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modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas

  • Modern Design With Ikat

    Modern Design

    Oh, ikat. It's the one trendy pattern that still, after all this time, I still can't get enough of. Among those of us who love modern design, there's no room this pattern doesn't make better.

    Modern Living Room

    Maybe it's because there are so many different color variations and patterns within the designation of ikat that no matter what your style, the room type, or mood, there's probably an ikat to fit the occasion.

    Modern Dining Room

    I'm loving the simple pops of ikat in the bedroom (top image) which is perfectly brought in with throw pillows, as well as the dramatic upholstery job on the dining chairs (above). And stunning chandeliers never hurt the modern design of any space!

    ESL has you covered if you're in the market for a little dash of ikat, from lamp shades to pillows. Here are a few of my favorite pillows.

    Moder Pillows

    1. Tribal Ikat Canvas Pillow 2. Leopard Print Ikat Pillow 3. Butterfly Ikat Canvas Pillow 4. Chevron Ikat Canvas Pillow 5. Kite Square Ikat Pillow 6. Bardot Tribal

    Images:  A. Malson Interior Design, Dawna Jones Design, LRI Designs, Cynthia Lynn Photography

  • Cool + Collected 1.24

    Modern Bedroom

    Cool + Collected is our regular Friday post covering modern lifestyle topics from around the globe. You'll find everything from design icon biographies to modern art, photography and architectural surprises. And of course modern design! Starting in April, we will switch it up a bit and only do a link round up 1x/month. It's new name will be Design Spotlight. Stay tuned...

    +We encourage you to take a look at this super cool home on Emmas Design Blogg. It's modern, edgy and just plain rad.

    +Do you know what's even cooler than sustainable, green design?.... Tracking it! This new project for a high rise in Century City, California has an entire website dedicated to real-time environmental display.

    +Are you an animal lover, but don't love the tacky furniture for pets? Check out Home Made Modern for a fun and easy DIY project. This is the coolest dog house we've ever seen.

    +You have not seen architecture like this, we promise! It's the Chinese Coin House by Juan Carlos Menacho Durán.

    +We have some buzz for you and to be honest, it's just us bragging a little. We've partnered with some great design bloggers and we're pretty proud of it. Read the full article here.

  • Gender Neutral Design For Kids Rooms

    Kids Room

    Gender neutral rooms are becoming more and more popular and I have to say, I love it! They are fantastic if you have multiple children of both genders sharing a room or even just if you don't want your child's room to look too girly or all boy.

    This room (above) is my dream kids room. The colors really pop against the black and white scale, don't they? Notice that the pillow on the bed has pink in it, but it doesn't look too feminine because the gray scale and other subdued colors balance it out. I absolutely love it. Colorful pillows are always a great way for adding extra details.

    Gender Neutral Colors

    The trick is to use colors that work for either sex, obviously. But you also want to include neutral tones like gray or white as the base for the walls or even the majority of the furniture. If you have a blue dresser or a pink light fixture, it makes it a lot harder to get the gender neutral look. This nursery (above) is a great example of using white as the base color and then adding fun pops of color that aren't overwhelmingly boy or girl.

    Yellow Kids Room

    And this shared nursery is so fun. They used a neutral tone for the walls and then white furniture but then used yellow and orange for most of the decorations. It's bright and cheery and totally gender neutral. You'll also notice that there are more feminine and masculine elements incorporated too. Just because the overall room is gender neutral, doesn't mean everything in the room has to be!

    Images: Weekday Carnival, Apartment Therapy, Melissa Esplin

  • Mid-Century Modern Homes

    Mid Century Modern Homes

    Design makes everything better. At least that's the thinking that informs why so much of the modern world appears to be "designed." In architecture and home decorating, mid-century modern homes offered an egalitarian opportunity to apply design thinking to the masses.

    In the 1940s-50s, a handful of architects converged on the (then) affordable Southern California landscape to create cutting-edge tract home designs. Easy to build and cheap enough reproduce on a large scale, these concept homes represented a whole-hearted belief that modern design could revolutionize the way suburban families live. Open floor plans dominated the thinking of the day, sweeping floor lamps were all the rage, and modern pendant lights replaced the chandelier as the overhead lighting fixture du jour: 

    Mid Century Modern Living Room

    Chief among these inventive suburban tracts were Joseph Eichler's Balboa Highlands in Granada Hills. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Bazett House (which Eichler rented for a time), these homes were designed to allow in extra light and air through centrally located atria:

    Joseph Eichler House Atrium

    Architect Cliff May is one of the prominent designers of the long and low-slung ranch houses, a uniquely American style that fuses Modernist principles with the post-war ideal of living out West. The Californian homes of his Lakewood Rancho Estates exemplify the dream of high design at affordable prices, as you can see in this original sales brochure:

    Cliff May Rancho House Brochure

    Interiors of the Californian are tight, yet the high ceilings maintain a sense of openness, especially when accompanied by minimalist modern furniture:

    Interior Cliff May Californian

    Around the same time period, achitect Gregory Ain designed colonies of homes with his Mar Vista tract in Los Angeles and Park Planned homes in Altadena (pictured below). 

    Gregory Ain Park Planned

    In keeping with the aesthetic of the day, ceiling level skylights allowed sunlight to filter in. In both the original brochure photo above and in the present day photo below, using modern lamps and decor is the de facto way to fill the space.

    Gregory Ain

    Many designs informed by the classic ceiling lights you see in period photographs of these homes are still available today. Here are some of the popular designs we can help you with.

    modern pendant light

    Tech Lighting Pele White Glass LED Mini Pendant

    saucer shaped pendant lightPossini Euro Cocoon Matte White Pendant Light

    modern kitchen pendant light

    Three-Tier Shade Downlite Pendant Light

    Affordable design and the dream of high design at a populist price point motivated mid-century developers in much the same way that it fuels advocates of prefab and small space living today. Luckily, design is ultimately about problem solving. And if the same holds true today as it did for architects then, there is always a way to design the affordable dream home.

    Images: Los Angeles Magazine, Eller the Seller, Pasadena Star News, Rancho Style, Culture Spectator, Park Planned Homes,

  • From Outfit to Interior: Design Statement Circa 1970

    Design Statement

    Spring is here and Ms. 70s Statement is ready to take full advantage of all it has to offer! She's starting off with this strapless wide leg jumpsuit from Three Dots and going from there.

    Retro Modern Decor

    This Turquoise Glass Stupa Vase is vibrant and distinct, just like our lady. The color is said to have healing powers and provide a serene, healing aura – perfect for holding the few blooms she treats herself to each week.

    Ms. 70s Statement knows that turquoise and dark brown are a pretty color combo, so she perches her vase on this  Magnussen Allure Hazelnut and Glass End Table. The curvy base and glass top are a whimsical touch to her living room.

    Modern Decor

    A colorful Ikat Cyan and Coral Decorative Pillow or two gives her bed a bold pop of color, while the Modern Allegra Crystal Ball Possini Euro Arc Floor Lamp sets the mood with a dimmer switch from a nearby corner. Ms. 70s Statement loves the crystal and wire ball shades and the illustrious illumination.

    Modern TV Console

    This  Simon White Modern TV Stand is the perfect perch for her television and other media. The two drawers provide space to store Ms. 70s Statement's favorite movies and remotes, while the high-gloss finish gives it that extra something she looks for in pieces for her home.

    Image: Bloomingdales

March, 2013