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  • How To Add Vintage Style To Your Modern Home Design

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    Modern Home Design

    There is nothing like modern home design. It’s clean, creative and fresh. If you are a minimalist by nature, than you are probably drawn to modern design. One thing that I’ve noticed about some modern decor is that it can tend to feel too cold.

    If you like modern design but you like feeling homey and warm, you probably are trying to figure out how to create a space that you love. One suggestion is adding vintage elements to give a room some character and warmth. Above we see a vintage armoire piece placed in a modern living room. It totally works and gives off such a cool vibe. Also the of the color of the piece fits perfectly with the sofa and pillows.

    Modern Dining Room

    In this dining space, we see several vintage elements. The brass light fixture fits nicely with the modern table and chairs. Also, you see that there is a mix of new modern chairs with vintage modern chairs.

    Vintage Style

    Here is another vintage cabinet. This teal piece looks fantastic paired with gray fabric, which is always a more modern option. And it also looks great with the modern desk lamp. Pieces like this tell wonderful stories in a space. And if you are decorating a modern room, only use one to two pieces like this so that you don’t create a flea market look.

    Home Office

    In this small office, the owners have paired an aged, vintage desk with a modern office chair. It totally works and creates the best of both worlds! Adding a modern desk lamp is also a great accent for a vintage desk.

    One last advice for mixing vintage with modern is try and find a vintage piece that is totally out of the box. When placing it in a minimalist space, it will completely wow your guests!

    Images: Megan Mortin, Husligheter, Hello Future House, Apartment Therapy

  • Schiffini: Modern Kitchen Design Inspired by Cinque Terre

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    Schiffini Modern Kitchen Design

    Modern kitchen design is something that many people admire from afar, but don't actually get to explore the concept behind. You may love the simplicity of a kitchen, the unique shapes, or innovative materials, but how often are you able to capture the story behind the design and really have a true understanding and appreciation for the concept and place where it originated?  I had the pleasure of exploring the 800,000 square foot Schiffini factory in Ceparana, Italy, and spending quality time with the wonderful Mr. Schiffini himself as he took us to his favorite places in Cinque Terre where many of the concepts for his kitchens originated.

    La Spezia Italy

    Schiffini was established in the 1920s to supply nautical fittings to the Italian Navy dockyard in La Spezia (above). They later made their way into the residential market and became the first Italian company to introduce the modular kitchen. They continue to stand out as one of the best Italian companies for design and innovation.  

    Schiffini G-One Kitchen

    The G-One kitchen (above) is made entirely of marine grade plywood and I bet you all can see where the inspiration for this kitchen came from! The soft curves and durable materials pay homage to 50s design while designer Giuliano Giaroli was able to transform these elements into a beautiful design of today.  It's neither too retro nor too nautical, but a perfect blend of styles with the quality and craftsmanship to make this a timeless kitchen. The cluster of modern pendant lights floating above the island appear almost as if they are buoys hanging from a dock.

    Jamie Young White Floor Lamp

    Jamie Young Petit Paro White 64 1/2-Inch-H Modern Floor Lamp

    The soft curves and mixture of natural linen and white lacquer in this modern floor lamp (above) has a nautical influence with a sophistication and elegance that make it a timeless piece.

    Seashore Venazza Italy

    The next stop on the trip was in the incredibly gorgeous sea side town of Venazza (above) which deeply inspired the Cinqueterre kitchen that just happens to be Mr. Schiffini's favorite place. The steep cliff side is covered in vineyards and the waves crash freely into the town, creating something magical. The colors, smells, sounds and overall experience is something that's hard to even explain.  

    Cinqueterre Kitchen Schiffini

    The concept behind the Cinqueterre kitchen (above) is the rolling waves of the sea. The handle represents the breaking crest of the wave as it's about to crash into the rocks.  Each door is assembled by hand in the factory with such precision and detail.  Designed by architect Vico Magistretti, the Cinqueterre is the first kitchen produced entirely in aluminium. This model is available in black and anodized aluminum as well as titanium and each one is spectacular in it's own way.  There is something about the black mixed with the wood and copper top that sets itself apart from any other kitchen out there. After visiting Vernazza, the place where the concept originated, and watching the fine craftsman build each door by hand, I don't think there is anyway you can't appreciate every detail of this kitchen. It's like a modern work of art!


    Industrial Spotlight Floor Lamp

    Jamie Young Gun Metal Modern Spotlight Floor Lamp

    Finding pieces with history and a story are a great way to add character to your space, whether it be with a modern kitchen or even something as simple as a new modern lamp. The industrial floor lamp (above) could help you incorporate a little nautical edge into your own home don't you think?


    Images: Schiffini,  Annie May



  • 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

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