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modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas

  • Designing With Kid-Friendly Coffee Tables


    Coffee Tables

    Have you ever noticed that a lot of homes with children don’t have coffee tables? Or, if they do, they have rather obnoxious childproofing gear wrapped around them? I didn’t pay much attention to this phenomenon until I had kids. I ignored dealing with the whole children coffee table issue for a few years.  But, one boy and many boo boos later, I decided to ditch the coffee table altogether. It’s been almost 7 years (and 2 boys) later and I am so ready to bring a modern coffee table back into my life.

    The truth is you don’t have to go without like I did. There are so many great options and ideas that are both stylish and kid friendly. Take a look and I think you’ll agree!

    Modern Poufs

    Teal Blue Pouf Modern Roped Cotton 14-Inch-H Ottoman, Mocha Roped Cotton Pouf 20-Inch-W Ottoman

    One option, I adore, is using a couple of poufs in lieu of a traditional table (image above). These are perfect for when you have really little ones that are just learning to walk and bumping into anything and everything in sight.  You can pair two together in front of your sofa and they are also great for catching a few magazines or books and perfect for resting feet upon. 

    When your babies get a bit older you can use these poufs as an addition to a traditional coffee table. They are perfect used as seats around the coffee table for little ones. Or, they simply look great off to the side or as a functional footrest.

    Modern Living Room

    Campaign Jamie Silver 14-Inch-H Young Folding Coffee Table

    Speaking of kids sitting around a coffee table, I love the idea of a coffee table having a dual purpose and working as a kid’s table (above image). All you have to do is find a table that is a little more rustic and add a few little chairs (you can also use large chairs).

    Kid-Friendly Design

    Sojourn Tempered Glass Modern Zuo Coffee Table

    If you want to go with a totally traditional concept, when it comes to coffee tables, but wish to keep a modern look, than this is my favorite style (image above). There are no sharp edges, smudges wipe right off (with a little Windex) and this style keeps things light and airy in a room that tends get cluttered with toys.

    So, before you rule (or throw) out your coffee table consider these options and ideas. You’ll be glad for a place to kick up your feet, rest your coffee and collect yours (and your little one’s) favorite books.

    Images: Mark TuckeyDesign Sponge, By Fryd, la la Lovely

  • Stylish Outdoor Eating Areas For Summer


    Outdoor Eating

    Some of us are dealing with warm/hot weather right now. Summer is my personal favorite. Even when the temperature rises, there is so much to do. One of those fun activities is styling outdoor eating areas for Summer. Whether it’s when the sun is out or strictly under the stars, entertaining outdoors can create some of the funnest memories.

    Above we see a clean patio with seating areas and also a dining area. The entirety of the space is modern and minimal, which makes for a great entertaining. I also love the variety of woods and fabrics.

    Modern Lighting

    To create a wow factor, try styling a dining space in the midst of a forest. The wood table seen above, seamlessly meshes with the outdoors. Another beautiful styling idea is whimsical crystal chandeliers. It creates a wow factor for guests.

    Outdoor Dining Chairs

    This patio, which could have a tendency to feel normal, has been spruced up with the bright red dining chairs. Colorful outdoor seating is a great way to add personality. The combo of wood and metal gives this space a very relaxed feel. Perfect for a lazy summer night.

    Modern Dining

    This area feels a little more traditional but still lends itself to warm, relaxing nights. Feed your guests at the table and then afterwards, lounge by the fireplace. It’s a mini vacation waiting to be used on a daily basis!

    Images: Sfgirlbybay, La Boheme, Chezerbey, Digs Digs

  • Public Art: Translating Emoji into a Giant Light Show


    Public Art

    Like all of us, I'm sure you remember the amazing architecture from the Olympics in Beijing, China. Ever wonder about it still? Well, we've learned that designers have transformed the Water Cube into public art. We couldn't help but share this...

    The exterior of the building shifts between beautiful gradients of color, but that's not all... Using custom software millions of Emoji are sifted through, and in combination with the I Ching, they inform the color, tone, and movement of the light.

    Water Cube

    Jennifer Wen Ma is the Visual Artist on the project. She calls it a "symphony of light". We have to agree.

    She explains that this design project is a representation of nature and man and a symbol of society since the color and speed of light is in fact determined by the emotions of the people.

    Modern Art

    Lighting Designer Zheng Jianwei explains how light enters the bubbles then bounces off unpredictably within the structure. He continues to explain how this is similar to the I Ching philosophy... the sense that chaos, grandiosity and interconnectivity.

    We are truly impressed with this project. It's beautiful architecture taken to a new level and turned into public art. Check out this video below to see both Ma and Jianwei eloquently describe this amazing design project.

    Images: The Creators Project

  • Iconic Apple Designer: Jonathan Ive


    Jonathan Ive Apple iMacs

    Steve Jobs is the name everyone knows, but as Senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple, Jonathan Ive is the man most often credited with the actual look of the iMac, iPod and iPhone, iPad…and whatever comes next. And true to principles of good design, no matter the complexity of the products he creates, the outcome is refreshingly simple, fresh and intentional.

    Colorful iPod Nano

    "A product has to be genuinely better…For something to ultimately be better, the consumer has to see, feel and believe that it is in fact better,” explained Ive in interview with Innovation Excellence

    Ive and his team created some of the most iconic industrial designs of the 20th-21st centuries, and in so doing they were clearly treading in uncharted waters: “If something is going to be better, it is new, and if it’s new you are confronting problems and challenges you don’t have references for. 

    It’s easy to see how these lofty principles apply to the rich and famous world of Silicon Valley. But in the contemporary lighting industry, we’re seeing the same innovative and principled thinking develop. In an interview with Koncept last year, we discussed the challenge of educating consumers that LED is in many ways better (and more cost-effective) than traditional incandescent. 

    Colored LED Desk Lamp

    Gen 3 Z-Bar LED Lamps by Koncept

    And Alberto Alessi, who runs Milan-based Alessi (whose designs we recently featured in a blog post), remarked to the Telegraph in the UK: "We do not offer things which people fundamentally need but we deliver something which answers a wish, a dream." 

    Alessi Table Lights

    Table Lights by AlessiLux

    The wish, as Alessi calls it, is for design to offer extraordinary value: energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing, high quality and long lasting. In many cases, that dream has come true.

    Images: Apple

  • Color Crush: Silver


    Modern Kitchen

    Silver is one of those colors that adds so much to a room, even a little bling, but can easily be over done if you use to much. All you need to amp up your room with some silver tones is a few small accessories for your space.

    This room has a great amount of silver in it. Just enough that you notice but not so much that it is over bearing. And the lamp overhanging the space is amazing. Silver accents help make a room seem simple and put together without going over the top.

    Home Decor

    Mercury Glass 3-Piece Canister and Tray Set, St Croix Mercury Glass with Silver Jamie Young Chandelier, Sunburst Reflections Antique Silver Resin Round Wall Mirror, Retro Silver with Cream Metal Round Wall Clock

    These canisters are perfect. You can fill them with something small or just keep them empty. Either way they would be awesome in any space. This light is so cool. The shape of it has a modern but also antique feel to it, making it work so well in pretty much any room. The clock is simple and clean which I love and the mirror is a definite statement piece. Along with some silver toned chair legs or accent table and your room will be good to go!

    Images: A Piece of Happiness

July, 2013