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  • Creatively Contemporary Gardens: Flora Grubb

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    Small glass aerium

    Have you been looking for a way to incorporate contemporary gardens into your modern home decor? Well, Flora Grubb and other specialty shops provide lots of great ideas that double as artwork.

    These small aeriums (above) have a "ship in a bottle" appeal. The're all unique, but typically feature tiny mosses, lichens, and tillandsias which all live happily together under glass. They have artists in the store handcrafting each one. If you want to make this a fun project for yourself, we also suggest using attractive glass containers, like this one (below) as a perfect way to display a variety of stylish succulents.

    Fuller Clear Glass Document Box

    In addition to the aeriums, Flora Grubb also makes plant "pockets" (below) that hang openly or against a wall. It's a great way to have an organized, yet beautiful mess of greenery. It's also a great way to apply plant life toward using vertical space.

    Modern plant pockets

    Are you looking for a way to incorporate just a little bit of greenery, but in a more controlled manner? Try these "thigmotropes" (below). They're designed to be screwed into a wall and hold tillandsia plants. Just take them down to lightly water every once in a while.

    Air plants on the wall  

    As you incorporate more greenery into your decor, make sure to reap the full benefit of having plant life indoors and help circulate your fresh air using modern ceiling fans. This handsome fan (below) would do the trick.

    Fanimation Torto Bronze Ceiling Fan

    Succulent wall art is such a big trend right now. They're low maintenance and they look great. Although time consuming, and depending on the size, they're easy to make and could be a fun summer project.

    Framed succulent wall art

    The best part about succulent wall art is that they can be any size and work indoors or out. All you have to do for watering is spray them using a water bottle.

    Large succulent wall art

    There are so many inventive ways to incorporate plant life into your modern decor, indoors or out.  And many of them could also make fun DIY projects. Although, some are more simple than others, should you need help you could always refer to resources like Flora Grubb and other creatives.

    Images: Flora Grubb

  • Grace Santorini Hotel: Amazing Coastal Hotel Design

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    cliffside hotel

    The 20-room Grace Santorini Hotel, which is a member of the award winning Grace Hotels Group, is carved into the cliff-face 300m above Santorini’s volcanic caldera. Athens-based studio Divercity Architects, in collaboration with MplusM, accomplished this amazing coastal hotel design. They created an environment with a luxurious combination of elegance and serenity.     

     modern hotel lobby

    From the first steps into the lobby (above) you know you're in for a treat. Oxidized steel, concrete, and stone combine to create a look that's modern and intriguing, making you want to reach out and touch everything, but not stay too long. A place where you won't sit and lounge forever, but that's going to get you excited about the comfort that awaits you within this beautiful resort.

    Black modern accent chairs add a bold detail to any space. If you want this look in your space, we believe this black leather weave chair can get you there!

    Zuo Prospect Park Black Leather Lounge Chair

    The guestrooms' all-white interiors & furnishings, combined with brushed concrete floors, personify the trademark whitewashed houses of the Cyclades.

     white interiors

    Bright pink accents provide an electrifying element to the decor while classic, modern design pieces such as the Eames Shell Chair add softness to the stark room. The soft curves play nicely off the sleek lines and concrete floors.

    bright pink interior accents

     We suggest this idea (below) for bringing this feeling into your home.

     

    Zuo Spire White Dining Chair

    This built-in daybed mimics the architecture of the Cyclades. Integrated side tables are a very clever solution and create a strong grounding element for the sleek coffee table. Minimal coffee tables are a great way to keep a space open while still functional.

    modern built-in daybed

    The lightweight white table lamp perched beautifully next to the rocking chair casts a subtle glow down onto the pure white surface. This modern table lamp (below) would work great in the space as well!

       

    Lights Up! Virgil White Linen Shade Table Lamp

    Outside, the magnificent infinity pool’s jagged outline echoes the zigzag paths that criss-cross Santorini’s sheer mountain cliff terrain.

     infinity pool

    Meanwhile, outdoor patios offer majestic views of the famous sunset cast across the Aegean sea and the Cyclades Islands, as well as a romantic atmosphere for visitors. You could sit here, relax, and just wait for that sunset all day.

     modern patio

    Can you imagine a more beautiful and romantic place that you would want to spend your vacation? The Restaurant in Santorini is out of this world as well! Time to start saving your pennies now!

    Images: Grace Santorini

  • Debating Modern Architecture: Central Los Angeles High School

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    modern skylight

    Central Los Angeles High school features dramatic modern architecture designed by Wolf D. Prix and the Austrian firm Coop Himmelblau. There's no doubt this high school holds a place in debates over urbanism, planning, and architectural patronage in Los Angeles.

    Fifteen years ago, LAUSD launched a  $20 billion construction campaign, which included a new high school along Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, a neighborhood where existing schools had grown incredibly overcrowded. How important should architecture be to a city's urban development, and the design of schools specifically? Shouldn't campuses be both economical and appealing in design, rather than one or the other?

    modern commerical architecture

    Katherine Harrison, the school’s executive director puts it like this, “The striking character of the buildings attract a great deal of attention to the school which is alternately welcome and unwelcome. Either way, we run the risk of the building somehow defining the school’s mission rather than the educational needs of students and the community we serve.”

    Despite the continuing debates over design and budget, the beauty of both the interior and exterior architecure is hard to ignore.

    modern high school auditorium

    The auditorium (above) is a show stopper in itself. The 950-seat theater is state-of-the-art and features a tower rising from its iconic roof. Bold, colorful seating provides any modern space added character. Give this chair a try in your modern home for the same effect.

    Eclipse Red Vinyl Club Chair

    Minimal lighting, with just the use of downlights, allows for the interior architecture to have the main spotlight. Here is a suggestion for achieving this simple, yet effective lighting aesthetic.

    Juno 4" Low Voltage Chrome Adjustable Recessed Light Trim

    Prix’s decision to design the whole composition in concrete and aluminum panels no doubt makes the school stand out in Los Angeles.

    This image demonstrates its proximity to the downtown freeway system, the featured character in the story of Los Angeles should its urban development be turned into a script.

    urban design

    Despite the difficulty completing this project and the debates that continue to hover around it, there is no questioning the noteworthy appeal of the architecture and the impact it has on the city's overall design development.

    Images: Coop Himmelblau

    Quote: Metropolis Magazine

  • Glamping: Glamorous Camping in Renovated Airstream

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     revovated Airstream 

    Interior Designer Rachel Horn and her husband Justin Kreizel combined their skills to renovate this 1969 Airstream. They are now ready for the great outdoors, but more importantly, they can spend their time camping in luxury.

    Moroccan pendants

    The interior is just as functional as it is beautiful. The built-in daybed is wrapped in glamorous fabrics and Moroccan accents, making it almost too beautiful to sleep in. The geometric mirrored coffee tables add a touch of glamour to the space.

    This table (below) will help you bring modern lines and a little glam into your own home.

    Zuo Tyrell Stainless Steel and Black Glass Coffee Table  

    Airstream kitchen 

    Although this wasn't the typical 10,000 square foot project Horn was used to designing, she didn't treat it any differently and carefully considered all the details. 

    Mixing modern home decor with Moorish, Turkish or Persian details creates something Horn decribes as "Luxe Nomadic".

    modern compact kitchen

    This modern kitchen is equipped with stainless steel appliances, a cappuccino maker, water filter, and all the amenities typically found in a luxurious home kitchen. Horn and her husband have everything they need to be comfortable while camping.

    Modern wall light fixtures are great for casting a nice glow onto counters and surfaces below, perfect for cooking those late night meals. Directional wall lights are great for kitchens without upper cabinets. This light (below) would also work perfectly in this type of setting.

    modern wall light

    Satin Nickel 8" High LED Spotlight Wall Sconce

    upholstered headboards 

    The bedroom is separated from the rest of the space with Moorish arches and curtains, tied back for easy access. The headboards mimic the arches of the overall structure and are covered in elegant fabrics. After a long day hiking in the rough outdoors, who wouldn't want to jump into these comfortable beds?

    For those of you who shy away from the rough outdoors and don't typically like the idea of camping.... Maybe it's time you give "glamping" a try!

    Images: Rachel Horn

  • Modern Cabins - Small Space Summer Homes

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    Miniature Modern Cabins

    Vacation homes were once only for the rich, but modern cabins are packing big design into small footprints...and small price tags.

    As originally reported in the Los Angeles Times, students at the Woodbury University School of Architecture have proven that - with a simple storage shed, a $1,500 build-out budget, and some creative thinking - mini-cabins can achieve high design that's actually within reach. Land not included, of course.

    Under the guidance of professors Sonny Ward and Jeanine Centuori, the students were tasked with transforming 10' x 10' "over-the-counter" tool sheds into hospitable mini-cabins, affordable summer homes with light, insulation and sleeping space for two. For kicks (and added educational benefit), the professors added a wrinkle to the project: each of the three design teams were charged with incorporating a material - either wood, paper or plastic - throughout the design.

    Mini cabin interior designs

    Cabin interiors were kept understandably rustic, and with a 100 square foot footprint, space was utilized to the fullest.

    While these cabins were clearly more case study than residential solution, the project raised an interesting point. There are tons of ideas circulating for prefab vacation homes that are affordable, design savvy, and can handily withstand the rigor of part-time use.

    Check out this shipping container solution by Texas-based Poteet Architects, utilizing a durable steel shipping container as it's structure: 

    Shipping container architecture

    Clean and unobtrusive, use modern close to ceiling lights to open up the constrained feeling of a small space. 

    Affordable shipping container home

    Modern prefab homes have been a boom industry for a few years now, because they're relatively easy to deploy. This Sommerhaus Piu Prefab Vacation Home by German industrial designers Patrick Frey and Björn Götte is billed simply as "affordable." We might add stunning to that description.

    modern prefab homes

    The use of wall lights and small contemporary sconces keep limited airspace clean and clutter-free while stowing away neatly in the kitchen.

    Modern prefab vacation homes

    And for those who are looking for the turn-key approach, there's this contemporary loft design by Zenkaya:

    Prefab modern cabin

    Summer is just around the corner. When your wanderlust kicks in, consider surveying the landscape for a location that's amenable to housing modern cabins. Look for level ground and affordable property prices in areas within a days drive or train ride from home. Drop a design-savvy structure on top and you're ready to vacation in style. And should you ever need a house sitter, you know where to find us.

     Images: Los Angeles Times, Home Dsgn, the Coolist, Zenkaya

June, 2012