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  • Top Artist Colonies

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    Artist Colonies

    Looking for the next hot spot? Follow the artists. So goes the adage at least that artists are quick to inhabit soon-to-boom neighborhoods. If you look at the world's best art districts and artist colonies, you'll notice a simple trend: once the artists move in to under-utilized places, the cafes, galleries and luxury boutiques are sure to follow. 

    high line chelsea

    Manhattan’s Chelsea district (pictured with the iconic High Line park above) was once a mash-up of rowhouses and tenement housing until high rents in SoHo forced the New York art world to head north.

    For decades, the Marais district of Paris had long been an aristocratic (but sleepy) stronghold of the city. Now home to the Picasso Museum and the Renzo Piano designed Pompidou Center (pictured below), le Marais is an art destination that currently houses many high-end contemporary galleries in its meandering back roads. 

    pompidou center paris

    In Santa Monica, California Bergamot Station is an abandoned rail yard turned art gallery complex:

    bergamot station arts center

    In the early 2000s, Bergamot Station gave way to Chung King Road in Los Angeles’ historic Chinatown (pictured below), as well as the industrial intersection of La Cienega and Washington in Culver City as the go-to West coast art neighborhoods.

    chinatown los angeles galleries

    Across the pond in the real China, 798 Art Zone in Beijing has grown into a vibrant art complex over the past 20 years. Housed in a Bauhaus-inspired factory from the 1950s (pictured below), the art complex grew out of a movement of avant garde artists looking for a place that would draw little scrutiny from the government.

    798 Art Zone Beijing

    Common to most of these revitalized areas is the industrial design aesthetic: raw, repurposed spaces and warehouse-style hanging pendant lights (as in the above picture).

    Lastly, there are art communities that nearly avoid the map altogether. Black Mountain, North Carolina was home to the American (and European ex-pat) avant garde in the first half of the 20th century.

    Santa Fe (part-time home to legendary New Mexico artist Georgia O’Keefe) houses a healthy scene of contemporary museums, art galleries and artists. And Marfa, Texas, is a high-desert mecca for practicing contemporary artists. It’s home to works by Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, and Claes Oldenburg, as well as the pop-up Prada store (well, sort of) pictured at the top of this post.    

    Images: Maison Gray, Art Observed, Britannica, Dave's Travel Corner, LA Design Festival, Shanghai Focus

  • Cool + Collected 1.22

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    Cool + Collected is our regular Friday post covering modern lifestyle topics from around the globe. You'll find everything from design icon biographies to modern art, photography and architectural surprises. And of course modern design!

    +Now, this is cool architecture design, although only in concept stages still. It's an umbrella that is supposed to protect and regenerate the polar ice caps, helping to keep them cool!

    +Design*Sponge blog has a great series for women trying to start up or maintain small businesses called Biz Ladies. The discussions range from finances to branding, and even social media.

    +Whether you celebrate Easter or not, these metallic gold leaf eggs are super stylish and make for a fun weekend project with the kids. 

    +We love finding cool design all over the place... Check out this office design in Berlin. It's an old factory loft from the 1898, but you would never know looking at the modern interiors. Oh, but the architecture tells all.

    +For all of you lovely ESL Blog subscribers, you might be disappointed with the disolving of Google Reader. May we suggest using Feedly, which is a great alternative and will even transport all your feeds for you.

  • Adding Interest to Your Kitchen Design

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    Kitchen Design

    The kitchen is often known as the heart of the home, which makes kitchen design an important matter. Traditionally, the kitchen is where meals are prepared and then eaten. However, these days, they're are not just for preparing and enjoying food but also where everyone seems to congregate.

    While meals are being prepped, kids are often found sitting on a bar stool, at the counter doing homework or just hanging out. It's certainly the one room where everyone comes together on a daily basis. While kitchens have become more of a gathering place, they have also become more of a decorated space.

    Modern Task Lighting

    George Kovacs Honey Gold 19-Inch-H Modern Desk Lamp

    Yes, functionality is first and foremost, but now, more than ever, kitchens are designed with beauty and interest in mind. Kitchens have grown into warm and inviting spaces that carry just as much detail as other rooms in a home. There are many affordable ways to update your kitchen without a renovation. Three ways to add big impact with little effort are as follows.

    Add a lamp. A lamp nestled on the counter top is like a functional piece of art. It adds interest to a space and brings with it warmth that brightens up the entire room.

    Modern Wall Mirror

    Round Frameless 36" Wide Beveled Mirror

    Add a mirror. Mirrors aren’t often used when decorating a kitchen but they are known to open up any space and make a room feel bigger than it actually is. If your kitchen doesn’t have a lot of windows, a mirror is the perfect way to open up the room.  And if anything, a mirror adds an unexpected touch to a kitchen.

    Modern Bar Cart

    Zuo Xert Modern White and Glass Serving Cart on Wheels

    Add a Cart. Think beyond a mini bar when looking at a cart for your kitchen. Carts can be used to curate your favorite kitchen items and they're great for keeping appliances all in one spot, within reach. Quite possibly, one of my favorite ideas for a cart in the kitchen is using it as a shelf for herbs and plants. 

    Don’t be afraid to add a touch of the unexpected to your kitchen. It’s the little things that can sometimes make the biggest difference.

    Images: Dwell / Plaza Interior / Simply Grove

  • Creating a Modern Home with Accessories

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    Modern Living Room

    When it comes to decorating, larger scale pieces seem to be the favorite.  They add drama, fill up spaces and give the feeling that you get what you paid for.   But, I think it’s the little things that really make the space.

    The little things are the very details that make a house a home.  They are the pieces that hold our memories and add a finishing touch.  And although these accessory pieces may be small in size or stature, they are often the very things that tell a big story.  After all, isn’t it the accessories that make an outfit?  The same concept goes for decorating a space. A crystal candelabra on a mantle works the same as sparkly chandelier earrings do to an outfit.

    Modern Accessories

    Small Glacier Glass White Vase, Fuller Clear Glass Document Box, Clear Crystal Taper Candle Holder, Nambe Movie Vertical Glass Photo Frame, Dark Smoke Hand-Blown Glass Bottle Vase

    The great thing about accessories is that they can be added as a finishing touch or they can be the very thing to build an entire room around.  Little things are often picked up on a whim while shopping, but they can also be items that are well thought out and planned for.  I like to use accessories that not only look pretty also have meaning or serve a purpose.

    A few ideas for accessories are:

    • A frame that holds a photo of a loved one or one of your most cherished days

    • A bowl that holds seashells from a favorite vacation

    • A candle holder which lights up the room

    • A box or tray that gathers and collects favorite or special objects

    • A vase filled with flowers (either received or bought by yourself to brighten your day and your space)

    After all, it’s the little things that hold our memories and make our homes a place in which to create new ones. 

    Image: Le Journal Sézane

  • Color Crush: Gold

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    Modern Living Room

    By far my favorite room of the house to add a little gold to is the living room. It’s the space where we entertain and spend a lot of time as a family so it has to look spectacular. This modern living room above has the perfect balance of gold accents throughout. I am in love with the little side tables and how about that beautiful bright couch? It goes so well with the gold accents. I know they say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and while I do love diamonds, I have to say that gold is a girl’s true best friend.

    Gold can add so much with so little! You can add a few accents throughout the room to give it a more polished and sophisticated look, or you can go a little overboard and make the room look like something Donald Trump would feel comfortable in. Either way, gold is lovely.

    1. Jonathan Adler Meurice Brass Robert Abbey Chandelier 2. Glitz Filbert Arm Chair 3. Robert Abbey Sputnik Ceiling Light 4. Theissen Stripe Black Pillow

    These gold items are just downright gorgeous, don’t you think? The chandelier and the ceiling fixture are both beautiful pieces that make a statement. I think they would look fantastic hovering above a brightly colored couch with some striped pillows. So chic!

    The armchair has a fantastic modern mid century look to it, and when you add the gold on top of that, well you have a winner of an armchair. The throw pillow is kind of perfect because it has two of my favorite things in one. Gold and stripes! This pillow would be a great and subtle way to tie in some other gold accents throughout the room.

    Hope you have as much fun with gold as I do!

    Image: Design Love Fest

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