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Mar 24

2014

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Stained Glass is Having a Modern Moment

The words “stained glass” are certainly evocative, instantly bringing colourful images to the mind’s eye. But this unique and ancient medium has come a long way in recent years, and there is far more to stained glass than church windows or Tiffany lamps. Sure, many churches or houses of worship do incorporate stained glass, such as Gaudi’s famous church, the Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona, or the incredible Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran (pictured above).  Read more →

Feb 06

2014

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Radiant or Radical? Pantone’s Colour for 2014 — Radiant Orchid.

 

Each year, the design community waits with bated breath for the Pantone Color Institute’s announcement of the colour of the year. But when the highly-anticipated news was released, the shade chosen for 2014 was greeted with decidedly mixed reactions. Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute, described the 2014 colour, dubbed Radiant Orchid, as: “An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

But not all in the design world were charmed. Purple, it seems, is a colour that elicits strong reactions — ranging from adore to abhor. Some labeled the shade as too feminine. Others questioned its modernity. Certainly, after last year’s Emerald and 2012’s popular Tangerine Tango, Radiant Orchid was dubbed an “unexpected” choice by experts at design sites such as Apartmenttherapy.comRead more →

Dec 05

2013

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Holiday Gift Wrapping

Its not always the contents that make the gift, as the wrapping can make it just as special. So make your gifts that much more thoughtful and unique by adding a personal touch with your wrapping.

Sep 04

2013

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Trends

FALL TREND 2013

What is a Trend? In a day to day setting, we categorize a variety of things as “trendy” when we see it emerging everywhere we turn – from skinny jeans to succulent gardens to green smoothies. While others scoffed at those wearing seemingly flimsy canvas slip-ons a few years ago, it is now laughable if you don’t have a pair of Toms in your closet. What was once considered hippie, flamboyant or even dull is now widely sought after by everyone. Just as the definition of trend suggests, our society embraces new things as they evolve, change and develop a new meaning of “hip.”

As of late, there is an overwhelming focus toward simplicity and eco friendliness that has seemingly emerged from the undeniable green movement. It is no longer “cool” to be wasteful through the vicious cycle of consumption and landfill manufacturing. Focus is now on the lasting presence of an object, the thought out design and defining beauty through thoughtful details.

For the upcoming season, I have collated what I have found to be emerging trends that are gaining overwhelming popularity as we depart from the summer days and toward the much embraced moody fall months. Since fashion trends seem to enjoy a much shorter life span than that of interiors, we find that these two fields might not always run parallel but frequently cross paths. In turn, the role of the interior designer is to distinguish and ultimately determine what trends are worth the investment for the long run.

While not necessarily a “new” occurrence, the combination of black and white resonates a fresh appeal  this year. We have seen it on countless runways and in many interiors. While seemingly a simplistic combination, it is much more than that. The underlying design and style is magnified when paired down to this basic colour palette. And while many think that this is a combination reserved for the more modern minded, we see it being used in traditional interiors and classic fashion silhouettes.

Black and White used in a classical silhouette

On the Marc Jacobs runway

The natural wood against the palette adds a softer tone

A more traditional interior using the combination

While black and white combinations hold a sophistication on their own, rich colours have made their own presence known as an important trend for the upcoming months. With runway shows featuring soft scarlet, cranberry, eggplant and even black blue tones, these moody, yet striking colours have found their way into magnificent interiors. As we depart from the bright tones of the spring and summer months, these dark fashions and interiors embrace us with a much needed change.

Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2013 crowning glory runway performance

Oscar de la Renta Fall 2013

Colour and comfort in Elizabeth and James

Blackman Cruz / Los Angeles, CA is always a favorite

Blackman Cruz / Los Angeles, CA

Eggplant Interior

While many trend forecasts seem to hone in on fashion and interiors, we have become enamored with glassware that speaks for itself. Small accessories lend a great deal to any home.

New Strata line by Atelier Tete

Glassware by Iittala Sarjaton

The role of design is evolving and lines are becomingly increasingly blurred between art, furniture and fashion. Art no longer just hangs on walls, untouched for years. Instead, furniture has increasingly been incorporated within homes as pieces of functional artifacts. Even simple fashion accessories such as cuff links can become small pieces of art.

Tables by Chul an Kwak inspired by running horses

Gold Leaf Hand Chair by Pedro Friedeberg

Cuff Links by Richard King

We see the fall palettes become more refined and sophisticated as British influence is heightened with the marriage of Prince William and the birth of Prince George.  As a result, a more tailored look has started to appear on runways with smart jackets, tweeds and an overall fitted look that departs from the bohemian fashions of the summer.

Jack Willis

One of my favourite trends is the attention that ceilings are receiving in the design of interiors. As a designer, I have always pushed the use of ceilings as an added visual dimension to any room. From coffers to the simple use of colour, our eyes are increasing drawn upward toward a part of interiors that are routinely ignored.

A coffered ceiling adds a stronger detail to the room

A painted ceiling and medallion create an element of interest in the otherwise neutral room

The ceiling detail adds drama to the intimate feel of the restaurant

So the fall trends of 2013 have us in turtle necks and tartans, in traditional highland colourways, winter whites and ebony accompanied by majestic saturated colours that would suit any accent door accessorized with really fashionable hardware. Leather of all colours, with my favourites being underwater blues and royal like ruby reds in all hues, add a twist of the unexpected against any back drop. Design flairs into a more colourful and confident feel. The royal influence continues with metallics in the warmer gold tones and classical silhouettes that always stand the test of time. We also see the perseverance of nomadic wanderlust as a reminder of a long gone romantic era that was once filled with vibrant prints and detailed embroidery. It is undeniable that the trends of the season are influenced from sources that seem at odds with each other, but they are seamlessly brought together through an educated approach to colour, design and style.

Fall 2013 Colour Palette

Feb 28

2013

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Magazine Dilemma

I know many of you, like me, have an overwhelming number of design magazines piled up into smoke stack bundles around the house and they haven’t been touched since the day you quickly thumbed through them.

There are countless ways to rid your life of this paper clutter –  donate to doctor’s offices and schools, make fire bricks with paper pulp, recycle as wrapping paper and the list goes on. However, my point is not necessarily the accumulation of these magazines as much as it is the impact behind their routine arrival. Each month we are bombarded with new issues at the local newsstand while it seems we hardly had a chance to digest last month’s copy.

The burning question is how long does an idea or inspiration perpetuated from the visual presentation of a room really stay with us when a new trend is to be considered in a few short weeks? Do we ever really implement an idea as fast as these monthly magazines spit them out, and is it even humanly possible if we were to try?

By the time I am able to gather the elements for implementation of a schematic, the next magazine is out with endeavors to depart from the previous trends, which have been made old news in a matter of weeks. There must be over 30 design magazines printed each month and over 350 produced each year – forget the cost, environmental issues and pressure to keep up with the constant and unrelenting flow of information.

Is there a solution to this constant stream of ideas, which leave us feeling that our homes are constantly in need of change at a pace analogous to fashion, social media and even fast food?

In my opinion, it boils down to honing in on what you love, what makes you feel comfortable in the homey sense and escaping from these cycle of trends. In an attempt to consolidate my favorite images of great interior and colour combinations, I have created respective manuals, but in the end it really just amounts to an extension of more unused stuff organized in a different manner.

It troubles me how much of a throw away, landfill creating, consumer based and visually hungry society we are. It ultimately fuels the dog eat dog mentality of the design magazines, which are obligated to produce and promote new ideas and gadgets each month in order to stay in production.

What would be the implications if these publications were to run quarterly, half yearly or even annually? While this may seem counter intuitive in the business sense, it would give us all time to digest the information, utilize the ideas and reduce the ever growing stacks of neglected magazines.

Jan 21

2013

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Toasting to the Perfect Colour

Even in the modern age of smart phones and tablets, my toast consistently pops up from the toaster and falls short of expectations – either burnt to a crisp or barely even heated – despite my attempts to achieve the perfect timing. Fortunately, Basheer Tome understood the plight of the morning toast lover and redesigned the toaster with a visual approach in mind. The result was the ‘Hue’ Toaster, which abandons the timer based method of cooking toast and introduces the concept of a colour sensor as a means to perfect your daily slice of bread. Complete with a screen that displays the colour transition of the toast, the consumer can choose and watch the hue of their toast progress from a stark white to a warm honey colour. This feature also helps when using different breads, which naturally vary in colour and toasting times. While Tome’s toaster still remains a concept design, there are high hopes that a manufacturer will put this brilliant design into production. It’s about time the toaster evolved, don’t you think?

Dec 20

2012

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Pet Holiday

Tis’ the season for giving and while it seems that we shower our loved ones with gifts this time of year, it is our furry companions that have come to occupy center stage. With books, blogs, movies, television shows and even furniture dedicated to our beloved pets, it seems that this national obsession with man’s best friend has only gained momentum in recent years.

With a wide range of online shops full of treats, attire, toys and everything in between, it is hard not to spoil your pet during the holidays. The Los Angeles based D.O.G. Pet Boutique offers unique collars for the fashion forward pooch and a variety of toys that resemble designer handbags such as the ‘Barkin’ bag.

Bow Tie Collar available at D.O.G. Pet Boutique

The Barkin Bag available at D.O.G. Pet Boutique

One of my favorite ideas is heated pet beds for these brisk winter nights, which are offered by Sleepypod or any major pet store. If you prefer a more design based item for your feline, Kittypod offers a variety of furniture that double as a great design piece for your home, as well as a scratching post and an ideal spot for a cat nap.

The Ultra Plush Sleepypod, complete with a concealed warmer

The Couchette available at Kittypod

While most of us can’t get enough of our furry (and some not so furry) companions, there is an overwhelming population of those less fortunate. After watching just one of the many pet documentaries, One Nation Under Dog, I was enlightened on the overwhelming negligence that accompanies the breeding industry and the blatant disregard for animal well being when money becomes a driving factor. So while you browse plush toys and charming outfits for Fido, consider buying an extra bag of dog food or bone for donation at a local shelter. Even a half an hour of your time at your shelter of choice can be spent giving these animals much needed affection. A favorite shelter of mine is the Westside German Shepherd Shelter, but there are so many to choose from.

Enjoy the holidays with friends, family and your pets but don’t forget those in need.

Oct 09

2012

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Favorite Trends

 

Gone are the mornings of slouching into your kitchen bleary eyed to find the coffee maker, these brights will find you and add some vibrancy to your kitchen.

 Kenmore’s electric yellow coffee maker and a bright pink toaster (other colours available)

Vate Paper Pendant Lamps by Ikea can be mixed and matched within in any indoor or outdoor area to create a point of interest on any budget.

The Bookcase Wallpaper designed by Young & Battaglia, and available at Mineheart, creates the perfect illusion of a bookcase. You can either add a more historic feel to your room with the sepia tone or keep it clean with the white colour option.

New York based designer, Harry Allen, does a new take on lighting with his paperwork lighting for the furniture manufacturer, Hive. In collaboration with Kenneth Cobonpue, Allen developed a paper mâché technique which allows light to pass through the object, while also being structurally stable.

A fun way to introduce colour into any room is through dip dye fabric and wallpaper – an interior design take on the ombré trend. These Saraille dip dye wallpapers can be found through Rocket St. George and you can create the tablecloth with fabric dye found at your local craft store. Additionally, Jason at Diamond and Foam on La Brea now carries a few dip dye fabrics that are stock.

A rope door stop is an English classic that looks great propping a door ajar or even on display atop a table. Soon to be available on our web shop for purchase.

These Moroccan inspired bookcases by Younes Duret Design are a great alternative to traditional bookcases. Modeled after the Moroccan zellige, the Mini Zelli and Zelli are a great addition to any room.

If you would rather stick to horizontals and verticles when storing your books, Eva Alessandrini and Roberto Saporiti have created a charming ABC bookcase, modeled after the alphabet.

Jul 11

2012

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Wanderlust – The Call of the Wild

Living in Southern California, I could camp all year long, but it is the presence of summer that beckons me toward days romping in the wilderness and nights around a campfire. While the weather is at its warmest and the days are long, my friends and family find it quintessential to escape for a night or two to beaches and mountains. I find these trips always reset my senses, like powering down and then restarting a computer – my abilities to slow down, think clearly, breathe deeply and be inspired are ever so nourished on these trips into nature.

Recognizing that old fashioned camping is not for everyone, a modern generation of campers are being called to the wild with a swarm of new camping products redirected towards more luxury oriented clients. Enter the “Glamping” model (an amalgamation of the words glamorous and camping) – glamping does not ask you to forgo any of the luxuries of city dwelling while sleeping under the stars. Presently, being rustic has never seemed so chic.

The Cricket Trailer

When you have extended camping trips that require a more compact arrangement of your necessities, the Swiss Room Box offer everything from a kitchen to a bedroom to a bathroom, all in the back of your car. The possibilities truly seem endless after watching the video available on the Swiss Room Box site.

Swiss Room Box

Shelter Co., a luxury camping service, offers bespoke vacation adventures anytime, anywhere. You can choose from the basic tent set up (real mattresses and down bedding included) to an outdoor movie theater and everything in between.

Shelter Co. Camping

The vibrant hues of the gypsy caravans embody a lively nomadic lifestyle that has inspired the gypset bohemian trends so popular today.

A Gypsy Caravan Interior

After watching The Cave of the Yellow Dog, the spacious and structured yurts seem like an ideal way to reside in the outdoors without abandoning all colour sensibilities.

Exteriors & Interiors of Yurts

And for those who really want to sleep under the stars…..The Bubble Tent – although providing no means of privacy for those hoping for a frolic under the stars.

The Bubble Tent

If you’ve never understood the saying “less is more”, never fear, there are camping versions of your beloved necessities: the portable espresso machine, the cordless curling iron and an emergency cell phone charger.

Cordless Curling Iron, Emergency Phone Charger, Handpresso Outdoor Set

Happy Camping!

 

Apr 14

2012

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A Bit of Whimsy

Interior design is a very serious business. Creating a space that feels cozy and inviting and is at the same time invigorating and exciting requires a very finely tuned balance. To achieve this, one must be discriminating and at the same time open to new ideas. I sometimes find myself pouring over a color palette for days, hoping to achieve just the right mix. In order to keep everything in perspective, I find it helpful to always add a bit of whimsy to my interiors when and where it can be applied. A bit of whimsy creates levity, adds softness or humor to a space that is just as crucial as the right hue or scale. This blog post is an homage to these bits of whimsy that work as reminders to breath a bit easier and enjoy life a bit more.

 

La Voliere Table Lamp by Mathieu Challieres from the Conran Shop

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