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modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas

  • Urban Style Living: Concrete Products

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    Concrete style wall covering

    Concrete is the trendy product for home building if you want that modern urban-style aesthetic. It's a very raw material that provides clean lines and an open canvas for any home decor and furniture you decide to pair it with. Would you be surprised to learn that this living room wall (above) is not concrete but a wall covering? This image below is another style in the same Tom Haga Concrete Collection.

    Concrete style wall covering

    If you do have the option of selecting the architectural materials for your home or condo during the building stages, this super modern bathroom is a great design idea. The typographical screening concept paired with the concrete is also a really cool idea.

    Coccrete bathroom

    These tiles from Daniel Ogassian are a great option whether you're designing from scratch or just re-designing a single room. They can help you add concrete in a big way or just a little corner.

    Concrete style tile

    This ottoman gives the appearance of concrete without the heaviness. It's constructed out of clay with a slate finish made to look like concrete... perfect near a side chair in an urban-style loft.

    Concrete style furnishing

    Slate Finish Round Clay Ottoman

    This floor lamp has a super fun and modern style, but also has a chic detail... the base is finished with a concrete paint to give it the effect without the extra weight.

    Concrete style lighting

    Rico Espinet Brushed Nickel Floor Lamp


    So, whether you're building your home from scratch and you have input on the architectural materials.... or you just want to add a little detail, there's lots of fun ways to incorporate concrete into your urban-style decor.

    Images: Tom Haga, Daniel Ogassian, Apartment Therapy

  • The Allure of Cranberry Red: Hot Color in Architecture and Design

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    Cranberry Red Light Fixtures and Home Decor

    Products (from left to right): Artemis High Pure Red Ceiling Fan, Jonathan Adler Capri Red Accent Lamp, Sao Paulo Ribbed Metallic Red Round Wall Mirror, Lights Up! Woody Pickled Red Dupioni Silk Shade Floor Lamp, Set of 4 Zuo Juju Red Outdoor Dining Chairs

    The allure of cranberry red can be coughed up to its association with excitement. Red is daring, bold, and just plain fun. My favorite use of red in interiors is when it is used as a stand alone color against a very neutral or white background (as shown in the bathroom picture below). Cranberry red also mixes well with other colors such as teals, violets, and light yellows. If you want to just dip your toe in the red color scheme, go for red light fixtures and home decor versus painting an entire wall.

    The bright red ceiling fan would look awesome over a modern bed. The red table lamp adds a pop of color and excitement to living room decor. I would love to see the Sao Paulo metallic red mirror used over a side table in an entryway. I have major tripod floor lamp envy and would die to purchase the red floor lamp for my home office. Jazz up your outdoor dining experience with bright red dining chairs. Which cranberry red home accent are you craving?

    Red Bathtub and Minimalist Bathroom Design

    Image: housetohome

  • Urban Gardens: Designed for the City

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    Rooftop Garden Terrace Planters

    Spring has sprung and for some of you so has your green thumb! For many urban planners, rooftop gardens are a high priority. Not only for their decorative impact, but for their environmental impact as well. Roof gardens can reduce the overall heat absorption of the builiding drastically which in turn could reduce smog and energy consumption. They are also beautiful places to relax and escape from the daily chaos. Like your own little oasis perched high above the city. Even if it's not the rooftop, many condos and apartments in urban settings are creating gorgeous backyard gardens so you don't feel like you're missing out on the green. Here's a few of my favorite rooftop and urban gardens.

    Rooftop Garden with brick wall, green roof and bamboo

    This one is truly picture perfect and I can just hear the water running. The bamboo against the exposed brick wall keeps the urban element alive. 

    Vertical Green Wall with built in benches and firepit

    So lush and so green. The vertical green wall really wraps around you to seclude you and leaves the sky open for you.  I would definitely be gazing at the stars as I lie on those soft cushions and feel the warmth of the outdoor firepit.

    Vertical Green Wall large plantars with trees modern outdoor furniture

    The vertical green wall layered with the large potted trees is a great play on scale. The low outdoor seating make this a perfect place to relax with your friends and family.

    Built-in Planters Modern wood outdoor furniture rooftop garden

    This is the garden for the one with the green thumb. The built-in planters do a great job of dividing this large rooftop into smaller, more intimate sections.

    Built In Rooftop Garden with Integrated Seating and Plush Cushions Wood decking

    Modern Rooftop Garden with Concrete Plantars and wood benches

    The wood benches built into the perimeter planters make these rooftops very cozy and the gardening very accessible. I can just imagine the aromas of the fresh herbs and flowers. I'm ready for the rooftop garden parties to begin!

    Modern Outdoor Lamp Outdoor Daybed Outdoor Dining Chairs Concrete Slate Ottoman, Souzani Outdoor Rugh

    Here's a few great pieces to start furnishing your urban garden with. The natural colors of this palette will really contrast nicely with the bold greens, bright flowers, and natural woods.  

    1. Outdoor Floor Lamp  2. Outdoor Daybed  3. Zuo Delight Outdoor Dining Chair  4. Slate Fiberclay Ottoman  5. Souzani Circles Outdoor Rug 

    Images: Home-Designing, Curbed, Urban Style Vibes,  Better Homes and GardensRemodelista

  • Part II: Avenue Interior Design

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    Modern business lounge area

    Trendy reading corner

    Yesterday, I introduced you to the fabulous ladies of Avenue Interior Design. If you missed the post, you can catch up here. There's no shortage of talent in this collaborative design team founded by Andrea DeRosa and Ashley Manhan. Their projects consist of a fun range including hospitality, residential, restaurants and night clubs.

    Modern business office

    Who What Wear Offices, Los Angeles (top three images) opened in April of 2011. This workplace has an open floor plan and looks super stylish. The eclectic combination of modern furniture and decor creates a unique look. The tall gold finish table lamps at every workstation are a nice detail. Here's what the girls had to say about this project:

    Andrea/Ashley:  Who What Wear is a fun fashion based website and after we were featured in Daily Candy in the spring of 2010, they asked us to design their offices. As you might expect, they were very savvy clients!

    Trendy lounge

    Trendy music lounge

    The Sayer’s Club, Hollywood, opened in Fall of 2011. The design delivers a chic look, creating a super cool place to hang out and listen to a band jam. The tufted leather sofas add elegance to this trendy hangout and the modern pendant lighting creates a mellow environment.

    Andrea/Ashley:  SBE Entertainment Group has made a name for itself in Los Angeles as having some of the hottest, most exclusive clubs in LA. Opened in the fall of 2011, the Sayer’s Club is no exception. The overall feel of the club is very relaxed, vintage, hip and industrial.

    Modern hotel lounge

    The Long Bar at the Borgata, Atlantic City opened in June of 2011. The sleek counter tops and textured wall coverings create a stylish place to mingle and relax. Here's what the girls had to say about the custom modern light fixtures developed for this project.

    Andrea/Ashley:  The client wanted a bar on the property that was modern, clean and casual. Previously, all the places to grab a drink on site where nightclubs or formal restaurants. The chandeliers were custom designed and were constructed of matte, black, acrylic domes with a hand applied gold leaf ‘interior’.

    Thanks again to the ladies of Avenue and good luck on all your future projects, which are sure to be amazing!

    Images: Avenue Interior Design

  • Avenue Interior Design: A Study On Collaborative Design Pedigree

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    Interior design office

    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.

    Portrait photography at the beach

    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.

    Interior design office materials

    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.

    Chrome wall sconce


    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 chandelier

    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.

    Modern glam sconce

    Jonathan Adler Ventana Brass Wall Lamp

    Ashley: The classic industrial style of this pendant is perfect for any office space or kitchen.

    Industrial modern pendant light

    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

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