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Monday, August 25th, 2014

California Boho Goes Pro in this Santa Monica Office

Becky

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TV production developer Ashley Stern needed to set up a Los Angeles outpost for her Paris-based company —quickly and on a limited budget. The space her real estate agent and interior designer Veerta Motiani helped her choose had plenty of pluses. It was around the corner from Santa Monica’s Main Street, it had wonderful high ceilings and industrial style, the building was new with a gorgeous lobby and roof-deck ocean views, and the price was right.

However, the long narrow space posed some design challenges. It didn’t get a great amount of natural light, the ceilings were a little too high for human scale and she wasn’t allowed to paint the walls. On top of that, Stern needed the space to serve as her office, have room for a potential intern, include a conference table space and be set up to accommodate two of her French colleagues when they were in town on business.

photo by Alen Lin

The project began with Stern’s desk. “She was nervous about this idea, but I had to tell her to just trust me, we were going to use a dining room table instead of a desk to serve as the centerpiece of the room,” Motiani says. The rustic light pine table serves primarily as Stern’s desk but can also accommodate two of her French colleagues when they are in town. Because it’s open underneath, her co-workers or her intern, or both, can join her around the table to conference and to work on their laptops. Two comfortable modern chairs serve as their desk chairs when they are in town. Turned around, as you see here, they offer another place for Stern to have one-on-one meetings.

Motiani wanted the room to reflect Stern’s bohemian style and the relaxed coastal Santa Monica/Venice Beach vibe. The rug’s deep blue chevron pattern brings in ocean color, while a woven ottoman adds a beach grass feeling. The ottoman also functions as a side table for notepads and pens during meetings and as a casual extra seat.

photo by Alen Lin

Because the room was dark and they weren’t allowed to paint the walls, Motiani found a contemporary steel chandelier that fit in with all of the industrial elements on the ceiling. She also chose a white filing cabinet and accessories near the windows to reflect the light and keep things bright. Stern literally was brought up in a [converted] barn and loves horses, so Motiani chose a white horse ceramic piece to sit atop the filing cabinet. She brought in plants to play off the glimpses of tree branches outside.

To save on the budget, Motiani found a handful of pieces in Stern’s family storage unit. The tall lamps were among their things; Motiani knew their exaggerated height would help the design stand up to the extra-high ceilings.

photo by Alen Lin

Another way Stern’s family helped the decor in a major way was through the artwork. Stern’s grandfather is noted photographer Phil Stern. He allowed Motiani and his granddaughter to cull his archives and pick out exceptional pieces for the office.This photo of James Dean in the turtleneck is one of his best-known pieces.

The glass console table can serve as a landing spot for keys and bags, a credenza or as a separate desk for an intern. A sofa serves as a more casual space to work from, where Stern can relax and get her creative juices flowing or pow-wow with a colleague. The coffee table is an upside-down metal bucket from Stern’s family storage unit. Motiani chose it because of its beautiful green-gray color. The piece adds an interesting rusty and crusty patina to the room, suitable for this more relaxed seating area.

photo by Alen Lin

“This project was a challenge — I really had to hustle to keep within the budget,” Motiani says. “We were really lucky that her family had so much great stuff they weren’t using!”

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Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Danish Design Store Is Having a Sale

DesignPublic.com

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Pssst… our sister store, Danish Design Store, is having a sale:

If you’ve been eyeing a modern icon like Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair (they come in all sorts of fun colors in addition to various woods and finishes),

a PH Snowball Pendant by Louis Poulsen,

or perhaps a Finn Juhl Nyhavn Table with Tray Unit

… now is the time. The store has an amazing selection of Danish classics and new designs, so be sure to stop by. On top of the 15% off, there is also free shipping.*

The sale is only running from March 6 to March 18th 2014. Shopping pieces that grace so many of the world’s museum’s permanent collections is a big decision. Buying one is a decision you will never regret. Here’s what you do —  go browse, go to bed, sleep on it and dream about it in your home and imagine yourself using it. Then do the math — think about how much you’ll save and figure out if brown-bagging it for a month will make it affordable for you. When you wake up, your decision will be made.

By the way, Danish Design Store is curated in such a way that if  the piece you have your eye on isn’t already a sought-after icon, you can bet someday it will be, like the Panton Bachelor Chair, which looks like someone dreamed it up while playing with a paper clip and staring at a classic white window shade.

Shop the sale

*The sale excludes the following brands: PP Mobler, One Collection, Hay, Innovation, Menu, Glerups & Stelton

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Monday, September 16th, 2013

Touring the Old Fourth Ward

Becky

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Loft, bungalows, modern houses, the Beltline, new parks, Martin Luther King’s birthplace, fabulous restaurants, funky shops … they all come together in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, a historic area that’s becoming one of the city’s favorites. This Sunday a handful of residents opened their doors and let us into their homes for a Fall in the 4th Ward home tour and it was fantastic.

Our tour began at a former cotton warehouse in Studioplex. In the courtyard, you can see the old metal doors and structure of the second story, which has been opened up (it’s also open to the sky, so balconies that look out here are great bonus areas). Here we saw three very different ways people are living in these true lofts. One was a one-room full of amazing artwork and custom furniture, another had added a second story loft bedroom and rents the space out for events, the third was a wide-open artist’s live-work studio with 15 foot ceilings. Here’s a look at that one.

One of my favorite things about this space was that the owner had separated her bedroom with a clear glass wall and installed this stained glass window. On the other side is the media area complete with built-in shelves around the window.

The owner is also an architect, which explained how she designed this beautiful kitchen:

The cabinets were rough wood with stainless steel cabinets; the kitchen island has a beautiful patina. The open shelves were artfully arranged, and the pantry, complete with antique pie safe, was stunning:

A few blocks away we toured through this beautiful modern home by TaC Studios:

This home is Earthcraft certified and sustainable elements include a 500 gallon rain cistern. It’s located near the new Beltline East Side Trail and it’s scale respects the other homes in the neighborhood. While compact, the interiors are open and airy, and make it feel like a much larger house inside. Connections to the yard through doors to the dipping pool courtyard and the master bedroom balcony open the living space to the outdoors.

Finally, we came upon a once-derelict bungalow that had been rehabbed and sold by an architect neighbor. You know, when you see that a lot of architects are flocking to a particular neighborhood, it’s an early sign of transition. It’s amazing to see this neighborhood now compared to what it was like when I first toured the area about six years ago.

The lovely blue door was an indicator of what to expect inside. The architect made the most of the small 2-bedroom, 1-bath home, and the owner has an amazing eye for mixing eclectic pieces.

The living room opens into the kitchen, which also incorporates the dining table. Sorry my shots do not do the beautiful home justice.

Did you attend the tour? If so, which house was your favorite?

For more, check us out on Instagram!

Photos of the modern house courtesy of TaC Studios Architecture. All other photos by Becky Harris.

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Friday, May 17th, 2013

5 Ways With the Saarinen Dining Table

Becky

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We are so proud that we offer Saarinen Dining Tables from Knoll. They are a mid-century modern classic designed by Eero Saarinen to help “clear up the slum of legs,” both table and chair. Pedestal bases reduce the number of legs from four to one, and both the tables and chairs have come to be known more commonly as tulip tables and tulip chairs.

Available with marble, laminate, granite, wood veneers and more, the tables come in several sizes. The greatest thing about these tables is that they fit in everywhere, from serving as the main dining table in the center of an elegant dining room to a small kitchen table in a colorful eat-in kitchen. The table is a classic mid-century modern piece that does not go out of style.

A nod to Sputnik. This retro-inspired room by Kristen Grove is definitely mid-century modern inspired, but has a fresh look with its lovely floors and updated takes on .

Clean organic contemporary. Croma Design mixes pedestal and legs, marble and wood with a backdrop of grasscloth in this harmonious contemporary dining space.
A mix of old and new. A wide age-range of furnishings within traditional architecture creates quite the combination. The table fits nicely into a modest-sized corner, and in this case, plays off the curves of the classic Cherner chairs and Patricia Urquoila Caboche light. (via Remodelista, photograph by Photography Lisa Duncan and Wayne Miller)

Paired with its old friends, the Eames and Mr. Nelson. This room has a warm yet somewhat minimal vibe, combining several mid-century classics in including Eames chairs and a Nelson Ball Pendant Light. The sideboard, pewter pieces and artwork warm it up and infuse it with the owners’ personalities, thus keeping it from looking like a catalog shot. (via Plastolux, photograph by Chris Nguyen)

Partying it up with bentwood chairs. A Saarinen table paried with fanciful bentwood chairs makes for an yummy eat-in kitchen table, slum of legs be damned!

Shop all Saarinen tables

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Thursday, September 13th, 2012

A Brief History of Emeco’s 1006 Chair

Becky

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When I received my Design Public newsletter titled “Get the Look: Industrial Chic” this a.m., it got me thinking about one my very favorite chairs. If you know me at all, you know I have a major chair fetish, so giving a certain chair my attention is a major compliment. Anyway, the chair of which I speak is the Emeco 1006  Chair (a.k.a. Navy Chair). Here’s a little more information on its rise to popularity.I am cribbing this verbatim from emeco.com:

In 1944, Wilton Carlyle Dinges founded the Electrical Machine and Equipment Company (Emeco) in Hanover Pennsylvania utilizing the skills of local craftsman. During WWII the U.S government gave him a big assignment, make chairs that could withstand water, salt air and sailors. Make chairs lightweight and make them strong, build them for a lifetime. Aluminum was the obvious choice, engineered for practical purposes, designed by real people. Emeco named the chair with a number: 1006, some people call it the Navy chair. We still call it the Ten-o-six. Forming, welding, grinding, heat-treating, finishing, anodizing- just a few of the 77 step it takes to build an Emeco chair. No one else makes chairs this way. No one can. It takes a human eye to know when the process is done right, and it takes human hands to get it that way. Our goal. Make recycling obsolete and keep making things that last.

They have this super cool set of drawings for the original chair posted on their site too:

What I didn’t realize was that until Ian Schrager hired Philippe Starck to re-design the Paramount Hotel in 1990, you could only find the chair at police stations, hospitals, prisons and other government sties. Because the chairs last for several lifetimes, sales were in a real slump; no one ever needed a replacement chair! However, while Schrager was making hotels cool, Starck was making the 1006 Chair cool:

When the CEO of Emeco and Starck met in the hub-bub of ICFF, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship; Starck designed the Hudson Chair for Emeco:

as well as the Kong Chair:

Emeco has added using recycled material to their list of sustainable moves, the original move being that you never have to throw the 1006 Navy chair away, as its function and form never falter. Be on the lookout for the latest chair, the Broom Chair, designed by Starck, which is made of waste plastic and comes in an array of bodacious colors:

I will be adding the Broom Chair to my Wish List!

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