NEW YORK – Grace Bonney, founder of the website Design*Sponge and a former contributor at magazines such as Domino and House & Garden, appreciates the power of – and current demand for – one-of-a-kind interiors. And Design*Sponge, dubbed a “Martha Stewart Living for the Millennials” by the New York Times, has captured that zeitgeist perfectly. We spoke with Bonney about the allure of antiques, the trend she could live without and which lots in Sotheby’s upcoming Collections: European Decorative Arts sale caught her eye.
PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER STURMAN.
Please describe your personal aesthetic in three words.
Simple, classic, relaxed.
What is the biggest interior design trend you’ve noticed so far in 2016?
I see things moving in two directions. First, people are still very much enamoured of textiles from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and combining those with simple white walls and lots of growing plants. But I'm also seeing people move back toward more classic, minimal pieces.
Is there one you can’t wait to see disappear?
I'm ready for the "fake" handwriting quotation posters to die down a bit. Mostly because people don't seem to know who said the quotations or who created the image. I really like when people know the stories and meaning behind objects or artwork. Obviously everyone should be free to decorate anyway that makes them happy, but I'm always sad when the original point of inspiration is lost.
What do you think antiques add to a home?
Character, depth, stories, history and meaning. I could not imagine living without pieces that were handed down by family members or that had previous lives before coming into our home. They don't need to be fancy antiques – anything with meaning is valuable to me.
What’s your number one strategy for making antiques feel modern and not too dated?
Sticking to simple, unfussed-with finishes. I want to leave something as close to its original state as possible.
Which design sites (aside from your own of course!) do you browse for inspiration?
I love Design Files, One Kings Lane and Remodelista.
Are there any interiors shops (for wallpaper, furniture, carpet, etc.) that you like to visit regularly?
Leif for accessories and artwork. But I rarely shop new goods anymore – I tend to just hop from junk shop to antique shop to flea market looking for lived-in pieces now.
What’s the best piece of design advice you ever received?
Nothing is as important as the people living in your home. It's important to remember that no matter how nice the upholstery is or how beautiful a glass is, things break and accidents happen. Those objects were never the things that made your house feel like a home. People (and pets!) are what do that.
To see Bonney's picks from Collections: European Decorative Arts, click below.