Design + Architecture

Design*Sponge blogger Grace Bonney on where to snag vintage Brooklyn decor

By Sharon Krum  | February 27, 2014 - 8:59AM

Ten years ago Grace Bonney started a blog dedicated to her love of all things design and christened it Design*Sponge.

Like the name suggests, it was a site for people like her, hungry to soak up information about art, style and home design. In the way of all great business stories, what started as a passion project has become a career for Bonney, and today Design*Sponge is a must-read for design aficionados, with 75,000 daily readers, 480,000 Twitter followers and 162,000 likes on Facebook. Raised in Virginia, Bonney now lives and works in Brooklyn.

Where do you live?

I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and have been here for the better part of 10 years. My wife and I rent a one-bedroom apartment that we share with our dog and cat.

What do you love most about your home?

How functional and simple it is. Everything we have inside our house has a purpose and a story behind it. I love that we can have people over for dinner at the drop of a hat and make people feel welcomed.

What's your fantasy purchase for your home?

Unlimited amounts of beautiful antique rugs for the floors. I'm a textile geek.

What is the one thing you cannot live without?

For me it would be the collection of Blue Willow dishes [see below] we have. Some of them are from my family and some were purchased on a trip to Hudson, N.Y., while we were on our honeymoon. Both sets have such great meaning and I love that we use them to serve our friends on a regular basis.

A Blue Willow plate like the ones Bonney collects (Photo credit:

Favorite restaurant/coffee shop in your neighborhood?

Five Leaves, hands down. It's overly sceney and covered in hipsters, but it's our neighborhood place and we love it. One of us goes every single morning to pick up coffee after taking our dog, Hope, to the park. They know our orders and every now and then give us coffee on the house--it just feels like home.

Bonney's favorite coffee spot may be a hipster haven, but she still loves it (Photo credit: Five Leaves)

And your pick for dog run?

The McGolrick Park dog run is actually pretty nice--at least compared to the McCarren Park run [nearby]. But we prefer the off-leash group that gathers every morning from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the middle of McCarren.

Where do you like to hunt for furniture/decor in your neighborhood?

I like to get little vintage pieces every now and then at Kill Devil Hill. I got a great mirror there last year.

Greenpoint's Kill Devil Hill is a good spot for vintage apartment finds. (Photo credit: Flickr)

Best decorating advice for people living in small spaces?

Invest in closed storage that's up off the floor. The cleaner your space, the bigger it feels.

It seems as if Brooklyn has become an epicenter of fashion, music and food. Is it also true for design?

Of course. The Brooklyn Designs fair revived the design scene in general in 2003 and continues to be a place people flock to collaborate, be inspired and do something different. There's so much talent and ambition here, it's the best.

What are the most popular Design*Sponge posts with readers?

Home tours are always number one. Our home tour editors, led by Amy Azzarito … email hundreds of people every week and go back and forth to take the best pictures possible, sometimes following up for over a year to get a certain space. They make sure we're always looking for new inspiring spaces to show.

Related posts:

Five Minutes With Jonathan Adler

"Sex and the City" set decorator Christina Tonkin shares tips on glamming up a small space

10 tips from a renter who's lived in one 338-square-foot room for almost a decade

NYC renovation questions: 7 things to consider before wallpapering your apartment

Six of the most popular paint colors for NYC apartments right now

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