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  • Design Marvel - A Living Staircase in London

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    A four-story spiral staircase with a green balustrade in a London office building

    Living walls have been popping up all over the place, so why not a living staircase? A little greenery here and there helps boost mood and London-based Ampersand, an office building for creative technology companies, seems to have gotten the message.

    Multi-disciplinary designer Paul Cocksedge designed a living staircase for the company that spirals up 40 feet over four floors in a large glass-walled atrium.

    A rendering of the living staircase

    Cocksedge's goal was to take the purpose of a staircase beyond just getting from Point A to Point B . Each circular landing features a reason to stop and experience your surroundings.

    The second floor landing features a small resource library, while the third and fourth landings have sitting areas for employees to stop and socialize.

    A view of the underside of the spiral staircase made of white oak

    Notice how the central support column typical of a circular staircase is missing? That's a serious architectural and engineering feat! By taking out the central column Cocksedge was able to create the landings we talked about above.

    A closeup of the garden balustrade at Ampersand in London

    The balustrade garden features six species of plants - for now. Cocksedge envisioned the balustrade as a working garden for employees to plant herbs they can use in their food or drinks. There is even a hot water machine on the top level for brewing mint tea from mint harvested on the staircase!

    A view of the resource library on the second level landing of the living staircase

    Cocksedge said "There's going to be technology everywhere. We felt that we needed a burst of color and we needed to bring a natural element to it." We think he nailed it.  How about you?

    Image Sources: Interior Design Magazine; arch daily; Interior Design Magazine; Interior Design Magazine; Interior Design Magazine

  • Modern Design on Water

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    Clean-lined entryway to waterfront home

    This modern waterfront home on the Copenhagen harbor belongs to a couple tired of living inland, so now they can literally jump in the harbor right outside their front door!

    This is the entryway to the home - It leads straight to the water and creates a pretty view. Simple recessed lighting, open shelving and a stylish porthole wall mirror are perfect for this simple entry. 

    Open and airy modern design in living room

    While you may assume the home is designed in fashion with a lakeside cabin, you'd be wrong. This harbor house wastes no time trying to be thematic just because it's on the water. Contemporary Euro style furniture and cool modern lighting create a unique style for most waterfront homes.

    Contemporary bathroom with bright yellow floor

    The modern design in the bathroom features a fun pop of yellow while the rest is minimal. One wooden ladder softens up the modern aesthetic of the rest of the room.

    Scandinavian-style bedroom lined with unfinished plywood

    Unfinished plywood surrounds this bedroom, giving warmth to a space that is otherwise all-white. The modern wall lighting and art pop against the wood grains.

    All images from Dwell

  • Sporty Commercial Design

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    Reception area that incorporates astro turf into its design

    This cool office space belongs to a football (soccer) app company in Berlin. The commercial design goes above and beyond providing an inspiring environment for its employees.

    A astro turf running track runs through through the commercial design of the office

    The unique design includes lots of architectural elements, but also key pieces of furniture, like fun modern barstools and comfortable task chairs to pull it together.

    Stadium-like seating for meetings

    The commercial design features a multi-functional contemporary space with different areas for working, meeting and even practicing. Most importantly it expresses the sport spirit of the company itself.

    Glassed in conference room with astro turf flooring

    The work space, much like the home, should embody the people in it and this design firm definitely nailed this one.

    All images from Dezeen

  • Some Seriously Gorgeous Modern Kitchen Islands

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    Modern kitchen island with barstools underneath and chandelier above.

    In this day and age of open-plan living, the modern kitchen is even more of a hub of family activity.

    In many cases the modern kitchen island has taken the place of the breakfast table and the large-scaled islands have enough room to allow you to cook and have your kids do their homework at the island at the same time.  Once homework time is over, the kids can clear off the island to make room for dinner.

    Contemporary white kitchen with white marble countertops, black kitchen barstools and several black pendant lights.

    The larger modern kitchen islands aren't just for kiddie activities. Let's be honest here... everyone wants to be in the kitchen, even when you entertain. The extra room gives guests the opportunity to sit and enjoy a drink while the host prepares food, or chip in and help.

    Modern white kitchen with a white marble kitchen island and bleached floors.

    Some kitchens go beyond a simple ledge or projection to create a seating area at the kitchen island. The kitchen above created a table-like extension in the same marble as the countertops for a sleek, streamlined look. The space under the counter is the perfect place to stow several kitchen barstools.

    Kitchen with stainless steel kitchen island featuring open and closed storage.

     You can never have too much storage, and a kitchen island is a great place for storage, both open and closed.

    We love the look of a few modern pendant lights hung above an island -- not only are they pretty to look at, they provide task lighting while you're working, and, if they're on dimmers, can be turned up or down depending on your immediate needs.

    Sleek modern kitchen with a table height counter wrapped around island.

    Seating at a modern kitchen island doesn't have to be limited to bar height. The island in the kitchen above has an extension built in at table height, which is the perfect opportunity to get those great dining chairs you've had your eye on.

    The modern kitchen island is multi-functional -- it's a cook space, homework center, dining area, storage area and guest magnet, so pull up a barstool (or chair)!

    Image Sources: HGTV; homedit; My Domaine; House to Home UK; homedit

  • Crushing on Tile Flooring in Modern Homes

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     Patterned tile flooring in entryway

    Tile flooring ideas for the modern  home.

    If you think wood flooring is the only way to go, besides wall-to-wall carpet, think again! Patterned tile flooring is not just for the Tuscan villa dream vacation...

    Tile flooring can act as a beautiful accessory to the rest of your furnishings. It stands out even more when the home design is simple like this space above. Stylish mini pendants and streamlined task lamps are perfect for keeping an entryway minimal.

    But you don't necessarily need to tile your floor to get this look... Check out these ideas below:

    Hexagonal print carpet on stairway

    Geometric tile stairway.

    When you choose to go bold with pattern, you can do so much in spaces that would otherwise go unnoticed, like the stairway.

    Not sure you want tile on the stairs, worry about slipping and considering the the carpet runner option? Try an all-over, small scale patterned carpet that resembles tile!

    Mixed tile flooring in a modern bathroom

    Mismatched tile in a modern bathroom.

    You'll want to use tile in the bathroom, of course. So have fun with the pattern and mix it up... Try selecting a few different patterns that work well together, similar to mixing and matching pillows.

    Stenciled flooring in a breakfast nook

    Stencil flooring to look like tile.

    Do you live in a rental with laminate flooring, or you just don't have the budget to tile the floor in larger rooms?... Consider stencil, like this kitchen above. Head over to Nest Studio blog for the DIY, it's really impressive!

    Patterned tile flooring meant to look like an oriental rug

    Wall-to-wall tile flooring.

    Notice how minimal this modern home is, but how much style it expresses with those tile floors! Try dark walls for a moody atmosphere and to help the floor pattern really pop!

    Images from Stil Inspiration, Archilovers, Share Design, Apartment TherapyVosgeparis

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