A Tour of Gisele and Mayor Fetterman’s Home for Design*Sponge

What do you do when your favorite design blog posts a call for contributors?

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  1. Overcome self-doubt.
  2. Be brave.
  3. Apply.
  4. Feel proud for applying, which might just be rejection preparation in disguise.
  5. No really, feel proud for applying.
  6. Hold breath.
  7. Wait.
  8. Open an email from said design blog’s founder.
  9. Read email
  10. FREAK OUT!!!!!

YOU DID IT!!!!

Braddock House Concrete Ramps

In my case, that design blog was Design*Sponge, the blog that convinced me blogging was cool, inspired me to start With The Grains as a blog and not some sort of portfolio website, and the blog that pulled me through a desk job when I was long past “over it.” Looking back, I realize Design*Sponge may be the most consistent factor in my life in the past ten years, so when founder Grace Bonney emailed me to tell me I had been accepted as a contributor to the Sneak Peeks section, I really did have a proper freak out (see No. 10).

Braddock House Entry

I’m a big believer that all of our meandering explorations serve some purpose in our development as creatives and just as individuals. In college, I studied architecture, but I decided I didn’t want to be an architect. However, those intense years of studying spaces and human experiences were invaluable in shaping the way I think about the world. I’m especially excited for this Design*Sponge opportunity as a more focused return to my passion for interior design and architecture.

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In the application, Grace asked what I wanted to contribute. What unique angles could I add? I said I would focus on the Rust Belt, on the unique projects that highlight preservation, community and sustainability at a time when we are facing major development that is all too often generic and hasty.

Braddock House Mirror Detail

Part of my application was to submit a home tour, which would eventually become my first published post. I turned to Gisele and Mayor John Fetterman. John is the Mayor of Braddock, a borough just beyond Pittsburgh, and Gisele is an advocate for nutrition and food access. Somehow, while working to redevelop an entire community, they found the time and energy to renovate one of America’s first indoor car dealerships and transform it into an industrial home. They fit my contribution goals perfectly!

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Braddock House Church Pew

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Thanks to the Fettermans for welcoming me and allowing me to share their home. Check out my full post on Design*Sponge to read the full story on the building, the design details and the Fettermans’ many community building endeavors. Then, stay tuned for more interiors!

Post Script:

Publication: Design*Sponge
Writing & Photography by Quelcy.
Featuring: Mayor John and Gisele Fetterman of Braddock

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