modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas
LBL Batons Satin Nickel Suspension Pendant Light
“When lighting looks like art, you know you have a winner!”
- D. Shultz, Interior Designer
About Euro Style Home
The Art Story
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Walking through the historic Schindler House in West Hollywood this past Sunday, I discovered something amazing about recessed lighting: namely that something so hidden could look so amazing.
First a little history lesson: Austrian born R.M. Schindler worked under Frank Lloyd Wright and in 1920 was sent to Los Angeles to oversee the construction of Wright's Hollyhock house. In 1922 Schindler set up his own practice with the construction of his Kings Road House in West Hollywood.
Fast forward nearly one century to this past Sunday, and I found myself strolling through the nearly empty rooms of the house (now managed by the MAK Center, "a think tank art, architecture, urbanism, design, and international discourse") listening to the sound of reel-to-reel tape recordings in a sound art performance curated and produced by the Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound (SASSAS). The layered, eerie tape recordings were mesmerizing. But so was the space itself.
What struck me most was how the furniture-less rooms hardly seemed empty. There wasn't excessive ornamentation in the rooms (Schindler's work is philosophically absolutely opposed to that), yet there was an extraordinary sense of depth. Materials like wood and cement mixed beautifully in the rooms. Daylight didn't stream in per se; in fact, the space was designed such that it feels like daylight is allowed to enter by permission only.
Looking about, I noticed that, aside from two pendant lights in the main room, visible light sources were conspicuously absent. Instead, the entire home was lit tastefully by recessed lighting, giving it a dramatic, staged look. Subtle architectural details took on a new life under these tucked away lights.
LR6 12 Watt LED 6" Recessed Light Module
Sometimes the beauty of an object lies in what you don't see, as is the case with the Schindler House's lighting design. Modern energy efficient recessed lights stow away nicely, and an LED fixture (pictured above) in particular will produce relatively little heat. For a warmer, spotlight style like I found in much of the Schindler House, you might want to consider a halogen light (pictured below).
Juno 4" Low Voltage Flush Gimbal Recessed Light Trim
Some recessed lighting fixtures are adjustable as in the above, allowing you to swivel or tilt the light, and some are fixed...and as I recently learned, in the right space, they can all be stunning.
Don't believe me? Check out the MAK Center website for upcoming events at the house. You won't be disappointed.
Images: Moby, Wikipedia, Markus Canter, Architecture Week
Welcome to the workspace of Andrea DeRosa and Ashley Manhan, the two stylish interior designers behind Avenue Interior Design. Individually they have worked at some of the top international design firms, but in 2009 they decided to join forces and build a design firm known for luxury interiors, attention to detail and on-trend style.
I sat down with the ladies of Avenue and we talked about their design upbringing, how they came together and what inspires them. They even gave us some great modern lighting ideas, which is often times one of the hardest stages in a design project. Here's how our conversation went.
Cori: When and how did you fall in love with design?
Andrea: My love of design started with a love of clothes, accessories and fashion in general. I was dressing myself by age six and soon after I started ‘borrowing’ my mom’s accessories…. Eventually this evolved into a love of (what I would later understand to be) interior design.
Ashley: My love for design definitely stemmed from my creative parents. My dad is a set decorator and my mom is a costumer for motion pictures, so I grew up on movie sets, watching creative visions come to life for the big screen. Its hard to not fall in love with design when that’s your childhood.
Cori: What is your design background, school, first design jobs, etc.
Andrea: I studied interior design at UW-Madison and my first design internship was at a firm specializing in (residential) kitchen and bathroom design and eventually I interned at a high end, full service residential design firm for a number of years. Once I moved to LA, I did a brief stint at a couple hospitality firms before landing at Dougall Design Associates in Pasadena.
Ashley: I had always taken art classes growing up and focused on painting and design in high school and college. It was always a goal of mine to get into the field of design as quickly as possible, so I started interning for a hospitality design firm during the day while doing the UCLA interiors program at night. From there I fell in love with designing hotels and worked at Cheryl Rowley Design and finally SBE.
Cori: How did you meet?
Andrea/Ashley: We met at a design firm in Santa Monica back in early 2006.
Cori: What triggered the desire to start your own firm?
Andrea/Ashley: We've both always been interested in having our own firms - something I quickly realized most people don’t want! When the economy slowed and our industry took a dive, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make the leap. We didn't have too much to lose at that point, so we thought we might as well start building our own brand.
Cori: Where do you find inspiration?
Andrea/Ashley: Fashion continues to be a huge source of inspiration for us. We find inspiration in it all - current and past collections. Historical places and travel in general are also huge sources of inspiration.
Cori: Avenue's list of completed projects is an exciting range, which was your favorite (hotel, nightclub, office space, restaurant) and why?
Andrea/Ashley: That’s so hard! We’re fortunate our portfolio showcases so many styles. Borgata is a great client who often gives us creative carte blanche and we love the VIP dining lounge. The Society Club, that we designed for them (opened in June of last year). The Sayer’s Club, a nightclub we designed with SBE here in LA, was also really fun and it has a completely different feel.
Cori: Your current projects are in different locations (like New York for example), since you guys are based in Venice, California how do you balance travel, work and the creative process?
Andrea/Ashley: Last year was an insane year. We were traveling, on average, one week per month. At the time, the majority of our clients were based in Atlantic City or Manhattan so it worked out well. Constant access to the internet really allowed us to continue work as usual. The creative process is always interesting... you really have to nurture that aspect of the business. It’s so easy to get tied down to the administrative aspects of the job. Luckily, staying creative is the part of the job that comes most naturally.
Cori: Can you tell me a little about your super cool I Heart Design blog?
Andrea/Ashley: I Heart Design is a bit of a blog/designer resource hybrid where we really make home furniture, accessories and lighting the focus of the site. Through IHD we're providing an accessible and immediate service based on our background as design professionals. It starts with an inspiration image, typically a picture of an interior or a mood/fashion image, identify the core elements that make that image intriguing like color, texture, pattern and scale, and select furnishings around that image/mood to create a unique room. Our marketplace acts as a basic search engine where you can view everything we've ever posted (don’t blame us if it’s no longer available. Just click on a piece you like and we directly route you to a retailer's site so you can view the product details and purchase the pieces instantly.
Cori: Now for some design insight. For each project, at what stage do you select lighting?
Andrea/Ashley: Along with the other furnishings, the lighting for a project is selected in the beginning after we establish the client’s programming needs. Lighting can be so dynamic and such a focal feature, it sometimes sets the mood for the entire space.
Cori: What are a couple of your favorites from Eurostyle Lighting?
Andrea: The Vienna Manhattan Wall Sconce from Eurostyle is such a little gem of a piece with just the right amount of glamour.
Vienna Full Spectrum Manhattan Wall Sconce
Andrea: We designed a fixture similar to this Crystal Cloud Suspension Halogen Chandelier, but much larger in scale for one of our projects. Suspension fixtures like this are stunning and have a little bit of a magical feel to them.
Crystal Cloud Suspension Halogen Chandelier
Ashely: The brass and wood accents make this fixture feel very upscale and stylized. We love the mid-century modern feel.
Jonathan Adler Ventana Brass Wall Lamp
Ashley: The classic industrial style of this pendant is perfect for any office space or kitchen.
Hudson Valley Haverhill Polished Nickel Pendant
Stay tuned for Part II of this interview where we'll take a look at some of Avenue's wide range of fun projects.
Image credit: Avenue Interior Design
The Palihotel in Los Angeles is an ideally located urban hotel designed especially to appeal to creative travelers of all ages. Located in the heart of the Melrose Ave. Shopping District in Los Angeles making this the perfect place for the urban traveler to stay. It is also the first boutique hotel to open in this famous area and is sure to become a popular destination to both anyone visiting LA as well as for the locals.
It has the sweet neighborhood charm, like you're walking into a friends house or a local cafe. It's a place you want to be, sit, and stay. The lobby walls are wrapped in cork with deep teal velvet curtains. The rich colors in the vintage oil paintings, the black and white photography, the unique mix of leathers and soft floral fabrics mix with the solid wood reception desk to create layers and layers of stories. You want to touch and feel and be part of this story just upon entering into the space.
PaliKitchen is an easy approachable "local" cafe located right off the lobby and also has convenient street access. The communal style dining area gives you that community feel, like a neighborhood cafe that's been here forever. The green and white hexagon flooring is visually stunning and creates some real positive upbeat energy in this space. The light blue-ish green glazed ceramic tiles cover all the walls and are a great contrast to the natural wood chairs and warm leathers.
The interior design makes you feel like you're ordering your artisan coffees, fine teas, and comfort food straight from the counter at a local main street general store. The industrial pendant lights glow softly on the matching steel countertops. This is the place where hotel guests can mingle with the locals without leaving the hotel. And the locals can mingle with the guests without ever feeling like they are in a hotel. The creative freedom and unconventional vibe make this a dining and gathering point one you'll be sure to come back to over and over again.
The rooms and the lobby are very cohesive in aesthetic. The materials of the lobby are repeated in the rooms to give you a warm, inviting, and relaxing space that feels very lived in. It's not overdone, overstyled, or overdesigned. It's like a perfect guest room in an urban country home that you might have a hard time leaving. But there's so much to do on these streets that there's no way you could really stay inside for long!
The scissor arm sconce and the industrial stool in the guest rooms looks amazing against the cork wall.
With an exterior clad in reclaimed wood with bright green lights, you definitely won't miss it when you drive by. So when you're in LA whether you're coming to stay or just driving by be sure to stop in and say hi. Grab a coffee, do some work, or read a book. This is the perfect spot for the modern urban explorer. It has everything you need and nothing you don't.
One of the many beautiful projects in this year's Dwell on Design Home Tours line up was Sander Architect's Green House pair. This set of townhouses on one single lot face each other over a drivable courtyard. They are very similar in appearance, yet not identical. Both buildings are wrapped in a skin of 1" x 2" aluminum edges that give it a very distinct appearance, but also act as a shade screen throughout the day.
This pair is what Whitney would call a Hybrid House. "This is a new type of house that we have developed, using a prefabricated metal frame, skin and roof. We have achieved unprecedented economies by using prefabricated building (warehouse) fabricators to manufacture the most expensive parts of the houses at a fraction of the normal costs. We have also achieved unprecedented scale."
The windows are wrapped in the same material used for bus graphics, which allows the home owners to see out, but no one to see in. What a brilliant idea! The custom pattern was designed to reflect the surrounding environment.
They photographed a tree and blew up the image so each building looks as though the the trees are reflecting in the windows. This organic element brings a lot of character to these ultra modern homes.
The front townhouse faces the street and features a quaint zen garden for a front yard. The concrete floors blend with the natural stone wall to create a very calm and peaceful area, filled with lots of natural sunlight. Simple organic wood furniture paired with these modern materials create a great balance in an industrial style space.
What a stunning kitchen! The dark oak Italian kitchen cabinetry contrasts perfectly with the concrete floors, while the two-story oxidized metal panels dominate the space.
The second floor living room features a glass railing and glass walkway which overlooks the kitchen. Modern glass dining tables are a great choice for an open plan. From above the dining table basically disappears.
The soft industrial aesthetic of this modern dining table (below) will help you get this look in your home.
Zuo Plume Clear Glass Modern Dining Table
The contemporary chandelier adds an elegant touch to the industrial space and brings the organic elements of nature indoors.
If you love the chandelier, but aren't one of those lucky enough have these gorgeously high ceilings, a shorter capiz shell pendant would work beautifully in your space.
Dolce Capiz Shell 25" Wide Pendant Chandelier
Many innovative green materials were used throughout this entire project, including passive heating and cooling, natural daylighting, shade screens, bamboo flooring, green cabinetry, and recycled glass countertops.
There were many amazing homes on the the Dwell Home Tour schedule and this is just one of them! I hope you had a chance to check them all out! But if not, there's always next year.....
Images: Sander Architects
Today's modern chandelier often times double as an art installation. Is this good or bad? Well, how can art ever be bad? As long as you understand how to translate these designs to work in your own home, then you're able to enjoy them as the inspiration that they are.
This innovative creation (above), designed by Elisa Strozyk, is made out of small triangles of wood. Where you would normally see wood used only as a flat surface in product design, this chandelier can be bent and shaped however you like, far from a flat surface.
Innovative product design is similar to the fashion runway... Would you necessarily wear that? Similarly, would you ever put that in your home (above)? However, you can use the materials, colors and form as inspiration for selecting a modern chandelier. Also, the way it relates to the space can be a form of inspiration as well.
One very simple way to achieve these lighting-meets-art look is to go with an over sized fixtures (above two images), but keep the materials simple. Proportions can definitely be played with to make a statement in any room.
Another way to turn your modern lighting into art is to keep the furnishings and decor around it simple (above). Allow your modern chandelier, big or small to stand out.
Here's a few fun ideas for unconventional chandeliers that will surely make a statement in your home.
1. Fredrick Ramond Mondo Chandelier, 2. Maxim Chantilly Nickel Jewelry Chain Chandelier, 3. Possini Glass Orbs Pendant Chandelier, 4. Possini Corinthian Bronze Twist Chandelier, 5. Vienna Full Spectrum Chrome and Crystal Chandelier
Don't limit your sources for inspiration, just because certain products won't fit in your home (or budget), doesn't mean you can't pull ideas from them. Designing is about solving problems so there's always a way to achieve the look you want!
Images: Elisa Strozyk, Contemporist, Etsy
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