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modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas

  • It's a Floating Lake House

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    modern lake house 

    Many memories are made vacationing at a lake in the summertime, and often times they are too good to ever stop experiencing. Becca and Doug Worpie feel this exact way about the rugged coast of Georgian Bay where they've made a trip to every year of their life. The environment is rough and unpredictable, but "this place is my heaven" says Becca.

    So, building a summer home here was their dream, but not as simple as one may expect. When they ventured out and stumbled upon the U-shaped island with a three acre piece of rock in Pointe au Baril, they also found two decrepit cottages and a boat house. They knew there was a lot of work ahead, but they also knew there was something extremely special about it.  

    modern boat dock

    This wasn't the type of  job you could hand your contractor sketches for, they had to get much more creative than that. So the couple called upon architects Michael Meredith and his partner Hilary Sample of MOS, a young interdisciplinary practice (then) based in Toronto to take on this project. They proposed a series of buildings that formed a "necklace" around the island; the main cottage and a series of smaller cabins that could house all the overnight guests that wanted to invite in the summertime With multiple cabins, modern outdoor path lighting would be great to help navigate from cabin to cabin at nighttime.

    modern sliding glass doors

    When building the final structure they wanted to build not just something on the water, but in the water. So they designed a two story building supported by massive pontoons that was fabricated off site and floated back into place. A modest boathouse now sits inside the cove and has become the family's main summer headquarters. The boat slip and sauna are down below, while upstairs there are two bedrooms, an office, gallery, and of course incredible views.

     modern bridge

    The bridges branches off from the second story and connects the main house to the other cabins.

    modern graphic artwork  

    Although the exterior of the house is clad in untreated cedar allowing it to weather naturally, the interior is a very modern and clean.  The floors and ceiling are treated with Douglas Fir to give you a very warm and cozy feeling in the space.  Modern wishbone chairs surround the mid-century dining table. The art is bold and colorful, creating a very playful vibe in the space.  

    modern kitchenette

    The modern kitchen is neutral in tone, but the clean modern lines really make a statement. You can tell each and every detail was planned out.

    wood ceiling

    The stunning view is picture perfect.  You could sit and stare or go outside and play, either one would be quite pleasurable.  

    Adding modern benches to any space with a view allows you to take it all in at every angle.   

    Zuo Heywood Single Natural Bench  

    stone fireplace

    The fireplace facade is clad with local granite and allows the bold colors of the artwork to just bounce right off of it. The playful edge comes through once again and reminds you that this place is for having fun with family and friends.   


    modern wood bathtub

    The iroko wood modern bathtub is the perfect element for connecting the interior with nature. Custom designed concrete tiles create texture and contrast to the natural wood elements of the space. After a long day of fun in the sun, i couldn't think of a better way to relax than soaking in the tub and thinking back about all the childhood memories and all the new ones created each day.  

    Whether you're at your own lake house of not, I truly hope you all are enjoying your summer and creating many memories that are sure to last a lifetime. 

    Images: Dwell

  • Donald Judd: Minimalism's Square Roots

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    donald judd artwork

    You've probably seen the artwork. Clean, stainless steel boxes, stacked one atop the other, lined across the floor or cantilevered from the museum wall. The first time you saw them you asked what they meant. The second time you asked why? The third time you probably just smiled and accepted it.

    That's a common reaction to the work of American artist Donald Judd (1928-1994).

    donald judd sfmoma

    Not everyone gets him. Not everyone loves him. Yet his contribution to international Minimalism is second to none.

    Judd aspired to create work devoid of compositional hirearchy. More simply put, he created art in which no one single thing catches your eye. It's strikingly egalitarian, and while his artwork has clearly influenced modern art, the principles of his work can also be felt in buildings, desk lamps and furniture designs. Notice the simply stacked squares of this lamp:

    modern steel desk lamps

    Amarillo Silver Accent Table Lamp

    It is this beautiful, understated quality of line that defines Judd's work, and it creeps up time and again, whether in his ink-on-paper prints or his site specific installations.   

    Donald Judd artwork on paper

    public art donald judd

    What Judd's art lacks in color or pizzazz is made up for in elegant simplicity. It's this conceptual basis that informs much of today's most celebrated products, from the iPhone to modern furniture designs like these glass nesting tables.

    glass nesting tables

    Silhouette Set of 3 Glass and Chrome Nesting Accent Tables

    And this is the true beauty of Minimalism - the ability for an object or image to convey more by saying less. What holds true for artwork also holds true for a piece of modern furniture or contemporary architecture.

    Donald Judd didn't just master this concept as an artist. He helped define it through his life's work. 

    Images: The Gorgeous Daily, June Joon JaxxPrinted Editions, Waymarking

  • Design Is Black + White

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    modern eclectic living room

    Of course we all know, nothing in life is black and white, clear and simple, but sometimes it looks really good when you're talking about interiors! The bold, stark contrast provides a modern element and leaves room for more casual furnishings, like seen above. That sofa is a little worn, arguably vintage, as well as the table, but the color palette of the space screams modern.

    But, no matter the style, whether a room is modern, traditional, black and white, or colorful, any decor benefits from the use of mixed materials. The iron chair, leather sofa and rustic wood table make a perfect trio. These Zuo accent chairs below are a great way to get this look. Their leaf inspired pattern gives them an organic aesthetic.

    Whitworth Chrome Accent Chair

    Art is a great way to bring in color, but it's also a cool way to bring in the bold! This black and white art collage leaning against the wall creates a laid back environment that is highly stylish.

    black and white art

    This kitchen is on trend with its clean white walls, industrial lighting and dark, black cabinets.

    black and white kitchen

    Want to get this simple, yet chic look? Here's an idea for getting modern industrial pendant lighting for your own home.

    LBL Isla Mini Pendant

    modern white living room

    While designing using the modern black and white combo, this living room also brings in a natural element by using lots of wood finishes. There is a lot of furniture in this space, but it's grouped efficiently and doesn't look cluttered. The use of multiple small accent tables instead of a coffee table is a popular trend right now. It provides versatility and a more eclectic look.

    Don't be scared to go bold, there's lots of ways to use this cool color palette!

    Images: Japan Trash blog, Pretty Peach Peonies, SkonahemSolid Blog

  • Iris Apfel: Style + Design Icon

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    bohemian eclectic style

    "Taste you can learn, but style is charisma"- Iris Apfel

    Iris Apfel, an interior designer, business woman, and fashion icon is still as charismatic and stylish today and she was in her youth. "I'm a geriatric starlet, my dear, don't you know" explains Iris.  At the age of 83, 13 years into retirement, is when she actually became a celebrity. In 2005 the Metroplitan Museum in New York had an exhibition featuring Apfel's style. What was truly amazing about this exhibition was not only the clothes, but the way the she wore each piece. Each outfit was put together like a work of art and with such style.

    At the age of 90, believe it or not, she is even more famous today than 7 years ago. She has a ridiculously successful line of makeup at MAC, an accessory line, a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes named after her, and so much more. She's a true style icon. Take a look at how her personal fashion style can be interpreted from an interior design perspective, which is how she got her start. The rooms are as eccentric on the inside as she is on the out!

    midcentury gold chandelier
    The layers of gold, brown, and charcoal gray silk taffeta in this Lanvin gown, circa 1985, are as sculptural as the gold chandelier in this room. Adding gold accessories to your space can feel both elegant and eclectic.

     jewel tone pillows

    This deep jewel tone silk-taffeta Nina Ricci evening dress, designed by Gérard Pipart (circa-1985), belong in this sitting room. The colors of the painting and rug, along with the bold deep hues of the pillows combine to create a bohemian eclectic space as rich in color as the dress. Colorful pillows can bring a lot of energy into any room and is a great way to accessorize!

     modern graphic art 
    The hot pink blouse blossoms and flows like the dye on this stylish comforter. The necklace makes a bold and dynamic statement and pretty pairing in color, much like the painting above the bed . The bold black in the art and in the pillows create contrast and a strong grounding element for the colorful decor. Playful, sophisticated, and whimsical define both the room and the outfit.     

     black and white tartan plaid

    Tartan plaid and a furry friend, that's why these two go hand in hand! Sophisticated and casual is what makes this outfit and this room so lovely.  

     sculptural necklace

    And of course Iris Apfel has her own jewelry line as well! We can't help but notice, her sculptural White Bone Necklace resembles the form of our White Flower Ceiling Light! Her jewelry collection is "Natural, eclectic and fun". You can channel a little bit of Apfel's energy by wearing any of the pieces from her collection or designing your space with color and lots of personality! 

    Cheers to hoping that we all can have a small dose of Iris Apfel in us when we're 90. She is a true style icon in every sense of the term.  

    Images: Architectural Digest, Architectural DigestRue Magazine, HomesteadDesigns2Wear

  • Mexican Architecture: From Ancient to Modern

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    Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal

    Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal

    As I plan a trip to Mexico soon, somewhere I have been many times as a child, I can't help but do some research as I prepare for my trip as an adult. More specifically, an adult who loves design and architecture.

    Mexico is a country built on tradition and history. As you tour its cities, you will see modern structures next to old, broken down buildings from ancient times. Rather than tear down and build new, much of the architectural philosophy is to build around and upward. Progress, but do not forget.

    Maya civilization dominated southern Mesoamerica in the second half of the first millennium AD. Classic phase (600 to about 900) architecture (above) is characterized by an exquisite sense of proportion and design, seen in the structural refinement and subtle detailing.

    The National Palace in Mexico City

    The National Palace in Mexico City

    Mexico's colonial history marked the collision of the European and Indigenous cultures, giving rise to a new form of art and architecture. Most colonial cities were planned around a plaza, which held the three main institutions: the cathedral, the administrative center (above) and the court.

    Palacio de Bellas Artes

    Palacio de Bellas Artes

    During the 19th and early 20th century Emperor Maximilian I brought a new set of urban design ideas to Mexico. Drawing from the mid-century Parisian redevelopment plan, he built a broad new diagonal avenue called Paseo de la Reforma. This elegant boulevard ran for miles from the downtown National Palace to the lush Chapultepec Park where the Austrian ruler lived. Neo-Gothic designs incorporated into the monumental public buildings, including its cultural center (above).

    La Torre Latinoamericana

    La Torre Latinoamericana

    As modern times began to impact the urban design of Mexico, functionalism, expressionism, and other schools would leave their imprint, combining techniques and stylistic elements of Europe and North American techniques.

    The Soumaya Museum

    It's quite interesting to see modern Mexico develop and how it seems to be coming around full circle. I can't help but notice the similarities between The Soumaya Museum (above), completed in 2011, and The Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal (top).

    This stunningly modern structure houses one of the most important art collections in Latin America with over 6,200 artworks and 60,000 square feet of exhibition space.  It also includes an auditorium for 350 people, library, offices, a restaurant, a gift shop and a multi-purpose gathering lounge.

    The Soumaya Museum  main floor

    This stunning structure is located in a former industrial zone dating from the 1940’s, providing the opportunity to play a key role in the reconversion of the area as a cultural center and defining a new model for Mexican and international architecture.

    Structurally, this organic and asymmetrical design is constructed with twenty eight steel curved columns of different diameters, offering a soft non-linear circulation all through the building. Located at each floor level, seven ring beams provide a system that braces the structure and guarantees its stability. It widens at the top, where a roof suspended from a cantilever allows natural daylight onto the top floor gallery. The windowless facade is composed of hexagonal aluminium tiles. Strategic track lighting is great for complimenting natural light. The lack of any modern furniture, such as benches, keeps the space clean and leaving the spotlight on the art.

    The Soumaya Museum stairwell

    The study of modern design and architecture would be endlessly entertaining, but understanding it's history provides inspiration at an entirely new level. The develpment of entire cities goes hand-in-hand with the culture of that particular civilization, giving the architecture that emerges immesurable personality.

    Images: MVTPRD, Wikipedia, Open BuildingsThe Architect's Newspaper, Positive Magazine

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