Meet the designers behind our DIYs

We’re always looking for new ways to get inspired at home. So we asked three DIY masters to create projects for every room in the house. Learn a little about these inspiring designers, then go find a project that inspires you!

Grace founded the blog Design*Sponge in 2004 and went on to write the best-selling book Design*Sponge at Home. When she’s not writing about design, she’s supporting the design community – from establishing a scholarship for young designers to starting the Biz Ladies series, which helps support and grow creative businesses. Check out her DIYs for Color-Dipped Bowls and Scented Bath Salts among other delights!

Maxwell is an interior designer, an author, and founder of Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn. Launched as a single design blog in 2004, the lifestyle websites are dedicated to helping people make their homes more beautiful, joyful and healthy. See how Maxwell made Lace Doily Bowls and a Shelf-Top Ironing Board.

Obsessed with cooking, crafting and decorating, Paul transformed a simple blog about his work as a food and prop stylist into Sweet Paul Magazine. All about homemade, handmade and “chasing the sweet things in life,” Paul combines easy recipes, elegant ideas and a one-of-a-kind style to celebrate life’s everyday occasions. Try making his Mason Jar Caddy or Vintage Pie Tin Stand.


Want to see more from Grace, Maxwell and Paul? Explore all of the projects they created for us, and find one – or twenty! – to create for your own home.

A Q&A With Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge

How do find inspiration in your daily life? And what’s your most surprising source of inspiration?
I find inspiration in everyday objects around me. Food packaging, tile patterns, old rugs at a thrift store- anything can be a jumping off point for a project at home. I think my favorite unexpected source of design inspiration is floral design. I use the color palettes in great flower arrangements as inspiration for paint colors at home.

 What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?
I’m most excited for those moments after we open gifts and eat holiday meals. I spend all year looking forward to those conversations over the dinner table and around the fire catching up on what everyone’s been doing throughout the year. Those laughs and moments are better than any present.

What homemaking habit would you consider your biggest strength?
After moving around between 7 apartments in 11 years of living in Brooklyn, NY, I learned to live minimally. Cleaning and organizing are lot easier when you’re not sorting through piles of too many things. I keep as much as possible off of surfaces so I can do a quick clean every view days.

Which room in your home is your favorite?
I spend the most time in our living room, but our dining room is my favorite room. We have a 12 foot table that used to be my wife’s family’s Passover table. My favorite nights are those spent around the table talking with friends and sharing great food.

Share your best piece of no-nonsense advice with us.
Do the dishes and a quick 5 minutes of tidying before you go to bed. I only recently came around to this (I procrastinate most at nighttime) but now that I’ve gotten in the swing of things I’ve realized how much waking up to a clean house can set the tone of the rest of your day.

Please answer this sentence: On a cold winter day, I can be found…
Curled up on the couch with our pets and working away on my blog. It feels luxurious to be able to stay inside and work, rather than having to commute to an office in the city.

Why do you think there’s been a resurgence of interest in homemaking?
I think the online generation has translated more traditional magazine tips and advice into something more relatable and less driven by perfection. Blogs, Pinterest and social media celebrate do-it- yourself ideas that everyone can chip in and help with and it’s that simplicity that’s helped homemaking catch on with a wider and younger audience.

Speaking of homemaking, what’s the one household task you most love to do? And what’s the one you’re most likely to put off doing?
I am the queen of a power clean. Give me 30 minutes and I’ll give you a house that looks neat and clean. It’s the deep cleaning I avoid though. Cleaning corners, getting under the sofa- all those down and dirty details are my least favorite.

If you had unlimited time and budget, what would be your ultimate DIY project?
I’d love to create a focal point wall or hallway decorated entirely of leaves. I was really inspired by the leaf wall Ariele Alasko (a Brooklyn-based woodworker) made in her home and have wanted to recreate something similar with dried oak leaves in my own apartment.

Which Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day scent could you not live without?
Iowa Pine. My co-worker Max and I both collect it during the holiday season. Anything that reminds me of a forest makes me feel like my home is that much closer to nature.

Sweet Paul’s Orange and Cranberry Cake

See the original recipe and more inspiration from Sweet Paul here.

Serves 8 
3/4 cup dried cranberries 
3/4 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped 
1 cup orange juice 
1 1/2 stick (150g) butter, softened 
1 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
4 large eggs 
2 cups plain flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk 
grated zest of 1 orange 
powdered sugar 

  1. Heat oven to 350F, 180C.
  2. Place cranberries, apricots and orange juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Let mixture simmer until almost all the orange juice is gone.
  4. Cool.
  5. Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy.
  6. Add vanilla and the eggs, one at a time.
  7. Add flour and baking powder, stir well.
  8. Stir in the milk and the cranberry/apricot mixture.
  9. Spoon the batter into a buttered bundt pan.
  10. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until set.
  11. Cool and turn the cake over on a large platter.
  12. Mix powdered sugar and water to a frosting and pour it over the cake.
  13. Sprinkle with orange zest and serve.

Bring the sweet scent of Cranberry into your home year-round with a Soy Candle Tin.


Vintage Pie Tin Stand from Paul Lowe of Sweet Paul Magazine

Turn inexpensive pie tins into a charming display for homemade goodies. Arrange cookies and mints on each level to really impress your guests at the end of a dinner party. Best of all? This DIY is easy as pie.

Materials & Tools

  •  3 Vintage pie tins in different sizes
  • 2 Long vintage wooden spools
  • 4 Small brass balls or cap nuts
  • 120 Grade sandpaper
  • Super glue
  • Pencil


  1. The four brass balls go on the bottom of the largest tin and will serve as the feet of the stand. Decide where to place them and mark the locations with a pencil. Then, sand the spots marked. This will help the glue stick to the vintage tin.
  2. Glue brass balls in place, allowing the glue to dry according to the label’s instructions.
  3. Flip the bottom tin right-side up and mark the center. Sand the tin and glue the first spool in that location. Allow to dry completely.
  4. Repeat step 3 to place your second and third tiers. Make sure the stand is as level as possible. Then, fill your new stand with cookies or other treats and admire your work!

Tips for inspiration: Pie tins and wooden spools can be found at flea markets, thrift stores, or online. For a floral centerpiece with a vintage touch, fill each layer of the stand with flowers. 

For a little Home-Grown. Inspiration, start shopping now.

Wood Burned Cutting Board from Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge

Plain wood cutting boards can be a little dull. So add a modern edge with a wood burned design. All you need is a wooden cutting board and a wood burning tool. Then your options are limitless!

Materials & Tools

  • Cutting board
  • Wood burning tool
  • Wood burning tool attachment kit
  • Pencil (optional)
  • Wood scrap (optional)


  1. Plug in your wood burning tool with the original angled attachment bit and allow it to heat up fully (up to 3-5 minutes). If you’d like to practice a bit, make a few test marks and impressions in your wood scrap to get used to the feel of the tool.
  2. Plan your pattern or trace it onto your wood using a pencil. Start by outlining your pattern using the original angled attachment.
  3. Switch to a wider burnishing attachment (it looks like the angled top of a tube of lipstick) and begin to fill in your pattern, moving slowly and allowing the surface of the wood to turn dark brown or black.
  4. Once you’ve finished your pattern, wash your board with soap and water. Now chop away!

For a little Home-Grown. Inspiration, start shopping now.