Design Experts
Jan 13, 2010

20 questions with Design*Sponge

By: Lauren McPhillips

20 questions with Design*Sponge Author: Style At Home

Design Experts
Jan 13, 2010

20 questions with Design*Sponge

By: Lauren McPhillips
Grace Bonney has been wrting her Design*Sponge blog since August 2004 and it's safe to say that she's grown to be the definitive design blogger on the web. With a full editorial staff to manage and her first book on the way, we were lucky to catch up with Grace and have her answer the following 20 questions.

1 If you could shadow any designer for a day, who would it be?

Grace Bonney: Living? That would be John Derian right now. I’d love to learn more about his knack for combining antiques and contemporary pieces in such a stylish way.
If I was able to go back in time, my ultimate shadowing experience would be with Dorothy Draper. She is my design idol -- I really admire her way with bold pattern and colour.

2 Where do you look for an obscure source of inspiration?

GB: These days there are few things feel obscure anymore. Everyone is online and everyone is scouring little shops everywhere for ideas, so it’s tougher to find places that haven’t been wiped out yet. I’m trying to get out more to check out antique fairs so I can look at things that aren’t all over the web right now.

3 What’s your current paint colour obsession?
I'll always be obsessed with grey -- I’ve yet to meet a grey wall I didn’t like. My favourite is Benjamin Moore’s Chelsea Grey. Right now I’m really into combining grey walls with warm, weathered wood.

4 If one song could be the soundtrack to your life, what would it be?
GB: Oh, it depends on the day. I’m a true Gemini and tend to flip from one end of the spectrum to another so it would be something poppy and happy combined with something calm and low-key. Anything by the New Pornographers is pretty spot-on for most of my days.

design-sponge-table.jpg Grace Bonney's ultra chic dining area in her New York City apartment.


5 Favourite restaurant
GB: CraftBar in Manhattan. Tom Colicchio can do no wrong in my book. I have never, ever had a less than spectacular meal there.

6 What’s your favourite room to decorate?

GB: I usually love bedrooms. Beds are so fun because you get to deal with things like upholstered headboards and layers of textiles. I’m a fabric girl, so any chance I have to play with more than one type of fabric, I’m happy.

7 What’s the one store you could spend hours browsing?

GB: It’s closed now, but it would have been the old Hable Construction shop on Perry St., filled with odds and ends, vintage bits and gorgeous fabric. These days it’s Erie Basin, an antique jewellery store.

8 London, Paris or New York?
GB: New York all the way. Being in NYC for too long sort of ruins you for other cities -- I end up comparing them to the things I love about New York.

9 If money were no object, what one thing would you buy?
GB: A home. And a huge Lee Brothers sofa with wheeled legs to go with it. Right now I don’t want to buy any more furniture or accessories until I have a better place to put them.

10 What do you consider to be the most iconic design piece of the past century?

GB: I couldn’t possibly name just one! But I think it's hard to overlook the power of mid-century designs (both American and Scandinavian). Eames chairs, Florence Knoll pieces and Saarinen designs -- it's hard not to think of those off the bat.

Cookware hangs in Grace's kitchen a la Julia Child, and is highlighted by a vibrant poppy background.


11 Favourite movie
GB: It's a cross between Bottle Rocket and Amelie.

12 What’s your favourite movie interior?
GB: Amelie’s apartment in Amelie and, sadly, SJP’s apartment in Failure to Launch. Such a bad movie, but what a cute living room!

13 What do you think is the easiest way to update a room?

GB: Paint and fabric -- they're my go-tos. Paint works for walls, floors and furniture for a relatively low cost, so it’s impossible to skip that step for a major makeover. And whenever financially possible, I like to change out upholstery.

14 Favourite coffee table book
GB: The French Laundry Cookbook. I could look at the food all day and never get sick of it. Thomas Keller is amazing -- he’s half of the reason I decided to do the Deisgn*Sponge Book with Artisan publishing.

15 What's your fave way to spend a lazy Sunday?

GB: Sleeping in + brunch + a scooter ride with my husband. It doesn’t take much. I get so little time away from my laptop that when I do, I like to just soak in simple things and spend time with the people I love.

Grace relaxes in the bedroom of her New York City apartment.


16 Do you like to be the entertainer or be entertained?
GB: Entertained for sure. I work a little too hard these days, so I’d love to sit back and have someone make me laugh.

17 What do you think is the best renovation you can do to your home?

GB: I tend to suggest that anyone with carpet remove it and restore wooden floors if they’re in good condition. There’s something about the warmth of a wooden floor that makes every room feel more soulful to me.

18 What is your fave space that you’ve designed?
GB: I'm not really a designer, but I loved my second apartment in Brooklyn. It was a pretty horrible place, but I picked my favorite grey and covered my room in it. Everything looks sophisticated and elegant against that colour.

19 What’s the biggest design faux pas?

GB: Matchy-matchy colours and karate-chopped pillows.

20 Marilyn, Audrey or Jackie?
GB: Jackie, all the way. 


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20 questions with Design*Sponge