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  • Rustic Interior Design: Ram's Gate Winery



    Hope you all had an amazing Labor Day Weekend! Many of us spend so much of our time working and not enough time playing so I hope you had a chance to relax, enjoy family and loved ones. The best long weekends are when you can be at peace with nature and your surroundings.

    Rewarding yourself is sure to keep your energy flowing. How will you reward yourself this fall?

     modern fireplace

    A trip to the picturesque Ram's Gate Winery in Sonoma seems like a perfect reward! "In a world obsessed with making things faster, where speed is valued above all else, Ram’s Gate is our way of pressing pause."

     reclaimed wood

    The architecture is a modern interpretation of it's natural surroundings and weathered farmsteads of Carneros, while the interior is an eclectic mix of classic contemporary and urban cool. 

     wine tasting

    Designer, Orlando Diaz-Azcuy did no wrong here and created something exciting at every turn. The interiors were designed with close attention to detail, from the open beam ceiling, the reclaimed wood walls, and the natural stone tops to the mill-work. Large glass pendant lights work great in open spaces because they make a gorgeous statement without cluttering the space.

     white club chairs

    Clusters of seating create intimate environments. Low coffee tables are always great for casually seating spaces. 

     modern kitchen

    The large island in this modern kitchen creates a perfect area for serving and gathering.

     modern outdoor patio

    Can't you just feel the calmness of Ram's Gate Winery through these photos? What a serene setting!

    Images: Ram's Gate Winery

  • From Victorian to Modern: Home Renovation


    Home Renovation

    Sidney based architecture firm Andrew Maynard Architects took this old Victorian home with tall surrounding walls and turned it into a super cool modern home. We approve.

    Modern Architecture

    Simple forms, minimal furnishing and mixed materials all work together to create the home's modern look. When your minimal furnishings include cool, modern accent chairs go ahead and consider yourself on-trend.

    Modern Loft Home

    Cool appliances, simple modern lighting and dark colored furniture make this place stylish for both male and female inhabitants.

    Images: Andrew Maynard Architects

  • Schindler House: Recessed Lighting Magic in Modern Architecture


    schindler house feature recessed lighting

    Walking through the historic Schindler House in West Hollywood this past Sunday, I discovered something amazing about recessed lighting: namely that something so hidden could look so amazing. 

    First a little history lesson: Austrian born R.M. Schindler worked under Frank Lloyd Wright and in 1920 was sent to Los Angeles to oversee the construction of Wright's Hollyhock house. In 1922 Schindler set up his own practice with the construction of his Kings Road House in West Hollywood.

    schindler house modern architecture

    Fast forward nearly one century to this past Sunday, and I found myself strolling through the nearly empty rooms of the house (now managed by the MAK Center, "a think tank art, architecture, urbanism, design, and international discourse") listening to the sound of reel-to-reel tape recordings in a sound art performance curated and produced by the Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound (SASSAS). The layered, eerie tape recordings were mesmerizing. But so was the space itself. 

    modern interior by schindler

    What struck me most was how the furniture-less rooms hardly seemed empty. There wasn't excessive ornamentation in the rooms (Schindler's work is philosophically absolutely opposed to that), yet there was an extraordinary sense of depth. Materials like wood and cement mixed beautifully in the rooms. Daylight didn't stream in per se; in fact, the space was designed such that it feels like daylight is allowed to enter by permission only.

    japanese inspired modern interior 

    Looking about, I noticed that, aside from two pendant lights in the main room, visible light sources were conspicuously absent. Instead, the entire home was lit tastefully by recessed lighting, giving it a dramatic, staged look. Subtle architectural details took on a new life under these tucked away lights.

    led recessed lighting fixture

    LR6 12 Watt LED 6" Recessed Light Module

    Sometimes the beauty of an object lies in what you don't see, as is the case with the Schindler House's lighting design. Modern energy efficient recessed lights stow away nicely, and an LED fixture (pictured above) in particular will produce relatively little heat. For a warmer, spotlight style like I found in much of the Schindler House, you might want to consider a halogen light (pictured below).   

    modern halogen recessed light

    Juno 4" Low Voltage Flush Gimbal Recessed Light Trim

    Some recessed lighting fixtures are adjustable as in the above, allowing you to swivel or tilt the light, and some are fixed...and as I recently learned, in the right space, they can all be stunning.

    Don't believe me? Check out the MAK Center website for upcoming events at the house. You won't be disappointed. 

    Images: Moby, Wikipedia, Markus Canter, Architecture Week


  • Modern Artwork: Francesco Lo Castro's Stunning Geometrics


    modern artwork

    The end of summer doesn't mean the end of bold vibrant colors, especially when used in modern artwork! The stunning geometric artworks by Francesco Lo Castro can hold their own in any space.  

     colorful modern artwork

    For over a decade, Francesco Lo Castro has been South Florida’s gateway  to the national New Contemporary art scene, as both a respected artist and as a curator of exceptional art exhibitions. And it's pretty obvious why!

    pastel geometric modern art

    This piece titled Eulenspiege, 2012 is created with oil, acrylic, silkscreen, spray paint, layered epoxy resin and gold leaf on wood. It's these layers that have you staring for hours!

     pink and navy blue artwork

    Choosing just one piece of LoCastro's work would be a challenge! I'm imagining these prints not just as artwork, but on modern decorative pillows, throws, and even bold geometric rugs. Keep your home bright and alive this winter by incorporating bold modern decor. And if you get your hands on a piece of LoCastro's work...I salute you!

    Images: Francesco LoCastro

  • Modern Wood Paneling: Adding Texture To Any Space


    modern wood paneling

    Modern wood paneling has no doubt progressed since the 70's, proving it's a trend that will be around for a while! We love the use of wood paneling on walls, ceilings, floors, and all-over because it has the ability to soften up a space. The white wood planks on the walls of  this kitchen (above) create a very clean, natural feel. The oiled white oak floor warms up the space and the use of the same material over the hood is a feature design element. See how even this little accent of the natural wood on the walls can make such a big statement.

    plywood ceiling panels

    The marine plywood panels on the ceiling create a unifying element within this space. The use of wood on the ceiling allows you to use tile on the floor without the space feeling too cold.  

    reclaimed wood panels

    Reclaimed wood walls are a very popular trend right now. They mix so beautifully with bold colors and industrial elements. The use of industrial wall sconces against reclaimed wood is the perfect pairing.


    modern wall sconce



    rustic bathroom design

    Wrapping the walls and ceiling of this rustic bathroom in un-milled, reclaimed wood is a great way to achieve that rustic modern cabin feel. The use of light wood planks and the light concrete floor feels bright and airy, creating a beautiful contrast with the black vanity.  

     metal ceiling tiles

    Today, restaurant design uses reclaimed wood to achieve an industrial modern feel. It's a trendy look, creates a cozy atmosphere, and also helps absorb sound. Bronze pendant lights really are the perfect metallic accent in any modern, industrial interior. Gunmetal accents also work perfectly with this industrial modern feel.

     industrial modern floor lamp


    Whether you're going for a modern-rustic or chic-industrial, incorporating wood paneling or reclaimed wood into your space can provide you layers of textures that bring softness and warmth. It's a trend that will definitely be around for awhile!

    Images: Style Files, Est Magazine, Remodelista, Yatzer

September, 2012