ve been dreaming of taking a trip to Oaxaca to learn more about the crafts there and perhaps learn some techniques for Spring.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

Besides the studio, where else can we find your clogs?
We mainly sell online and in our shop, but we do also sell with our friends at Mill Mercantile in San Francisco.

unexpected guest: isobel schofield / sfgirlbybay

What can we expect next from Bryr?
We’ll be releasing our Fall 2 colors in October, as well as a mini metallics collection coming the next couple weeks.

• all photography by leslie santarina.


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In The Company of Women: Giveaway #1

BIG NEWS! All week we’re doing a special series of giveaway to celebrate pre-orders for In the Company of Women. We’re giving away a trip to Hasbrouck House, a consulting session with me and women from the book and…starting today…4 gift boxes filled with amazing ceramics, original artwork, jewelry and home goods made by women from the book! This package includes original artwork by Rinne Allen, ceramics by Michele Quan, a scarf from Block Shop Textiles and rope jewelry by Tanya Aguiniga!

To enter, fill out the form here, upload a picture of your pre-ordered copy of the book (books pre-ordered before this week are great, and tickets to any book tour event counts!) and we’ll choose winners this weekend to receive one of these amazing gift packages. Thank you to all of these amazing women for donating these incredible pieces and thank you for supporting the book! xo, grace

from Design*Sponge

Before & After: An Iowa Living Room Gets an Artful Makeover

Before & After: An Iowa Living Room Gets an Artful Makeover

Liz Lidgett’s clever entryway re-do earlier this year had all of us at Design*Sponge wanting more. Liz’s background lends to art being the forefront of any room she decorates. The art advisor and founder of Adore Your Walls has turned her own living room into a beautiful display of favorite pieces. When she and her husband, Nick Renkoski, moved back to Des Moines, IA from Los Angeles last year, they had a specific neighborhood in mind — the same one Liz grew up in.

The home they found in their budget needed some love. Its stately rooms, hardwood floors and gorgeous windows has made any room makeover a bit easier on them. When the couple moved in, the living room was a deep pink with white trim and brass accents. Liz, Nick and their families have since put in time, creativity and handiwork to turn the living room into a sophisticated retreat where they can host and relax. Having a large home with a small budget has meant that Liz and Nick have had to be resourceful with their purchases. “We were on a budget since we needed to fill the entire house with furniture, so I looked a lot on Craigslist and at garage sales. The great thing is, because we DIYed so much of it, I know there’s not another room like it anywhere,” Liz shares.

The gorgeous results speak for themselves. The brightly colored artwork pairs beautifully with a graphic black and white rug. The sofas look refined while patterned pillows and furniture lines give a subtle playfulness to the room. The black trim creates definition and shows off the beautiful charm of the room itself. The space is a mix of contemporary, vintage and modern design that is unique to Liz and Nick. “I wanted the home to be full of pieces we loved, not just stuff we had bought to fill space,” Liz shares. “We want a home full of art and books and music. We want a home where people feel welcome to sit down, have a drink, and stay for a while.” The living room now reflects the couple that lives there and the life they were hoping to find in Des Moines. –Lauren

Photography by Rick Lozier

from Design*Sponge

at home in barcelona.

barcelona home tour / sfgirlbybay

this is the lush and tranquil home of teddy Iborra Wicksteed, a barcelona born and raised graphic designer and photographer with a great eye for style. recently featured on one of my favorite blogs for unique and interesting home tours, freunde von freunden once again does not disappoint. nor does this beautiful home — with its beautiful built-in bookcases (i’m always a sucker for a good bookcase) and spare but stylish design. for the full home tour and interview, visit freunde von freunden.

built-in bookcases / sfgirlbybay

house plants in barcelona home / sfgirlbybay

green plants and leather chair in barcelona home / sfgirlbybay

leather chair in modern barcelona home / sfgirlbybay

barcelona home tour / sfgirlbybay

graphic designer and photographer Teddy Iborra Wicksteed / sfgirlbybay

modern dining room in barcelona home / sfgirlbybay

modern art in barcelona home / sfgirlbybay

modern bedroom in barcelona home / sfgirlbybay

white bedroom in modern barcelona home / sfgirlbybay

cacti in front of red wall / sfgirlbybay

outdoor potted plants on modern patio / sfgirlbybay

• photography by salva lópez for freunde von freunden.




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DIY Laptop Skin Using Images From Your Smartphone

DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

In this DIY, we marry analog and handmade concepts with new technology and materials. I usually roll my eyes at projects that lean too heavily on a service or prepackaged good, but I’m excited to share inspiring new tools and materials with loads of creative applications. Using my smartphone’s camera, I photographed a hand-drawn doodle and compositions of delicate flowers to make my own Custom Laptop Skin. Actually, it’s re-positionable wallpaper printed by Spoonflower, but it adheres well to any smooth surface so you can go crazy covering your walls, notebooks, phone and laptop.

Originally, I wanted to make a skin from a single image that spread across the laptop, but Spoonflower’s program is best designed for creating repeat patterns. You can use pre-existing images, but keep in mind that imagery that requires a fixed orientation, like a standard snapshot, might not work as well as a repeat pattern. Graphic imagery and patterns work best.

I visited my favorite flower shop in Brooklyn, Park Deli, who have the best funky, fun and colorful flowers. I played around arranging the flowers on paper and shot images with my phone. These images, which I link to in full resolution after the jump, were then turned into peel-and-stick wallpaper. The flowers made for interesting repeat pattern designs, and I loved the idea of my laptop having a softer edge. Don’t limit yourself to just flowers, though. Think of all the fun objects, sketches, and doodles that you can shoot and turn into your own custom peel-and-stick paper — the possibilities are truly endless. —Jessica

DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

DIY laptop skin project for Design Sponge
DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design SpongeHere are the smartphone photographs I shot in full resolution (after some cropping) clockwise from the top left: one, two, three, four, and the doodle image here. Feel free to use them to make your own laptop skin, custom wallpaper or even a screen saver.


– Photo or drawing
– Large poster board paper
– White foam core (optional)
– Re-positionable wallpaper
– Pencil
– Scissors


DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design SpongeStep 1: Compose a photo or create a drawing. I laid flowers on colored poster board and the drawing close to a window and used small panels of white foam core opposite of the window to help bounce light onto the subject. Even lighting is the goal, and bright window light is ideal. It’s softer than direct sunlight, which can have harsh shadows.DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design SpongeDIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

Step 2: Edit your image using your favorite editing app. I like Afterlight (.99) and Snapseed (free) for post-processing my smartphone pictures. For the image of the drawing, I converted the image to black and white by completely desaturating the image using the saturation tool and bumped the contrast all the way up so that it would look crisp and graphic. For the flower images, I kept the processing to a minimum, making minor tweaks to the contrast, saturation, and sharpening them a bit, too. I also cropped all the images to the edge of the colored backdrop.

Before – Straight from my phone DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge After – Cropped, desaturated and contrast bumped up.DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

Step 3: Upload and order your image from Spoonflower. There are other places to print custom wallpaper, but I found Spoonflower to be the most economical. Choose Wallpaper > Peel and Stick (repositionable) Woven > Swatch (2’ x 1’). One swatch is enough to cover a 15” laptop with some leftover for another small object. Once you’ve uploaded your image, there are built-in options to play with to change the wallpaper’s appearance, like how the pattern repeats (basic, half-drop, half-brick and mirror) and the design size. I toggled through the options to see what worked best for each image.

Tip: On the left hand panel there’s an “Edit with PicMonkey” option where you can rotate your image, which is helpful to create an interesting repeat. Many of my images need to be rotated upside down to properly repeat, and I used this built-in feature to do it.

Step 4: Once you get your wallpaper, lay it flat and position your laptop where you’d like the image. Trace around your laptop and cut.DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

Step 5: It’s easy to apply, just peel and stick. It’s re-positionable, so if you need to adjust that’s easy to do. Peel one end of the paper, and working from the top corner to the bottom, stick the paper and smooth out any air pockets. Boom! You got a custom laptop skin with enough leftover to make a custom decal, or cover a small notebook. DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

DIY laptop skin project for Design Sponge

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