California modernism has long been generally associated with architecture & design from Southern California. However, Northern California has a vital architectural history that contributes to California modernism. Pierluigi Serraino successfully demonstrates this in: NorCalMod. Icons of Northern California Modernism. The author rediscovers the complexity and richness of Northern California modernism that for many in the Bay Area and surrounding communities is hidden in plain sight.
As of late, my focus has shifted from the living room to the dining room. Perhaps it’s the upcoming holiday of feasting with friends and family, or that I have finally been able to decorate one. Regardless dining rooms offer the opportunity create a space for more than dining. The foundation and focus of the dining room include the table and chairs- all the fabulous chairs one could include. I have a preference for mix and matching chairs, or using the same type of chair in various colors. Another option is to have a bench or reclaimed church pew along one side, with chairs along the other. Breaking up the type of chair and seating allows your dining space to avoid looking like a conference table. For table wares and textiles one can get as fancy or minimal as they like. Table linens are great for incorporating texture and color into your space. And the same goes for table wares. Additionally, these components are the best for changing out depending upon what type of gathering you are having. Go gather.
Can hardly believe it is already (almost!) Halloween. Rather than focus on home accessories and decorations- architecture with a pinch of macabre art is the focus of this post. From black façade's, real American ghost towns, to a vernacular of architecture destined to be haunted, these structures will get you in the Halloween spirit. Black façade's are here to stay despite their current trend status. Although mainly depicted on modern & contemporary architecture, Victorian and Mid-Century architecture with black façades are just as alluring. Regarding Victorian architecture, have you ever wondered why this vernacular of architecture is most commonly associated with the ghastly and gruesome? From real life to Hollywood produced horrors, Victorian architecture seems to be the perfect backdrop and, Art Historian Sarah Burns might have the answer to why. Ghost towns are a real thing across the globe. I have visited a few in the states, and even if they are technically not haunted, there is something unsettling in abandoned towns or neighborhoods (hello Detroit). Finally, the art history lover in me couldn’t resist the Getty’s latest post on Illuminated Manuscripts that highlight how death and meditations on death were a daily presence during the Middle Ages through the Medieval periods. BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
In my recent travels, I was introduced to one of the best collections of refurbished mid-century modern furniture. Reeves Antiques in Houston, TX. While the shop has a robust inventory of mid-century furniture, naturally I was drawn to the chairs (obsessions!) Additionally, the majority of the upholstered pieces had been refurbished in house, with fabrics as close to the originals as possible. From the wood, acrylic, or metal framed to purely upholstered pink velvet barrel back chairs, it was hard not to try and lounge in or purchase them all.
Tile isn't just for the bathroom and kitchen. Whether you go bold with color and pattern or streamline and traditional, tile is a great alternate flooring (or wall!) option to hardwoods and carpet. A large part of tile is the pattern created from solid color tiles or patterned tiles. Adding another dimension to creating pattern, is using curved ceramic tiles. Marazzi Progetto Tiennale via Archiform has beautiful curved ceramic tiles that spark a dialogue between present production and their inception in the 1960s. Additionally, they can be used as wall or floor tiles. Now for those that truly embrace the bold- sitio by commune slash tiles are amazing. They have a limited color palate, but the geometric pattern created is a tile trend worthy of lasting a lifetime. The herringbone pattern is quite traditional, but when executed in a bright color, the result is a classical revival (modern!). Another option is encaustic cement tile. It can be used for both floor and wall tiling, and has a nice smooth feel to its surface. And for those that love traditional Spanish / Mexican tile, Latin Accents is a great resource for sourcing.
Mid-century lighting design is equally as fantastic as furniture design from the same era. It expresses a bold geometric form thru simplistic line- with circular shapes dominating its shades and other bulb coverings. From floor to pendant residential lighting, mid-century lighting is still contemporary today. A few of my favorite inspirations include: brass sputnik pendant light; gorgeous Italian Lumi ceiling lamp with enamel details; French Lightolier sputnik inspired pendants; Serge Mouille minimal floor lamp; and the retro Angelo Leli floor lamp. From pendant to ceiling to floor-lightening from the mid-century is as illuminating as ever.
Summer has arrived, and my plants need extra watering. For being a daughter of a landscape designer, my thumb isn't exactly green. However, my home is filled with plants that can go a few extra days with out watering - i.e. cacti. And others that are part of my watering calendar, including, palms, money trees, asparagus ferns, devils ivy, and succulents (creating a calendar of when to water has saved many an indoor plant). Above are images to inspire your indoor living-green accents. Ceramics and plant stands for your indoor garden favorites include: Eric Trine, Universal Isaac, and pieces from Leif. For tips on which indoor plants are best for eliminating air toxins, low light or direct light, I can't recommend enough: How to Grow Fresh Air.
West-coast artist Richard Diebenkorn was influenced by his surrounding environments and successfully combined abstract expressionism and color field painting. He was the alternative (laid back and more private) to New York artists Jackson Pollock and William de Kooning. His Ocean Park series has long been a favorite of mine for their color palates, expressive brush work, and grid-like planes. All painting images found online via: Glasstire from a past exhibit at the Orange County Museum of Art / OCMA
Holy pink! One of my favorite colors and animals is everywhere in design as of late. Now, pink is a tricky color, because the wrong shade can mimic pepto-bismol, and too much pink is overwhelmingly frightening. Flamingos on the other hand are simply fabulous. And I am enjoying their less campy iterations currently found in design (from interiors to fashion). But nothing is wrong with a little outdoor whimsy to bring inside for a punch of color. Back to the pink- the glas italia table iridescent pink, blue, yellow hues bring a modern glow to your space. Its simple form and modern assembly works well as an accent or side table in ones living room or bedroom. Textiles and texture are presented well in a dark spotty pink on the flutura occasional chair. And if you prefer pink with a deep purple/blue undertone the patricia urquiola upholstered modular sofa for moroso is lounge and envy worthy. The geometric pastel pink pillow with gold accent is one of my paintings transformed to textile. Rest your head on some art. (gorgeous marble and metal shelving found via Pinterest)
Springtime has arrived, with a tease of summer weather. All I want to do is lounge outside with a cold beverage-in-hand with books (or magazines) galore. Mid-Century modern outdoor furniture has seen a surge in reproductions or like-minded designs from popular furniture design stores and pop-ups. And there is reason for it- timeless design aesthetic with simple and effortless looking lines that complement lounging. I am also partial to power-coated steel and wood outdoor furniture. These materials couple well with bold textile accents. Also, the true vintage ones have beautiful aqua, pinks, and orange colors that offer the perfect pop of color to an outdoor backdrop. Now get outside.