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modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas

  • Nest Studio: Where Design & Products Merge

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    Modern hardware by Nest Studio

    Allow me to introduce you to the new modern hardware line by Nest Studio. The sleek materials used for this line include nickel, brass and lucite. The designer behind this super chic product is Jessica Davis, an Interior Designer by trade, but she is also a blogger, product designer and mother. I had the opportunity to sit down with Jessica and talk about everything from her new line, to being a mom and where she gets her inspiration.

    Cori:  When and how did you fall in love with design?

    Jessica:  I’ve always been a design geek. When I was a kid I would make my parents buy those home design plan magazines and I would study all the plans in great detail. In middle school, when we lived in Dallas, I did a series of backyard landscape design plans and actually sent them in to Southern Living in the hopes they would give us a backyard makeover.  No dice, but the editor was kind enough to write me back and encourage me to go to design school.

    Cori:  What is your design background… school, first design jobs, etc.

    Jessica:  I majored in Art History in college but I focused my studies and wrote my thesis on architectural history and specifically contemporary urban planning and residential design. From there I went on to work for Bob Vila’s Home Again on the production side. I was exposed to so many great products and construction methods while working at BVTV. After that I decided I wanted to be on the design end and went back to school at the New England School of Art & Design for my Masters in Interior Design. Since then I’ve worked for Wilson Associates in Dallas, New York, and Los Angeles designing hospitality projects around the globe.

    Modern hardware pulls and Nest Studio

    Cori:  What triggered the desire to start your own product line?

    Jessica:  I guess I was getting a little tired of working on projects that were far away and that never really materialized into my vision (one of the bi-products of the economic downturn and ending up doing so much work overseas).  I wanted something that was uniquely my own and that I would have complete control over. Also, I saw a need in the market. Bedding was my first foray into product design, but I realize now that it’s really hard to compete with the West Elms and Dwell Studios of the world. Soft goods are a little like fashion where trends can change at the drop of a hat. Hardware on the other hand is more permanent, possibly because it requires more investment to produce and more technical knowledge to create. I felt that there was a niche waiting to be tapped in the residential hardware world and I had the unique set of skills to be able to do it.

    Cori:  Where do you find your inspiration?

    Jessica:  Pretty much everywhere in the urban landscape. I guess I’m more of the kind of person who draws inspiration from looking at man-made things more so than nature. A clasp on a watch or a bag might inspire some piece of hardware or lighting. For example, one of my new pieces was inspired by the grab bars on subways, buses and the joinery you see on them.

    Robert Vega photography

    Cori: How do you balance interior design projects, product design, managing your blog and being a mom/wife?

    Jessica: Ha! Whenever people ask me this I have to laugh. I have a lot of plates spinning and sometimes I feel like they are all going to crash down around me. Things are definitely moving slower because there is a little one at home now. There are blog posts I wish I had time to write, hardware promotion I wish I had time to do, new products I wish I had time to sit down and sketch. I just try to fit it in where I can and not stress too much if it doesn't get done or if it isn't perfect.

    Stay tuned for Part II of this interview where we'll take a look at some of Jessica's interior design projects and she'll show us a couple of her favorite modern light fixtures.

    Thanks Jessica!

    Images: Inlight, Robert Vega

  • Barbara Bestor Shakes Up the Design at Pitfire Pizza

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    Bright Red Steel Brick Oven and Yellow Powder Coated Barstools

    Barbara Bestor has always been one of my favorite Los Angeles Architects and she proves herself to me once again. If someone was going to successfully transform this old concrete-box Shakey's Pizza surrounded by an asphalt parking lot into a fun and modern hangout, who else would it be? Well, Bestor Architecture did just that for Pitfire Pizza in this Culver City location. The space was completely stripped down to it's bones to reveal the industrial elements of the space and fully opened it up to the exterior. The results... an incredible light filled space with artisan elements as delicious as the pizza and elements of pop as playful as the price!

    Red Brick Oven Pizza Douglas Fir Tables Exposed Beams

    Bestor was inspired by Lina Bo Bardi as she created this bright red steel brick oven. This bold statement truly defines what the space is all about. The marine plywood walls and douglas fir tables keep with the natural aesthetic of the brand while the bold accent colors of the powder coated barstools (designed by the firm) really show it's all in the details. Bright yellow furniture and lighting accents pop throughout the space. 

    Vintage Chairs Douglas Fir Table Concrete Bench with plywood Back pendant lights with exposed bulbs

    The Douglas Fir Table and espresso finish vintage modern dining chairs stand out as the silver vinyl cushion disappears into the concrete bench. The exposed bulb lighting fixtures hang simply throughout the space to create a nice elegant glow.

    Exposed Ceiling Bold window graphics douglas fir tables vintage chairs

    The space now fully opens to the landscaped patio. The natural light floods the space and the interior lighting only needs to be turned on in the evening.  

    Open Kitchen Plan Red Steel Brick Oven Pizza Exposed Ceiling and Powder Coated Bar Stools

    The open interior plan provides a very easy-going atmosphere suitable for family and large groups.  

    Bright Yellow "Yes" Graphics Bright Red Brick Graphic

    The exterior has been stripped down and she has created a play on the existing concrete block. "A bold graphic move sets the atmosphere and allows you to be fairly minimalist with the rest of it," she says. 

    Bold Graphic Extra large Brick Pattern Modern Architecture

    I'm definitely going to say "YES" next time I drive by! 

    Images: Bestor Architecture

  • Hospitality Design Spotlight: The Saguaro Palm Springs

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    Modern hotel in Palm Springs

    Take one franchise hotel with an outdated design, add some colorful paint, a little branding and voila... a super cool weekend getaway destination! The Saguaro hotel, located in South Palm Springs on East Palm Canyon, just recently opened in February 2012. Saguaro means large cactus in Spanish and there is no question that the design of this hotel fully utilized the Latin love for color.

    Modern hotel guestroom

    The design of their typical guestroom uses just as much color as the exterior. The green apple furniture against a yellow wall is risky no doubt, but the right shades of each color makes for a fun outcome. Streamlined furniture and modern desk lamps are a nice contrast to the basket woven dinette set in the far corner. 

    Modern hotel patio furnture

    The restaurant design of Tinto is just as cool as the rest of the hotel, but rather than lots of color, they took a more natural approach. Featuring modern pendant lighting and lots of wooded furniture, this outdoor patio has a very easy and relaxing vibe, perfect for heading to the pool after a bite to eat.

    Modern hotel restaurant patio

    The transition to the interior of the restaurant maintains that modern yet natural aesthetic. This wine bar and restaurant is inspired by the culinary-renowned Basque region of Northern Spain and Southern France.

    Modern hotel wine bar and restaurant

    Whether you are from nearby Los Angeles or live farther way, this desert retreat, busting with color, is sure to leave you invigorated and full of energy, ready to face the daily grind.

    Images: The Saguaro

  • The Future of the Kitchen Island

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    Automatic Wood Kitchen Island Top

    Next week I will be off to Milan for EuroCucina 2012 and will be drooling over all of the latest and greatest in the kitchen world. I keep asking myself what's next? What am I expecting? What do I want to see? Besides the new finishes and door styles I'm really looking forward to the technology and sculptural elements of the kitchen. I have a feeling I will see a lot of this happening in the kitchen island. The kitchen island in many open plan kitchens is an entire workstation in itself that needs to be beautiful in aesthetic and function like a machine.   

    Automatic Wood Kitchen Island Top and Exposed Bulb Pendant Lights

    This sliding top by Minimal is a perfect solution for the functional and modern island. This wood slab top slides forward to reveal an induction cooktop and a Corian counter with integrated sink. As it slides out it creates the perfect seating/workstation combination, but when it closes it's a beautiful linear block concealing all the functional aspects of the modern kitchen. The kitchen above is a great example of how island pendant lighting can take the center stage in a minimal space. I'm really looking forward to seeing a lot more mechanical devices integrated into island tops in 2012.

    T-Shaped Kitchen Island with floating cabinets

    This stainless steel workstation by Toyo Kitchen stands on its own quite nicely. The sculptural and functional elements unite in such a way that create a very powerful and elegant presence. All the plumbing and electrical is hidden with the central stainless steel column which allows the cabinetry to float through the space. The INO Leone line is a work of art. I'm looking forward to seeing some beautiful sculptural elements in the kitchen.

    Samsung Galaxy Tablet integrated into sleek black countertop

    Modern Kitchen Island and Samsung Galaxy Tablet integrated into sleek black countertop

    This futuristic kitchen from Toncelli takes user experience to an entirely different level. This sleek countertop features a sliding cutting board and built in Samsung Galaxy Tablet for this technologically advanced world. I'm looking forward to seeing some really smart kitchens.

    Modern Kitchen with Table cooking areas composte

    Modern Kitchen with 4 workstations: compost/harvest, preparing, cooking, and eating

    The Rehilete Kitchen designed by Agent for Mabe appliances explores the kitchen in an entirely new way. It's based on the understanding of using the kitchen as a cycle. Agent’s concept contains 4 stations (or “wings”), which are intended to have dedicated functions, as part of the kitchen cycle: compost/harvest, preparing, cooking, and eating. It allows the architect to envision the space in an entirely new way by truly designing from the inside out and beyond the use of walls. The wood dining table and white dining chairs truly soften up the composition to create a soft contrast and functional surface against the stainless steel and Corian tops. Who doesn't want a kitchen with everything at their fingertips? I'm looking forward to seeing some very thoughtful kitchens in 2012!

    I can't wait to share all the treasures from Milan with you in the next couple weeks!  

    Images: Trendir,  MocolocoAgent

  • Avant-Garde Art in the Home

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    Polka dot installation art

    For most of us, art plays a central role in our homes. It speaks to our interests, our ideals, and in a very visceral way, to the core of who we are. And yet, as much as we might love a Jeff Koons balloon dog or a Damien Hirst stuffed shark at the museum, how many of us are game for bringing the truly avant-garde into our homes?

    For serious art collectors, art rules the home. Some see their homes overrun by their collections. Others build homes specifically with their art collections in mind. Some will actually see their homes become the art itself, as in the image above, in which artist Yayoi Kusama transformed a home in Australia with polka dot stickers...to the children's delight of course.

    The Sapphire Gallery in Los Angeles was designed as a home addition by XTEN Architecture to house the owner's art collection. Mixed in with the artwork is a tasteful blend of furniture and contemporary lighting fixtures.

    Contemporary art in the home

    Contemporary art galleries benefit from clutter-free interiors when they show new work. Real life doesn't always allow for that, however. When their son outgrew his childhood toys, Manhattan Beach collectors Homeira and Arnold Goldstein commissioned artist Simon Ouwerkerk to build a sculpture out of them to be hung from the ceiling. You'll notice that recessed lighting is used discreetly throughout the home to showcase the rest of their extensive art collection.

    Toy sculptures

    Maybe you want to commission the artist for your clutter too? Here's a detail shot of Ouwerkerk's work recently at Garboushian Gallery in Beverly Hills.

    Toy art installation

    New York gallery owner Paige West's Tribeca home is a stunning testament to her profession. Contemporary art pieces, fresh colors and interesting wall treatments combine well to make a pretty good case for living with the art she sells.

    Art in the home

    We may not all have the means to erect temples to house our contemporary art collections (nor the means to amass a substantial art collection), but I'd like to think it's possible to look beyond purely decorative art and instead collect and display the art you really love - no matter how avant-garde it is - in even the most traditional interiors. As long as you love the piece, you'll want to live with it, right? So the saying goes anyway.

    Images: Freshness Mag, FreshomeLos Angeles Times, Garboushian GalleryThe Cool Hunter

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