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modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas

  • Exposed Brick Walls Have the Best Personality!

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    Painted Brick Wall

    Exposed brick walls are something everyone loves to have in their lives. Just think about how warm and cozy they make you feel, the stories they tell, and how naturally beautiful they are in their raw form. They really do have the best personality and I've got proof.

    Industrial Kitchen with exposed concrete and brick walls  

    I would love to cook up some old world italian cuisine in this industrial kitchen and tell stories about our travels through Tuscany.

    Wooden Headboard and Bedroom with Exposed Brick Wall

    The guests can stay in this room curated with pieces from travels around the world.

    Danish Modern Living Room with Exposed Brick and Plaster Walls

    The brick reveals layers of history as it's exposed from beneath the plaster. The modern elements create a perfect juxtaposition. 

    Industrial Dining Room with Artichoke Light Exposed Ceiling Beams and Exposed Brick Wall

    Industrial dining at it's finest. It feels like a restaurant in the middle of your home! I love the contemporary chandelier design above the table.

    Boffi Living Room in Milan.  Exposed Brick Wall and Arched Windows 

    Round Window and Exposed Brick in Home Library

    Who wouldn't want to study in this library for hours and hours?! Oh the places you would go and things you would learn!

    CS Interiors Office in Loft with Exposed Bricks

    Working late hours in this office wouldn't seem like that big of a deal I don't suppose.  

    Exposed Brick Wall

    Moving into the garage couldn't be better!  

    Eclectic Living Room With White Painted Brick Walls

    Painted brick and cozy eclectic furniture truly make this room a conversation piece, with a modern pendant light above.  

    Painted Pink exposed Brick Wall Brooklyn Apartment

    When you want your brick to be more you...just paint it pink!

    Painted Light Blue Seafoam Green Brick Wall with Art

    Or seafoam green!

    At this current time my fascination is with white brick walls! And... I've found a product that would allow every single one of us to have a brick wall! There is a new product on the market called Panel Piedra that comes in approx. 3' x 4' panels that can easily be installed over any wall. My white brick wall would need to be surrounded by natural woods, steel, bright colors, bold patterns, and soft organic shapes. It would look a little something like this...

    Piquito Modern Black Pendant Light, Arteriors Home Linden Tripod Wood Floor Lamp, Modern Laguna Sahara Club Chair

    1. Piquito 11" High Black Mini Pendant Light  2. Arteriors Home Linden Tripod Wood Floor Lamp 3. Laguna Sahara Club Chair 4. Knibb Design Dining Table 5. Helen Frankenthaler  "Pranzo Italiano"  6. Panel Piedra Brick  7. Vintage Rug  8. Raw Wood Turntable

    Images: Concept Blanc, The Archivist,  Apartment Therapy, Desire to Inspire, YellowtraceConcrete and Dust, CS Interiors, Apartment Therapy Design Sponge, Decor8

  • Avenue Interior Design: A Study On Collaborative Design Pedigree

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    Interior design office

    Welcome to the workspace of Andrea DeRosa and Ashley Manhan, the two stylish interior designers behind Avenue Interior Design. Individually they have worked at some of the top international design firms, but in 2009 they decided to join forces and build a design firm known for luxury interiors, attention to detail and on-trend style.

    I sat down with the ladies of Avenue and we talked about their design upbringing, how they came together and what inspires them. They even gave us some great modern lighting ideas, which is often times one of the hardest stages in a design project. Here's how our conversation went.

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

    Andrea:  My love of design started with a love of clothes, accessories and fashion in general. I was dressing myself by age six and soon after I started ‘borrowing’ my mom’s accessories….  Eventually this evolved into a love of (what I would later understand to be) interior design.

    Ashley:  My love for design definitely stemmed from my creative parents. My dad is a set decorator and my mom is a costumer for motion pictures, so I grew up on movie sets, watching creative visions come to life for the big screen. Its hard to not fall in love with design when that’s your childhood.

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

    Andrea:  I studied interior design at UW-Madison and my first design internship was at a firm specializing in (residential) kitchen and bathroom design and eventually I interned at a high end, full service residential design firm for a number of years. Once I moved to LA, I did a brief stint at a couple hospitality firms before landing at Dougall Design Associates in Pasadena.

    Ashley: I had always taken art classes growing up and focused on painting and design in high school and college. It was always a goal of mine to get into the field of design as quickly as possible, so I started interning for a hospitality design firm during the day while doing the UCLA interiors program at night. From there I fell in love with designing hotels and worked at Cheryl Rowley Design and finally SBE.

    Cori:  How did you meet?

    Andrea/Ashley:   We met at a design firm in Santa Monica back in early 2006.

    Portrait photography at the beach

    Cori: What triggered the desire to start your own firm?

    Andrea/Ashley:   We've both always been interested in having our own firms - something I quickly realized most people don’t want!  When the economy slowed and our industry took a dive, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make the leap. We didn't have too much to lose at that point, so we thought we might as well start building our own brand.

    Cori:  Where do you find inspiration?

    Andrea/Ashley:  Fashion continues to be a huge source of inspiration for us. We find inspiration in it all - current and past collections. Historical places and travel in general are also huge sources of inspiration.

    Cori:  Avenue's list of completed projects is an exciting range, which was your favorite (hotel, nightclub, office space, restaurant) and why?

    Andrea/Ashley:  That’s so hard! We’re fortunate our portfolio showcases so many styles. Borgata is a great client who often gives us creative carte blanche and we love the VIP dining lounge. The Society Club, that we designed for them (opened in June of last year). The Sayer’s Club, a nightclub we designed with SBE here in LA, was also really fun and it has a completely different feel.

    Cori: Your current projects are in different locations (like New York for example), since you guys are based in Venice, California how do you balance travel, work and the creative process?

    Andrea/Ashley:  Last year was an insane year. We were traveling, on average, one week per month. At the time, the majority of our clients were based in Atlantic City or Manhattan so it worked out well. Constant access to the internet really allowed us to continue work as usual. The creative process is always interesting... you really have to nurture that aspect of the business. It’s so easy to get tied down to the administrative aspects of the job. Luckily, staying creative is the part of the job that comes most naturally.

    Interior design office materials

    Cori:  Can you tell me a little about your super cool I Heart Design blog?

    Andrea/Ashley:  I Heart Design is a bit of a blog/designer resource hybrid where we really make home furniture, accessories and lighting the focus of the site. Through IHD we're providing an accessible and immediate service based on our background as design professionals. It starts with an inspiration image, typically a picture of an interior or a mood/fashion image, identify the core elements that make that image intriguing like color, texture, pattern and scale, and select furnishings around that image/mood to create a unique room. Our marketplace acts as a basic search engine where you can view everything we've ever posted (don’t blame us if it’s no longer available. Just click on a piece you like and we directly route you to a retailer's site so you can view the product details and purchase the pieces instantly.

    Cori:  Now for some design insight. For each project, at what stage do you select lighting?

    Andrea/Ashley:  Along with the other furnishings, the lighting for a project is selected in the beginning after we establish the client’s programming needs. Lighting can be so dynamic and such a focal feature, it sometimes sets the mood for the entire space.

    Cori:  What are a couple of your favorites from Eurostyle Lighting?

    Andrea:  The Vienna Manhattan Wall Sconce from Eurostyle is such a little gem of a piece with just the right amount of glamour.

    Chrome wall sconce


    Vienna Full Spectrum Manhattan Wall Sconce

    Andrea:  We designed a fixture similar to this Crystal Cloud Suspension Halogen Chandelier, but much larger in scale for one of our projects. Suspension fixtures like this are stunning and have a little bit of a magical feel to them.

    Crystal chandelier

    Crystal Cloud Suspension Halogen Chandelier

    Ashely: The brass and wood accents make this fixture feel very upscale and stylized. We love the mid-century modern feel.

    Modern glam sconce

    Jonathan Adler Ventana Brass Wall Lamp

    Ashley: The classic industrial style of this pendant is perfect for any office space or kitchen.

    Industrial modern pendant light

    Hudson Valley Haverhill Polished Nickel Pendant

    Stay tuned for Part II of this interview where we'll take a look at some of Avenue's wide range of fun projects.

    Image credit: Avenue Interior Design

  • Palihotel Interior Design Has Creative Appeal

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    Palihotel Reception Desk

    The Palihotel in Los Angeles is an ideally located urban hotel designed especially to appeal to creative travelers of all ages. Located in the heart of the Melrose Ave. Shopping District in Los Angeles making this the perfect place for the urban traveler to stay. It is also the first boutique hotel to open in this famous area and is sure to become a popular destination to both anyone visiting LA as well as for the locals.

    Hotel lobby eclectic chairs cork walls teal velvet curtains black windows

    It has the sweet neighborhood charm, like you're walking into a friends house or a local cafe. It's a place you want to be, sit, and stay. The lobby walls are wrapped in cork with deep teal velvet curtains. The rich colors in the vintage oil paintings, the black and white photography, the unique mix of leathers and soft floral fabrics mix with the solid wood reception desk to create layers and layers of stories. You want to touch and feel and be part of this story just upon entering into the space.

    Hotel cafe white cafe table leather banquette glazed blue ceramic brick tiles

     Palikitchen white cafe table communal table glazed blue ceramic brick tiles

    PaliKitchen is an easy approachable "local" cafe located right off the lobby and also has convenient street access. The communal style dining area gives you that community feel, like a neighborhood cafe that's been here forever. The green and white hexagon flooring is visually stunning and creates some real positive upbeat energy in this space. The light blue-ish green glazed ceramic tiles cover all the walls and are a great contrast to the natural wood chairs and warm leathers.

    Coffee bar check out counter general store with industrial shelf industrial lighting

    The interior design makes you feel like you're ordering your artisan coffees, fine teas, and comfort food straight from the counter at a local main street general store. The industrial pendant lights glow softly on the matching steel countertops. This is the place where hotel guests can mingle with the locals without leaving the hotel. And the locals can mingle with the guests without ever feeling like they are in a hotel. The creative freedom and unconventional vibe make this a dining and gathering point one you'll be sure to come back to over and over again.

    urban hotel room wool blankets screenprinted pillows cafe desk chair cork walls

    The rooms and the lobby are very cohesive in aesthetic. The materials of the lobby are repeated in the rooms to give you a warm, inviting, and relaxing space that feels very lived in. It's not overdone, overstyled, or overdesigned. It's like a perfect guest room in an urban country home that you might have a hard time leaving. But there's so much to do on these streets that there's no way you could really stay inside for long!

     scissor arm wall sconce cork wall velvet headboard wool blanket

    The scissor arm sconce and the industrial stool in the guest rooms looks amazing against the cork wall.

     architecture reclaimed wood wall cladding green lights

    With an exterior clad in reclaimed wood with bright green lights, you definitely won't miss it when you drive by. So when you're in LA whether you're coming to stay or just driving by be sure to stop in and say hi. Grab a coffee, do some work, or read a book. This is the perfect spot for the modern urban explorer. It has everything you need and nothing you don't.

    Images: Palihotel

  • Concrete Living In An Urban World

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    Concrete home art photo

    Using concrete in your home will not only add aesthetic interest, but will also slash heating and cooling costs plus help preserve the environment. Concrete homes are durable, cost effective and super stylish.

    This concrete living room above balances both colors and materials well. The concrete provides a clean slate for the modern furniture and stylish home decor accessories, allowing this framed art to really pop. The sofa, area rug and pillow poufs add beautiful soft textures to this hard surfaced interior.

    Modern concrete home

    In the same way that concrete allows the interior decor to stand out, it also helps the surrounding landscape seem even brighter and more bountiful. While allowing the environment to be noticed, it is simultaneously helping to preserve it by allowing a more efficient lifestyle.

    Concrete home with colorful furnishings

    The design of this eclectically modern living room uses the surrounding concrete materials to its advantage, highlighting all of the gorgeous texture and color. The soft eggplant upholstery and jewel tone area rug stand out beautifully against the soft gray floor and walls. Handsome brass floor lamps, like the one seen above, provide another smart contrast while the lamp shade and coffee table add a pop of white.

    Modern concrete home with colorful door

    There's no reason the cool tones of steel, concrete and glass can't be warmed up on the exterior just like we've seen it done on the inside. This bright orange door adds both personality and warmth to this impressive modern home.

    Concrete walls with wood furniture

    One of the major benefits to concrete homes is the ability to furnish with lots of wood. In a typical hardwood-floor home, you might want to monitor how many furniture pieces or accessories are made out of wood, but not here. Go ahead and express your love for this natural material in all color tones and sizes.

    Whether you're a modernist at heart or you just enjoy clean design, concrete is a gorgeous material to use both inside and out.

    Image credit: Miss Design, Fresh Home, Analog Dialog, Trend Design Interior, Arent & Pyke   

  • Container Architecture: Popping Up in Your Neighborhood Soon

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    Container Architecture Retail Pop-Up Mall Boxpark

    So many goods are transported via container daily and these containers have shelf life just like everything else. After about 10 uses they can no longer be used and they end up piling up at ports all over. The use of shipping containers for construction is a brilliant idea. Although it is not the newest idea out there, innovative uses are popping up everyday and are taking the world by storm. Whether it be an entire shipping container mall with pop up retails shops, a restaurant opening up in Times Square, or hotel rooms inside a large warehouse. The simple construction allows these retail stores to pop up on almost any vacant urban lot for any amount of time. They are also continuing to be integrated into interiors of modern industrial spaces to reduce the construction costs, bring efficiency, and affordability to innovative green buildings. 

    Retail Pop-Up Mall and Boxpark

    Boxpark Shoreditch, said to be the world's first pop-up mall is constructed entirely out of recycled containers. 61 containers are combined to create a multi-level structure with spaces for both shopping and relaxing. This idea is wonderful for small businesses that cannot afford long leases and want to take an innovative approach into the market. Look for many more of these structures to be making an appearance in your neighborhood  in the very near future!

    Shipping Container Conference Room in Hotel Lobby.

    Shipping Container Conference Room

    25hours Hotel Hafencity in Hamburg, designed by Stephen Williams Associates, has used a shipping container in the lobby to enclose the conference center just off the main lobby. As you enter you feel like you're about to go on an adventure in a shipping warehouse beside the harbor in Hamburg. Everything from the plywood box desk, the industrial luggage trolleys, and industrial lighting make this destination a true adventure.

    Pop Up Restaurant Container Architecture Time Square Snackbox

    Pop-Up Restaurant Container Architecture

    Snackbox Pop-Up Restaurant

    Snack Box, designed by Aedifica, takes the food truck off its wheels and stations it in one the most iconic spots in the world. It is an entirely self-sufficient structure and after a long day in Times Square it can easily be closed up and moved on. The visual identity and branding allow the structure to have a bold presence in this saturated environment.   This is a true innovation for container architecture and usage in an urban setting.

    Shipping Container in Industrial Loft Space Guest Bedroom

    When this travel and art obsessed San Francisco couple bought the 3,200 square foot former Chinese laundry and tooth powder factory they knew that had to do something incredible with it. How do we create volumes and rooms in this space without breaking it up into individual spaces and blocking the natural light that shines through the unit? Shipping Containers....of course!

    Industrial Loft Space Guest Bedroom

    The original idea for the guest room in the middle of the space was a railroad car, but the shipping container quickly became the answer! Copper piping, industrial sconces, and teak accents evoke the utilitarian feel of the cargo. Everything about this space is perfect to me!  

    Reclamation Drive-Thru Starbucks Container Stores

    Even Starbucks has tapped into the container market. The Reclamation Drive-Thru container coffee shop is part of Starbucks new branding strategy to encourage green building, reduce operating costs, and continue to stay innovative in their approach to environmental design in retail. I like the direction that they are going.

    Images: Boxpark,  25hour Hotels, Design-Hotels, Arthitectural, Dwell, Business Insider

March, 2012