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  • Get the Look: Modern Kitchen Pendant Lighting

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    Modern kitchen lighting and black pendants

    Designing your kitchen, like any room of the home, is fun because you're creating your own personal environment. However, the most fun element of the kitchen design is the lighting because it's like the jewelery to a great outfit. It's the beautiful accessory to this functional space. To keep the space modern, pendant lighting is the way to go.

    There's many different types of modern pendants that will help you achieve a great look for your stylish space. The kitchen above uses a really fun mix of materials to balance out the wood and brick, the bold black drum shade pendants make a great addition. Also, a bold stripe could look amazing in this space.

    Modern pendant lighting

    Mini Mullberry Black Tech Pendant Light

    Modern pendant lighting

    Bold Black Stripe Pendant Light

    This kitchen below is much different than the first one. Here, the lighting is understated but stylistically just as effective. The barely-there glass pendants give the kitchen a whimsical yet modern feel while keeping it open and fresh.

    Modern kitchen lighting and glass pendants

    Modern pendant lighting and Clear Satin Nickel Pendant

    LBL Isla Clear Satin Nickel Pendant

    Modern pendant lighting and Clear Glass PendantJaime Young St. Charles Clear Glass Pendant

    You also have the option of allowing your lighting to become a statement piece, making it more art than a light fixture. This type of pendant is always fun to shop for since your goal should be to find the one with the most personality.

    Modern kitchen lighting and white kitchen

    Modern pendant lighting and White Flower Pendant Light

    Possini Euro Design White Flower Pendant Light

    Modern pendant lighting and White Cloud Pendant Light

    Possini White Cloud Pendant Light

    Have fun selecting your kitchen lighting while keeping function, scale and style in mind. You're sure to create the look you want for your modern kitchen with any number of different pendant lighting styles out there.

    Images: Plastolux, Cococozy, SF Gate

  • 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

  • Hardwood Floors In the Kitchen

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    Taupe Laquer Kitchen with Walnut Floors

    Hardwood flooring in the kitchen is a timeless choice that allows your flooring to remain consistent throughout your house. The days of switching up flooring in each room is pretty much over. Hardwood floors have many benefits; one of the most important is that it is more comfortable under foot versus tile, more natural than vinyl, and more neutral than cork. Many modern kitchens are designed with an open plan and appear more furniture-like in aesthetic, so a seamless integration into the rest of the house is key. Often times people wonder about the durability of hardwood floors in the kitchen, but there is nothing to worry about here.  

    White Glass Kitchen with Stainless Steel and black countertop with raw wood island and white tufted door

    A natural oiled engineered floor like this Vernal White Oiled floor from DuChateau neutralizes the modern elements of the glass and stainless steel in this kitchen. It also does a great job of grounding the contrasting the raw wood island and a modern chrome chandelier and allows these eclectic elements to work together.

    White laquer kitchen with dark blue glass uppers  White countertop barstools and pendant lights.  Natural oiled wood flooring.

    Your basic white lacquer kitchen with contrasting upper cabinets is warmed up with natural oak flooring. White pendant lights and white barstools remain sculptural, but neutral in the space as it opens up to the lush landscaping of the exterior to provides you with a real organic feel in this modern space.

    Dark Oak Cabinetry with matte laquer cabinets with integrated sinks.  Natural oiled wood flooring

    The contrast of the dark wood and matte lacquer cabinetry, white countertops, and fine sawn white oak flooring is a gorgeous combination. The element of natural wood in kitchens and clean modern interiors is key to creating life and warmth.   

    Modern Walnut Kitchen Island mixed with white cabinetry with walnut details.  Rustic Oak Flooring in open floorplan kitchen and dining.

    I love this look here. A kitchen with clean modern lines, marble countertops, and simple door hardware mixed with rustic oak flooring which really sets the stage for the room. The choice of flooring is really a key element of design in any space. This room could have taken on many different looks, but this use of a rustic oak floor provides you with a contemporary yet rustic atmosphere that makes me feel as if you are in a beautiful wine country.  

    Images: See Materials, Yolksy, Tamizo, Architectural Digest

  • Open Shelving In The Kitchen

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    Open shelving in the kitchen

    One very hot trend right now is open shelving, but it's a little more than a trend I believe... This design method is great for saving space and adding many more platforms (literally) for home decor options. This clean modern kitchen (above) uses the open shelving for accents and the opportunity to bring in other materals, such as those gorgeous wood bowls. Having the combination of cabinets and open shelving is also a good idea so you can keep the less attractive items behind closed doors. But don't hide your ceramics just because they don't match, sometimes those make the best accessories!

    Kitchen with open shelving and dark walls

    You can't deny that the dark wall in this kitchen is perfect for accentuating the open metal shelves and everything on them. The stainless steel material was a great choice to keep the storage sleek and not too heavy.

    Large artwork in kitchen

    This modern kitchen does a great job of mixing materials. Spanish tile, warm woods and sleek stainless steel work together to create an eclectically modern kitchen with super cool open shelving. What a beautiful idea to open up the bottom cabinests and create shelving while keeping the walls free for art!

    Yellow kitchen

    You can add color with the shelves in addition to the accessories you place on them. The clean white tile and floors really make the love for yellow pop in this kitchen. Modern barstools are a nice addition for keeping this space functional. To see more yellow in the kitchen, be sure to read Annie's post - It is Always Sunny in a Yellow Kitchen.

    If you decide to implement these ideas in your space, notice how in each image only the more attractive accessories are displayed on the shelves and the rest are tucked away behind closed cabinets. Scales and colors are also important, but often times a difficult balance. Once you find the perfect combination, you'll see how open shelving can be a great way to maximize your space and look very cool doing it.

    Images: Live, Apartment Therapy, Revel, House & Home

  • 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

April, 2012