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  • Hardwood Floors In the Kitchen

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    Taupe Laquer Kitchen with Walnut Floors

    Hardwood flooring in the kitchen is a timeless choice that allows your flooring to remain consistent throughout your house. The days of switching up flooring in each room is pretty much over. Hardwood floors have many benefits; one of the most important is that it is more comfortable under foot versus tile, more natural than vinyl, and more neutral than cork. Many modern kitchens are designed with an open plan and appear more furniture-like in aesthetic, so a seamless integration into the rest of the house is key. Often times people wonder about the durability of hardwood floors in the kitchen, but there is nothing to worry about here.  

    White Glass Kitchen with Stainless Steel and black countertop with raw wood island and white tufted door

    A natural oiled engineered floor like this Vernal White Oiled floor from DuChateau neutralizes the modern elements of the glass and stainless steel in this kitchen. It also does a great job of grounding the contrasting the raw wood island and a modern chrome chandelier and allows these eclectic elements to work together.

    White laquer kitchen with dark blue glass uppers  White countertop barstools and pendant lights.  Natural oiled wood flooring.

    Your basic white lacquer kitchen with contrasting upper cabinets is warmed up with natural oak flooring. White pendant lights and white barstools remain sculptural, but neutral in the space as it opens up to the lush landscaping of the exterior to provides you with a real organic feel in this modern space.

    Dark Oak Cabinetry with matte laquer cabinets with integrated sinks.  Natural oiled wood flooring

    The contrast of the dark wood and matte lacquer cabinetry, white countertops, and fine sawn white oak flooring is a gorgeous combination. The element of natural wood in kitchens and clean modern interiors is key to creating life and warmth.   

    Modern Walnut Kitchen Island mixed with white cabinetry with walnut details.  Rustic Oak Flooring in open floorplan kitchen and dining.

    I love this look here. A kitchen with clean modern lines, marble countertops, and simple door hardware mixed with rustic oak flooring which really sets the stage for the room. The choice of flooring is really a key element of design in any space. This room could have taken on many different looks, but this use of a rustic oak floor provides you with a contemporary yet rustic atmosphere that makes me feel as if you are in a beautiful wine country.  

    Images: See Materials, Yolksy, Tamizo, Architectural Digest

  • Get the Look: Modern Kitchen Pendant Lighting

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    Modern kitchen lighting and black pendants

    Designing your kitchen, like any room of the home, is fun because you're creating your own personal environment. However, the most fun element of the kitchen design is the lighting because it's like the jewelery to a great outfit. It's the beautiful accessory to this functional space. To keep the space modern, pendant lighting is the way to go.

    There's many different types of modern pendants that will help you achieve a great look for your stylish space. The kitchen above uses a really fun mix of materials to balance out the wood and brick, the bold black drum shade pendants make a great addition. Also, a bold stripe could look amazing in this space.

    Modern pendant lighting

    Mini Mullberry Black Tech Pendant Light

    Modern pendant lighting

    Bold Black Stripe Pendant Light

    This kitchen below is much different than the first one. Here, the lighting is understated but stylistically just as effective. The barely-there glass pendants give the kitchen a whimsical yet modern feel while keeping it open and fresh.

    Modern kitchen lighting and glass pendants

    Modern pendant lighting and Clear Satin Nickel Pendant

    LBL Isla Clear Satin Nickel Pendant

    Modern pendant lighting and Clear Glass PendantJaime Young St. Charles Clear Glass Pendant

    You also have the option of allowing your lighting to become a statement piece, making it more art than a light fixture. This type of pendant is always fun to shop for since your goal should be to find the one with the most personality.

    Modern kitchen lighting and white kitchen

    Modern pendant lighting and White Flower Pendant Light

    Possini Euro Design White Flower Pendant Light

    Modern pendant lighting and White Cloud Pendant Light

    Possini White Cloud Pendant Light

    Have fun selecting your kitchen lighting while keeping function, scale and style in mind. You're sure to create the look you want for your modern kitchen with any number of different pendant lighting styles out there.

    Images: Plastolux, Cococozy, SF Gate

  • Bread, Espresso &...Design

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    contemporary cafe designs

    When the idea struck to cover my favorite cafe designs across the globe, Tokyo's uber-chic bread and coffee hot spot Bread, Espresso & was a shoe-in to lead the story. This design savvy cafe typifies today's resurgence in artisanal bread and coffee and the increasing focus on design that seems to accompany the resurgence.

    Located just blocks away from Bread, Espresso & is Omotesando Koffee (pictured below). Housed in a traditional Japanese residence in Tokyo's Omotesando district, it originally opened as a pop-up space to showcase barista Eichii Kunitomo's skill (although the cafe recently announced a two year lease extension). The box-like kiosk design and a charming paper note chandelier nonetheless point to the cafe's temporary nature.

    mid-century modern chandeliers

    If paper notes and binder clips aren't your thing, the Possini Euro White Flower (pictured above right) offers a more permanent chandelier solution.

    In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mar Vista, Earl's Gourmet Grub leaves no detail unturned, with a gently torqued ceiling design. Drop sky lights provide natural light, while recessed lighting illuminates the plywood fans down the length of the cafe.

    Contemporary Restaurant Designs

    Earl's architects, LA/NY based Freeland Buck, applied computational methods usually reserved for skyscraper construction to the restaurant's interior details, as in this alpine inspired design that runs along the wall of the space. 

    Computational Architecture Rendering

    Similar to Earl's Gourmet Grub, a torque motif defines the direction at a Starbucks back in Tokyo, yet again in the Omotesando neighborhood. Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates, this design arranges timber into a cornucopia shape across the ceiling, resulting in contemporary yet naturally comfortable interior.

    A similar organic flow of materials could rightly be used to describe the cafe by designers B3 which debuted at the 2008 London Design Festival. Constructed entirely from carboard boxes, this truly is a pop-up cafe. Folded, it can be transported in a single car. As with Kengo Kuma's Starbucks, directional and track lighting help to expose the textured design without overpowering it.

    Pop up cafe designs

    At Munich's Das Neue Kubitscheck (by Designliga) rectangular motifs dominate as well, offset by charming pastels in this comfortable neighborhood cafe. 

    modern european cafes

    The above examples are my favorites. When it comes to good coffee and good design however, they're just the tip of the iceberg. I invite you to discover your own, and by all means, share them with us.

    Images: Cafe Snap, Spoon & Tamago, Tokyoblog, Freeland Buck, JapanOnline, designboom, Design Made in Germany

  • AIA SF Design Awards: Bar Agricole

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    Bar Agricole

    The winners of the 2012 AIA Design Awards are presented in the May/June issue of CA Home + Design Magazine. Winners are either located in San Francisco or designed by local firms. These Bay area architects are given the spotlight for their innovative designs ranging from parking spaces recast as parks to an office that balances work and life.

    Bar Agricole, designed by Aidlin Darling Design is located in San Francisco's industrial South of Market district. The design was inspired by the sustainable agricultural roots of the restaurant's artisanal food and cocktail menu. It's currently in the process of becoming LEED certified.

    Modern sky light design

    Track lighting is a great way to add an even distribution of light while creating a chic, urban aesthetic. It can be used in commercial settings or residential, scale being the largest difference. Check out this idea to get the look above.

    Two Rail Adjustable Ceiling Fixture

     

    The illustration below demonstrates the architect's sustainable strategies and the detailed planning involved from the ground up.

     

    Sustainable design

    For example, there is a wood "hull" made from whiskey-barrel oak, which sits above the guests, giving intimacy and scale to the space while also providing openings for the sculptural light scoops. Bar tops, table tops and banquette seating (below) was made from reclaimed barn-beams.

    Modern banquet seating

    Small pendant lighting is a great way to illuminate each table top without taking away from the gorgeous wooded surroundings. This mini pendant below is a great way to get this look.

    Piper Satin Nickel Tech Mini Pendant

     

    If you live in the Bay area, make sure to stop by and see this award-winning design. You can feast on some deliciously fresh food too!

    Images: AIA SF, Aidlin Darling Design

  • Outdoor Chic: Relax in Style

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     outdoor fireplace

    Relaxing on your patio is the perfect way to spend these hot summer nights! Making your outdoors chic is as simple as adding bold pops of color. This ceramic stool is not only a beautiful piece of outdoor decor, but functional too. Lush greens, concrete fireplace, and large planters create a serene backdrop and really allow the colors to pop in this setting. Get the look of color with this sky blue glazed ceramic stool (below).

     

    Sky Blue Glaze Ceramic Decorative Accent Table


     wood slat patio cover

    Other times, staying neutral and even all white is better. The slats covering this patio (above) create a dynamic linear effect while maintaining the natural aesthetic. Simple, modern outdoor furniture keeps any space clean and open. Create your outdoor chic space by choosing monochromatic pairings, like an all white dining set. These modern outdoor chairs (below) add interest, but do not visually take up a lot of space.  

     

    Zuo Gumdrop White Outdoor Dining Chairs


     rooftop patio

    Keeping it all natural is another great way to create your chic outdoor patio. The element of fire in any outdoor space, along with natural modern outdoor lounge chairs creates a very cozy atmosphere. Perched high above the city, you could lounge in these chairs for hours and just take in the views.  

     

    Zuo Modern Cartagena Outdoor Arm Chair

     

    Whether you have a tiny outdoor patio or a huge backyard, designing in style is sure to help you enjoy your Summer!

    Images: COCOZY, Apartment Therapy, JMA

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