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  • 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

  • Part II: Nest Studio's Design Projects

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    Modern living room design

    Modern dining room with red chairs

    Yesterday, I introduced you to Jessica Davis, the designer behind Nest Studio. We showed you her new modern hardware line, which is a must-see! If you missed yesterday's post, you can read Part I of this interview: Nest Studio: Where Design & Products Merge. Today, we get to chat a little more with Jessica and see some of her amazing interior design projects.

    The images above are from a residential project that Jessica did in Marina del Rey, California. I'm loving the modern dining chairs that add a punch of color to the space. Here's what she had to say about it.

    Jessica: This is a home I did for a client in Marina del Rey who was not afraid to let me use bold colors. I  had so much fun adding personal touches, like the photography over the sofa. It was rewarding to create something that truly reflected the owners.

    Modern baby nursery

    Modern baby nursery

    As I mentioned in Part I of this interview, Jessica is also a new mom. Here's what she had to say about designing her son's nursery. I love the map Jessica used for an artistic backdrop to her modern crib.

    Jessica: My latest personal project was my son Bryan's room. I guess it helped to have a deadline (delivery date!) to get it all done by. Bryan's room is fun and playful. I tried to design a space that would grow with him, using a lot of fun vintage, Etsy, and IKEA finds to keep it all in budget.

    In addition to her residential and personal design projects, Jessica is a designer at Wilson Associates, a top international hospitality design firm. Here are some of her very cool projects that she has designed with her Wilson team.

    Modern hotel lobby

    Modern hotel bar

    Jessica: These images (above) are the Lobby and Bar areas from the MGM Grand at Foxwoods that I worked on for three years while I was in the (Wilson) New York office. It was challenging to take a concept that was really high design and then pare it down to fit in the budget. But we did it and the results turned out nicely.

    Modern hotel lobby

    Modern hotel guestroom

    Jessica: These two images (above) are the Lobby and Typical Guestroom of the Crowne Plaza Times Square that I worked on prior to leaving the New York office (Jessica now works at Wilson, Los Angeles). It was a really challenging renovation project with a tight budget. The hotel lobby was so dated and we managed to really freshen it up.

    While discussing these projects, Jessica and I also talked about the difficult task of selecting lighting for a project and how she's goes about it.

    Cori:  For each project, at what stage do you select lighting?

    Jessica: Lighting is integral and I always start selecting it as soon as I begin the design process, along with the other furniture items and finishes. Just like any other piece of furniture, lighting is both functional and decorative. It's an important element in developing how the space is perceived.

    Modern chandelier

    Robert Abbey Candelaria Chandelier

    Jessica: This Robert Abbey chandelier is a great modern retro alternative to a traditional chandelier, but still has a lot of sparkle. I need to find a place to use this!

     Bronze Swing Arm Light

    Holtkoetter Bernie Turbo Series Bronze Swing-Arm Wall Lamp

    Jessica: I’m kind of obsessed with swing arm sconces right now. They free up space on a nightstand and work great for reading in bed.

    As if she didn't have enough to do as a designer and a mom, Jessica is also a blogger. Here's what she has to say about her popular site.

    Cori:  Can you tell us a little about your blog, The Eagle's Nest?

    Jessica: My blog is a journal of sorts, documenting my ideas on everything design related - interiors, fashion, landscape, and of course the trials and tribulations of renovating our 70 year old house.

    Cori: What do you see in the future for Nest Studio?

    Jessica: In addition to developing my e-commerce site, I’m working on more Nest Studio hardware pieces with a mix of fun materials and hoping to do a line of metal tables and other small furniture pieces. I’m also looking to develop a plumbing line to complement my hardware. So be on the lookout for those in the coming months.

    Thanks Jessica! We'll be on the lookout for exciting products from Nest Studio and more cool design projects from you...

    Images: The Boo & The Boy, The Eagle's Nest, Wilson Associates

  • Review: Architectural Digest Home Design Show 2012

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    Architectural home design

    Architectural Digest held their annual Home Design Show in New York at Pier 94 and it was bigger than ever. The event featured 400 exhibitors, many of them manufacturers and distributors of luxury products. There was a special section “Made," which featured handcrafted accessories and furniture by a talented group of artists and designers. At the event, there were also design seminars presented by The New York Times featuring speakers from the Sustainable Furnishings Council.

    Glass wall decor

    From the"Made" section, one of the featured artists was Kanik Chung who displayed some of her unique glass plates with glass bubbles (above). These would make cool wall art decor if done in a cluster. More modern home decor artists made big statements, such as Heather Kocsis who showcased her city scape artwork and Vicki Da Silva who displayed some of her interiors light photography (below).

    Modern photography

    There were furniture designers such as Peter Buley who uses only recycled materials for his designs, like this sliding-door credenza (below). His modern furniture almost doubles as artwork.

    Recycled materials furniture

    Not listed in any of the directories was Art for Kids, a company who manufacturers furniture and accessories for kid's rooms and nurseries. This company had an extremely fun and colorful display of art that undoubtedly helped children get excited about design.

    No matter what your age or industry background, the A.D. Home Design Show each year is all about inspiration. By showcasing unique and beautiful work from designers an artists, hopefully everyone walks away with an idea and bit of creativity.

    For more information on this event or the featured artists, designers and manufactures please visit A.D. Home Design Show.

    Images: A.D. Home Design Show, Markets of New York

  • 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

  • Mixing Fun Materials For A Modern Kitchen Design

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    Modern kitchen design with plywood

    The kitchen is no longer the most basic and purely functional room of the house. Through the use of fun, new materials and combining lots of different textures, the kitchen is quickly becoming the statement room of the house!

    The kitchen above mixes simple materials to create its unique look. The clean white countertop paired with the raw plywood and simple glass storage are a perfect combination! Like these cute glass mason jars, be sure to make the home decor selections just as important as the larger furniture and built-ins choices.

    Modern kitchen design with concrete

    The kitchen above is more bold in its design aesthetic. Concrete surfaces are a trendy alternative to the typical tile or granite options.

    Modern kitchen design with brass

    Talk about making a statement.... this kitchen veers away from the typical stainless steel look for a handsome brassy alternative. Paired with the pale concrete floors and gray brick walls, this kitchen is a show stopper! The oversized modern pendants give the space its shiny element, while the spotted countertop gives it a nice contrast.

    Hopefully we've given you some fun ideas for a modern kitchen. Don't be shy to mix and match materials as long as you have a cohesive design goal in mind.

    Images: Augenpralinen, Style Files, Sold Frog

April, 2012