Welcome to our home! This is a recap of our Design*Sponge home tour feature, plus a table full of food and a pumpkin cake recipe because I’m here to feed you!
For more than a decade, I have been a loyal Design*Sponge reader. For more than a year and a half, I’ve been on the other side — a contributor. I’ve been inviting myself into people’s homes, both physically and figuratively, to bring you the stories and spaces that inspire many a Pinterest board, your dream homes, and your very real renovations. But then it came time to turn the tables and invite readers into my own home.
To have my home featured on DesignSponge was a goal and a dream I nurtured for a long time. It was one of the first blogs I followed, one of my longest relationships, if you will. It has been a constant, daily source of inspiration, both through design and through Grace Bonney’s mission to make the site a safe, embracing space. Today I’m sharing parts of the tour featured on DesignSponge, as well as some food bonuses and a pumpkin cake recipe because you come here to feast with your eyes, right?
You can read the stories of this space in the original D*S tour, but for a bit of a different take, come on in!
Photography by Dave Bryce.
Even though my dream kitchen would probably be dark and rustic, I let the bones of this kitchen, mainly the cabinetry and the enamel sink, inspire the design. It’s very kitschy, and I painted the cabinets and accent wall with a very 1960s vibe.
Welcome to my favorite room- the dining room! As much as I love styling and blogging, there’s nothing quite like cooking and baking for people. I love hosting friends and family in this room, or simply celebrating special occasions with Kyle, while Julep lurks under the table hoping for scraps. This room reflects my affinity for aged and worn surfaces and the many layers of a building. I painstakingly removed paint from the doors and fireplace tiles but purposefully left the chippy accent wall and exposed lathe.
I am constantly drawn to old books, but before moving into this apartment, I vowed to put the books to better use (because boy, were they heavy to move!). I had two photography books depicting French life in the city and the countryside, and those pages became the collaged mantel accent. I studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence and worked as a jeune fille au pair (a nanny) in Paris after college, so these vintage prints bring back so many pleasant French memories.
This is a question we ask everyone who shares their home on Design*Sponge – What do you love most about your home? We ask our home tour features to respond with an element of the handmade too, so naturally, I incorporated the table, food and dessert- pumpkin cake!
What I love most about my home is…it tells my story.
I love sharing our home with friends, family, and our fur baby (see her at the head of the table?). I enjoy watching the way guests interact with my collections and the associations they make, whether it be glassware their grandmother used or a fascination with the mechanics of a typewriter.
For our tour, I brought together some of my closest friends to showcase our dining room at its best – when it is filled with food and friends. Kyle and Julep, obviously. Dane and I met over a love of vintage, architecture and Pittsburgh adventures. Bess and I met through a love of Western Pennsylvania vintage, and the lady cracks me up until I cry. Lindsey and I met over a LOVE [obsession] of dogs and while working on her cookbook, Eat Your Feelings, which I gush about all the time.
The living room gallery wall sums us up: food still lifes, beekeeping and farming scenes, dog portraits, old cameras, French cityscapes and Q’s (because you’d be surprised how frequently that letter is omitted from alphabetical merchandise!). The wooden frame highlights a Kenyan ekichilong, a small wooden stool the Turkana shepherds use for sitting and sleeping, which I purchased on a trip to rural Kenya. You’ll even find the small velour hat from my childhood Samantha doll. I parted with the doll, but I had to keep one little memento.
The bedroom is my maximalist self’s attempt at minimalism. My goal was to create a really calming space where I would want to unwind, or where I would want to nestle with Julep and my morning mug of coffee.
Be sure to check out the full home tour feature on Design*Sponge for more photos and all the stories of these quirky nooks and crannies. Thanks for visiting. Now go preheat that oven. There’s a pumpkin cake to make!
Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
About this Cake: Healthy, whole grain brown rice flour makes a rich, nutty pumpkin cake that’s gluten free- perfect for a crowd. I topped the cake with pumpkin chocolates from Trader Joe’s, which were a seasonal item, but you can dust with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice and decorate with cinnamon sticks and sage as an alternative.
1 1/2 cups organic brown rice flour
2/3 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon organic pumpkin spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup full-fat greek yogurt, at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) butter, room temperature
1 cup organic coconut sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs (organic/local), at room temperature
Pumpkin Frosting (recipe below)
organic pumpkin spice or cinnamon for dusting
Fresh sage (optional)
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease two 6-inch or 7-inch springform baking pans. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin spice and salt. Set Aside.
In a small bowl combine yogurt and pumpkin. Mix together until incorporated.
In a mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
Alternatively add the flour mixture and pumpkin mixture to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Mix for 1 minute on low until fully combined. Divide batter evenly between two prepared baking pans.
Bake for 18-26 minutes. Cake is done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool ten minutes before removing from pan. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting or frosting.
1 package (8 oz) organic cream cheese, softened
1 stick organic, unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup organic pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon organic pumpkin spice
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat until well combined and fluffy.
Cut each cooled cake in half horizontally. Smooth a dollop of frosting on the serving plate and top with the base layer of cake (the frosting keeps it in position). Cover with a generous coat of frosting, using a Lazy Susan and an offset spatula to smooth the frosting. Repeat with two more layers. Frost the sides and top. Chill, then dust with spice(s). Garnish with sage and chocolates (optional).