With a mission to help people to create homes they love and lives they want to live, Design*Sponge has been delivering daily inspiration and original content to design devotees since August 2004. Writer Grace Bonney, the site’s cheerful creator, talked to us from her “office”—the (very tasteful) couch in her Brooklyn living room—about TV vs. music, The New Pornographers, and keeping things positive.
Do you listen to music while you work? I actually listen to television more than I do music at work. For some reason, music makes me want to stop and sing along, so I tend to throw on an old silly movie that I’ve seen before so it feels like I have some “company” in the room, without being too distracted.
How do you listen? I listen to the TV or to music through the entertainment center in our living room. Our living room is my makeshift office, because I find I’m more productive when I’m comfortable and in a place that feels like “home” and not an “office.” Because I work at home alone, I can really turn up the volume as loudly as I like, which is fun during breaks. I’ve been known to dance away stressful days by cranking up some cheesy music in the living room.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Aaron, my husband, suggested Pandora to me, but I could never get it to be quite right, so I tend to make my own mixes on ITunes and play them through the house speakers. I’ll arrange them by mood, by occasion (road trip, long-tagging weekend), or by artist and then just let them roll.
Does music influence your work? I think the artwork associated with music, like album covers, videos, and album collateral, definitely influences me—and we’ve covered some of my favorite music related design stories on the site before. But music itself usually acts as an escape from the blogging, rather than an inspiration for it.
Who influences your musical taste? My husband Aaron is responsible for almost all of the music I’ve fallen in love with in the past seven years. He introduced me to my new favorite band of all time: The New Pornographers. He used to make me the sweetest mix CDs when we started dating in 2003 and I learned so much about indie rock from him. So he’s always my go-to source for great new music. I tend to love old folk music, 60’s era singers, and, oddly, grunge/riot grrl music (the 90′s really weighed heavily on my taste), so he definitely has improved and rounded out my musical tastes. (Although I like to remind him that I used to have a radio show in college, so at some point I actually suggested music to other people. It just happened to be jam bands—something Aaron is not likely to enjoy!)
What song or artist best represents the work you create? Well, my heart belongs to AC Newman and The New Pornographers, so I’d say them. I am completely obsessed with the wall of sound they create and the cheerful, happy tone to their songs. It’s pure, unadulterated joy and happiness, and I think I try to do the same thing on my site. I try to be as happy, positive, and inspiring (with the design we post) as possible. For me, there’s just not enough time in life to spend on sad or negative blogging—or on sad songs.
1. The Town Halo, AC Newman
2. Letter from an Occupant, The New Pornographers
3. Cinnamon Girl, Neil Young
4. Girl Anachronism, The Dredsen Dolls
5. Oh My God, The Empties
6. Blah Blah Blah, Ke$ha
7. Give it Up to Me, Shakira
8. Cities, The Talking Heads
9. Psycho Killer, The Talking Heads
10. Jackie Dressed in Cobras, The New Pornographers
11. At the Beach, The Avett Brothers
12. Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z