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modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas

  • Lessons from the World's Greatest Lobbies

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    world's greatest lobbies

    Let's face it...the mere act of walking through a grand space makes us feel, well, grand. A night at the opera, a wait in the airport or train station, an overnight stay in a hotel--in each of the world's greatest lobbies, we experience a connection to something bigger than ourselves. 

    There's just something to big-ticket public spaces that thrills and inspires. And there's a lesson to be learned too.

    saarinen jfk terminal

    Within even the grandest lobby, there is an undeniable intentionality to the usage of space. Whether it's the Calatrava-designed Liege train station at the top of this post, or the Saarinen-designed TWA terminal in New York, floorplans are laid out to effect the logical movement of people. Spaces are sub-divided creatively to address a variety of tasks: encouraging relaxation, facilitating administration, inducing awe. Lighting is designed (and often adjusted throughout the day) to increase safety and add atmosphere.

    The best thing about this? These same considerations can be applied to the home, no matter how small it is.

    contemporary studio apartment

    Do you eat, sleep and live in a single room? Create sub-spaces. Make sure the sofa or entertaining areas are easily accessible by guests. Keep a table and chairs close to the kitchen for an impromptu dinner party. For living room furniture, choose low-profile designs to "raise" the ceiling in small spaces.

    stackable kids chairs

    Baby Anime Stackable Kids Armchairs

    Does your bedroom double as an office? Use a swing arm wall light or adjustable floor lamp to shine light where and when you need it.

    modern chrome wall lamp

    Bernie Turbo Series Chrome Swing Arm Holtkoetter Wall Lamp

    Do you have Michelin star ambition but a small kitchen? Make it a castle by hanging pots and pans rather than stowing them. Choose open-face cabinets or shelving to cut down on the confined feel. Use colors that increase the illusion of space. White can open a room up and charcoal can recede into the background, 

    small space kitchen

    Yes, large hotels do have the large square footage to impress. But just because you might not have it too, doesn't mean you can't still flaunt it. At home, a little space planning can go a long way.

    Images: Beauty of DecayModern Art and Style, Home Design We Love, Digs Digs

  • Color Crush: White

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    White Living Room

    All of the white that is being incorporated into rooms in magazines and blogs is seriously addictive. It’s so fresh and clean and easy. I love the idea of a mostly white scale living room with little pops of color here and there. That is pretty much my dream living room at the moment!

    This living room is kind of perfect. It doesn’t have any kind of loud style and it’s not over the top decorated. It is just plain and simple white. It’s totally a space that you could work with and even redecorate when the time came without too much hassle. It could easily be made into an eclectic room with a combination of styles and patterns, or a more rustic or industrial space. I love a space that has the main essentials or foundation that you can easily build off of with the right pieces. This is that room!

    White Home Decor

    Pascal White ChairPossini Euro White Flower Pendant,

    Perkins White Lacquer Wood PedestalStreet Smart Accent Pillow

    This chair is pretty popular, which makes it fun. The legs are amazing! And the white seat would go great with pretty much any cushion or throw pillow. The light fixture is pretty rad. It’s both modern and organic somehow, which I absolutely love. It’s a statement fixture without being too over the top. The stool would be fantastic for additional seating or even putting by the front door for an easy place to take off shoes. And the pillow is the fun one. Even though there isn’t any color, the bold black and white makes it really pop which is awesome.

    Image: Residence Magazine

  • Decorating With Area Rugs

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    Modern Dining Room

    A major detail that creates warmth in any space is adding an area rug. Whether you are dealing with a living space or a bedroom space (among others), you will find contentment in your design by simply adding a patterned, colorful rug. It finishes a space perfectly and can make a room feel more cohesive. It also helps with space planning. It’s easier to place furniture pieces around a rug because you are aware of dimensions around you.

    We see in the room above that a simple rug with soft colors and patterns easily transforms a space from drab to pretty. The rug also makes the green dining chairs pop.

    Dining Room

    Create a wow factor by adding a bright, patterned rug to your space. Photographer Jessie Webster chose to use a bright and bold rug in her dining room. It gives her neutral space enough color to add some lovely character.

    Modern Living Room

    This living space didn’t need alot of help being beautiful. That’s why I love how they chose a simple, elegant rug that doesn’t compete with the furniture in the room.

    Modern Bedroom

    For my own bedroom, I chose a colorful rug and layered it on a solid gray rug. It has to be my favorite feature in my room. And because most everything else is neutral in the room, a colorful rug really works.

    Happy rug planning!

    Images: Apartment TherapyDesign SpongeUncovet, Simply Grove

  • Tomorrow's LED: A Lighting Revolution

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    Apple Think Different

    "Think Different."

    Hasn't that become the de facto war cry of the digital age, ushered in ever so presciently in the early 90s by Apple Computer? 

    Well, thinking differently isn't just for the the geek chic computer set anymore. A recent article in the New York Times suggests that the lighting industry is in the midst of a Silicon Valley-like LED lighting revolution: 

    “Up till now we only thought — do I have enough light to see, to clean my room, to cut a diamond?” said Ed Crawford, a senior vice president of Philips Lighting Americas. “Now it impacts what I do, how I feel, in emotional ways.”

    Virgin America Cabin Lighting

    As cost continues to drop and quality continues to rise, LEDs (and their ability to replicate a wide range of colors), are leading the charge. In fact, colored LED lighting is being used to do everything from settling the spirits of frazzled Virgin America airline travelers (pictured above) to managing jaundice in newborns. It is, in a sense, much more functional than meets the eye. At the consumer level, some LED ceiling lights even change colors to suit the mood.

    But lighting is getting smarter too. There are park lights that turn on only as joggers pass by, and street lights that can detect noxious gases. There are light bulbs that can be dimmed and color shifted, all through a mobile app. And soon, public lighting could be networked to monitor traffic or direct cars to vacant parking spots. 

    While the technology is still in R&D, consumers are already beginning to see benefits. Famed Italian designer Alessi recently released LED bulbs at a very eye-pleasing 2700K color temperature:

    led light bulb

    LED AlessiLux Silver Decorative Light Bulb

    And energy-efficient LEDs have made solar powered path lighting (and the added safety and security they provide) a viable consumer option for years:

    solar landscape lighting

    Pewter Solar Lantern Outdoor Landscape Light

    The question is: what's next? Instead of wall lights, we may see interactive lighting that covers entire walls. Instead of remembering to turn off the lights, our homes may do the remembering for us. Whatever comes next in modern lighting, you can trust we'll be chasing it down.   

    Images: All Things TechCatch Brand

  • From Outfit to Interior: Chill + Easy-Going

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    Outfit to Interior

    Modern Loft

    Sometimes a girl just needs to sit back, relax, and know that everything looks amazing (including her!). Ms. Chill & Easy Going relies on cool blues and reflective decor to achieve her laid back coastal vibe.

    Modern Chandelier

    To create a show-stopping focal point Ms. Chill & Easy Going chose a gorgeous chandelier that you can't help but ogle. The Vienna Full Spectrum Chrome and Crystal Chandelier features a cascade of round and diamond shaped crystals that diffuse light with a little sparkle.

    Perched on the dining table directly beneath is this Amalfitana Nickel and Gold with Mesh Lotus Platter. It's the same width as its overhead counterpart (22-inches) and adds a beautifully reflective surface that could pass as art.

    Mini Chandelier

    To carry the effect throughout her home, Ms. Chill & Easy Going has dangled a few of these contemporary James R. Moder Celestial Sphere Crystal Chandeliers above her bookcases. But they would be equally at home over the kitchen counter, lined down a hallway, or over the bar.

    No space is complete without a little natural ambiance, these  Amalfitana Polished Steel Tealight Candle Holders fit the bill just right. A few clustered in a dark corner add an exotic feel to any room.

    Modern Table Lamp

    When a little extra illumination is called for Ms. Chill & Easy Going reaches to switch on her Brighton Hammered Pot Brushed Nickel Table Lamp. The metal base has a hammered finish that add beautiful texture to her decor, while the crisp white drum shade helps to keep things light and airy.

    She carries her style outdoors to the patio with a pair of Milo Brass Robert Abbey Outdoor Pendants. Each one features industrial-inspired design in an antique brass finish with small perforations on the top of the frame for that extra something special.

    Image: Shop Planet Blue, Marie Claire

May, 2013