modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas
Crystal Strand Chrome 29-Inch-W ET2 Halogen Chandelier
“Lots of glam and a little modern, this chandelier has it all!”
- R. Brannon, Interior Designer
About Euro Style Home
Dwell on Design
My Modern Met
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Exactly what makes a city "livable" and what can you do to help your own?
Annual surveys, such as those conducted by The Economist, Mercer and Monocle, look at a range of criteria from infrastructure to environment, culture to climate, to determine the most liveable cities in the world. Each year, the perennial front-runners - cities like Melbourne, Helsinki, Honolulu, and Vancouver (pictured above) eagerly await the results, while other vibrant yet perennially congested places such as Los Angeles and Houston seek ways to slice, dice and spin their lower livabilty metrics.
Obviously, building a new subway system or converting 400 acres of prime downtown real estate into public parkland is out of the question for most of us, but there is one low-cost, high-impact area in which anyone can enhance their surroundings: lighting.
A 2009 design guide by the City of Los Angeles' Urban Design Studio recommends that new and old urban developments "develop a system or family of lighting with layers that contribute to the night-time experience, including facade uplighting, sign and display window illumination, landscape, and streetscape lighting...of a character and scale that relates to the pedestrian and highlights special landscape features."
Any photographer will tell you that a beautiful picture begins with good light and clearly the same is true for cities. Done well, modern outdoor lighting can enhance a business or residence by adding depth and vitality to your surroundings.
Matte Silver Outdoor LED Up and Down Wall Light
Classically inspired lighting fixtures can restore a sense of provenance to historic properties, exposing long-forgotten architectural details, and even evoking the contemporary interiors within.
Mission Hills Textured Black Outdoor Wall Light
Enhancing sidewalk appeal is one thing. However, by increasing pedestrian visibility and reducing crime, well-executed outdoor lighting is critical for the positive effect it has on the most important livability index of them all: safety.
Images: National Geographic, Design Intelligence, House Design Decorating, LA Condo Domain
(Products (left to right): Vivid Green Stripes Giclee Pendant Chandelier, George Kovacs Apple Green Glass Pendant Light, Lite Source Kito Green Table Lamp, Zuo Tickle Green Adjustable Height Bar or Counter Stool, Zuo Set of 4 Trafico Side Green Chair, Zuo Lider Plus Green Office Chair, Set of Two Green S Chairs, Set of 6 Zuo Marzipan Green Chairs)
Even though St. Patrick's Day is not a bank holiday in the United States (sure wish it was), I still like to get in the spirit and sport green in my home. Green apple is such a fun color for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or just about any time of the year. Its bright color commands attention in any space and mixes well with neutrals such as gray. Want to bring a little Miami flair into your home, the green apple decor can add just the right amount of style.
Green apple hues are great as a accent or if you want to go bold try using the color in a big way! The bright green chairs would look fantastic around a white outdoor table to spice up your outdoor design. I love the pendant lights over a kitchen island. The green desk chair is also a really fun accent for a home office or bring it to work and be unique. What is your favorite green apple furnishing or light fixture?
Images: Coastal Living, Honestly...WTF, Desire to Inspire
Hardwood flooring in the kitchen is a timeless choice that allows your flooring to remain consistent throughout your house. The days of switching up flooring in each room is pretty much over. Hardwood floors have many benefits; one of the most important is that it is more comfortable under foot versus tile, more natural than vinyl, and more neutral than cork. Many modern kitchens are designed with an open plan and appear more furniture-like in aesthetic, so a seamless integration into the rest of the house is key. Often times people wonder about the durability of hardwood floors in the kitchen, but there is nothing to worry about here.
A natural oiled engineered floor like this Vernal White Oiled floor from DuChateau neutralizes the modern elements of the glass and stainless steel in this kitchen. It also does a great job of grounding the contrasting the raw wood island and a modern chrome chandelier and allows these eclectic elements to work together.
Your basic white lacquer kitchen with contrasting upper cabinets is warmed up with natural oak flooring. White pendant lights and white barstools remain sculptural, but neutral in the space as it opens up to the lush landscaping of the exterior to provides you with a real organic feel in this modern space.
The contrast of the dark wood and matte lacquer cabinetry, white countertops, and fine sawn white oak flooring is a gorgeous combination. The element of natural wood in kitchens and clean modern interiors is key to creating life and warmth.
I love this look here. A kitchen with clean modern lines, marble countertops, and simple door hardware mixed with rustic oak flooring which really sets the stage for the room. The choice of flooring is really a key element of design in any space. This room could have taken on many different looks, but this use of a rustic oak floor provides you with a contemporary yet rustic atmosphere that makes me feel as if you are in a beautiful wine country.
Images: See Materials, Yolksy, Tamizo, Architectural Digest
Designing your kitchen, like any room of the home, is fun because you're creating your own personal environment. However, the most fun element of the kitchen design is the lighting because it's like the jewelery to a great outfit. It's the beautiful accessory to this functional space. To keep the space modern, pendant lighting is the way to go.
There's many different types of modern pendants that will help you achieve a great look for your stylish space. The kitchen above uses a really fun mix of materials to balance out the wood and brick, the bold black drum shade pendants make a great addition. Also, a bold stripe could look amazing in this space.
Mini Mullberry Black Tech Pendant Light
Bold Black Stripe Pendant Light
This kitchen below is much different than the first one. Here, the lighting is understated but stylistically just as effective. The barely-there glass pendants give the kitchen a whimsical yet modern feel while keeping it open and fresh.
LBL Isla Clear Satin Nickel Pendant
Jaime Young St. Charles Clear Glass Pendant
You also have the option of allowing your lighting to become a statement piece, making it more art than a light fixture. This type of pendant is always fun to shop for since your goal should be to find the one with the most personality.
Possini Euro Design White Flower Pendant Light
Possini White Cloud Pendant Light
Have fun selecting your kitchen lighting while keeping function, scale and style in mind. You're sure to create the look you want for your modern kitchen with any number of different pendant lighting styles out there.
Images: Plastolux, Cococozy, SF Gate
When the idea struck to cover my favorite cafe designs across the globe, Tokyo's uber-chic bread and coffee hot spot Bread, Espresso & was a shoe-in to lead the story. This design savvy cafe typifies today's resurgence in artisanal bread and coffee and the increasing focus on design that seems to accompany the resurgence.
Located just blocks away from Bread, Espresso & is Omotesando Koffee (pictured below). Housed in a traditional Japanese residence in Tokyo's Omotesando district, it originally opened as a pop-up space to showcase barista Eichii Kunitomo's skill (although the cafe recently announced a two year lease extension). The box-like kiosk design and a charming paper note chandelier nonetheless point to the cafe's temporary nature.
If paper notes and binder clips aren't your thing, the Possini Euro White Flower (pictured above right) offers a more permanent chandelier solution.
In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mar Vista, Earl's Gourmet Grub leaves no detail unturned, with a gently torqued ceiling design. Drop sky lights provide natural light, while recessed lighting illuminates the plywood fans down the length of the cafe.
Earl's architects, LA/NY based Freeland Buck, applied computational methods usually reserved for skyscraper construction to the restaurant's interior details, as in this alpine inspired design that runs along the wall of the space.
Similar to Earl's Gourmet Grub, a torque motif defines the direction at a Starbucks back in Tokyo, yet again in the Omotesando neighborhood. Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates, this design arranges timber into a cornucopia shape across the ceiling, resulting in contemporary yet naturally comfortable interior.
A similar organic flow of materials could rightly be used to describe the cafe by designers B3 which debuted at the 2008 London Design Festival. Constructed entirely from carboard boxes, this truly is a pop-up cafe. Folded, it can be transported in a single car. As with Kengo Kuma's Starbucks, directional and track lighting help to expose the textured design without overpowering it.
At Munich's Das Neue Kubitscheck (by Designliga) rectangular motifs dominate as well, offset by charming pastels in this comfortable neighborhood cafe.
The above examples are my favorites. When it comes to good coffee and good design however, they're just the tip of the iceberg. I invite you to discover your own, and by all means, share them with us.
Images: Cafe Snap, Spoon & Tamago, Tokyoblog, Freeland Buck, JapanOnline, designboom, Design Made in Germany
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