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  • Stunning Modern Designs From Emerging Architects

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    Modern residential architecture

     Modern residential interior archtecture

    SsD Architecture / Braver House in Newton, Massachusetts

    Jinhee Park and John Hong of SsD Architecture develop their designs by exploring aspects of architecture, landscape, history, and social systems taking an interdisciplinary approach to design. One of their completed projects is Braver house in Newton, Massachusetts (above). Their goal with this project was to create a small, efficient residence that minimizes its actual footprint, while at the same time maximizing the perceived sense of interior space through smart design. In addition to the architecture, minimal furniture and home decor accessories help keep the interiors simple and open.

    Modern architecture design

    Arquitectura 911sc / Social Housing Project in Mexico City, Mexico

    Arquitectura 911sc / Performing Arts Center in Guadalajara, Mexico

    Jose Castillo and Saidee Springall from Arquitectura 911sc strive for a “dual commitment to an architecture that connects the physical with the social and architecture that is grounded and informed by the city.” Recently completed projects include a low-income housing development (above), bookstores, offices, and commercial spaces in Mexico City. Their social housing project is a successful case study to prove that urban, high density housing sells faster than traditional housing projects. The firm's Performing Arts Center in Guadalajara (second image above) is currently under construction. With this project, they hope to create an environment where the interiors interact with the exterior. 

    Jinhee Park, John Hong, Jose Castillo and Saidee Springall are four out of a handful of winners of the 2012 "Emerging Voices" award from The Architectural League.

    Modern residential architecture rendering

    Modern architecture section perspective images

    Yonatan Pressman and Courtney Benzon / Habitat for Humanity Student Project Winner

    Two very young architects who no doubt have big futures are Yonatan Pressman and Courtney Benzon, both graduate architecture students from Rice University. They designed an award winning house (above) that Habitat for Humanity selected to build. The house, set to be built in Spring of 2012 will use prefabricated roof trusses to speed and simplify construction. Yonatan Pressman comments on the inverting of the roof trusses, “It allowed us to give the house a distinct aesthetic presence and create dynamic spaces full of natural light.”

    Be sure to follow all of these emerging architects, both locally and abroad. It is so inspiring to witness their extraordinary creativity and dedication.

    Images: SsD Architecture, Arquitectura 911scInternational Business Times

  • The Allure of Cranberry Red: Hot Color in Architecture and Design

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    Cranberry Red Light Fixtures and Home Decor

    Products (from left to right): Artemis High Pure Red Ceiling Fan, Jonathan Adler Capri Red Accent Lamp, Sao Paulo Ribbed Metallic Red Round Wall Mirror, Lights Up! Woody Pickled Red Dupioni Silk Shade Floor Lamp, Set of 4 Zuo Juju Red Outdoor Dining Chairs

    The allure of cranberry red can be coughed up to its association with excitement. Red is daring, bold, and just plain fun. My favorite use of red in interiors is when it is used as a stand alone color against a very neutral or white background (as shown in the bathroom picture below). Cranberry red also mixes well with other colors such as teals, violets, and light yellows. If you want to just dip your toe in the red color scheme, go for red light fixtures and home decor versus painting an entire wall.

    The bright red ceiling fan would look awesome over a modern bed. The red table lamp adds a pop of color and excitement to living room decor. I would love to see the Sao Paulo metallic red mirror used over a side table in an entryway. I have major tripod floor lamp envy and would die to purchase the red floor lamp for my home office. Jazz up your outdoor dining experience with bright red dining chairs. Which cranberry red home accent are you craving?

    Red Bathtub and Minimalist Bathroom Design

    Image: housetohome

  • Lighting for a More Livable City

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    Vancouver Skyline at Night

    Exactly what makes a city "livable" and what can you do to help your own?

    Annual surveys, such as those conducted by The Economist, Mercer and Monocle, look at a range of criteria from infrastructure to environment, culture to climate, to determine the most liveable cities in the world. Each year, the perennial front-runners - cities like Melbourne, Helsinki, Honolulu, and Vancouver (pictured above) eagerly await the results, while other vibrant yet perennially congested places such as Los Angeles and Houston seek ways to slice, dice and spin their lower livabilty metrics.

    Obviously, building a new subway system or converting 400 acres of prime downtown real estate into public parkland is out of the question for most of us, but there is one low-cost, high-impact area in which anyone can enhance their surroundings: lighting.

    A 2009 design guide by the City of Los Angeles' Urban Design Studio recommends that new and old urban developments "develop a system or family of lighting with layers that contribute to the night-time experience, including facade uplighting, sign and display window illumination, landscape, and streetscape lighting...of a character and scale that relates to the pedestrian and highlights special landscape features."

    Urban lighting design

    Any photographer will tell you that a beautiful picture begins with good light and clearly the same is true for cities. Done well, modern outdoor lighting can enhance a business or residence by adding depth and vitality to your surroundings.

    Modern outdoor light

    Matte Silver Outdoor LED Up and Down Wall Light

    Classically inspired lighting fixtures can restore a sense of provenance to historic properties, exposing long-forgotten architectural details, and even evoking the contemporary interiors within.

    Biscuit Lofts, downtown Los Angeles

    Outdoor lighting and Mission Style Outdoor Light

    Mission Hills Textured Black Outdoor Wall Light

    Enhancing sidewalk appeal is one thing. However, by increasing pedestrian visibility and reducing crime, well-executed outdoor lighting is critical for the positive effect it has on the most important livability index of them all: safety.

    Images: National Geographic, Design Intelligence, House Design Decorating, LA Condo Domain

  • Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Green Apple Lights and Decor

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    Green Home Decor and Green Light Fixtures

    (Products (left to right): Vivid Green Stripes Giclee Pendant Chandelier, George Kovacs Apple Green Glass Pendant Light, Lite Source Kito Green Table Lamp, Zuo Tickle Green Adjustable Height Bar or Counter Stool, Zuo Set of 4 Trafico Side Green Chair, Zuo Lider Plus Green Office Chair, Set of Two Green S Chairs, Set of 6 Zuo Marzipan Green Chairs)

    Even though St. Patrick's Day is not a bank holiday in the United States (sure wish it was), I still like to get in the spirit and sport green in my home. Green apple is such a fun color for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or just about any time of the year. Its bright color commands attention in any space and mixes well with neutrals such as gray. Want to bring a little Miami flair into your home, the green apple decor can add just the right amount of style.

    Green apple hues are great as a accent or if you want to go bold try using the color in a big way! The bright green chairs would look fantastic around a white outdoor table to spice up your outdoor design. I love the pendant lights over a kitchen island. The green desk chair is also a really fun accent for a home office or bring it to work and be unique. What is your favorite green apple furnishing or light fixture?

    Green Accents and Green Interiors

    Images: Coastal Living, Honestly...WTF, Desire to Inspire

  • Coastal Cool: Create Your Modern Beach Home

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    Contemporary coastal elements and modern beach home

    If you have ever longed for the coastal aesthetic in your home because of its casual sensibility and natural energy, but you were afraid that your modern heart may get hurt, you should know that you can have both and create a modern beach home. No matter what decor style you may want or even a combination of more than one, there are certain steps you need to follow and guidelines to work with. Once you have a simple understanding of these, you can achieve any look you want for you home, even coastal-chic.

    Notice in the "mood" board above, not only are the furniture and accessory items important, but there is also a color theme. The color palette is pastel: blue, pink, mint, yellow and gray. Whether you are redesigning your home or creating your look from scratch, your first step should be colors. From your color concept you can begin to select furniture and accessories.

    Contemporary coastal furniture

    Start with the larger pieces of the room and work around them, so try to select the sofa and main seating area first. Coastal furniture is typically fresh, oversized and comfortable. The fabrics are usually simple, seen mostly in pale colors, all-white or stripes. Slip covers are also a big trend in coastal design. Typically, modern furniture is not oversized and is usually not comfy. When combining styles like modern and coastal, all you need to do is strike a balance between the two. Make sure the structure of the furniture is modern so try to shop for a comfortable sofa, but one that has straighter lines in the arms, back and feet.

    Coastal chic wall decor and window treatment

    Now, onto windows and accessories. When selecting your window treatment, make sure to keep it light and easy. The last thing you want is heavy drapery covering up a spectacular seaside view. Also notice the wall accessory in the image above. This beautiful mirror is fresh, modern and even resembles the sun. It's perfect for maintaining a style goal without making this home too thematic. Selecting both colors and natural materials that mimic the environment will help you create your beach home.

    Contemporary coastal accessories

    This buffet is whitewashed and antiqued, but notice the lines of the furniture are what keep it modern. The soft gray tone works perfectly with the wood paneling throughout this house. Keep you accessories fresh, like the white vase and delicate light fixture. Similar to most modern homes, minimal and open will help you achieve the coastal look you want.

    Contemporary coastal accessories and window treatments

    This bedroom is simple and comfortable with modern furniture selections as well as typical beachy accessories. Stripe is a popular beach home pattern so try to incorporate it either in the furniture or area rugs. The window covering is just enough to block out some of the light so you can sleep, but not too much so you forget where you are. Lastly, the pale blue walls and fluffy white bedding resemble the ocean.

    Contemporary coastal colors

    This room does a great job of tying it all together. Modern, yet comfortable furniture featured in pastel colors set against natural wood tones. The accessories and window treatments are light and simple. This space is perfect for lounging and taking in the seaside views.

    Don't be afraid to try a combination of styles in your home, there are never any set rules keeping you from enjoying more than one at a time. So follow your modern heart to the beach and create your own personal oasis.

    Images: House Beautiful

March, 2012