Our 2019 Design*Sponge team: Sofia Tuovinen, Garret Fleming, Kristina Gill, Caitlin Kelch, Grace Bonney, Kelli Kehler, Lauren Day and Erin Austen Abbott.
It’s been said that if you love something, you have to let it go. And, dear friends, it is time for us to let Design*Sponge go. It’s time for us to close this wild and wonderful chapter and head out into the great unknown. While we are sad to say goodbye to the friends, colleagues, and community that we’ve found here, we know that we are stepping into this next chapter filled with the love, support, and care you’ve so graciously shared with us over the past 15 years.
Design*Sponge began as one girl behind a screen, and has grown into a beautiful, diverse, and ever-expanding network of friends, collaborators, confidants, and support systems. You’ve taught us all how to be better listeners, better sharers, better members of our community and, most importantly, you’ve taught us that what makes a community special are the people in it.
I know I speak for all of us at Design*Sponge when I say we are leaving here today with nothing but gratitude for what we have all experienced here. You’ve allowed us to share thousands of stories, homes, personal moments, and lessons that have not just expanded our minds, but our hearts and our understanding of the world as well. Your support has given us the courage to dream big, take risks, and push ourselves harder and further than we knew we could.
From day one, all of you have been so much more than readers of a blog. You’ve become our friends, our co-workers, our support systems, and our family. We’ve traveled across the world these past 15 years and have had the honor and joy of getting to know so many of you in person. Thank you for not only reading Design*Sponge online, but for letting us get to know you in real life, too. You’ve shared memories and stories of your highest highs and lowest lows and we’ve been able to support each other in those moments in real and meaningful ways.
Like any community, I know we haven’t always met the expectations we’ve set out to, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for giving us the grace and understanding to do better when we needed to and to pick ourselves back up when we’ve fallen. Your dedication, support, and honesty have allowed this site to become something different and something more than a collection of beautiful pictures — you’ve turned it into a real home. A home that has pretty, glossy parts, but also worn-in, loved-on parts that are familiar and make us feel welcome.
I am so grateful to have had the privilege to steer this small but mighty ship. It has been the greatest honor of my life so far to work among a team of people who are so unendingly dedicated to learning, growing, and sharing stories that remind us that design is about much more than the things we put in our houses — it’s about the people, the challenges, and the defining moments that turn those houses into homes.
To my team, thank you. You have shown me great patience, trust, and support. I hope I have done my best to show you how much I appreciate and value that generous gift. While our work together here is done, I know we will continue to connect and overlap in each other’s next chapters. And I hope you all know that I will always be here for each and every one of you, always. You have all been such dedicated and caring writers, but more importantly, you’ve been exceptional human beings. And it’s an honor to know each of you and call you my friend. Thank you for making Design*Sponge what it is and will always be: a place for friends to meet, connect, and learn from each other.
To our community, thank you. Your creativity, exuberance, diversity, energy, and talent have been our driving force since day one. What you all do is beyond words. You are artists, designers, makers, innovators, dreamers, and doers. And I am forever grateful that you all exist in our world. You have inspired me to do better, work harder, and grow at every step of the journey and Design*Sponge would not exist without the beauty and honesty you bring into the world every day. Thank you. Not just for inspiring Design*Sponge from day one, but for continuing to remind us that design is so much more than things, it’s about people and connections and building something meaningful.
Earlier this month we gathered outside of Philadelphia to celebrate 15 years of Design*Sponge with our friends at Terrain. They have so kindly supported us since the early days and they generously offered to throw us a farewell party to mark this bittersweet occasion. It was an evening full of love, hugs, tears, and reminiscing that I am forever grateful for. I am also grateful to Ian Fursa who filmed our farewell party and created a short 5-minute film reflecting on the history of Design*Sponge and what it has meant to all of us to work on this project together. The final result is a love letter to this site, our community, our team, and the memories we’ve shared together. I hope you’ll watch and join us in one last moment of reflection, love, and gratitude.
Thank you for letting us live out so many of our dreams here these past fifteen years. There will never be enough words to express the depth and sincerity of my gratitude for all that you have given us and all the love you have shown us. I promise that as we all move forward, we will honor that love you’ve shown us by continuing to pay it forward in all that we do.
Forever grateful and always here—
Some important housekeeping notes: Design*Sponge will remain online as an archive through September of 2020, thanks to generous support from Adam J. Kurtz and Tuesday Bassen. We are so grateful for their love and commitment to keeping the site online through next fall, when something very special will happen…
We’re thrilled to announce that our full archives will be available online (and fully searchable) through the Library of Congress, starting in September of 2020. We will provide an updated link to those archives once they are open to the public. We are so honored that they believed that a record of our work together here, and the community represented in these posts, should be preserved online permanently.
Also, I will continue to remain active on our Instagram account and out in the world. So stop by and say hi! Don’t forget you can follow our entire team and get more ideas for inspiring people to connect with online here.
Photographs by Erin Austen Abbott and Sofia Tuovinen
Scenes from our final team retreat in Brooklyn
The beautiful farewell party that Terrain threw for our community.