A DIY Ottoman Makeover—With a Twist

As a designer, the question I’m asked most often is where I get my inspiration. And the answer is: from as many sources as possible—from fashion to food, music, and cinema. But some of my favorite inspirations have come from decorative objects I’ve acq…

As a designer, the question I’m asked most often is where I get my inspiration. And the answer is: from as many sources as possible—from fashion to food, music, and cinema. But some of my favorite inspirations have come from decorative objects I’ve acquired from local markets on my travels: Spanish tiles sourced from Valencia, brightly woven textiles bought at tiny shops in the side streets of Mexico City, and beaded necklaces from the beaches of Thailand. I love spotting the little details on some of these objects that I now have at home, and using those to spark ideas.

Over the past few years, I’ve been collecting mini woven baskets from bazaars as far as Spain and Thailand, and have wanted to design a piece of furniture around them. Well, actually one basket in particular—bought from a market in Brooklyn and made by a Ghanian weaver—that boasts a glorious color combination of deep yellow and teal. A few weeks ago, I came upon the perfect vessel for the project: an old ottoman in need of some love and repair.

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How to Transform Your Balcony Into a Garden Oasis

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Home52’s Resident Design Wiz) Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances wit…

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Home52's Resident Design Wiz) Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances with color and pattern—and develop a signature aesthetic. Today, she shares her tips for transforming a balcony.


Spring has unfurled across the country, reminding us that it’s the perfect time to start cultivating our outdoor spaces: the patios and balconies that have felt so far removed through a cold, long winter. Like so many of you, I live in an apartment building in a city (luckily, one with a small patio), and find that even just adding a few chairs and plants on the patio makes all the difference. This year, I went a step further to try to create a garden-like oasis where I could feel transported every time I set foot outside. The result is an outdoor space filled with color, texture, and just the right amount of whimsy. Read on to learn how I did it.

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Throw Pillows Are Meant to Be Fun—Here’s How to Style Them

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Home52’s Resident Design Wiz), Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances wi…

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Home52's Resident Design Wiz), Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances with color and pattern—and develop a signature aesthetic. Today, she shares her love for styling with throw pillows.


The pull towards a springtime refresh is upon us, and our homes—where we have largely been laboring and living for the past year—are taking center stage among the areas of our lives that we’re reimagining. Considering the weight of the news that sits just outside the thresholds to our homes, I love to turn to color and pattern to both brighten my mood and reinforce the truth that I am well, and able to experience joy. Adding accent colors and textures to my home is also how I express my personality, and the throw pillows on my couch are the perfect vehicle for that.

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The Black Women Designers Behind Patterns We Love

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Home52’s Resident Design Wiz), Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances wi…

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Home52's Resident Design Wiz), Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances with color and pattern—and develop a signature aesthetic. Today, she spotlights four of her favorite Black women pattern designers.


Pattern design permeates our homes quite literally, from floor to ceiling, across art prints, wallpaper, textiles, and rugs. We may not always be conscious of it, but we encounter its imprint on our lives and culture everyday. However, along its lifecycle from a designer’s hand to the product that adorns your home, the name and face behind its design often get lost. And as I’ve tried to trace back some of my favorite patterns—the ones I instinctually turn to as an upholsterer and designer—I found that often the face was that of a Black woman.

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A 5-Minute Art Project to Bookmark for the Weekend

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Home52’s Resident Design Wiz), Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances wi…

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Home52's Resident Design Wiz), Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances with color and pattern—and develop a signature aesthetic. Today, she guides us through a relaxing, anyone-can-do-it block print DIY with so many possibilities.


Like many of you, I love a bold, colorful art print in my home. Art has a striking impact on so much of your home—from mood to dimensions to energy—and for me, the larger the canvas, the better.

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How to Make a Christmas Stocking from Literally Any Fabric You Have

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Food52’s Resident Design Wiz), Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances wi…

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Food52's Resident Design Wiz), Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances with color and pattern—and develop a signature aesthetic. Today, she shows us how to DIY a Christmas stocking—up-cycling all the bits of old fabric she has lying around.


The holidays are my favorite time of year for so many reasons, but certainly because of the opportunity to share homemade and handmade gifts with loved ones. And because I love anything that serves multiple purposes, I love thinking of new ways to repurpose my stash of fabrics remnants (a happy bonus of being an upholsterer): into gift-wrapping through the year, but also, in the holidays, into handmade gifts.

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Bold & Bright Home Décor Picks From Our Resident Design Wiz

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Food52’s Resident Design Wiz), Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances wi…

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Food52's Resident Design Wiz), Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances with color and pattern—and develop a signature aesthetic.


A keyword when considering my apartment this past year has definitely been "comfort": how to enhance it, how to create more of it in different corners, and how to be really intentional with purchases that contribute toward that. I wanted to hit that sweet spot of design where things were functional (meaning I would engage with them daily), beautiful, and multi-purpose, but also purchases that were mindful of more delicate budgets this year.

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You (Yes, You!) Can Reupholster a Chair at Home

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Home52’s Resident Design Wiz), Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances wi…

Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Home52's Resident Design Wiz), Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances with color and pattern—and develop a signature aesthetic. Today, she guides us through stripping a chair down to its bones and reupholstering it, right in your living room.


Have an heirloom chair that’s been sitting in your garage for years, and that you’ve been itching to reupholster? Find a mid-century armchair while vintage-shopping and want to swap out the fabric to suit your décor—but unsure where to start? With falling temperatures and shorter days forcing us (further) indoors, this could well be the perfect time to take on that upholstery project you’ve been shying away from.

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