Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The perils of Soviet posters

The Soviet Union may have lost the Cold War, but their posters won the Aesthetic war. However, there are definitely places where a poster like this does not belong: for example, Alabama. Over the bed is another place. It's hard to create an intimate space with Fearless Leader watching over you.
Also, what is that coming from the bathroom? A melted Dalmatian?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

shelves I think are cool

Shame you can't get these in America, but this bookshelf from the Japanese furniture companyNissen is pretty amazing. It saves space, and keeps things looking clean. I'm a fan of open bookshelves because they say 'look at me, I'm cultured' but with these, you don't have to alphabetize or color-code your books. This is more functional for small spaces, has a clean, almost Ikea-esque aesthetic but doesn't really work for oversized books.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Marimekko. Why?

Sometimes, you may have to ask yourself, 'is this too much?'

This is too much. From a distance, it's clumps of hair, possibly bunches of spiders. Up close, it's mis-shapen wagon wheels: like if a 5 year old with a crayon was asked to draw it. I'm all for organic lines, but this sends me into conniption fits.
Image lovingly stolen from Design Sponge

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Danish modern style, without Danish modern prices

For the Record, the Melrose Trading post is a lot of fun, even when you've been up since 4AM, the morning after a colossal migraine.

Anyways, urban outfitters has its own hipster cache and that can be a minefield, but they do have a few solid pieces of furniture. I'm most impressed with this daybed. Great color, great lines and it has that iconic look: when you think 'mid-century daybed' you think of this piece. The price is nice too, which is rare for Urban Outfitters. I tend to think that much of their accessories have that sort of 'fifty cents at a garage sale' look to them, without that all-important fifty cent price.

Friday, July 3, 2009

What a difference paint makes.

I've been busy, and the blog has not been very active because of that, but here's one of the things that I was working on in the interim: a repaint of the front porch. This was one of those tasks which wasn't immediately necessary, but because I offered to do much of the work, I was allowed to do it.

My mom sometimes uses the porch to do work, and it's not exactly the most inviting place to do that. Mostly, it had become a place for furniture that didn't really belong in other rooms. Something had to be done to make this into a space that someone would actually want to spend time in.

After ripping up the carpet, we discovered another layer of carpet. Though this layer was in decent shape, the carpet pad below had disintegrated. The plan was to paint the floors anyways, so this discovery wasn't a huge setback.

The first part of the project was to paint over the beadboard ceilings. The white immediately made the space feel more airy.

The trim was re-painted, and the walls were painted this light green color. At this stage, I remember wishing that the paint was a little bit darker, because I'd felt like the room looked a bit washed-out.

Lastly, the floor was repainted in a light grey. Again, the paint was a bit light, but we're going to get a rug to give the room a little more texture and dimension.

There are a couple other to-dos: Curtains for the east-facing wall, a new light fixture for the ceiling and adding another chair (more on that project later) For right now, the space is much better, more inviting and something I'm glad I worked on. One job that you can't really see in any of the photos, but was necessary, was replacing the broken sash cords in the south-facing windows. But now, the porch is not only fully-functional, but also looks better!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

things I love: movie edition

Hello readers,
One thing that's lightly off topic, but still worth a gander: I love mid-century modern design, and I love comedies. So when I finally got around to seeing the French spy farce OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, it was worth the wait. The film parodies the James Bond Eurospy movies of the 60s. Think of it as the movie Get Smart was supposed to be.
The title cards alone (done by Laurent Brett, who is clearly a master) are spot-on midcentury wonders, suitable for framing.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What I've been up to recently

Hello readers
I apologize for the lack up updates recently. One project I've been working on, while not at work, is the front porch my mom uses as an office sometimes. The major work is done, but there are a few issues (lighting and so on) that are on the list of 'things to do eventually'. Don't worry, I'll have pictures up soon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

an incredible chair from an unlikely source

When you think of sources for mid-century modern styled furniture, you think of a few sellers, maybe you think of a few antiques or thrift stores, but I doubt you think of the word 'typography'.
House Industries is changing that with their Neutra Boomerang chair. Available in maple or walnut, you can be assured that you're the only one on your block to own a copy of this chair. They're taking deposits for the second edition, so be sure to get on that ASAP! I'm also a huge fan of the Ampersand pillows and the Andrew Girard objects also for sale on the website.

Kudos to Boingboing for the image.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

two lamps I like

Retro To Go highlighted this wonderful lamp from Pokono. I'm a fan of the way it melds textures and materials into something unique. I'm not a fan of the 200 dollar price tag, but you can't win them all.

Lamp number two comes to us courtesy of Cribcandy and it is a stunner. Dynamic lines combine to make a piece that looks like it could take off from the desk at any moment.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Green and white kitchen, take three

I think I'm starting a collection of these. I fully recognize that this is a look that is entirely 'of-the-moment' and will look dated in a decade's time. I also don't care.
Apartment Therapy featured this kitchen, which comes all the way from Australia.

This room uses balance so well. We've got high-impact, and almost clinical white countertops set off against organic, warm wood floors. High-contrast (almost) black and white gets mixed up with a splash of green. It's modern, it's classic, it's perfect. I may have to rescind my claim about this being a look that will age poorly. Call me in 5 years' time.

topical drink glasses

Hello again faithful readers. I have been busy with work and writing a paper which renders me the expert in a field which nobody will ever take seriously.

Cribcandy points out this strikingly topical drinking glass set. Depending on your social circle, this will be in very bad taste, or an amazing thing to own.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy birthday earth

Well, our little planet is having its day today. In that spirit, I want to bring up a very well-known triumvirate of words:
Reduce, reuse and recycle.

There's a reason that recycle is number three. It's the one you should do as a last resort. If you reduce the amount of things you buy, you save a lot of needless energy from being expended in manufacturing. When you re-use, you increase the useful life of what you already have. Recycling, if you're not reducing your consumption or reusing what you own, can actually be counter-productive, if you factor in the costs of processing. Here in Los Angeles, recycling is akin to picking up the trash twice a week.

My favorite way to go green? Dumpster diving. Everyone's a winner that way. I've retrieved a cane chair from the trash of a local cafe, and it now sits in my mom's garden, and it looks good. Pictures are forthcoming.
To see just how cool the results can be, check out http://finedivingchicago.com/

So, readers: do you have any good tales of found furnishings given a second chance?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cow rugs

Something I've never fully understood the appeal of is animal rugs that still bear a resemblance to the animal whence they came. Bear skin rugs are the exception, as they have a certain rugged charm to them, especially when embellished with a tale about how said bear threatened your life, so you had no choice but to kill it with your own hands.
Cows lack that critical element of danger. Mostly, cows gaze vacantly into space. Plus, when tipped sideways, they are unable to right themselves. This is a serious design flaw.
Putting a cowhide rug in a living room is a bit unusual, but putting one in a kitchen seems just cruel. You're telling the poor rug that one of its relatives is in the broiler not more than 15 feet away, slowly becoming what's for dinner.
To which the cow's spirit says 'moo', then continues to stare off into space.

Urano Bed

I wish I had enough bedroom space to have one of these in my room. I think it makes a stunning design statement placed in the middle of the room. This is the Urano Bed, designed by Leonardo Dainelli.
Available from Falegnameria (I wish I could get a link to the specific product, but the website is flash)
Image taken from Cribcandy

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Green and white kitchen, take two

In an earlier post, I mentioned a green and white kitchen which I think is such a bold and innovative use of color. I found another kitchen that uses similar colors in an entirely different way.

Two different styles, but both kitchens still have a bright and clean feeling. And in this kitchen, I am completely sold on the countertop color.
Kitchen from Design Sponge

Friday, April 10, 2009

A thought on open shelves

If you're going to go for open shelves in your kitchen, you have to keep your cabinets organized, because you can't hide the clutter. Ask yourself 'how organized am I?' before making the choice to add them to your kitchen.
Image from Apartment Therapy

Also, I'm a little bit in love with these checkered storage tins from Lavender and Sage. They're just that perfect cheery retro accessory for storing kitchen staples.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dinnerware for people like me

In my younger years, I made family history by spilling three different drinks at the same time. Thus, I'm a fan of the word 'unbreakable'.
Unbreakable doesn't have to mean tupperware or something equally unstylish. Apartment Therapy featured many options for unbreakable AND delightful dishes in a recent post, but I know which ones are my favorite.

The medico line from Sprout Home. Combine colors with a lot of 'wow' and versatile geometric patterns and you get this. It's the definition of 'cheap and cheerful'.

And here we have the definition of 'cheaper and unbelievably peppy'; these plates from Crate and Barrel
Sadly, melamine is not microwave safe.

green gets the respect it deserves

Thank you, dear readers, for sticking around while I've been busy with work this past week and a bit.
What awesome treats do I have to share with you today? How about this kitchen.

I admit, I'm not a risk-taker. I err on the side of caution far too often, which means I have a certain appreciation for bold designs that work. The green color really pops, but the rest of the kitchen is restrained enough that the color doesn't become overwhelming. The mix of high-gloss with matte only accents the bold choice more.

I'm still unsure about the green countertop, however. Not my favorite.

Today's link comes fromDesire to Inspire The fact that this kitchen is the same color as my blog is pure coincidence.

Monday, March 23, 2009

pattern thoughts

Based on this post on Apartment Therapy, I will make one additional thought to everything I've said about using black and white patterns.
From far enough away, a more complex pattern will lose that detail. Very close up, the elements of line and form will capture interest. But that middle ground is where pattern can take on a hypnotic quality. At this scale, the pattern above gives me tunnel vision.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy 50th!

The iconic Barbie doll is turning 50 this year. Jonathan Adler designed a house for Barbie to commemorate this anniversary, but I'm not sure if this is a punishment or a reward. LAist offers the following shot of the bedroom.

Okay, this isn't a bedroom - It's a harem. It's sultry, even by Barbie standards. (And she ran for president too! shouldn't she have better taste than this?)

I showed this image to the woman I'll be sharing an apartment with next year. Her reaction was "I WANT MY BEDROOM TO LOOK LIKE THAT!" Actually, if you know her, this room pretty much describes her personality spot-on.

Friday, March 6, 2009

More ugly wallpaper

A striking design element captures your attention.

This wallpaper holds your eyeballs hostage and refuses to let them go. I keep trying to direct my gaze to the relative safety of the cabinets, but this wallpaper refuses to release its deathgrip on my retinas.
Image taken from Desire to Inspire

Monday, March 2, 2009

Wood Paneling grows up

Wood paneling without the basement rec-room feel. My unrequited love for Apartment Therapy continues with this product from B&N Industries. As far as wood paneling goes, I think that this would make an excellent choice for an accent wall, or as a great way to add texture and interest to an entryway. Just be prepared to pay a grown-up price: $600 to $1000 for the standard panels, and $1000 to $1600
I think that someone with very good Dremel skills and plenty of free time could mimic the look, so this has the potential for a DIY inspiration.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

such a thing as too bold?

Potentially. Bold and daring design has the power to take one's breath away. Usually, this comes in when you take chances that pay off well.
Sometimes, you make choices that leave a few questions unanswered.

I can appreciate painting the wall with dynamic lines. The colors, I'm not too fond of.
Image lovingly taken from Desire to Inspire

Apparently, this is the residence of the Sore Loser family

Friday, February 27, 2009

just when you thought stainless steel was the coolest thing ever

Amana comes out with this.
I'm a fan of the Twilight blue model, but I get the overwhelming feeling that whatever color gets the nod will be our generation's Harvest Gold or Avocado Green. I sincerely hope the striped one doesn't get put into production.
Personally, I think the standard white works best because it color-coordinates with all your fridge magnets, grocery lists and kids' drawings. Don't want macaroni drawings cluttering up the clean lines of your kitchen? Get a stainless steel model. (But you were probably going to do that anyways)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reconciling 'car people' with 'art people'

I'm one of those car guys. The major downside to that aspect of my personality is that it's hard to bring that into design. Most car posters are perfect for garages or the bedroom walls of teenage boys. As a former teenage boy, I admit it worked well for a while.
Now I'm trying to keep things classier. And nothing says class better than rather expensive rugs. (except for caviar, roses, well-pressed tuxedo shirts and Gary Cooper).
Behold, the Oto rug from the Nought Collective

Part of me wonders why a room would need most of a 1970's station wagon on the floor. Part of me thinks that the iconic meaning of that image transcends the seemingly random nature of the design choice. And the last part of me would buy it in a heartbeat, were it either cheaper or me wealthier.
In the meantime, I'll go about seeing if I can't get a super-sized print of this image made.

Image credits:
Apartment Therapy, whom I love and adore.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fun little test: What's your design style

A simple 5 minute quiz from Sproost will answer what your design preferences are. The first time I took the test, the result was 60% Contemporary, 40% Vintage Modern. There's a lot of wiggle-room, and the test is about as scientific as your horoscope, but it's a great weekend time-waster.

So readers, I'm curious to figure out how y'all score.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sometimes customizing IKEA furniture works

Given the proper lighting, I think something like this could work. Or if you need more openness and less color, remove the back panel altogether. I don't have any firsthand knowledge of how stable these things are. A back panel might be necessary for maintaining structural integrity.

Sometimes, plans don't go as well as expected.
One lantern is cool. Two is less dramatic, but still has sufficient presence. Ten is an invasion. In the case of this photo, an alien invasion. I, for one, welcome our new lightly flammable lantern overlords.

These images lovingly stolen from Apartment Therapy

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I believe this is what they call a 'shout-out'

So, readers of my blog, one of us has recently announced a new line of upholstered furniture. As though he's not getting enough kudos and complements, I must say I like what I've seen so far. So, a big congratulations are in store to Angelo Surmelis!

More details are available at his blog. (and its a great read, so be sure to check it out)
In the meantime, check out this picture, which I've lovingly stolen from his blog. I really like the pattern: its bold without being gaudy, and works really well with the lines of the piece. I've always felt that stark, contrasting colors work best with simple patterns like this.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Taking things outside

I don't have the luxury of having my own driveway. If I did, I think I'd go for these tiles from Solarium Revestimentos.
I'm not as up to date on my landscape design as I should be, but I've been a big fan of permeable driveways. For my money, they're a great way to get the functionality of a driveway without losing the green space of your yard and if you've got an especially small yard, that can be crucial.

Thanks to The Designaddict Blog

Friday, February 13, 2009

A few things I like.

There is a lot of design out there, and trying to keep on top of all of it is a full-time job. I haven't been able to find TOO much I'm morally opposed to, which is a good sign.

This brings me to the following few things that I really like. These Hovis tins from Pedlars. These are the perfect thing for a windowsill garden: clean lines, substantial size, and they'll take on a great patina with age.

This tealight/candle holder from Bald Man Mod. I know the picture shows four, but at time of publishing, there's only one left. I'm a big fan of the color; its the sort of grey that goes with virtually everything.

BAI design clocks
if using the word 'timeless' when describing a clock is wrong, then I don't want to be right. It's got retro style, but it would still look great in a modern kitchen.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Just say NO to shag

Shag rugs are making a comeback. They've got a lot of things going for them: they're an easy way to add texture to a room, and they're really soft to lie on or walk across in bare feet. But if there is any chance a small child will enter your house, don't buy one.
Here's what will happen: You'll buy the shag rug, and maybe it'll tie the entire room together. So your well-meaning relatives will have to come over and see it. Odds are good that someone will be bringing a small child. All very small children eat cheerios, because they're easy to eat when you don't have fine motor skills. All small children drop cheerios, or whatever small, crunchy food they're eating.
Small children are very good at running away from you. Give the slightest indication that you're chasing after them, and away they totter.
Cheerios have a particular quality where they're able to break down into their component atoms with just the slightest pressure of your foot.

To summarize: Small children WILL enter your home, they WILL spill food on your new shag rug, and it will NEVER be clean again.

This leaves you with the following dilemma: How do you tactfully ban small children from your home? Especially when they're family?

"Oh, come on," they'll say, "it's just a rug"

And that's just it. As funky as they are, shag rugs were never designed for the real world.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Pillow Talk

The most diplomatic word I can use to describe this pillow is 'funky'. It's got color and the pattern is the same sort of shape that screams 'Las Vegas neon sign'. The bad news is we're talking the Fat Elvis era of Vegas.

I think that unless done right, this pattern will look garish. Unlike stripes or other simple geometric patterns which mix well with other things, this one will take a lot more careful planning. Keeping it constrained to a pillow makes the job easier.
Image taken from Design Milk
Pillow is from Johnathan Adler

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Wallpaper, part 4 of many

It'll never work, they said. But he showed them. A house, entirely from Lego. Construction would have gone a lot faster if they could only find that red piece that they saw like fifty times when they didn't need it.
Image from Apartment Therapy

Friday, February 6, 2009

How not to bring nature into your home

from The Daily Telegraph,
A designer has come up with the idea of a bath-mat that is made of moss, and will be hydrated by the water dripping from your body.
It's non-slip, its good for the environment and it needs minimal care. However, it's the answer to a question that nobody ever asked, nor would ever ask. Something about this strikes me as similar to the Flintstones, where animals would do menial tasks. Absorbing moisture seems the perfect task to outsource to a plant.
Though knowing just how good running barefoot through grass feels, if this is just as soft I'm half-tempted to get one.

Trends of 09 part 2

In my mind, the best way to describe this trend is 'plant silhouettes', but I really hate that word silhouettes... I can never spell it right. In any event, the photos will show what it is that I'm talking about:

Mode Wallpaper

TreeBomb Wallpaper

Fern Pillow from Ferm Living

Pine Tree Sticker from Ferm Living

It's a blend of art and nature. However, it's all about the beauty of natural shapes. Keep it simple and it'll work best. Which is to say, I don't like the first two; they seem a bit too busy for my tastes, but sometimes its hard to get a good sense of scale in wallpaper photos.

So readers, what do you think of this trend?

Thanks to:

Desire to Inspire
Wallpaper from the 70s
frivolous necessities(do check this blog out!)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Fornasetti: The Next Big Thing?

Comparison shopping for auto insurance has never been a favorite thing of mine. New (to me) car means time to look around and see if I can't get a better deal from the other guy. That took most of my lunch hour, but its one less thing to worry about.
I have been noticing one particular artist getting some attention: Piero Fornasetti, the noted engraver. His work hasn't quite hit the saturation level of the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' posters, but it very well could.
Fornasetti's most known works revolve around the image of the operatic soprano Lina Cavalieri. The images are astounding, but also a little bit haunting. Its like those paintings where the eyes follow you around the room.

One can purchase a limited edition DVD of hundreds of the images, suitable for background entertainment at a party.
Personally, if the Oceania of Orwell's 1984 was run by the Avant-Garde, I think their posters of choice would be these. "Lina Cavalieri is watching you" is a little more unnerving than big brother.

This image and design idea (which can be seen at photographerMark Roskam's website) does not bode well in my mind. It's the feeling of being watched, multiplied by thirty three and served for breakfast and at every meal. If there ever were a way to give yourself paranoia, this would be it.

Image credits: Design Milk
Desire to Inspire

Friday, January 30, 2009

Trends of 09

One trend that I'm seeing a lot of in modern design is typography. It's not just text, it's also the careful attention to letter forms that is getting a lot of attention. The written word is appearing everywhere in design:

This Pillow from design warehouse

 The ubiquitous 'Keep Calm and Carry On' Poster.

Wall Stickers and murals:

Camp Rock wall mural from PB Teen

and this mirror:

What do I think of it? Well, by now the Keep Calm posters have become a bit passe (but I still want one) and I really don't like Camp Rock, so that's out the window.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

mirrored furniture

I love the blog Apartment Therapy a little too much perhaps. Still, some of the trends that they feature are a bit bizarre. here they feature the designs of Maison&Objet, which include a number of mirrors as well as mirrored furniture.
Now a mirror is a great way to add the appearance of space to a room. Funky shapes can further add a decorative element. But mirrored furniture is something else. To me, it just suggests the phrase "I do cocaine".

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What Are the Design Trends for 2009?

Well, According to the folks at Sk├Âna Hem, a Swedish home design magazine, here are some of the trends that we can look forward to seeing. Now while the trends themselves are solid, the photos illustrating them are a bit silly. Let's take a closer look:
Raw Blonde wood

AKA: the 'We went to IKEA and bought a bunch of wood furniture' look. Part of me thinks that this is Sweden's way of ensuring money goes back to Sweden. I think it's a great way to introduce natural elements into your space while still keeping a clean and modern look.

Tailored Textiles

Okay, this looks like an electric chair designed by the Artist Formerly Known as Prince. I have no qualms with tailoring. The wallpaper below the chair rail is a bit much, though. I'd have gone for a solid color.

Industrial forms

This room dissolves Mondrian on contact. The setting where industrial forms work best is when they're allowed to speak for themselves. Simple settings highlight the beauty of the form itself and its simplicity. Jamming a bunch together just creates a mess.