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  • Modern Home Gardens: Urban Homesteading

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    Modern Home Gardens

    If you had to live off the land, could you? What if you had to do it with only a balcony or a tiny plot of land in the middle of the city?

    There’s a growing movement of “urban homesteaders” who are doing just that. With only 1/12 acre of land, Los Angeles residents Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen (pictured below) are among a handful of people leading the way, and they're doing so with wry humor and a cool, metropolitan sense of style.

    Urban Homestead Authors

    Coyne and Knutzen penned The Urban Homestead, a book that covers everything domestic, from composting to cooking. Urbanites themselves, they’re the first to acknowledge that homesteading is a matter of trial and error (as you'll see on their blog) and a matter of degrees. Not everyone has the time or will to maintain a chicken coop, yet (as we found firsthand) it can be surprisingly easy to keep the raw ingredients for clean, green household cleaners on hand.

    Urban homesteading is about living in the city in an environmentally sensitive way at the domestic level. Whether it be simple addition of drought tolerant herbs to your garden (as in the Laura Cooper home pictured at the top of this post) or urban based farming initiatives such as community gardens (LA's Manaznita Street Garden pictured below) are about consuming less while growing more.

    Community Farms

    As this approach to city living grows in popularity, modern lighting retailers like Euro Style Lighting are doing what they can to expand their product bases to include designs that complement the lifestyle. Solar landscape lighting is an energy neutral way to keep the garden lit after dark. Energy efficient and longer lasting than incandescent bulbs, LED outdoor lighting can help reduce both electricity costs and landfill waste. And dark sky compliant lighting leads the to less light polluted skies in the urban environment. 

     Copper Solar Lantern Landscape Light

     Kichler Dark Sky Nickel Outdoor Wall Sconce

     Hinkley Piza Angle Bronze LED Landscape Light

    Small space living. A penchant for artisan produced food and goods. A belief that small scale changes can contribute toward a cleaner city and a sustainable future. These are the tenets of the urban homesteading ethos, and while it may sound like something straight out of an episode of Portlandia, you don't hear anyone making jokes when a fresh loaf of home-baked bread or a batch of home-brewed beer lands on the table, courtesy of the urban homesteader. 

    Images: Dwell, Root SimpleLos Angeles Times

  • From Outfit to Interior: Bright + Exotic

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    Interior Design

    Modern Living Room

    Simple lines and bright colors can be so underrated! Ms. Bright & Exotic aims to change that by taking advantage of both in her space.

    Steel Droplet Blue Accent Lamps with crisp white drum shades come in a set of two, offering a calm and refreshed feel to whatever room you place them in. Our Ms. uses them as a pair on either side of the bed, but they can just as easily be split up.

    Modern Table Lamp

    The distinctive pattern on the back of this Jennifer Wooden Modern Lounge Chair makes Ms. Bright & Exotic feel like she's lounging in the Caribbean. The extra wide seat is perfect for enjoying lazy cocktails or a book that she just can't put down.

    Modern Pendant


    The Brushed Nickel Exotic Peacock Giclee Pendant is our lady's favorite way to add a pop of color to her kitchen – it features every color of the rainbow! The exotic peacock-inspired pattern looks different as the light changes.Modern Wall Mirror

    Nothing like a big mirror to play up a room, and the SIlver Teardrop Round Wall Mirror does just that. The antique silver finish frame makes this piece feel like it has its share of stories to tell, while the beveled teardrop shapes give it a stylish look.

    Modern Bath Light

    Ms. Bright & Exotic loves a good hot bath after a tough day, the Possini Euro Frosted Glass Polished Nickel Bath Fixture casts a cool and alluring light to help her relax. Two layers of frosted water glass create an almost-at-the-beach vibe which is just what she's after.

    Image: Shopbop

  • Design and Architecture: Pacific Standard Time

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    Design and Architecture at Pacific Standard Time

    Pacific Standard Time, the art phenomenon that took Southern California by storm in 2011-2102 (with shows and events at more than 60 museums, galleries and other institutions) is back from now until July with something for fans of design and architecture: "Pacific Standard Time presents Modern Architecture in L.A.

    Shoreline House by Smith and Williams

    There are two exhibitions in particular that should appeal to mid-century design lovers, chronicling the modernist aspirations that defined post-war Los Angeles. Featuring beautiful home photography and renderings, they promise to hold plenty of eye candy. But they're equally rich on substance too. 

    The first of the two is The Architecture of Smith and Williams at the UC Santa Barbara Art, Design & Architecture Museum. Drawing on the museum's rich archives of modernist designs by partners Whitney R. Smith and Wayne R. Williams, this exhibition focuses on the firm's pragmatic ability to site buildings beautifully within a landscape, such as the Shoreline House pictured as both sketch and photograph above. 

    Pierre Koenig Home

    The second exhibition, Technology and Environment: The Postwar House in Southern California at Cal Poly Pomona (pictured above and below) flexes that institution's muscle in architecture and engineering, saluting innovations in construction technology and the iconic designs made possible by them. As with most modern homes, large planes of glass blur the line between indoors and out while the structural use of steel usurps traditional building patterns. 

    Modernist Kappe House

    All told, exhibitions, screenings, tours and talks will take place at seventeen area locations for "Modern Architecture in L.A." As is often the case with historical survey exhibitions, there will inevitably be a plethora of vintage furniture worth salivating over. We particularly love how smooth spherical hanging pendant lights and wall lamps play well in otherwise rectangular spaces.

    White Glass Modern Pendants

    Roomstylers Globe White Glass Pendant Light

    Modern Arc Lamps

    Basque Brushed Nickel Modern Arc Floor Lamp

    "Modern Architecture in L.A." offers a lot for the design fan and yours truly will try to hit every single event. At the very least, you can expect to see me at the downtown L.A. skyline tour hosted by the L.A. Conservancy. Multiple times.

    Images: Pacific Standard Time

  • Designing With Crystal Chandeliers

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    Crystal Chandelier

    Crystal chandeliers have been a thing of the past, are a thing of the present and I think will easily be a thing of the future. A chandelier is such a classic piece when paired with a modern space, beauty happens!

    I remember starting a few years back, everyone wanted a crystal chandelier. Mostly to decorate their entryway, child’s room, dining room and even laundry room with. The key is mixing the chandelier with the right ambience. The space that you can make the biggest impact with is the dining space. Above we see a very rustic dining space decorated with a large, dainty chandelier. There's contrast so it works!

    Rustic Dining Room

    Now this room gives me goose-bumps! The art collection alone is stunning. Throw in modern furniture and add that magnificent chandelier and you’ve created a picture perfect space. I’m sure at night, the chandelier gives off quite the twinkle lights.

    Modern Living Room

    Here is another rustic space, prettified with a crystal chandelier. This time the owner went with more of a brass look, which I appreciate next to all of those warm wood tones. It also pops against an all white room, along with the art.

    Here's a couple pretty options.

    Chandelier

    Eyja Silver Crystal Chandelier

    Crystal Chandelier

    Schonbek Bordeaux Collection Bronze Chandelier

     Images: Skona Hem, Style Files, Ministry of Deco

  • Get the Look: Kitchen Nook Lighting

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    Modern Kitchen Nook

    It doesn’t take much to make a kitchen nook feel warm and inviting, but the lighting might be the most important element.

    These adorable kitchen niches are usually small in scale, only being about to fit a small table. Yet, they maximize space by turning an awkward alcove into something useful.  I remember using mine in my childhood home growing up to do projects and homework while my mom cooked dinner. Plus, there is something so peaceful about waking up and going to the kitchen to enjoy a warm up of coffee in your sunny nook.

    Kitchen Nook

    St Charles Clear Glass Jamie Young Ceiling Pendant

    Need more inspiration? I've rounded up three breakfast nooks that I absolutely adore and paired lighting that you can get for your own kitchen nook.

    Modern Glam

    Bling Collection Convertible Robert Abbey Chandelier

    If you don’t have a built-in nook in your kitchen (I certainly don’t, living in San Francisco), try to make one for yourself by adding a small table in a sunny corner of your living room or another empty spot in your home.

    I currently use our bay window to achieve a “sitting area” feel and it’s my happy place to sit and enjoy myself.

    Modern Dining

    Possini Euro Zuri Glass Mini Pendant

    I hope these nooks have inspired you to create your own!

    Image Sources: Architectural Digest,  House Beautiful, Elle Décor,  Remodelista

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