Category Archives: Design News

Old world kitchens meet the 21st century

Hello, readers! It’s been pointed out to me that I haven’t posted in awhile… I’ve been mad busy with a special class in kitchen & bath design I’ve been taking! The bad news is, not a lot of posts… the good news is I now have loads of ideas for those areas of the house. I’ve been looking at a lot of kitchens, and I have to say that the ones I’m most drawn to have some old world, cottage-y, colonial elements as a wrapper with modern, sleek, 21st century kitchen tools neatly housed inside. I think I’ve pretty much got the formula down… it consists of:
a) a natural color combination of white and wood
b) stainless steel or integrated (with cabinet panels on front) appliances
c) some open shelving for (well-organized) dishes and glasses
d) farm sinks or wall-mounted sinks and faucets
e) timber beams/reclaimed wood structural elements or cabinetry
f) barn lighting, and
g) gleaming copper pots and pans (use in actual cooking optional).

Add it all up and what do you get? Kitchen perfection!

Here’s what I mean–


LOVE THIS. Timber beams and columns, reclaimed wood, a few open shelves, a HUGE throwback sink with wall-mounted faucet, barn pendant lights, and beautiful modern appliances snuggled neatly within its rustic housing. On a technical note, here the condenser for the refrigerator is inside the unit, so you’re losing some frig capacity in return for not having to look at the vent above the refrigerator.


Farmhouse flagstone and weathered wood is the perfect backdrop for a La Cornue oven range, with exposed stone as the perfect backsplash.


If this kitchen were a boy, I’d marry it. Sleek and modern work surface inside a medieval castle!


This one pretty much hits the nail on the head. Love the painted wood paneling across the ceiling, reclaimed wood as the island support, and beautiful little stainless wine cooler.


Timber ceilings, wooden cabinet fronts, a kind of modern spin on barn lights, and the black-framed windows add just the right amount of country. From Elle Decor.


A former House Beautiful kitchen of the month has timber beams, a La Cornue range, stainless steel nestled inside wood panelling, and great modern elements like a sink with 90 degree corners and a restaurant-style faucet to better get at those dirty dishes.


An irregularly shaped curved kitchen. A headache for your contractor, but WOW. I particularly like the oven, combining timber and brick with a stainless steel backsplash. I’m also becoming a fan of the shelf-above-the-cooktop. Good for visual interest and also seems practical for easy access whilst cooking.


Another House Beautiful kitchen of the month showing La Cornue cabinets and pot rack — incomparable for adding instant old-world charm. The cabinet front to the right of the sink is just a panel on top of a fully integrated dishwasher, so you order it from your appliance vendor without a front panel, and your cabinet maker attaches it along with the rest of the cabinetry.


This kitchen from Southern Living shows a stainless steel work surface right next to a rustic kitchen table with a simple wooden bench and antique-looking Mexican-style chairs.


White Corian boxes inside flat-fronted wood cabinetry give a modern kick to a rustic structure. Here the designer decided to show the refrigerator condenser above the Sub-Zero… so there’s more space inside but a visible vent. The placement of that structural column vis-a-vis the island is a little irksome though, isn’t it?


This sort of thing is the reason I subscribe to English Home. Can’t get more adorable than this little vignette, complete with cocker spaniel. Don’t know how practical those little oven doors would be when you have a 25-lb turkey but it sure is cute. I also like how the pans and lids are hung, as it’s often annoying to try to root through your lids looking for which one goes with which pot.


Why Windsor Smith is my hero. Talk about old world meets new world. Antique French chairs, open shelves, an oversized farm sink, some seriously high end appliances, and a modern, rectilinear hood. There’s a lot going on under that table and a missed opportunity for storage, but there’s so much storage elsewhere in the kitchen that I suppose they don’t need it under their island (ahhh, the luxury of space!). This was from the 2011 Veranda showhouse.

Last but certainly not least, we have Mick De Giulio’s former kitchen of the month from House Beautiful… a total stunner which is actually none other than a repurposed stable. Love the variety of work surfaces (soapstone, butcherblock, marble, and staninless… after all why should everything be the same when it’s serving different purposes?) and the way the appliances work in seamlessly with open shelves and mission-style cabinets. I like this one so much I’ll even post the detail shots:

This clever designer actually lined the glass of several cabinets with chicken wire (part of the barn vernacular) (bottom right).

Speaking of De Giulio, he actually designed House Beautiful’s famed Kitchen of the Year for 2012, featured in their most recent issue… and if you haven’t seen it yet, you have my full permission to run out to your newsstand and get it right now or, for New Yorkers, it will be open starting next week in Rockefeller Center (July 16-20). See you there!

xoxox
Susie

Advertisements

Trends Spotted at ICFF Part II: TRANSFORMING/FOLDING/MOVING FURNITURE

Next up at the ICFF… transforming, folding furniture. I love innovative designers who think outside the box in terms of thinking about how furniture can best work for us today, rather than just producing the same old chairs and tables we’ve seen so many times. A lot of these pieces are also great for apartment-dwellers or anyone whose space is at a premium.

My favorite is the awesome Leaf folding chair by Hoboken-based company Folditure

that is actually comfortable, folds down to be only 3/4″ inch thick, and you can actually hang in a coat closet:

4 chairs only take up 3″… or according to the company, the width of a winter coat. Kind of brilliant.

Next up is my dream desk by Danish company Milk


which has a hydraulic system that lifts and lowers at the touch of a button. The boxes on the desk can be customizable to be a smartphone charging station, a pen/pencil holder, storage, or even an integrated trash bin. The desk also features amazing cord management (an obsession of mine, as noted previously on Roomology) for computers and task lamps…


as well as a little front slot for your iPad. LOVE.

I also liked this end table by Ohio-based objeti

…which opens up tackle-box style to reveal hidden storage trays…

not a bad party trick. Also from Ohio, we had what looked like an offbeat piece of found art…


oh wait! It’s actually a chest of drawers:

Definitely unexpected, even moreso that the drawers operated so smoothly (a juxtaposition to its rough-hewn appearance). From Ohio designer Mark Moskovitz.

The next up is a simple idea executed beautifully with great materials and clean modern lines. This wood end table…


transforms into an upholstered chair


and transforms again into a storage cube.


Not rocket science, but I appreciate all the thought that went into this piece. From Kuwaiti company Al-Hamad Design.

That’s all for now! It’s a beautiful day in Brooklyn, hope everyone has a lovely weekend!
xoxox
Susie

Trends Spotted at ICFF (Part I): PAPER

This past weekend was the ICFF, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, a yearly furnishings extravaganza at the Jacob Javits Center. It’s an amazing maze of newly released designs from around the world. I’ll be doing a couple of segments on trends we spotted there, starting with… stuff made out of paper/cardboard! Now this trend isn’t exactly new… my fave architect and designer, Frank Gehry, introduced his Wiggle Chair several years ago, a series of cardboard swoops that can be thrown straight into the recycling bin after you’re through with it:

But this year, paper was popping up EVERYWHERE. This awesome display from Canadian company molo is actually completely comprised of paper!

Molo has an expandable paper product that can be made into space partitions or even furniture:

paper-stool
Here’s Susan sitting on top of one of their stools, which is a wheel of paper with a felt top.


Next up, we saw this display of pendant lights, also made of cardboard, from New Jersey-based Carton Planet (well-priced at $50-60).


I loved this display of cardboard figures from Japanese designer d-torso…I think they would be a great arts & crafts project for kids to build, color or paint, decorate, and then recycle when they’ve had their day. What child doesn’t want a 7′ tall horse?


OK, so this was not actually a product for sale, but I thought that the backlit wall of this display booth looked really awesome, and was delighted upon closer inspection to find that it was made of crumpled strips of paper. I thought it was cool-looking maybe for a DIY to add texture to a space on a budget.

This clever table lamp is actually a light within a notebook…
You can flip the page for a different background…
Or even create your own…
at the designboom mart.

So then after I left the fair, I was shopping with a friend at cb2 when what did we stumble upon…

cb2-upcycle-pendant
Their ‘upcycle’ pendant lamp, made of circular discs of cardboard (currently on sale for $99). I think it has a cool industrial look…

cb2-upcycle-pendant

Stay tuned for more from ICFF…

xoxox
Susie

Nursery Safety Tips

Nursery design goes way beyond the gender and theme you decide on.  You need to take into consideration safety measures, lighting schemes and organizational systems, all in which will help your every day crazy life a little bit easier.  Here’s a few important steps you need to take to ensure a safe environment of the newest member of your family.

Safety is always the number one priority, especially in a nursery.  When planning the lay out of your nursery keep the crib away from a window to keep window treatments, which can be a choking hazard, away from the child.  It’s best to keep the crib against the wall or centered in the room as in the floor plan from Rock-A-Bye Nursery.

Around kids it’s especially important to use VOC-free paint (VOCs are Volatile Organic Compounds, which have adverse health effects, especially on children whose membranes are more sensitive, as noted by the EPA here).  Almost all paint brands offer a VOC-free line (one of our favorites is Benjamin Moore).

In terms of window treatments, blackout shades that block out sunlight so  your baby can nap are most ideal.  I like  the Hunter Douglas Duette Architella Honeycomb shade, available in almost any color you can think of.

If shades are not in your design plan for your nursery (which I totally understand) then you can always add drapes in front like the image below (so long as your crib is placed where the drapes are outside of the child’s reach).  Courtesy of Little Inspirations blog.

You might want to hang something above the crib, but be careful with what you select–you do not want a heavy piece of art or something with glass in the case it may fall.  We like the option of a wall decal, like this one:

This adorable customized Owl decal is from Pottery Barn for $69.  I found a number of different vendors on Etsy who also sell wall decals.  Here is this cute tree decal with birds, a squirrel and birdhouse helping to create a whole scene in your nursery.


This decal is also customizable for any color scheme.

I wish all the Mothers out there a very Happy Mothers Day!

WestChester Kitchen — ALMOST DONE! — with full materials list for copycats :)

I am sooooo ridiculously excited to reveal my makeover of a WestChester kitchen! Been working on this since January, finally ALMOST THERE!

Here’s our before….

AND AFTER….. (da-dah, duh-dahhhhhh!!)…

For background… the house is a 1950s ranch. We were actually inspired by a beautiful colonial kitchen featured in Southern Living


Especially the taupe cabinetry with a lighter counter. My client then decided to do different-colored upper cabinets, a trend that I love (as discussed in a previous Roomology post)! I think one of the reasons I like the look so much is that it makes so much sense psychologically because that is how things appear in nature (light sky and clouds above, and dark plants and soil below).

So, after much discussion on the merits and costs of new cabinetry, we decided to repaint the existing cabinetry and replace the hardware. The colors we chose were:


Benjamin Moore Cotton Balls on the upper cabinetry, a beautiful yellow-y green-y white. Then we struggled to find the perfect taupe with just a touch of green for the bottom cabinets. We could not find this among the Benjamin Moore colors, but I found what I was looking for from Behr Paint:


This lovely color is called Twig Basket. However, my client wanted Benjamin Moore paint because of they are committed to low- or no- VOCs. So, I brought the card to Benjamin Moore and they were able to create a custom color for us!


Lastly, our wall color was Elephant Tusk by Benjamin Moore… a go-to cream with wide appeal.

For counter material, we decided to go with resell-friendly, budget-friendly, durable, heat-resistant granite. Believe it or not, this piece was only $40/sq ft, and they even threw in a new stainless steel kitchen sink! (No joke!)

This is Gialla Ornamental granite, and the color is Classic White. As you can see here, it had just the right flecks of taupe to match the cabinet paint perfectly!

For hardware, we selected brushed nickel knobs and these fancier handles for the drawers…


Perfect for a Colonial kitchen, we got these drawer pulls for a mere $5 each from the Martha Stewart collection at Home Depot.


For a backsplash, we kept it simple with off-white subway tiles, also from Home Depot. We both disliked the glossy finish for this look, so we went with matte tiles in off-white (pretty much the same price as the stock glossy white subway tiles even though they’re special order)!

The flooring was the hardest part. My client wanted a realistic-looking, eco-friendly, floating, no-glue laminate or vinyl. FYI, it’s totally important to consider indoor air quality when choosing any flooring, because of off-gassing (the leaching of VOCs and other pollutants into the air) of many products (flooring is a particularly notorious offender). No-glue options are awesome because many glues also contain harmful pollutants that can also off-gas… in addition, they can be extremely annoying when you’re trying to remove and replace the floor. So a no-glue flooring system has an underlayment (which in our case, we made sure was also eco-friendly) and laminated tiles that have a tongue-and-groove system, so that they just click together. After pricing various options, we actually found that the cheapest way to go was online! We ordered her materials from Wayfair, and then she hired her handyman to install it for her. Here’s what we chose:


This is Shaw floors Majestic Visions laminate (color: Newport), a bargain at $2.69/sq ft at Wayfair. This flooring is GreenGuard certified, meaning it does not seriously affect indoor air quality, and has been judged to have such little off-gassing that it is even recommended for schools and kids (whose sensitive membrames make them likelier to feel the effects of off-gassing). We also bought this eco-friendly underlayment:


This is the Selitac Underlayment, also from Shaw, also GreenGuard certified, 100% recyclable, with helpful little gridlines for DIYers, and available for the bargain-basement price of $40 for a 100sqft roll at Wayfair.

The last piece we are still working on is the window treatments, which is why I can’t show you the window-side of the kitchen yet… perfect for a colonial kitchen, we decided to go with the Country Life print from Waverly, a beautiful linen print. Here’s a photo showing the pattern…

And here’s a pic showing how well it goes with our beautiful granite!

Hope you enjoyed! Any questions on your kitchen choices??? Email us or comment!

xoxox
sjk

Amazing finds (and ridiculously creative materials!) at the NYC Affordable Art Fair

I went to the Affordable Art Fair in NYC this weekend, and WHOA! — talk about amazing! It frankly blew me away. There were exhibitors from all over the world, and tons of up and coming artists were there to talk to you in person. All of the works were under $10,000, and the majority of the ones I saw were under $5,000, and some even under $1,000! Unbelievable. I took like SOOO many photos, but I attempted to group and categorize the ones I loved here.

1) HYPERCREATIVE MATERIALS.

HOLY COW. Looks like a remake of The Girl with the Pearl Earring, right? But you will NEVER guess what this piece is made of. IT BLEW MY MIND.


Look closer and see… it is actually thousands of little baubles, bits, and beads, and other found pieces, including…


…dinosaurs, LEGOs, fish, a baby, a sword (possibly from He-Man)… and no, your eyes are not fooling you. That is Spongebob squarepants, right there on your Vermeer. MAN, talk about creative! Why didn’t I go to art school!!! This was by Jane Perkins at London’s Will’s Art Warehouse.

And for other amazing materials….


Even from a distance I was entranced by the feeling of motion from this subtle wheel of color


when I got closer, I realized this effect is created from the clever placement of hundreds of pieces of colored glass acting like prisms, so it would actually look different under different lighting, at night versus strong daylight, etc. This piece from artist Chris Wood at Byard Art (based in Cambridge, UK).


Similarly, this wheel of primary colors is actually made of an arrangement of colored acrylic tubing…


so the transparent parts make the colored rings overlap when viewed from different angles. I stupidly did not note the artist of this work, so sorry!

Speaking of crazy materials… you will NEVER guess what this is made of. (Yes, I know I’m repeating myself, but it’s really true.)


Don’t cheat, really take a guess. I thought it might be foam or something… wrong! Give up? It’s actually salt. No kidding. From artists Mastrangelo and Lawson at NYC’s Emmanual Fremin Gallery.

2) PAINT OVER SCREEN PRINTING.

I saw this technique again and again, and I just LOVED it. Kind of Andy Warhol, but I think the painting allows an extra level of creativity and artistic expression. Check these out:

This is Fabio Coruzzi’s I was in a Tram, it was about to Rain in Milan, from London’s Bicha Gallery. They told me he actually has three degrees: one in photography, one in printmaking, and one in painting, and all these talents are showcased in this and similar works that were on display.


Mike Chavez’s screenprint/paintings made me laugh out loud. When I met him at the event, he commented that art doesn’t always have to be so serious. Hear, hear.


The blood red scribbling on the print of the famous Marie Antoinette portrait feels young and a little irreverent. At the Evan Lurie Gallery (Carmel, IN).

3) UNBELIEVABLE COLLAGES

Collages were possibly some of my favorite moments of the entire fair. Here was an artist I just loved:


It’s modern, it’s ethnic, it’s got texture and text elements, it’s literally 3D, it’s got a geometric pattern I love, bright colors, etc, etc. Could look at this one again and again and never get bored. This is Art Institute of Chicago-trained Jill Ricci, showing at the Tria Gallery in NYC. I guess you can tell I’m a fan! You wouldn’t believe the price if I told it to you.


Somehow scraps of newspaper and a layer of epoxy look almost impressionist. From artist Molly Hills Perez.

4) CHEEKY STUFF

Lastly, I saw several pieces that just plain put a smile on my lips.

pink-deer-head
A bright pink, cable knit deer head. Who doesn’t want this? Pottery Barn could make a fortune if they mass-produced this. As it is, you have to get it from artist Rachel Denny at Portland Fine Art.


Cheeky and existential, what would Mark Zuckerberg say? From ArtScoutTV.com at NYC’s Galerie Swanstrom.


Dulce Pinzon‘s series Superheroes features normal people in normal situations dressed up in superhero costumes. This photo, showing an immigrant nanny, is comedic yet poignant.


Sunbursts of disco-ball-esque fireworks painted pointillism-style are juxtaposed against the strong silhouettes of cowboys. Like Clint Eastwood on acid, this is Casey Vogt’s Pill Poppers.

Hope you enjoy this! I loved the Affordable Art Fair, and it turns out they have them all over the place… I’m definitely going again!

xoxox
Susie

Great Tall Narrow Storage Pieces

My city peeps are always looking to cram extra inches of storage into every corner of their apartments… so I thought I’d give some options for tall narrow storage to take advantage of scarce square footage.


The slim wall-mounted Plaza cabinet from Lacava is 10″w and has a combination of drawers and shelves, so you can hide half your mess.


Beautiful distressed wood cabinet is half storage, half display. $1312 from Candelabra Home.


This modern metal bookshelf is 10″ wide and provides a pop of bright blue. $199 from cb2.


Chic and cheap, open shelves with closed storage below, $570 at Wayfair.


The superskinny Totem bookcase is a mere 8″ wide. $449 from YLiving.


Turn 17″ into a bar. This tower holds 9 wine glasses, 20 bottles, and a drawerful of corkscrews. On sale for $459 from Crate & Barrel.

tall-narrow-storageI like the IKEA PS locker cabinet for hip, offbeat office storage, $99.

tall-narrow-bookshelfRestoration Hardware has a slim version of its Parisian Cornice bookshelf, where traditional molding meets industrial metal, on sale for $675.

xoxox
Susie

Hide your flat-screen TV… or even turn it into artwork! From high-end to low-end

SOOO, turns out not everyone can afford a separate home theatre away from their living area, and that many design-conscious people
are not willing to incorporate a large black box on the wall into their designs. Maybe it just doesn’t go with your particular style (let’s face it, a TV just doesn’t work in a Moroccan retreat/Tuscan villa/Paris flea market-inspired look). Maybe you want to fool your guests into thinking you’ve never heard of low-brow television (pray tell me, what is this Parking Wars? je ne sais pas Jersey Shore?) but only sit around reading Sartre and the occasional short fiction piece.

Whatever the reason, lucky for you, our design capabilities are expanding at the same rate as television technology. Ok, that was a lie. However, there are a lot of creative solutions available… from the extremely pricey to DIY. This post was actually inspired by this awesome room divider I saw at the Architectural Digest Home Show…


…where the TV panel actually swivels to allow TV-watching in two different areas, or so you can turn it around and hide the TV (the other side is those innocuous shelves) when you have guests over or want to have a zen moment. (That’s enough, now turn it around and give me my Make It or Break It). This very fun-to-turn but pricey piece starts at $4000 from Contempo Wall.

Here’s what else I found:



Manhattan Cabinetry has 20 different custom cabinets that have TV lifts, where the TV comes up from inside (I’ve shown a more traditional and more modern example here). You can also get non-custom TV lifts like these…



About $2500 each from TVLiftCabinet.com.

For those of you who don’t want any additional cabinetry, this is one of my favorite solutions. It is a frame around the TV that houses a retractable screen, almost like an internal roller shade. The roller shade moves up with the touch of a button, and there’s your TV. Check out this video:


This is the ArtScreen from VuTec. You can get a variety of frames and choices of artwork, or you can upload your own artwork to make it whatever you want! Totally want one. Here’s another company that does it:



Also offers tons of options for frame and 1200 standard paintings, as well as allowing you to upload custom art. From Frame my TV.

Here’s another solution, if you don’t like that. You can have your TV double as a mirror, so that it looks like an intentional part of the interior design when not in use:


Again, you can get any frame under the sun… from The Art of TV.

Finally I found a DIY option for those of you who are more budget-conscious and more handy…

Step-by-step directions from Gus & Lula.

Enjoy!
xoxoxo
Susie

Modern vs. “midcentury modern” vs. Modernist vs. neomodern vs. contemporary: a primer on designspeak (Part I)

So, I’ve decided to do a multi-part entry on design styles and terminology, which is superconfusing (even lots of those in my field don’t get it right!). I’m going to start with 1929 and work my way up to today, and by the end you’ll be an expert in designspeak and pretty much 20th century architecture in general. READY?

So. We begin with the father of “modern” design, a Mr. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (commonly shortened to Mies, phew!). Now, the reason I’m putting “modern” in quotes here is because it is not referring to “modern” in the adjective sense, meaning contemporary time (that is, in 2012). The problem with the word “modern” is that every period has a time when it is, in fact, modern! But no time is modern forever, hence the confusion.

Here, the term “modern” is used to describe a particular style (that was modern at the time of its inception in Germany in the 1920s). We still call it “modern” because that has now become the name of the style. So that’s really the source of the confusion: the fact that you have to think of “modern” as a name of a style (it should almost be a capital “M” in Modern) rather than an adjective to describe the current day. For this reason, it would clarify things if everyone would call it “Modernist” architecture, and refer to the style as “Modernism.” If I were Queen of the World, I would make it so. Alas, I am just one blogger, and most people just call it modern and expect you to be able to understand the difference.

This is important because the furniture and architecture that is being created today (in 2012), is not, in fact, Modernist. In other words, the stuff that’s being done right now, in 2012, by leading contemporary designers is not in the Modern style. (What it is will be the source of later blog posts…. but hold your horses, we’re not there yet!)

So what was the dawn of Modernism? Well, the key moment was an International Exhibition held in Barcelona in 1929. Mies designed the German Pavilion of the exhibition, and after that nothing was ever the same.

Just to contrast, the reigning style at that time in the U.S. was Art Deco, defined by stylized ornament and streamlined curves, like the Chrysler building (also built in 1929), with its elaborate (but now dated-looking) top:

 

Curves galore, elaborate triangular windows, gargoyles, zig zags, fancy metalwork, et cetera, et cetera… and check out how detailed the interior was:

Metal ornamentation on the walls, angular panes in the doors…

…super elaborate elevators…


and loads of decoration, included painted ceilings with more details at the border.

SO, now onto Mies. You can see what a difference his pavilion, showing the same year at the Barcelona Exhibition was:


Everything was flat, flat, flat. Flat floor, flat roof, flat water in the pool. Simple rectilinear construction with narrow steel framing. Zero ornament, zero painting, zero fancy metalwork or inlaid wood. The only ornament is from the materials themselves (the floors and walls are made of tumbled marble).


Yes, that was 1929, and yes, that’s a curtain wall. A flat one, of course. Here’s one thing the Modernists love(d): erasing the barrier between indoor and outdoors. So the interior floor keeps continuing beyond the curtain wall. Also in this picture you can see Mies’ iconic x-base chairs, now known as Barcelona chairs.


A view showing the marble room divider. Again, the only ornament was from the materials themselves, so color of the space was determined by material selection.

Look contemporary? Could this have been built in 2012? Of course. You only have to open Dwell Magazine to see that the ripple effects of this are still being felt. Tons of people want their house to look like this right now (whereas Art Deco looks like a blast from the past). That’s why even though there was a Postmodern movement in the 80s (a reaction against Modernism that attempted to return to ornamentation), we still have designers designing in the Modernist style (although if they are doing it now, it is technically called Neomodern to show that it’s a throwback).

Mies went on to design a bunch of Modernist buildings, like the notable Seagram Building built in 1958 in NYC…

…a simple rectangle built from right angles with zero ornament (and in my opinion, zero fun). This building spawned (and is still spawning) 60+ years of building glass boxes.

Here, the Modernist interior became even more pared down, more geometric, more colorless…

as seen in the above elevator lobby.

OK that’s about it for one day. More installments to come!

xoxox
Susie

Bottom Line at the Architectural Digest Home Show: Lighting as the New Artwork

So… the bad news was, a lot of the furniture at the AD Home Show was a total snooze. Beige ruled the day, and there was nothing that was all that new or interesting to look at.

THE GOOD NEWS, however, was that the lighting was OUT OF THIS WORLD incredible. It was visually interesting, incorporated new materials and technology, and frankly carried the day as far as I was concerned. I am not even editing down here, I am going to show you every darn light that I liked at the show. Here goes…


This eye-catching piece, situated right at the entrance to the show, was causing quite a logjam. From Karkula.


LOVE Philippine designer and Pratt grad Kenneth Cobonpue, who I’ve been following since design school. One of my favorite exhibitors at the show. This float-y, organic pendant caught my eye.


Indirect lighting creates a soft glow, and the angular shape looks like an interesting balance act at DIFFA’s Dining by Design exhibit.

Industrial meets glamour with crystal-embellished pipes at Michael McHale Designs.


Funky modern desk lamp is actually made of wood. From Matter.


Incredible chandelier from DesignLush looks like a set of prehistoric pots dug up from an archaeological site.


The metal disc at the top of this wall sconce from O’Lampia can be raised and lowered to allow just the right amount of ambient light.


Supercreative light at the Cocobolo Design booth is a torn fiberglass sphere — and look at the awesome shadow it creates on the wall behind it.


Awesome, environmentally-friendly branch chandeliers from CP Lighting.


This angular pendant would modernize even the most blah of spaces, and utilizes replaceable LED bulbs (which are energy-efficient and last forever). From Bec Brittain.

With all these great things happening every time I looked up, I started to wonder, what is going on here? Are people starting to see lighting as hanging sculptures? Are we substituting them for art? Or do we consider them art? And why do they seem so much more interesting than what’s going on below? Are we willing to take risks in our lighting fixtures that we wouldn’t take with our furniture choices, and if so, why? Maybe it’s just become accepted wisdom that traditional furniture + cool modern lighting = awesome eclectic look?

So many questions, don’t know the answers! What do you think?

Susie