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modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas

  • Modern Hues Sweepstakes WINNERS!


    Thank you everyone for all your entries in our Modern Hues Pinterest contest! We hope you continue to follow us on Pinterest... We will try to consistently provide inspirational images every day! If you did not get a chance to participate in our contest, we would still love for you to join in on the fun and come follow us on Pinterest!

    Let's announce the three winners, shall we?!!

    Jacqueline Taylor Griffin


    Stacy Cironi


    Teh Doll

    Congratulations guys!!! Please contact us at for details on how to recieve your prize.

  • Dwell Home Tour: Sander Architect's Green Houses


     modern architecture

    One of the many beautiful projects in this year's Dwell on Design Home Tours line up was Sander Architect's Green House pair.  This set of townhouses on one single lot face each other over a drivable courtyard. They are very similar in appearance, yet not identical. Both buildings are wrapped in a skin of 1" x 2" aluminum edges that give it a very distinct appearance, but also act as a shade screen throughout the day.

    This pair is what Whitney would call a Hybrid House. "This is a new type of house that we have developed, using a prefabricated metal frame, skin and roof. We have achieved unprecedented economies by using prefabricated building (warehouse) fabricators to manufacture the most expensive parts of the houses at a fraction of the normal costs. We have also achieved unprecedented scale."

     modern window film

    The windows are wrapped in the same material used for bus graphics, which allows the home owners to see out, but no one to see in. What a brilliant idea! The custom pattern was designed to reflect the surrounding environment.

     graphic window screen

    They photographed a tree and blew up the image so each building looks as though the the trees are reflecting in the windows. This organic element brings a lot of character to these ultra modern homes.

     stone wall tile

    The front townhouse faces the street and features a quaint zen garden for a front yard. The concrete floors blend with the natural stone wall to create a very calm and peaceful area, filled with lots of natural sunlight. Simple organic wood furniture paired with these modern materials create a great balance in an industrial style space.

     Oxided metal hood

    What a stunning kitchen! The dark oak Italian kitchen cabinetry contrasts perfectly with the concrete floors, while the two-story oxidized metal panels dominate the space. 

     glass railing

    The second floor living room features a glass railing and glass walkway which overlooks the kitchen. Modern glass dining tables are a great choice for an open plan. From above the dining table basically disappears.  

    The soft industrial aesthetic of this modern dining table (below) will help you get this look in your home.

    Zuo Plume Clear Glass Modern Dining Table

     modern window

    The contemporary chandelier adds an elegant touch to the industrial space and brings the organic elements of nature indoors.

    If you love the chandelier, but aren't one of those lucky enough have these gorgeously high ceilings, a shorter capiz shell pendant would work beautifully in your space. 

    Dolce Capiz Shell 25" Wide Pendant Chandelier

     modern stairway

    Many innovative green materials were used throughout this entire project, including passive heating and cooling, natural daylighting, shade screens, bamboo flooring, green cabinetry, and recycled glass countertops.

    There were many amazing homes on the the Dwell Home Tour schedule and this is just one of them! I hope you had a chance to check them all out! But if not, there's always next year.....

    Images: Sander Architects

  • A Modern Coffeehouse and Gallery: Graffiti Cafe


    modern retail design

    Have you been searching for the perfect modern coffeehouse to meet your clients at, have a quick business meeting, or just get some work done? Well if you're in Los Angeles, look no further, Graffiti Cafe is the perfect place!  The interior is a clean black and white palette with painted white floors and exposed vaulted beam ceilings that make the space feel incredibly open. It's a gorgeous crisp palette just waiting to be tagged by the local graffiti and street artists that fill the streets of the La Brea neighborhood.

    peace sign wall art

    The baristas are as friendly as ever and stand behind the all white counter lined with treats. This peace sign dictates quite an accurate description of this place. The glowing sign along with the incredible music creates a vibe that almost makes you feel as if you're floating like a cloud in the space. It's a real chill experience even when you're hyped on the delicious Intelligentsia coffee!

    modern black sofas

    There are many different types of seating in this modern coffeehouse to suit your mood and your company. The classic fireplace mixes with the modern elements to create a cozy setting. Using a modern black sofa that is extremely comfortable can really make one feel cozy in a space that may appear to be very sleek.

    modern fireplace design

    This area is great for lounging and chatting with friends while sipping coffee or eating one of their amazing Butter Nutter cookies!   

    modern black sofa

    Zuo Fortress Collection Black Leather Sofa

    all-white interior

    You can head upstairs to the laptop stations in the lofted area and look down onto the crowd or you can grab a comfy seat in one of the booths lining the perimeter of the open space below.

    white round tables

    The tables and chairs float in front of the booths to create small group seating that can easily be clustered together for larger groups. You won't feel cramped in this large open space by any means. The use of  modern black dining chairs and simple round white dining tables creates a bold, modern contrast in any space.  

    Zuo Spire Black Dining Chair

    Zuo Wilco White Dining Table

    communal seating

    The larger communal spaces are perfect for serious business! Long dining tables are linked together to create a communal area for interacting with larger groups or just new friends.

    graffiti artwork

    The graffiti installation in this rear nook subtly separates the corner from the open plan seating. Semi-circular booths create intimate, more private seating in this area.

    No matter what your agenda is, this modern coffeehouse is tailored to suite you. The coffee is definitely sublime and the music is so good you won't want to leave! Soups and sandwiches are coming soon and I'm sure so much more is up their sleeve!  Welcome to the neighborhood Graffiti Cafe!

    Images: Graffiti Cafe. The Delicious LIfe

  • Homeboy Industries: Providing Second Chances


    Homegirl Cafe

    All last week we provided you with our team's recaps and experiences at the Dwell on Design event. We wrapped it all up yesterday with Annie's post about the Sander Architect's Green House. Today, I'd like to start back at the beginning and talk about what I discovered on my way to the event...

    I had to pick up a friend at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and then head over to the convention center not too far away for the Dwell on Design event. Since L.A. traffic is always unpredictable, I arrived about thirty minutes early and was wondering where I would wait. I drove maybe 100 yards past Union Station and found a large, modern looking structure with the word "bakery" on it. Perfect.

    Mayer of Los Angeles

    Not only did I have the best powder-sugar almond crousant, but I made an incredible discovery. Homeboy Industries is a non-profit organization, founded by a Jesuit priest Father Greg Boyle, which helps former gang members and recently incarcerated youth rebuild their future and their life. It is the largest gang intervention program in the country.

    It provides programs designed to meet multiple needs, such as counseling, tattoo removal and education. There are also four businesses that serve as job-training sites, such as the bakery where I stopped in that morning. The first thing I noticed when I walked in, besides the fact that it was packed, was the energy level... It was so positive and it was everywhere.

    Father Greg Boyle

    Through various charities and profits earned from the bakery and cafe (which just sold their first products to the Ralphs grocer chain), Father Greg Boyle provide and his organization are able to provide second chance opportunities, most importantly hope for change.

    For more information you can visit their website

    Images: DB, KCET, Homeboy Industries

  • Happy [Modern] 4th of July!


     white pendant light

    Wishing you all a Happy 4th of July! Whatever it is you choose to do just remember to have fun, relax, and be safe!  

    Spending time with family and friends in the backyard is always one of my favorite ways to spend Independence Day and this outdoor cabana seems perfect for it!  

     geometric architecture

    Za Bor Architects developed this project for a popular TV show called, Dachniy Otvet, meaning The Village Talks. Unfortunately the TV show was not filmed at my home... I will have to find an equally cool backyard to celebrate Independence Day.   

     modern white dining table

    The concept behind this reality show intrigues me and this architecture definitely brings new meaning to outdoor cabana. The show invites designers and architects to re-design parts of a home for selected home-owners that agreed to participate in the show. These home-owners wanted somewhere to spend more quality time outdoors. The white tinted wood creates fourteen planes that are attached together, forming this nautical shape. The result is an outdoor structure, perfect for BBQ'ing.

    Red lighting fixtures, or any color for that matter, bring so much dynamic energy into any dining area while modern white dining chairs keep the space very clean, allowing nature and colorful accents to stand out.  

     outdoor kitchen

    The second part to the structure houses the outdoor kitchen. The char-grill is made of brick and steel and is sure to cook up a killer BBQ!  

     modern outdoor kitchen

    BBQ until the sun goes down, then turn on the modern outdoor lighting. This sculpture is sure to turn into a artistic light installation after sundown...

     architectural volumes

    The architect’s concept for the construction is "transparency and openness which inspires a contact between man and nature".

    Hope you get to spend some time outside today... Happy Independence Day from the ESL team!

    Images: Do You Love Where You Live

July, 2012