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  • Dwell on Design: Ideas For Better Living

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    2014 Dwell On Design

    Design (and designers for that matter) is often categorized in terms of project size, as either small--a single LED light bulb for instance--or large, such as infrastructure planning for an entire metropolitan region. What's lost in this simplified categorization is the shared goal of all good design for better living, large or small. Namely, the betterment of the way we live.

    Starting with a verdant center court (pictured above), this year's weekend-long Dwell on Design event in Los Angeles was filled with exhibits and panels addressing the idea of "living better." 

    Better Living

    The Georgia Tech College of Architecture exhibited the results of its Micro Interior Design Competition, a student competition that explored the many definitions of "household unit" through interior design. Design entries (pictured above) addressed a range of living situations, from multi-family and multi-generational to single occupant households.

    To this multi-foliate definition of household, a panel titled Micro Living, Big Design addressed the changing demographics of the urban core, in which 23% of households are the typical "nuclear family" while 28% are single and 17% are made up of mixed-family adults. 

    Sioux Make It Right

    Meanwhile, an organization called Make It Right (founded by Brad Pitt in the wake of Hurricane Katrina) exhibited its current project: a housing development for approximately 600 Sioux and Assiniboine tribe members in Ft. Peck, Montana (model pictured above).

    Designed to accommodate the social structure of the tribes, this isn't your typical designer-knows-best solution, but instead a careful assessment of the end users it will ultimately serve. 

    Dwell On Design 2014 Conference Floor

    Most telling of the fair's aspirations are how high it reaches vertically. With countless exhibitor booths reaching up to 30+ feet above the convention center floor, the annual Dwell on Design event appeared to be more robust than in years past.

    All in all, the more than 200 participating speakers and 400 exhibitors vigorously peddled left-of-Main-Street design, with everything from shiny new prefabs to sustainable, self-healing kitchen counters on view.

    But at its core, Dwell on Design 2014 was about something bigger than design as commodity. At its heart, this event was about design for better living.

    Images: Photography by Brent Turner

  • How To Style Kitchen Shelves

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    Kitchen Shelves

    Have you ever seen a kitchen shelf styled impeccably while browsing a magazine or website? Well, it’s possible for you to create an equally awesome kitchen! It just takes some editing.

    Most everyone has a few white dishes laying around. Start by displaying this in groupings or individually. After you’ve added those, start layering with other materials, such as wood or metal. Also, you can add other colors to provide character and a pop of fun.

    White Kitchen

    We see white, metal and wood all seamlessly flowing together in the image above. I also love how they added color with a flower and bottles.

    Brass wall lights would add some interesting lighting in this space.

    Open Shelving

    These shelves are flowing with natural elements. The combination of dishes create a laid back, modern approach to a once boring set of shelves. The splash of green is a great, unexpected detail.

    Kitchen Design Ideas

    For a simplistic look, try using only white, black and glass. And use each piece sparingly for a minimalist look. It also creates a clean backdrop for those who hate clutter and messes. It’s a beautiful thing!

    Images: Nicole FranzenJutePure Green MagDust Jacket

  • The Future of Lighting from Design Miami Basel

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    modern wall lighting

    Image from Dominic Harris via Artsy

    The future of lighting design is on show June 17-22, 2014, at the Design Miami fair in Basel. Walking through the exhibition, one can't help but notice how LED technology has revolutionized the industry with modern LED wall lights and so much more.

    Pictured above and below, you'll notice that wall lighting has evolved beyond its sconce-like torch holding roots to embody a more expansive concept of the wall-as-diffused-light-source.

    LED Wall Lights

    Image from Noe Duchaufour-Lawrance via Artsy

    Opposite such tech leanings, we've noticed that ceiling fixtures and LED desk lamps seem to be increasingly influenced by organic shapes, in a clear nod to the current movement toward the home as a naturally healthy environment. 

    Organic Lighting Design

    Image from Jeremy Wintrebert via Artsy

    Coral Shaped Lighting

    Image from Ayala Serfaty via Artsy

    Design Miami/Basel occurs twice a year (once in Miami, once in Basel) and exhibits the absolute cutting edge in home furnishings and lighting. Due to its avant-garde nature, much of what you'll find at the event has not reached modern lighting retailers, yet designs with technological and natural influences are already available to consumers:

    modern cloud pendant light

    Possini Euro White Cloud Triple Light Swag Chandelier

    modern led sconce

    Ledino Sail Chrome LED Sconce

    With all the new looks that we're seeing at Design Miami/Basel, consumers can expect more exciting developments in home lighting in the years to come. 

    Images: Artsy

  • Wishing For Stylish Seating

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    Stylish Seating

    Image from AD

    The classic style of the "wishbone" chair, originally designed by Hans Wagner in 1950, has proven to be a staple in many homes, especially the dining room. As modern seating is such an important element of any well designed room, it's important you know your options, even when it comes to classic styles.

    Modern Seating

    1. Wishbone Black Wood Dining Chair 2. Safavieh Bandelier Wood Armchair 3. Lausch Black Faux Leather Dining Chair

    There's many variations of the wishbone chair out there and as modern design enthusiast, we welcome them all! If you've been wishing for stylish seating, we have lots of options in addition to these above.

    Dining Room Design

    Image from The Everygirl

    Once you've selected seating, don't forget pretty lighting for above.... Swag shade chandeliers are a great option, as are the classic white pendants.

    Images: Architectural Digest, The Everygirl

  • How to Select Pendant Lighting Using Scale

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    Pendant Lighting

    Image from Quince With Sugar

    One of my favorite elements of design is scale, whether you're following the rules of proportion or totally ignoring them. I love how changing the scale of just one item can impact a whole room.

    For example, enlarging a love seat to a full sofa takes it from cute and petite to large and in charge. Or decreasing the size of a lazy boy to an ottoman refines your seating arrangements.

    Scale has so much power!

    Dining Room Style

    Image from Bloglovin

    For me, scale is always important, but it's especially critical when deciding on modern lighting options. A small chandelier in a huge space can be dwarfed or a large floor lamp in a hallway can be overwhelming. If you pay attention to the other elements in the room then you can narrow down your options.

    Here’s how I would select lighting based on scale.

    Pendant Lighting

    Design Tips

    1. Evaluate the space. Pay attention to the height of the ceiling, the width of the room, the other pieces of furniture in the space.

    2. What’s the general style of the room? Are the pieces in your home oversized? Small? Perhaps you’d prefer a larger pendant if everything else in the room is smaller or a small pendant if everything else is large.

    3. What are your needs? If you need lots of lighting, consider a diverse means of lighting. Or perhaps you just need a task lamp for a single function.

    4. The golden mean. A general rule of thumb is the “golden mean” or basically the 1/3 rule. It’s one you can break a lot, but at least it’s a good starting point.

    One of my favorite ways to add a bit of fun into a space with scale is to include mini pendant lamps, like these options above. They're cute and helpful!

    1. This amber glass pendant would be beautiful in a smaller room like a bathroom or laundry room.  
    2. This mercury glass pendant would be beautiful as a series of pendants lining a kitchen island.  
    3. This solid brushed steel pendant is perfect for a more industrial type space. 
    4. This nickel pendant lamp has a series of small bulbs that makes for loads of impact in a space.  
    5. This cute 7” steel and glass pendant is perfect for a cute accent mark in a space.

    Images: Quince With Sugar, Bloglovin

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