Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Piece of Alaïa in Paris

DesigneAzzedine Alaïa is known for his incredible eye for fashion and all things design, so you can only imagine how excited I was to learn that he has played his hand at the world of interiors.    Converting a 300 square foot apartment in the Marais district in Paris into three vacation rental apartments Alaïa has created a chic retreat that would make anyone feel they have a perfectly designed 'pied-a-terre' of their own in the City of Lights.  The apartments are furnished with iconic design pieces from Mouille lights, to Prouve dining chairs and Le Corbusier storage cabinets. Each apartment has been thought through and designed by Alaïa and is definitely on the list of my places to stay next time I am in town. Trip to Paris anyone??

All photos courtesy of Trendland

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Modern Declaration

Another day, and another trip out to Colorado.  Heading back there for the last two days of our install and then project complete! Would love to be able to share the project with you but these pesky confidentiality agreements always seem to get in the way...sorry. Hope you have enjoyed my thought process throughout as I have loved sharing it with you.  Today I wanted to share the work of a New York designer whose work I have been following on and off for quite some time.  Daun Curry is the creative mind behind the firm Modern Declaration and her love for texture, color and pattern make their work fun and lively. Some of the colours and patterns are a little too much for me, but I like her approach to decoration and her furniture collection (lucite and chrome detail featured here yesterday) have a great attention to detail.  

Photos courtesy of Modern Declaration

And for those of you that want a little more...check out Daun's blog here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Inspired By

Hi everyone, I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I am sorry that I have been so sporadic with my posts and staying in touch, it has been a very busy time at work and I am fining it very hard to balance a super busy work schedule and my love for this blog - any advice from my fellow bloggers on how to juggle this busy life??  I know that it is no excuse and I really do feel like these posts and my connection to all of you helps keep me level-headed and constantly thinking about design in new and interesting ways.  I just wish I had an extra three hours in each of my days to help make it all happen...

For todays Inspired By post I wanted to look at furniture and material details. I was in Aspen last week finishing up the installation on this project we have been working hard on and I realized something - it's all in the detail! Whether a furniture, cabinetry or architectural detail, it is these things, that are on a micro level, that really help to make the project as a whole cohesive and complete.  I have found myself drawn to the interaction between one material to another and think that it is this connection that helps to make a project feel thought through and well designed, and not. We as designers spend our lives worrying about these little details, and sometimes I wonder whether it really makes a difference or whether it is me just being pedantic - well, I can now confirm that yes, it does make a difference.  It is the sum of all these carefully considered details that come together to make a project feel thought through, well executed and designed.  I really feel so lucky to have a job that I love and one that I am constantly learning in.  Anyone else feel the same?

Studio Andre Putman via DesignBoom

I also have a Pinterest board where I share all my favorite furniture, interior and architectural details.  You can see these and more images there, so please stop by, have a look and share thought this wonderful world of social media we belong to!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Architecture that makes me think

For me, one of the most important things about architecture is that it speaks to me.  I have to either feel moved from the forms, details or creativity otherwise I am unable to relate and feel an emotional bond with the building.  I know that this might sound a little strange, but I don't necessarily have to like the structure to feel moved, but it has to have affected me in some way.  Enter Vila 1095 Val de Lobo by Spanish architecture firm Arqui + Arquitectura e Design.  Said to have been inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water and Philip Johnson's Glass House this structure is unlike anything I have seen before.  I find the actual house with it's clean lines, subtle details and minimal material palette much more interesting than the pool structure (I guess one does call it Archisculpture).  There is something about this house that I just had to share with you, however I do feel that it is the first time I have published something I am not completely in love with. The world of architecture and design is full of people trying to push the boundary of what we expect, and while I give credit for very creative though I am not sure how successful this project is - Any thoughts?  

Photos courtesy of Luxury Culture

Friday, July 13, 2012

Furniture Fridays

Good morning all and welcome to Furniture Fridays! I am so excited that we have the lovely Sandra from Rain Coast Cottage here today to share her favorite piece of furniture. Sandra is fun-loving, creative and inspiring, and there is alway something new and exciting going on. Whether it is a post on travel, art, design or what she is making for dinner, I always find something to inspire me. Thanks so much for sharing this great (and iconic) piece with us! 

When Anna asked me to take part in her Furniture Friday series, I knew immediately which piece of furniture that I wanted to write about. And I immediately hesitated too. When I tell you which chair, you'll know why - it's the Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair. It's timeless. It's popular. And it's also become a bit of a cliche. Even mid-century modern has become a bit of a cliche with many rooms and homes seeming more like museums than anything else.

But I do love this chair. The design. The swoop of the lines. It's nod to the armchair in it's many iterations. How it evokes an era yet also remains timeless. And best of all - it's comfortable. It's beautiful to look at and a chair to linger in with a book and a glass of wine. You want to sit in this chair. Isn't that the best recommendation? Something that is stylish and comfortable.

The egg chair has been featured here and there in popular culture since it's introduction in 1958. Watch this 1965 Beatles video and you'll see it first at the 20s mark:

I have one too - upholstered in Classic Boucle Aegean Knoll fabric. If you do have one reupholstered, make sure that you find someone with experience as it is a very tricky piece of furniture to recover. The authentic ones are done in just two pieces while the ones like the Restoration Hardware knock-offs use more sections. In addition, use the Knoll fabric - it has the right amount of 360 degree give for the curves of the chair. Anything with less give is going to sag over time.

And if you do buy one, get ready to draw straw with your friends and family over who gets to sit in it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Classic Elegance in Edinburgh

I am so excited for today's post...can actually not really contain it!!  As mentioned in my Sneak Peek on Monday, one of my closest friends in the UK has undertaken an extraordinary home challenge and boy have they prevailed.  She and her partner purchased a ground floor apartment in a two-story house and proceeded to have their lived taken over by renovating it top to bottom.  Susanne and I work together when we both lived in London (she is a supremely talented Architect and Interior Designer) and so when they saw this apartment they knew they were going to be working with some good - yet old - bones.  With original hardwood flooring, amazing door casings and mouldings throughout, this apartment was screaming for some TLC and someone to swoop in to revive what had been so clearly neglected over the years. They didn't have a big budget and so were planning to do as much of the work as they possibly could themselves, and with her trade connections, Susanne was able to economically piece things together even more - it is amazing what a research and hard work will give you!

Location - Edinburgh, Scotland
Date and Period of the property - 1910, Victorian
Size - approximately 1300 square feet
Construction - 3 months
Painting & Interiors (by themselves) - 6 months

In her own words Susanne describes the project, process, and ways they made this incredible space come alive with a next-to-nothing budget:
The main thing for me was to finally have the chance to do a project for myself. It was amazing but hugely challenging. All our money went on the structural works to change it from a one to a three bed - which in a 100-year-old house with neighbours above you is never easy. So when the builders left we had no budget to do the interiors. This meant lots of trips to the dump and charity shops for old furniture that I could give a new lease of life to, or making things myself such as blinds, or improving cheap products like drum pendants by lining them myself. In the end I don't think the project is leading the design world but I am so proud as I am not sure anyone could do better with the budget we had!

Thank you so much for sharing your incredible apartment and process with all of us, it truly is a stunning home.

The Living room was dingy and depressing and had no redeeming qualities visible that brought one back to this being a Victorian house.  They added a simple acanthus style moulding to tie in the detailing that is throughout the rest of the house.  With the Entry and most of the house, the boards were sanded and re-finished bringing them back to their original glory, however they were not existing in the living room so new boards were added to tie in with original ones throughout.  The fireplace was non-existent and so a fitting design was sourced from a Architectural salvage yard.  This fireplace tiles are by William de Morgan, big at the time of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement, and the surround is painted pine to match the walls that are Farrow & Ball Pointing.

The kitchen only had small window originally - their goal was to make this room bright and light, and so the two windows at the back were removed and large French doors were added instead.  The architectural detailing in this space was kept to a minimum, and the focus was on a great, functional, family kitchen.  The cabinets are from a German company called Benchmarx – they’re cheap and available through builder's merchants, and are around the same price point as IKEA.  The big splurge was on the counter which is an Ivory colour called Yukon from Silestone - Susanne said it cost more than all the cabinets but this was one place she wanted to have a good quality piece and wasn't going to settle for something too white or cream. 

The little room above the kitchen (see plans at the end), again was a dingy little space.  With the addition of two skylights, and by painting the floorboards in with the colour of the walls, they were able to create a bright, light space that doubles as home office and dining room. The room is a bit of an awkward shape, so really the goal was to open it up and make it seem larger - achieved!

For me the most incredible room in the whole house is the master bedroom.  With stunning original features and a large bay window, this suite really is a sophisticated oasis. The room layout was changed in the plan to add an ensuite bathroom to the master bedroom, and this also shares the wall with Bedroom 3 creating a nursery or kids room right off the main bedroom.  As with other areas the floors in the bedroom were brought back to original and the palette was kept clean and simple.  The vanity in the bathroom came from a charity shop in Glasgow and was a very economical £45.  She stained it and changed handles, and voila...looks priceless!  The bath surround is mirrored to make the room feel larger, and the shower tiles are standard architect supply Johnsons Tiles, Prismatics range, colour Barley in gloss.

And to give an idea what kind of a transformation was done, here are the drawings below to help illustrate all the work. Congratulations Susanne, what an incredible apartment you have so brilliantly transformed!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Roger Davies

I don't think that it is a secret how much I enjoy and am inspired by the work of a good photographer.  Recently I came across the website for Roger Davies, and although I have seen his work published many times in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor and many other design magazines, it was truly wonderful to see this phenomenal body of work all in once place.  There is a certain ease to his photographs that not only transport the viewer to the space but make it accessible and inviting - maybe it's his love for open doors metaphorically bringing the viewer into the photograph.  He has a way of capturing the light that creates a warmth in the photo, and whether an interior or exterior shot they always seem to be a place I want to go.  

All Photos courtesy of Roger Davies Photography

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sneak Peek

Hello all and welcome to another week! I had a wonderful weekend out of the city visiting a friend and her lovely little 2 week old baby girl.  Such a tiny sweetheart she is. Great to get out of the city and do a whole lot of relaxing and visiting with friends I haven't seen in a long time. Now back to work and a fresh (and busy) week has started.  I am looking forward to heading to Aspen again at the beginning of next week to spend some more time on site for the second phase of our installation, and although I know it will be busy and intense, as I am sure I have mentioned, I love being on site and so this is always my favorite part of a project.

I wanted to give you all a little Sneak Peek into a new before and after I am working on. A dear friend of mine has spent countless months renovating an apartment in Edinburgh and I finally have the photos! Keep an eye out over the next few days to see the full post, but I can tell you this one is magazine worthy for sure!

Happy Monday all!
A x

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Quintessentially New York

Well, I don't really know where the weeks have gone. It has been ages since my last Quintessentially post and with all the traveling I seem to be missing sharing big parts of our New York experiences with you all.  I thought I'd start with sharing a great gem we discovered recently when we hit the town for our anniversary - Quality Meats NYC.  Part of the Stillman Restaurant group and one of the feathers in AvroKO Design's hat (see my post on Beauty and Essex), this restaurant is everything you would want from a quality steak house and more.  The decor has not so subtle references to a butcher shop and abattoir with meat hooks turned into chandeliers and 'raw industrial chic' being the name of the game.  The food was out of this world, and even though in true New York fashion the noise level was past being able to hear my own thoughts, I would highly recommend dinner, drinks and ambiance at this mid-town spot - carnivores bring your appetite!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Furniture Fridays

Good morning! Today I am happy to have Miya from Design Indulgences with us to share her favorite piece for Furniture Fridays.  With a keen eye for design Miya works in the Interior, styling and event planning side of the industry and always has wonderfully inspiring posts and images to swoon over.  Please take a minute have a read and enjoy!

When I was asked to be apart of Furniture Friday, I just KNEW it would be easy to pinpoint which of my loves I wanted to talk about. Then I realized its way more difficult than I thought. You see, I don’t own any of the things I like the most but they are on my “One-day-in-life” list of purchases. I love me some Lucite, ottomans & benches, chaise lounges & unique bookshelves, buffets and credenzas. But nothing compares to my love of tufted upholstery…

Tufted Sofas

It’s such a classic piece of furniture that’s timeless and fits in among most aesthetics. You have your more streamlined and tailored looks like the camel hued one above or the curved designs. I like the gray velvet take by Jonathan Adler & the navy blue sleeper sofa version. Further proof that college kids can have furniture that’s not only functional but chic…

Man Cave Approved

Man Cave Approved by designindulgences on Old Hickory Tannery Red Tufted-Leather Loveseat, $4,899 Old Hickory Tannery Conversation Sofa, $7,499 Speaking of sloppy college kids… who sometimes, unfortunately turn into sloppy grown men (some of you chicks too)…one thing about tufted upholstery is it blurs the gender lines. Chesterfield styled sofas are perfect in a man cave, a rec room, game area or cigar room.

Tufted Chaises & Benches
Sofas Settees $3,219 - 
Old Hickory Tannery Royal Marco Chaise $2,999 -
Plantation Design -- Furnishings
Plantation Design -- Furnishings The top bone hued one is perfect to place in front of a fireplace without blocking the focal point. These designs give you additional seating in smaller places like a corner for a reading nook, a stairway landing, in front of the bed, or a walk-in closet…

Tufted Chairs

Tufted Chairs by designindulgences on IKEA Karlstad, $549 Swivel Chair, $180 Rockasan Chair, $100 Tufted Suede Armchairs, Pair Whenever I go to Pier 1, I have to sit in one of their papasan chairs. They are extremely comfortable and great for those boho chic chicas. Great chairs to curl up in with a book and the cushions come in may colors and textiles. I like the faux fur one myself...

Tufted Headboards

Tufted Headboards by designindulgences on Bristol Queen Headboard, $1,329 Skyline Furniture 862 863 (Pearl) Tufted High Arch Headboard in Pearl..., $391 Skyline Furniture Tufted Wingback Bed in Velvet Buckwheat, $834 But more than anything, I love tufted upholstered headboards. Both traditional headboards or tufted wall panels, whether in a hotel suite, behind benched styled seating in a club, a booth at a restaurant, wherever, I love it. And there are so many great DIY tutorials out there. It’s at the top of my “one-day-I-will-make-time-for” lists. 

Thanks for having me Anna! Miya


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