Home and Garden

Farewell and Thank You – Design*Sponge


Our Design * Sponge Team 2019: Sofia Tuovinen, Garret Fleming, Kristina Gill, Caitlin Kelch, Grace Bonney, Kelli Kehler, Lauren Day and Erin Austen Abbott.

It was said that when you love something you have to let go of it. And, dear friends, it’s time for us to let go of Design * Sponge. It is time for us to close this wild and wonderful chapter and set off into the great unknown. While we are sad to say goodbye to the friends, colleagues, and community we have found here, we know we are entering this next chapter, which is full of the love, support, and care that you have so graciously shared with us the last 15 years.

Design * Sponge started out as a girl behind a screen and has grown into a beautiful, diverse, and ever-growing network of friends, co-workers, confidants, and support systems. You taught us all how to be better listeners, better stakeholders, better members of our community, and most importantly, you taught us that that is what makes a community so special People inside.

I know that at Design * Sponge, I speak for all of us when I say that we are leaving today only with gratitude for what we have all experienced here. They have allowed us to share thousands of stories, homes, personal moments, and lessons that have expanded not only our minds but also our hearts and understanding of the world. Your support has given us the courage to dream big, take risks and push ourselves harder and further than we imagined.

From day one, you’ve all been so much more than just blog readers. They have become our friends, our co-workers, our support systems, and our family. We have traveled around the world for the past 15 years and have had the honor and pleasure of meeting so many of you personally. Thank you for not only reading Design * Sponge online, but also for getting to know you in real life. You have shared memories and stories of your highest and lowest lows, and we were able to support each other in those moments in real and meaningful ways.

Like any community, I know we haven’t always lived up to the expectations we set ourselves, and we thank you wholeheartedly for giving us the grace and understanding to do better when we need and need to bring us back on when we’ve fallen. Your dedication, support and honesty made this website possible to become something different and more than a collection of beautiful images – you made it a real one At home. A home with pretty, shiny parts, but also worn, beloved parts that are familiar to us and make us feel welcome.

I am so grateful to have had the privilege of piloting this small but powerful ship. It has been the greatest honor of my life so far to work on a team of people who are so tirelessly dedicated to learning, growing and sharing stories that remind us that design is much more than the things we put in our homes stuck – it’s about the people, the challenges and the defining moments that make these homes homes.

Many thanks to my team. You have shown me great patience, trust and support. I hope I have done my best to show you how much I appreciate and appreciate this generous gift. While our collaboration here is complete, I know that we will continue to connect and overlap in the next few chapters. And I hope you all know that I will always be there for each of you. You were all such dedicated and caring writers, but more importantly, you were exceptional people. And it is an honor to know each of you and to call you my friend. Thank you for making Design * Sponge what it is and always will be: a place where friends can meet, connect and learn from each other.

Many thanks to our community. Your creativity, your exuberance, your diversity, your energy and your talent have been our driving force since day one. What you all do is indescribable. They are artists, designers, doers, innovators, dreamers and doers. And I am forever grateful that you all exist in our world. You inspired me to do it better, work harder, and grow with 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 to inspire Design * Sponge from day one, but to keep reminding us that design is so much more than things, it’s about people and connections, and about building something meaningful.

We gathered outside of Philadelphia earlier this month to celebrate 15 years of Design * Sponge with our friends at Terrain. You have supported us so kindly since the beginning and generously offered us to throw us a farewell party on this bittersweet occasion. It was an evening full of love, hugs, tears and memories that I am forever grateful for. I am also grateful to Ian Fursa for filming our farewell party and making a short 5 minute film reflecting the story of Design * Sponge and the importance for all of us to work together on this project. The end result is a love letter to this site, our community, our team, and the memories we shared together. I hope you will watch and join us for a final moment of thought, love and gratitude.

Thank you for letting us live so many of our dreams here over the 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 for all the love that you have shown us. I promise that as we all move forward, we will honor this love you showed us by continuing to pay it forward in everything we do.

Forever grateful and always here –


Some important notes on housekeeping: Design * Sponge stays online as an archive through September 2020Thanks to the generous support of Adam J. Kurtz and Tuesday bass. We’re so grateful for your love and dedication to keeping the website online until next fall when something very special happens …

We are happy to announce that our full archives will be available online (and fully searchable) through the Library of Congress from September 2020. We will provide an updated link to these archives as soon as they become available to the public. We are so honored that you felt that a record of our collaboration here and the community represented in these posts should be kept online permanently.

I will also continue to be active on our Instagram account and worldwide. So come over and say hello! Don’t forget that you can follow our entire team and get more ideas to inspire people to connect online here.

Photographs by Erin Austen Abbott and Sofia Tuovinen

Scenes from our last team retreat in Brooklyn

The lovely farewell party that Terrain hosted for our community.


Robert Dunfee