Design*Sponge Founder Grace Bonney Comes Out, Is My Idol

There’s a little website that we love around here called Design*Sponge. Design*Sponge is like Martha Stewart but accessible to people who don’t wear sweaters tied around their necks. It’s beautiful, thoughtful and full of craft and design inspiration. Did I mention there’s a weekly segment on how to match your dog to the current design trends? It’s wonderful. I started reading D*S seven years ago and it’s been a pleasure to watch the site grow and continually inspire creativity. Oh, and it’s founder, Grace Bonney, came out today.

Grace Bonney via {Apartment Therapy}

Grace Bonney
via {Apartment Therapy}

Grace Bonney founded Design*Sponge nine years ago and has since grown the site into the cornerstone of the design and craft community and published a kickass book, Design*Sponge At Home. Grace is a force to be reckoned with in the design world, having previously worked for publications Domino and House & Gardens as well as being a featured guest on Good Morning America and The Martha Stewart Show. She’s also been a friend of ours since presenting at BlogHer 2010 with our Design Director, Alex Vega (who was super-starstruck, for the record).

Today, in honor of her 32nd birthday, Grace wrote a really sweet and heartfelt post, coming out to her readers:

Two years ago I went through the process of coming out to my friends and family. It was, at times, painful and scary. Coming out is different for every person, but for me, it was very much about learning to slowly accept and then love myself just the way I am. Despite my worst fears of losing the people I loved most, I have been incredibly fortunate to find the support of not just my friends and family, but members of the design community as well. In my heart of hearts, I never expected to hear from people I’d never met, offering words of support, guidance and love. But it was those words and that support that got me to where I am today.

Since the first day I started this site, I’ve done my best to be as open and honest myself as I can. … So today I wanted to take a moment to proudly share with you the full story of who I am. I’m the daughter of loving parents, Chris and Elaine, I’m a blogger, a Southerner, a hopeless lover of animals, patterns and anything shiny- and I’m also gay. That fact may make no difference to some of you reading, but being able to be 100% myself here means the world to me. This website is my home. And the people who write and read here are my family. And I want to be as close and connected to my family as I can. Thank you for being an incredible community of people who make me feel safe and supported enough to be myself. Love, Grace

The post was so endearing and honest that I couldn’t resist linking it on Twitter (and maybe I called her my idol?) to which she replied that Autostraddle is her favorite site. I feel like we won a thing! Oh right, and this might be a good time to tell you that we are so so excited to be almost entirely positive that Grace Bonney‘s gonna be a special guest at our A-Camp event this October (registration will open next weekish) at which point she’ll bless ALLLLL of you with her design-spongey brilliance.

september 2012 a-camp gift bags w/design*sponge newsletter

september 2012 a-camp gift bags w/design*sponge newsletter

The D*S reader’s response to her post has been overwhelming, including comments like, “Thank you! As always, I am amazed by you, and so happy to see you surrounded by love from friends and family” and “Good for you, good for many. The world is changing.”

Grace Bonney, having just learned the dance to "Call Your Girlfriend" because now that she's officially out, she has to learn the dance of our people. via {Design*Sponge}

Grace Bonney, having just learned the dance to “Call Your Girlfriend”, because now that she’s officially out she has to learn the dance of our people.
via {Design*Sponge}

The world is changing and for the better. Happy birthday, Grace, and welcome to the club! We look forward to a complete interior design overhaul of the clubhouse.

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Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.


  1. everything about this makes me so so so happy. grace i hope you are ready for all of us to fangirl over you at camp, from the design pros like hansen to the design newbies like myself. seriously i don’t think i’ve ever felt so happy on a monday afternoon.

  2. Call your girlfriend=the dance of our people

    I just inhaled a bit of my waffle and am now laughing/choking.

    How exciting that she is coming to A-Camp.

    AS really attracts the most brilliant/talented/beautiful humans.

    • strange question: if I chose early registration for A-camp as my kickstarter reward last year, but I couldn’t go to camp this spring, will I still get a chance to pre-register for the October camp? I will do whatever it takes this time… haha

  3. I’m so full of excitement and joy! Fingers crossed that there will be yet another reason to count the days until October Camp.

  4. Thanks you guys. Autostraddle’s own Alex Vega was one of the first people I came out to and who made me feel safe and supported. This site is like my second home ;)

    See you guys at camp!

  5. Amazing, happy birthday to Grace!!!!!
    I was just reading through the camp issue yesterday when i was packing to move!
    I hope I’ll be able to make it to camp in the fall!

  6. She wrote a post about my wife and I’s pottery company a little while back after she bought one of our pieces. She referred to our relationship in the sweetest way, “partners in life and work.” I hope she has a happygay birthday!

  7. The link to Design*Sponge should have come with a *This Site is The Best Kind of Time-Suck. Do Not Click on at Work* warning.

    Also, yay for Grace on here coming out!

    • her* coming out!

      Also, I vote that her and A;ex do the Robyn dance at A-Camp now that they both know it. Just saying.

  8. Besides this being just all-around great, Grace and her friends look adorable in that dance birthday picture.

  9. I confess that I have unironically worn a sweater tied around my shoulders and also now I am finally going to do something I have been meaning to do for forever and check out Design*Sponge (while I spaz over the logistics of whether or not I can go to A-Camp).

  10. This is terrific news! I hope she has a wonderful birthday, and I will definitely check out her site again (its been a while) and see if I can’t find her book.

    • I think one of the best parts of that is the dog and its complete non-reaction. Like, no big deal my humans are just dancin’ to some Robyn…

  11. I am unbelievably happy reading this. Daughter, blogger, Southerner and *gay*, bless-her-heart. Woohoo!

  12. Gah, this makes me so happy. My first freelance writing piece was for Design*Sponge! Her announcement brought tears to my eyes. ALL THE FEELS. All of them.

  13. I KNEW IT THIS IS THE BEST NEWS EVER!!! D*S is one of my all time favorite blogs. It daily inspires me and introduces me to so many brilliant designers.

    (I thought she was engaged to a man though?)

  14. My cousin is in that picture of her birthday party! That was confusing and exciting. I feel famous by association.

  15. What a whirlwind couple of years for her. First a divorce and now coming out. Seems like she is stronger than ever, though.

  16. Oh my god I’m so excited about this!!! I freaking love Design*Sponge. Am I so dumb that I didn’t see this coming?

  17. I thought I saw a little triangle tattoo somewhere on her arm before! My gaydar… it’s working *happy tears*.

  18. Also, this was unsurprising because I tend to assume that anyone cool is gay to the extent that even when people say they’re straight I’m like “no, but you mean in a gay way, right?”

  19. If I do the dance of our people in the street will it draw smoking hot women towards me from around the land?

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