In this episode, Cara sits down with the Editor-in-Chief behind the top home & design site, Hunker — Eve Epstein. They dive into the nuances of 2021 design trends and how to adopt them in your spaces, design strategies for the everyday girl, how wellness and coziness are driving diy space design, and a little bit about Hunker's new diy video series launching this spring.

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in this episode:

✨ 2021 design trends + diving deeper into how to adopt them in your spaces
✨ wellness & how we're redefining our spaces to support it after this time at home
✨ a strategic approach to at-home fitness spaces + need for multifunctional elements
✨ design strategies for the everyday girl through a home media editors lens
✨ why photos truly don't tell the whole story of a room
✨ how considering sight lines can help rework what you already have to revamp your space
✨ designing from your own perspective vs through a camera lens
✨ comfy as a trend and why its here for the long haul
✨ the art of hands-on creativity and how to enjoy the process



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As an expert in home décor and design as well as brand building, Eve has helped the site achieve rapid growth over the course of its short lifespan. When the brand was only a year and half old, it became the fourth-largest digital resource for home decor, collaborating with brands like Blu DotUrban Outfitters HomeMiele and The Citizenry. Last year saw the launch of its first ever ‘Hunker Made’ furniture capsule collection, as well as Hunker House – Hunker’s very own real-life space in Venice, California. Hunker House is a high-design IRL manifestation of the online décor media site and serves as a studio, event space and creative space for the brand’s editorial team, family of influencer friends, advertising partners and readers alike. is, essentially, Hunker’s home base to bring the brand’s carefully curated storytelling and design ideas to life.

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...just in case you wanna read

Eve Epstein: [00:00:00] I think people love to look at trends. And know about them and pin them and look at them on Instagram. The reality for most people is they're not going to redo their entire house every year. And there's really no need to

[00:00:11] there are sort of timeless things or at least longer term kind of directional Trends that that really are things that you can commit to for a longer period of time with some confidence

[00:01:04] hey again, it's Cara and I am on a mission to help you find your style. Learn to tackle home design without intimidation and unlock the confidence to transform your home. On the show today, I'm sitting down for an incredible conversation with Eve Epstein, who is the editor in chief of hunker. Hunker is a home design site dedicated to the idea that good design should be part of everyday life.

[00:01:30] The site really helps first-timers improve their homes without needing an expert. They have inspiring home tours and practical solutions and design advice from real people, Hunker and I have a shared mission in that. We want to really help you create spaces that express who you are and supports you every day and how you live your life.

[00:01:52]so get excited for this inspiring conversation.

[00:01:55]design strategies [00:01:55]

[00:01:55] as you know, before we dive into the interview, I give you some quick and practical [00:02:00] design strategies that you can use to create spaces, your obsessed with this week, I'm sharing five strategies for trying out trends in your space to make sure you don't waste your time and your money, and you don't get frustrated.

[00:02:13]Eve and I cover  trends in our conversation identifying some of the trends she thinks are happening and really how to embrace them in a really authentic way. But here are my practical tips before we dive into that. So number one, does it work for my budget? This is a really tough one. If you're like me and you go to target and they have that little style of beautiful section, that's like the studio McGee section or the Magnolia home section, and everything's on trend.

[00:02:41] Everything is beautiful and cohesive. And you just want some of that in your life. Really taking the time to create a budget kind of gives you space to play. And it gives you a framework where not just making decisions on the fly. And totally regretting them later. And I know I'm the worst at this, so I [00:03:00] can speak from experience that budgeting is not my strength.

[00:03:03] I just buy things I love and I don't take time to see really how much all those little things add up. So when you're thinking about rocking a trend there are more inexpensive ways to do it. Whether that's thrifted pieces, DIY buying something, or rocking the trend in a small way, for example, a pattern in a small accent piece versus on the entire.

[00:03:22] Wall. And then there's ways to rock it as an investment where if you really know, it's something you're going to love for a longterm, you can kind of spend more money and invest in it and try it out in a way where you're kind of committing to it. So set that budget and see if the trend to fit within what you've set for yourself.

[00:03:39] Number two, does it shine Solo? So the best example of this is this tick-tock. I saw where this guy was showing you how to shop in a really, really smart way, where you go to that styled section of target, or you go to the area in the store where things are kind of a collection, right. They're like all coordinated and beautiful and you take it.

[00:03:58] Something out [00:04:00] and you go set it on a random aisle shelf and look at it there where the things around it are like totally not matching in any way. Like it could be, you know, you put it in the plastic bin aisle, and it's like really isolated, but doing that kind of takes away the power of styling to kind of sell you on a trend.

[00:04:20] And it really helps isolate that item and help, you know, if you love the item. For what it is versus if you just love the vibe of the item when it's styled with other pieces, is that create a really cohesive mood. So this has been game-changing for me taking a second while I'm shopping, pull the item away from his friends and see if I like it just by itself.

[00:04:45]It really helps me pull it out of context and kind of think about how it's going to work with my existing decor in my space. Are there shared elements like colors and textures and shapes that are going to work in my space versus it just working on a [00:05:00] shelf, all styled up in a cohesive way.

[00:05:02]Number three, do I like it for me? So we talked about how to check if the item fits your style, but this is a little more about those of us that just fall in love with beautiful things and with new things and with artful things. So this tip is all about recognizing that there is a difference between appreciating something gorgeous and appreciating something, because it really is for you.

[00:05:29] And it really kind of expresses what you want to express in your house. So, this is kind of a lame analogy, but I'm thinking of like, you know, the athlete that maybe some of us dated in high school who was gorgeous and good on paper and everybody was after, but maybe. Just wasn't our soulmate, you know, he was beautiful.

[00:05:52] He had it all going on. Everybody wanted him, but he just wasn't for us. And it's nothing personal. It's not saying, you know, when it [00:06:00] comes to trends that the trend is ugly or bad or not worthy, it's just saying that is amazing, but it's not for me. And so I think when we can do that, that's how you really evolve as a designer, being able to respect design and art and pieces that.

[00:06:17] Are beautiful in their own. Right. But they just, aren't part of your cohesive vision for your space. Okay. This next tip kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. It's something I have learned the hard way over time. But the question I like to ask is, does it make me feel worthy, Energized or at ease?. So this is kind of my nuanced version of spark joy.

[00:06:40]I had a really hard time relating to that concept cause there's just some things that didn't make me excited. And I don't think every piece in your space. Should have the purpose of making like sparking joy. I think different elements serve very different purposes. And when I was boiling down to like, what are the things that I want in my home?

[00:07:00] [00:07:00] I want things that make me feel worthy. That kind of uplift me. Give me that self-confidence feel. Energized feel very excited to, you know, be inaction and tackling things or feel at ease. So those times where I want to relax and unwind, I want things to help me feel at ease. So I kind of have like made that my game plan in terms of assessing trends to see whether they're for me besides just aesthetic.

[00:07:27] Is it beautiful? Do I like how it looks? Is it pretty, I kind of like take this next step to see if it's for me. And I'm just noticing the, in the past, I think I've gotten caught up in design and trends and gotten excited because I see everyone else trying these trends on and it being amazing for them.

[00:07:48] And, you know, like, People look happy in their Instagram photos because they're, they have this home decor or they just finished a space and not to say like, they're not happy or that they're faking it [00:08:00] at all. I think some people genuinely have found things and are sharing things that genuinely bring them that happiness and that worthiness, but just not getting caught up in their story.

[00:08:12] Thinking that's also my solution, if that makes sense. So being excited for them to have found something that is so expressive of their style, their personality perfectly fits their space, but not just immediately adopting that for me. Because I think it's going to do the same for me doing that. Like,  thought process behind the decor that you're bringing in and it does take more work.

[00:08:36] It does take more intention and more thought, but, Oh my gosh, is it worth it? You're going to reduce. Your clutter of stuff, you're just randomly bringing in. You're going to save money by shopping more intentionally. And you're going to end up with items that really do support your life. And aren't just something that you're going to tire of and rock for a little bit, because it's on trend and then be throwing it away.

[00:08:59] So it's a much [00:09:00] more. Sustainable approach. And helps you invest better in your space. I have to say, I just sounded like so mature. They're like 22 year old Cara. I would be like, who is this girl?

[00:09:13]And that's because I've made so many mistakes. So if this feels out of reach for you, or it feels like something where you're not there yet, that is okay. This is a journey it's just about experimentation and taking that extra time to think through something, think through a purchase or set an intention when you go shopping or just really assess how an item is going to fit your style and serve your.

[00:09:37] Everyday life.   Probably maybe the most important, and that is, is this trend a stepping stone or a building block? This is pretty game-changing. So a stepping stone would be a trend that is temporary where you try it on, you use it as you need it, and then you toss it, whether that's donating to Goodwill or throwing it away.

[00:09:57]It's just very temporary. It's just in the [00:10:00] moment. While it's in style and then a building block is  something that can be a piece of your style moving forward. You know, a trend that you're adopting is sending you in a direction. It's something that you can build on. It's something that you can have for a long time and change up.

[00:10:18] By by adding more elements and changing different things around it. So it is a way  to kind of build that personal style over time by choosing a trend that feels like you, that is going to outlast the. You know, annual like 20, 21 trends. It's longer than that in its cycle. So stepping stone or building block is a really good place to start.

[00:10:42] Even if you were like not good at budgeting, you're not good at like, feeling out if things are cohesive, you don't even really know what makes you happy. Just kind of taking the second to be like, is this temporary and expendable? Or is this something that I can see being with me for a while? So those are my [00:11:00] super good strategies for trying on trends in your space.

[00:11:03] I hope these were helpful and I hope they help you think through how to take on all those amazing Instagram trends you see, choose what's for you and sift through all the inspo because we are overwhelmed. With amazing, amazing options and amazing trends. And when you can sift through that and find what's for you, that's where the magic happens.

[00:11:22] So let's dive into this interview with Eve. She has even more to say about trends as well as just some really good insight on the design space and a little bit about hunker. That's kind of exciting. Some stuff they have coming up that she's announcing. So let's dive in.

[00:11:39]Cara Newhart: [00:11:39] So today I have Eve who is the editor in chief of the top home design site, hunker with me. Welcome Eve.

[00:11:47] Eve Epstein: [00:11:47] hi, so nice to be here. Thank you for having me.

[00:11:50] Cara Newhart: [00:11:50] Oh, so happy to have you. So I know that so many of my listeners are already a huge fan of hunker, but for some of the newbies, can you share a little bit about hunker and the [00:12:00] mission kind of, that you are on in terms of helping people improve their homes?

[00:12:04] Eve Epstein: [00:12:04] Yes, of course, of course. So we really launched hunker with this idea. Obviously there are some amazing, hugely successful digital publishers in the home and design space. So we certainly weren't the first to the party, right. But we had this idea that we could create something really beautiful, really premium in terms of the content we were producing, but that was really for everybody.

[00:12:29]And that would help inspire support and sort of educate people to become their own personal sort of interiors expert and create spaces that were really sort of an expression of who they are. What's important to them. And that also really served. A purpose, the purposes in their lives that are most important

[00:12:50] and as time has gone on, particularly in the past year, those things have changed and grown and broadened to include everything from homeschooling to to [00:13:00] working from home and wellness at home.

[00:13:01]And we really do, we certainly have a very defined aesthetic when it comes to sort of the type of design that we love, but we also do strive to educate people about all kinds of design, certainly all kinds of modern design And our approach is just very straightforward. It's, it's definitely a, it's an LA based brand.

[00:13:22] And we actually take pride in that because there's so much great design that had its origin in this part of the world. We really look to embrace that and make it a core part of who we are and our aesthetic.

[00:13:35]Cara Newhart: [00:13:35] I think that's really beautiful. And that's kind of one of the things that initially drew me as I'm like searching around on Pinterest and finding an article. The aesthetic obviously pulls you, but then that depth of like really exploring how our spaces should serve us and what we can do. That's not just gorgeous, but also like supports our day-to-day life.

[00:13:54] I know that's a mission for me as I teach everyday women how to DIY and kind of create their [00:14:00] space aesthetically and functionally. So I think that's really beautiful and really important, obviously increasingly important with the year that we've had.

[00:14:08] Eve Epstein: [00:14:08] Yes.

[00:14:09] Cara Newhart: [00:14:09] love that so much.

[00:14:10] Eve Epstein: [00:14:10] Well, thank you. Yeah. I mean, it's definitely a work in progress and you know, th the reality is that. I myself am not an interiors expert. I'm very interested in design and have been, you know, for my, my whole life. But You know, the, the approach for me was, you know, I'm learning as we do this too.

[00:14:29]And the curiosity that we bring to it is something that we look to kind of mirror in our audience. And like you, we are huge fans of DIY because it is one of the great ways to achieve kind of beautiful. Kind of bespoke results without having to spend a lot of money in most cases. And that's really something that we try to bring to people on a number of fronts, you know, a ways to achieve a beautiful space that don't cost a million dollars.

[00:14:55] Cara Newhart: [00:14:55] Absolutely. So as you're kind of like heading up the team and [00:15:00] you're curating tips in inspo, can you kind of speak to how you navigate trends and balance kind of that what's new and popular with some of the more traditional time honored design choices and how you kind of curate that?

[00:15:14] Eve Epstein: [00:15:14] sure. Sure. As, as all good digital brands, do we create lots of different kinds of content for different, different people in , and sometimes the same people, but in different frames of mind or a different need States. So for us, obviously we do have kind of one whole channel, one whole sort of.

[00:15:33]Strategy around just covering trends, making sure that we understand them, that we're speaking to them and that we're helping people achieve them with a certain amount of editorial judgment. Right. If there's a trend that we just universally don't like we might not cover it quite as exhaustively.

[00:15:49]But I think our goal is always to help people achieve those things in ways that we think are the most interesting and most workable. [00:16:00] So that's something we do track and our audience. Loves trends. So any especially things like color trends are things that, that are just perennial favorites for our audience.

[00:16:10] And we make sure to bring them that content and give them as many reference points for those things as they're looking for. But we also do create a lot of content that is really designed to be more broadly educational for people and to give them kind of a basis for knowledge that can then.

[00:16:26] Be the sort of context for which the sort of trends come and go. And those are things like real background stories on things like mid-century modern design or industrial design or Bauhaus, or, you know, some of the more kind of classic sort of educational pieces around design movements and longer trends to help them to give them that context.

[00:16:49] Cara Newhart: [00:16:49] I love that.  specifically, the part that caught my eye or a year was the education and like longterm trends versus like annual trends. I think when the everyday person is thinking of a trend, [00:17:00] they're thinking like, 2021 home decor trends. But to really tell that story of like how design has shifted through time and kind of the story that's being told in different aesthetics or different design styles.

[00:17:12] That's really fascinating because I think that's, that's what really sticks as you're developing your own design style to have something that. You know, you can build off throughout your lifetime as you enter different stages of your life. And you're not just like swapping out every year, like, Oh, what do I need this year?

[00:17:27] Like a checklist of trends. So that's beautiful.

[00:17:30] Eve Epstein: [00:17:30] Yeah. And I think that's important because the reality is, well, I think people love to look at trends And know about them and pin them and look at them on Instagram. you know The reality for most people to your point is they're not going to redo their entire house every year. And there's really no need to right

[00:17:47] there are sort of timeless things or at least longer term kind of directional Trends that that really are things that you can commit to for a longer period of time with some confidence. And of course, there's also just [00:18:00] always checking in with yourself, right? Like understanding the difference between like, Oh, you know, like I totally do find like the cottage core thing.

[00:18:07] Cute, but I probably wouldn't do it in my house. Cause it's not something I would have sort of, you know, I could see having kind of a long-term affection for those are the types of choices we're hoping to help people make.

[00:18:20] Cara Newhart: [00:18:20] Yeah, that's really helpful. I feel like it's such a tough space to navigate as we're increasingly. In a pool of inspo, which is beautiful that we have so many places to turn to find inspiration, but it also can be so overwhelming because how do we cut through that and find, you know, the stuff that really is us and is our story.

[00:18:38] So, yeah, for sure. Is there anything, in terms of like getting specific, any details you're loving or trends that you're kind of seeing, or you're focusing on with hunker over the next year?

[00:18:52] Eve Epstein: [00:18:52] Yeah. So I think like many people, you know, our view of kind of home and interiors has [00:19:00] been broadened significantly by the events of the past year. People being much more homebound has turned all of our attention to. More aspects of our lives that happen to be happening at home. Right? So everything from working from home to things like wellness and fitness are going to be things that we're probably spending more time on now that they are more solidly associated with our home lives.

[00:19:24]And. You know,  one of the things I think about when it comes to how we're gonna approach those topics again, is which of these things are more sort of short-term things, right? That are probably not going to stick with us forever. And which of them are things that do to kind of.

[00:19:40]A more permanent shift in the way we think about things like work are going to be ongoing kind of commitments that may change a little bit when the pandemic proceeds, but will always stay with us in some form. I think working from home is something we all understand is now going to be much more a part of people's [00:20:00] lives.

[00:20:00]No matter. What plenty of companies have really transformed their vision for how they  operate based on the fact that they, they realize they can operate pretty easily and successfully without having everybody be in one place. So, so that's something I think we're going to see a longer-term commitment to wellness has been a huge trend in the home.

[00:20:25] Space for a long time, but it's really accelerated kind of its pace into the home over the past year.

[00:20:34] Cara Newhart: [00:20:34] I love that maybe we can just dive in more there. Cause I know for a lot of people, when they think of, you know, wellness at home, it's like, okay, I'm doing at home workouts now. I'm not going to the gym. And for some that might look like the Peloton and the huge community around that, or it might be just a mat that you roll out when you have space.

[00:20:51] Is there anything. Maybe innovative or interesting in terms of like how we're doing that in our homes. Now that would be a good design [00:21:00] tip or some sort of strategy that listeners could use in their own home.

[00:21:04] Eve Epstein: [00:21:04] Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, speaking for myself certainly, you know, one of the things I think is if you are committed. You know, worker outer and you really feel like you have the space and the ability to convert can entire space into a fitness or wellness space. That's great. I think for the rest of us, you know, living in potentially smaller spaces in apartments it's really important to think about kind of multifunctional solutions, such that you're not necessarily forced to dedicate an entire room of your.

[00:21:35] You know, one bedroom home into a single use space. So I think one of the things that, that I'm really interested in, and I think this is still very nascent, but I do think there are, there are people who are really thinking about how to create a space that can serve more than one function whether those are furnishings or,

[00:21:55] Products that allow you to do that, or just thinking through a space in a way that kind of creates [00:22:00] room for those, for those changes throughout the day. And you know, for me, I think the other big piece of it is that wellness itself has changed the conversation so much in that it's not simply about kind of the physical sort of.

[00:22:14] Fitness or eating well aspect of life, but something that permeates throughout the entire space. So that's everything from your bedroom and sleep and, and getting rest to stress reduction to having, You know, being organized around your work so that you can kind of create a sense of peace in, in, in that space.

[00:22:35] So, you know, really it's it's as much a holistic approach as it is a targeted one around certain behaviors or, or practices.

[00:22:43] Cara Newhart: [00:22:43] Yeah, I love that because I think if we get kind of trapped into designing in terms of function for just what we're doing in this space I don't think it,  it gives us a whole picture of what we really need to make our house work for us and really serve us. I think when we do take that holistic [00:23:00] approach and think of kind of, you know, the more subtle things that aren't like a particular activity, that's when it gets really good.

[00:23:06] And we really have a home that we love. So.

[00:23:09] Eve Epstein: [00:23:09] Well, and it really challenges you, I think, you know, so much of modern design kind of has this sort of form follows function concept, which of course, in, in the broadest sense, I, I embraced completely and I think it is a beautiful concept, but I think. It really depends on what you mean by function in a lot of cases.

[00:23:27]And thinking about all of the needs that people truly have, which isn't just about getting one task done or another, but about feeling comfortable about feeling safe, about feeling supported all of those things can be viewed as functions as well. And that's where I think that that equation gets a little more nuanced.

[00:23:50] Cara Newhart: [00:23:50] Hm, I like that. So maybe diving into some like design strategy for the everyday girl. I think a lot of the listeners and women that I'm [00:24:00] working with are, you know, they they've lived in their homes throughout this past year and really realized what they don't like having to be spending so much more time at home.

[00:24:09] I think it's taught us so much about what we need to change. But in terms of changing it, I think. For the everyday person that might not have, you know, a background in design or really know where to start, where maybe just going to Pinterest they're pinning, inspo images, and then they're thinking, okay, how can I get my space to look like this?

[00:24:28] Is there some sort of like, is there a better strategy or a more nuanced approach that you'd recommend in terms of like, thinking through your own house and kind of like a high level, like. Start to finish. What should that process look like in terms of what we're considering at each step?

[00:24:45] Eve Epstein: [00:24:45] Yeah, I think that's a, that's a great question. And I, I think honestly it's, it's a question I would love to pose to my team and a great, a great sort of just be sort of starting point for, I think, a more a really helpful story. For [00:25:00] me, you know, I think a lot of it is kind of understanding, and again, this goes a little bit back to function or to kind of observing yourself in the space, right.

[00:25:09]You know, one of the things that I did recently was kind of redo my bedroom and the reason I did that was that I spend a lot more time in my bedroom. Now. I, my bedroom basically is my office. And one of the things, you know, it's, it's interesting, cause I wouldn't necessarily say I'm a maximalist, but one of the things I really learned about myself and my space in that process was just through observing the fact that like my sight line right now

[00:25:33] was actually a very empty view from where I was sitting. I thought of my bedroom as very designed with lots of things in it. But what I realized was that it actually was a little under designed. And while you can certainly go off the rails with something like that and overdo it and overspend, I think it was more about moving things into.

[00:25:51] A position that allowed me to really enjoy the things in my space more, if that makes sense. So less about shopping, although I did do [00:26:00] some shopping and more about really understanding how you actually position yourself in a space on a daily basis. I think one of the things that inspiration photos can sometimes be misleading around is you're getting a viewpoint oftentimes from a place that you're never going to stand or sit.

[00:26:18] Right. The angles that photographers and we do this all the time, cause we shoot a lot of spaces, you know, end up kind of the places photographers end up standing to get that really beautiful shot are not places that you have a chair or even really enough room to stand in. So it's, it's really about again, kind of coming back to yourself,

[00:26:38]and, and thinking through kind of. The experience from your own personal viewpoint, as opposed to what you might see on Pinterest. What you want to see from your own vantage point is what you see on Pinterest, not, you know, what the photographer sees. So understanding that you're not designing that space for somebody else to look at, but for [00:27:00] yourself.

[00:27:00] And then, you know, in general, I think. For me, the other big piece of it is, is comfort. And those two things really go hand in hand to a certain extent. Something that looks beautiful can in itself serve a function for sure. But that's. The efficacy of that is greatly reduced when you have to be uncomfortable to experience it.

[00:27:21]And I think as people have had to spend much more time at home, it's one of the things that they focused on. And that as a trend, I think is something that, while again, we may, we may go back and forth a little bit between something that's a bit more sort of stylized and And decorative and something that's a little more soft.

[00:27:42] I, I think the overall trend is towards making homes more comfortable and livable during this time. So I think any choice that you're considering that takes you away from that is something that you might enjoy for a few minutes, but not over the long haul.

[00:27:59] Cara Newhart: [00:27:59] That's very [00:28:00] fascinating. I really love that. I thought, because I do see that in, in just kind of what I'm looking at in terms of people styling their homes. I feel like people want, you know, if something's there to be just beautiful. That's not enough anymore and either needs to be excessively functional or have a story and a history to it that makes it worth taking up space.

[00:28:22]The beauty alone, you know, it's like, so you could go to a box store and fill it with beautiful things that look designer, but that's, that's no longer enough because it's not special and it's not personal. So I really liked that thought. And then I really love what you said about reframing your space, you know, from the.

[00:28:38] The lens too, like through your eyes. Cause you're the one living there, like style the space for you to look at, not for an inspo photo having shot interiors. I can totally resonate with you getting into weird areas to get the photo. Like when I shot my, my bedroom, I'm like lurking in a corner behind a plant in this weird position.

[00:28:58] Cause it was the [00:29:00] perfect shot, but it's certainly never somewhere. I would find myself aside from taking a photo. So that's so true.

[00:29:07] Eve Epstein: [00:29:07] Yeah. And, and, you know, obviously, you know, we so much of what we do nowadays is. We do have that other piece of it in mind, we, we, we aim to create things in our homes, in our lives that will serve as inspo for other people, you know, by sharing things on, on Instagram. So of course we understand that people are, they are styling their spaces also in many cases to upload them and tag us so that we'll share their photos.

[00:29:34] Right. So there is a kind of circular kind of economy of, of imagery that, that we're a part of that we recognize and understand. That people take joy in doing that. So there's a balance. There is something really wonderful about styling, a little vignette that just looks beautiful. That can be a source of pleasure and fun in and of itself and pride.

[00:29:55] And we certainly don't frown on that either.

[00:29:59] Cara Newhart: [00:29:59] Yeah, but [00:30:00] just taking joy in the processes. So much more magical than trying to obtain that certain result. I think that's one thing that DIY has really taught me is it's, it's not really about the before and after. Although that's the easiest way to sum up the whole process is a quick two photos, but it really is everything in between that you don't see.

[00:30:20] And the process of learning the process of like confidence and, and progression. That's just really. I mean, I just want everyone to experience that and that's really my mission.

[00:30:31] Eve Epstein: [00:30:31] yeah, no, that's right. And I think there's something there's just never going to be a substitute for sort of hands-on doing of things. When it comes to any, anything that's artful or, or, you know, design oriented, I think, you know, certainly for anybody who has any sort of creative instinct, DIY is such a huge.

[00:30:51] But it's such a huge outlet. It's such a great experience to create something that then you're going to live with and that's going to [00:31:00] support you. It's, it's just a magical kind of a magical thing.

[00:31:05] Cara Newhart: [00:31:05] It really is. And DIY is fun because it's kind of endless. I feel like there's so many projects to choose from. But at hunker, you guys really produce. Amazing tutorials through video. And I know that you have a new upcoming series. The second quarter of 2021, do you want to speak to what that's gonna look like?

[00:31:25] Eve Epstein: [00:31:25] Yeah. Oh sure. We're really excited about it too. We actually, yeah, we so we have an existing series that we call DIY in a day. And the idea of that series is really, and these are articles up to now. There are tutorials that. Are, are easy enough. We say like a day ish, right? So maybe a weekend.

[00:31:43] Right. But the idea is to be able to create something and finish it without, you know, kind of a long-term commitment or, you know, a need for like like huge expertise in any one skill. And that's a really popular Series for us. And so when we started thinking about, we knew we wanted to get into [00:32:00] more video this year it was just a natural kind of transition.

[00:32:03] One of the reasons, another reason for that being that the, the person we work primarily with On the DIY content is somebody who actually used to be a part of our team, but who, who ended up moving away a few years ago, but she still produces the DIY is for us and is just as much a part of our family as anybody who's, you know, technically on staff.

[00:32:24]And she also is just a genius with photography, with video, with editing. So she can really do the whole soup to nuts thing. And so we're really excited about it. We're launching it. As a sort of 12 part series, that'll that will be  released weekly. On multiple platforms.

[00:32:40] So we are producing it primarily for actually for Instagram, for ICTV. We love that medium and it's just proven to be a big hit with, with our audience so far, but will also appear on other platforms like YouTube and Facebook. So, so we're really looking at it as kind of a multichannel kind of entree into the, into that [00:33:00] medium.

[00:33:00] Cara Newhart: [00:33:00] That's so exciting. So what does the range of projects look like? Is it mostly like decor flipping furniture or like full space design?

[00:33:10] Eve Epstein: [00:33:10] Yeah. Great question. So we're, we're focused on, at least in the beginning on smaller projects that are more, they may be functional, but they are decorative. And typically on a smaller scale, we kind of want to bring people in. With the simpler the simpler tutorials. But they can be everything from, you know, definitely I'd say a focus is kind of achieving a look or trend that we think is really beautiful at a lower cost by doing it yourself.

[00:33:39]So, you know, obviously that's a fairly popular kind of thread in the DIY world. So you saw this, you know, This table at anthropology at it costs $1 billion, and we're going to show you how to make it out of like a cardboard box in two dowels or whatever. So, you know, kind of along [00:34:00] those lines, I'm trying to think of some fun, kind of easy, but ingenious ways to achieve a look that is finished and polished.

[00:34:09] And, and for us, our focus. Aesthetically is   largely very kind of like it's modern clean design but with sort of spots of fun and color throughout, and that's really what we find our audience loves the most.

[00:34:21]Cara Newhart: [00:34:21] That's so exciting. I cannot wait to see all the projects.

[00:34:24] Eve Epstein: [00:34:24] thank you. Well yeah, we will definitely let you know when that launches.

[00:34:29]Cara Newhart: [00:34:29] Perfect. Yeah. I guess the next questions I kind of want to ask is maybe more specific design tips. If you were going into a space and you wanted to give it kind of that room refresh on a budget, what is your like go-to edit or add to a space to , kind of transform it for very low cost.

[00:34:49]Eve Epstein: [00:34:49] Yeah. So This is not going to come as a surprise to anybody, but I will say plants make a big difference. And while they aren't always cheap, you can certainly find options that are [00:35:00] one of the things I recently did in my, in my bedroom, or I should say my, my boyfriend was actually kind of  the leader in this, in this particular case was bringing in a lot more plants.

[00:35:11]And. It didn't cost us a lot in, and we were able to kind of mitigate some of that cost by repurposing spray painting, or otherwise re doing the planters we already had. And so greenery to me is just, and that's one of those things. Yes, it's a trend. It's just not going anywhere ever, because as people have just really.

[00:35:32] Yearn to bring the outside in particular people who don't necessarily live in places where they have yards and gardens and patios. It's, it's just something that, that creates an instant sense of warmth and, and And fullness in a space.  And the other thing I would say is just textures and textiles for me are just layering.

[00:35:52] Those textures on each other is something that, to me just feels it makes a room and a space feel so much more complete. And while I think  You can [00:36:00] certainly spend $300 for a throw pillow. You can also nowadays spend very little on a really beautiful throw pillow might not last forever, but it's definitely a way to kind of easily achieve just that sense of layering and depth to a space that I think again, your space can probably tolerate more of it than you think.

[00:36:20]Cara Newhart: [00:36:20] Sure. Absolutely. I love that tip because I think when people think transforming a space, they think big, like we're going to have to paint a wall or. Accent wall or light fixture, but really focusing on those details and texture. I think texture is probably my favorite thing ever. Like a big one design element.

[00:36:39] It would be mixing textures, but yeah, that's really good advice. I have to ask the controversial question. How do you feel about fake plants?

[00:36:49] Eve Epstein: [00:36:49] So I don't judge. And I'm also like terrible at keeping things alive. I mean, I'm good with my dog, which is great. But plants have always been a [00:37:00] little bit of a challenge for me. Luckily once again, my boyfriend has a greener thumb. So I've certainly not going to be one to tell you not to have fake plants.

[00:37:07]I think there are better ones and less good ones, but I probably first turned to something like dried botanicals which still have a long life and don't require care before turning to myself a fake plant. But I also think there are great uses for them.

[00:37:25] Cara Newhart: [00:37:25] Yeah. Okay. I love that. So you have permission to use them, but use them wisely is what I'm getting. Okay. So another really cool thing you have is an in real life space called the hunker house. So it is kind of like the in real life manifestation of the online site. And I think it works as like a studio event space. of creative space. So what was that process like getting that online and what is like, I guess what's the thought process behind that? Because I think as everyone's pushing to digital, [00:38:00] having that tangibility and that in real life place for connection and to able to touch things and see things is really special.

[00:38:06] So I'd love to hear all about it.

[00:38:09] Eve Epstein: [00:38:09] Yeah. I mean, this was something that. We really, we had thought about from the very beginning you know, one of the things that we say at one of our sort of catchphrases is that, you know, your space should be kind of expression of who you are. And as a brand that talks about that all the time, we sort of just felt this natural need for a space of our own something where we could express ourselves and, and experiment and try things out and create create, you know, A real lifestyle, as opposed to just a blogger or a site.

[00:38:40] And so for us, it, when we were able to do it, it was just a really exciting time for us because it meant we were able to sort of go into a space and really just think about what would we make here? How would we start? How would we finish it? And how would we change it over time? And that's really what it is for us is almost like a laboratory where we go [00:39:00] in.

[00:39:00]We think, Oh, you know, this, this accent wall has been beautiful, but you know, what do we, what do we feel like now? What does it need right now? And, and be able to kind of go in and actually make those changes. And so the idea really was, I mean, obviously in the past year, as, as an actual event space, it has not functioned particularly fulsome Lee in that regard for obvious reasons.

[00:39:21] But th the reality is that as a space. For events, it was never really optimal. Like that's, it's you know, it's a, it's a 2000 square foot kind of loft space in Venice that we absolutely love, but it's really better suited for kind of individual. Kind of visits and stays. And one of the things that we've done over the years is invite people to come and stay create in the space and share the content and the experience they've had with their audiences.

[00:39:48] So obviously influencers in the design and, and home space are, are kind of our regular guests. In in that space. And that's been really a wonderful way to kind of tell stories [00:40:00] together with people who we really admire. And of course the other thing that we do there quite a bit is we capture a lot of content, both for our own purposes and our own site and, and feeds, but also in partnership with other brands.

[00:40:12]So, you know, one of the things. We really looked to do when creating the space was to think about how can we be a better partner to the brands that we work with and love and create content together.  One of the things that we've really enjoyed doing is being able to work with brands who are our partners to create content that both works beautifully for our audience and inspires them, but also conveys the value of the products in question.

[00:40:39]Cara Newhart: [00:40:39] I love  that it's like a collaboration space where you can really be, you know, have the touch points and, and really style it. It feels kind of like a grown-up interior design playground to me that you just have a whole house you can like play with and decorate and collaborate in. And it's, it sounds so fun.

[00:40:56] It's like such a good idea.

[00:40:58] Eve Epstein: [00:40:58] it's really, really fun. [00:41:00] And it really is. I would say, you know, It's where you'll see, it's the best representation of what we're thinking about and what we're excited about at any given moment. So to, you know, use sort of when you first mentioned it, you know, it's the kind of real life kind of expression of the conversation that we're having on our site and on our socials all the time, which is sort of. What we love about design, what we're playing with when it comes to design and what we're sort of living with when it comes to design.

[00:41:29] Cara Newhart: [00:41:29] That's beautiful. So in terms of listeners wanting to get plugged into the hunker community, in terms of making the most out of the content, you're creating the resources you're offering in that community piece, which I feel like we're looking for more than ever being stuck in our homes.

[00:41:44] What would that look like? What, what can they connect with?

[00:41:48] Eve Epstein: [00:41:48] sure. So for us, I think it's, it's definitely Instagram is , is a really important place to be able to not only kind of just Sure absorb and, and appreciate and, and have fun [00:42:00] with the brand, but also to share your stories and photos. And then we're always listening and looking for feedback and input from our, from our audience there.

[00:42:09]And then, I mean, the other thing that we spend a lot of time thinking about is our newsletter,  where we have dedicated sends devoted to just the most recent content we've created, but also things like you know, shopping roundups.

[00:42:22] So we have once a week email that goes out called hunker hall, which is really kind of our product and brand recommendations for things that are on sale at the moment  and we do also have a newsletter devoted to the DIY in a day series.

[00:42:36] So if you're a DIY enthusiast You definitely want to sign up because you're going to get all the latest tutorials. And as we roll out the video, we'll also be promoting that. So you'll be able to get a first look at all of the projects that we're creating at hunger.

[00:42:51]Cara Newhart: [00:42:51] That's so cool. Well, thank you so much for your time. I feel like this is jam packed with so much good advice. That's like lifetime design [00:43:00] strategy advice. So I'm

[00:43:01] Eve Epstein: [00:43:01] Thank you.

[00:43:02] Cara Newhart: [00:43:02] to share this.

[00:43:03] Eve Epstein: [00:43:03] Yeah, no, it's such a pleasure. I really appreciate the conversation and appreciate what you do and have learned so much from you as well from this podcast. So it's a real honor to be here.

[00:43:14] Cara Newhart: [00:43:14] Oh, you're too kind. I'm so grateful to have you.

[00:43:20]Hashtag obsessed.

[00:43:23]What i am obsessed with this week is gold leaf rub & buff. So if you are new to the rub & buff game, basically it is a tiny tube of paint, but it's made of oils and it's a lot thicker and you just rub it onto things versus painting. It comes in a really small tube. That rolls up like a toothpaste tube, a little goes a long way, and it sort of has the texture of like coconut oil,

[00:43:48] and then you kind of rub it between your fingers and it melts a little bit. It doesn't  become as watery as coconut oil, but it is an amazing finish for all kinds of things. It's very durable. So I have used [00:44:00] it to change the color of light fixtures change the color of hardware. Word on the street is that it was actually originally developed for cars in the automotive industry.

[00:44:09] So it actually has a high level of durability. And it works honestly amazing. I think my favorite part is that there's no like weird fumes, so everything I'm painting gold. Cause you guys know, I love gold. I want every finish in my home to be some beautiful sort of bronzy color. So for light fixtures, you don't have to remove them.

[00:44:29] You guys may have remembered on Instagram. When I taped up a ton of Amazon boxes to my ceiling set down all these drop cloths and spray painted my light fixtures in place. It was very intense in terms of prep work, but turned out amazing. I literally loved them, but this would have been a way better option because you can rub it on.

[00:44:48] It gets great coverage with just one coat. It has a beautiful gold color. And there's no crazy fumes or overspray. I'm using this on all kinds of things. I'm a little bit [00:45:00] obsessed and no one really told me about it. It's kind of one of those old school crafting tricks. You can get it at like hobby lobby and Michaels.

[00:45:07] And once you know about it, it changes the game. So if you like gold or even, I think they have other colors, they have like a different version of gold and like silver and maybe black don't quote me on that. But if you want to change up the finish. Look into rub and buff. It's literally amazing and so easy to use.

[00:45:27] Time to talk trends.

[00:45:30]trend talk this week is cottage core. So Eve mentioned this in the episode when we were talking about trends and I realized that not everyone knows. What this is. So I have been in a rabbit hole of tick-tock and the cottage core inspired things for months and months and months. But basically it is a design aesthetic that is kind of all about like nostalgic countryside scenes.

[00:45:54]And it's kind of like, Old English countryside. So like lace and like [00:46:00] romanticizing living on the farm. And it's very fascinating because I think it's a great example of how design trends have a deeper, like lifestyle piece attached to them. So cottage really is kind of a movement romanticizing that like agricultural life and a nod to this.

[00:46:19] English countryside style. So it's very nostalgic, but it's basically on the rise for people those of us that wanted to escape to a cottage in the countryside through this past year, like we're living at home anyway, we might as well just live in a forest and bake bread. There's really all sorts of fun, little things that are attached to the inspo.

[00:46:42] Like sourdough making is like a huge. Inspiration with cottage core and like Lacy dresses, like frilly florals that are kind of like cottage core inspired. If you're having trouble visualizing this, think of like Taylor Swift's new album folklore, like [00:47:00] she's kind of in a field and wearing like a very like, You know, cottagey style dress, and it's very like frolicking in a field and living in a small cottage and living away remotely from the world.

[00:47:12] So that's kind of the vibe. So it's a very interesting trend. And I think there's pieces of it that a lot of people are really loving, like some of those, some of the antique pieces that aren't necessarily farmhouse. They're more like up-leveled, vintage-y florally opulent, but in a. Country's sort of way, if that makes sense.

[00:47:33] So like China. Lacy napkins, a picnic basket, like different things like that. So people are bringing this into their spaces. It's really fun because it's a lot of, it's very thriftable so it's a very attainable style. It's not really about like actually literally living in a cottage. But I just thought it'd be fun to like, talk about this trend and break it down for those of you that heard cottage core and were like, what the heck is that?

[00:47:57] There's a whole like subculture on [00:48:00] Instagram and mostly tick tock. Tick tock is huge. If you search cottage core So, yeah, if you haven't explored this, it's interesting. Even just as an exercise to be like, that is beautiful and that is cool, but it's not for me. And then if it is for you, you're welcome.

[00:48:15] I just helped you define your style. So let me know what you think. I would love to hear your feedback on cottage core. Are you running  with it? Are you all in, are you adopting pieces of it or are you like, no, thank you. That is not my style at all. I'd love to hear.

[00:48:30]   Cara Newhart: [00:48:31] if you're not already, you need to get it together and follow me on Instagram. That's where the party happens. Every day, it's where you can see me do all of my projects and DM me with your questions and your spaces and all of that fun stuff.

[00:48:44] So hop over to Instagram type in neverskipbrunch and follow me so we can be friends there and talk more than just once a week. OUTRO WITH MUSIC [00:48:52]

[00:48:55] OUTRO: [00:48:55] thanks for listening. If this is your first time listening in, be sure to hit that [00:49:00] subscribe button so you can stay in the loop with the newest episodes. If you're a subscriber and you like the show, be sure to rate, review or screenshot and share your favorite episode on social.

p.s. This post may contain affiliate linking for your convenience. These links don’t cost extra for you to use + I always share my honest opinion.

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I'm Cara, the designer & diy queen behind Never Skip Brunch. I'm a color & prints obsessed DIY queen who's here to help you create a beautifully lived-in life through home design advice and chic DIY tutorials

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