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  • Modern Design Style: Mixing Dining Chairs

    Modern Design Style

    When it comes to designing a dining room and achieving the modern look, the possibilities are endless. It can seem like a daunting task, especially when designing around kids. But it can actually become a super fun project with a beautiful end result.

    A major detail for any dining room is the dining chairs. Whatever chairs you choose have a tendency to become a major focal point. No pressure or anything! To create a playful yet sophisticated dining space, consider mixing different chairs around the table. As long as you keep with a specific color palette, you can mix just about any look. Above we find five completely different chairs around a simple wood table. Because one chair is in the same wood family as the table, three other chairs are white and only one is a bright color, this look totally works. It doesn't feel too eclectic.

    Modern Dining Room

    The chairs used in this dining space (above) are the same design, just in different wood tones. It’s enough difference to make an impact without taking this eclectic look too far. It's a very serene space.

    Color Accents

    This look has to be my very favorite! The idea of using the same chairs except for at the ends of the table is design perfection. The pop of color that they’ve used in the end chairs brings out the colors in the plants and art columns. This is a more sophisticated design for a traditional dining space.

    Eclectic Dining Room

    If you are all about just having a little fun in your space, this look (above) is for you! If you have a collection of different dining chairs, try placing them together and just see what happens. It might be decor heaven and it might not quite work. The beauty of mixing chairs is to keep staging chairs next to each other to see what works and what doesn't. The collection of chairs in this image are all in the modern family so they work well together. Just have fun with your design and don’t take yourself too seriously.

    These chairs are great options.

    White Plastic Wood Chair

    Lime Green Bay Chair

    Wishbone Chairs

    Gunmetal Chair

    White Zuo Chair

    Images: Livet Hemma, 79 Ideas, Camille Styles, Seventy Tree.

  • Top Artist Colonies

    Artist Colonies

    Looking for the next hot spot? Follow the artists. So goes the adage at least that artists are quick to inhabit soon-to-boom neighborhoods. If you look at the world's best art districts and artist colonies, you'll notice a simple trend: once the artists move in to under-utilized places, the cafes, galleries and luxury boutiques are sure to follow. 

    high line chelsea

    Manhattan’s Chelsea district (pictured with the iconic High Line park above) was once a mash-up of rowhouses and tenement housing until high rents in SoHo forced the New York art world to head north.

    For decades, the Marais district of Paris had long been an aristocratic (but sleepy) stronghold of the city. Now home to the Picasso Museum and the Renzo Piano designed Pompidou Center (pictured below), le Marais is an art destination that currently houses many high-end contemporary galleries in its meandering back roads. 

    pompidou center paris

    In Santa Monica, California Bergamot Station is an abandoned rail yard turned art gallery complex:

    bergamot station arts center

    In the early 2000s, Bergamot Station gave way to Chung King Road in Los Angeles’ historic Chinatown (pictured below), as well as the industrial intersection of La Cienega and Washington in Culver City as the go-to West coast art neighborhoods.

    chinatown los angeles galleries

    Across the pond in the real China, 798 Art Zone in Beijing has grown into a vibrant art complex over the past 20 years. Housed in a Bauhaus-inspired factory from the 1950s (pictured below), the art complex grew out of a movement of avant garde artists looking for a place that would draw little scrutiny from the government.

    798 Art Zone Beijing

    Common to most of these revitalized areas is the industrial design aesthetic: raw, repurposed spaces and warehouse-style hanging pendant lights (as in the above picture).

    Lastly, there are art communities that nearly avoid the map altogether. Black Mountain, North Carolina was home to the American (and European ex-pat) avant garde in the first half of the 20th century.

    Santa Fe (part-time home to legendary New Mexico artist Georgia O’Keefe) houses a healthy scene of contemporary museums, art galleries and artists. And Marfa, Texas, is a high-desert mecca for practicing contemporary artists. It’s home to works by Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, and Claes Oldenburg, as well as the pop-up Prada store (well, sort of) pictured at the top of this post.    

    Images: Maison Gray, Art Observed, Britannica, Dave's Travel Corner, LA Design Festival, Shanghai Focus

  • Cool + Collected 1.23

     Modern Dining Room

    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!

    +If you want to see a "Before & After" that will change your life then head over to Bri Emery's blog. Her and Emily Henderson partnered up to transform her living room and dining room.

    +It's officially Spring which means we can all start biking more often... Good for our health and the envinronment, right?! Well, Refinery29 found a company with the most stylish bikes for riding around the city.

    +If you're looking for colorful kids toys that also add some style to your modern decor (while they're splashed out all over the floor), then Brinca Dada is for you.

    +Blogger Joanna Goddard from A Cup of Jo featured the 500 sq ft S.F. home of fellow blogger Jordan Ferney. You've never seen tiny done this well before, trust us!

    +If you're into cool books, then check out Buckminster Fuller: Poet of Geometry and help Cole Gerst finish this book through KickStarter. It's a full color book about the life and work of designer, author and inventor Buckminster Fuller.

    Image: Design Love Fest

  • Get the Look: Contemporary Lighting for the Kids Room

    Contemprorary Lighting

    Recently I've had a lot of inquires from my blog readers and clients asking for suggestions on contemporary lighting for kids room. Whether it be a nursery or kids room. Honestly, kids rooms are some of my favorite to design because you can definitely have fun with the concept, especially the lighting.

    It doesn't always have to be a normal chandelier or ceiling light. There are tons of fun options out there these days. The sky is the limit in the lighting department. That's why I've pulled together a few different options for you’re to “get the look” today – they range from floor lamps, to sconces, to ceiling lights.

    Modern Walll Light

    Jonathan Adler Left Giraffe Robert Abbey Wall Sconce

    This is a fun option if you are doing an animal themed room.

    Modern Floor Lamp

    Pacey Silver Plated Arc Floor Lamp

    If you’re going for a more modern look, I love the idea of a floor lamp.

     Modern Ceiling Light

    White Flower Possini Euro Design Pendant Chandelier

    I’ve been in love with this nursery for a long time, but this white alternative would be a great budget friendly option.

    Hope these tips help!

    Images: Dwellers Without Decorators, Décor Dots, TurquoiseMe Oh My Mama

  • How to Design With Modern Benches

    Styling Modern Benches

    Benches aren’t just for the park, anymore. In fact, benches are an ideal, functional decor accessory for the home or office. Any piece that offers both style and purpose to a space is worth investing in. 

    I’ve long been a collector of chairs, picking them up here and there when I’ve needed them or have had no place for them at all. There is just something enticing to me about a piece of furniture that offers someone a place to rest. Lately, I’ve expanded my seating search to include the modern bench. While we might not linger on a bench as we would in a chair, they are still a place to rest weary feet, share a meal or help hold our most important things needed for our daily comings and goings.

    Rustic Decor

    One of my favorite places, which is a bit obvious, to place a bench is in an entrance at either the front or back of the home. In these entryways above benches are best to offer a quick seat of stability for taking off or putting on outer garments, such as boots and coats. They also offer a place to catch our bags and belongings or hide our baskets filled with gloves and hats, as we come in after a long day.

    Modern Dining Room

    Another usual place that benches can be found is at the table. I think mixing chairs and a bench at the dining table is always interesting and never gets old. And if you have children than the idea of bench seating can be a brilliant one.

    Modern Bedroom

    I have a few benches in my home and find myself moving them around for different purposes at different times. But these days, I’m loving benches for beauty. I love plopping them in space that needs some sprucing up, like maybe filling in that empty space at the foot of your bed. They add beauty on their own, yes, but I also love styling them with a variety of beautiful things. Covering a bench with pillows to add texture, pattern and depth is a favorite. 

    Modern Decor

    And another great idea is to use a bench as a place to display some of your favorite things. You can gather a grouping of books, candles, or set a large vase of beautiful branches on it, just off to the side.  

    The possibilities of decorating with benches are endless and the functionality just can’t be beat.

    Modern Benches

    Top to Bottom: Viceroy White Faux Leather BenchZuo Heywood Modern Double Natural Wood 60-Inch-W Bench, Zuo Novel Modern 46 1/2-Inch-W Double Indoor BenchCrawford Brown Faux Crocodile Leather Bench

    Image: suvi sur le vif  / The Marion House Book /  Martyn Thompson Studio  / Sacramento Street  / Cecil Ieslykke

March, 2013