Month: July 2019

Modern Patio Furniture That Brings the Indoors Outside

Thanks to technology and innovation, patio furniture has evolved dramatically to keep up with the growing trend of outdoor living. Patio furniture used to mean a charcoal grill and a few plastic folding chairs. Today, the outdoor space is an extension of our home and includes sophisticated appliances and comfortable, modern patio furniture.

According to a survey of home builders conducted by the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, a patio or deck is among the top three features that new home buyers request. Furniture that looks as good in the living room as it does in the backyard is the biggest trend in patio furniture ideas.

Contemporary design is the top style of the latest outdoor living trend. Here are our picks for the best modern patio furniture pieces that are versatile, comfortable and beautiful enough to live inside, but durable enough for your outdoor space.

Modern Outdoor Chairs

As in interior design, your chairs don’t have to match the sofa. Whether you already have an outdoor sofa or you’re starting from scratch, here are some chairs worth adding to your patio seating mix.

Innit is offering colorful reproductions of this surprisingly comfortable chair ($430), which was introduced in the 1950s. It’s available in several configurations, with 15 vinyl cord colors and four metal frame colors (black, white, chrome and copper) to choose from. Rockers, rounded backs, kid-size versions and tables also are available.

Add fun and relaxation to sitting around by adding a swing chair to your patio space. Modway’s Encounter Swing Chair ($660) features synthetic rattan seating topped by a washable, weather-resistant green cushion suspended from a white aluminum frame.

Multi-Purpose Patio Furniture

These patio furniture picks made the list because they’re not only contemporary, but also have several uses. When investing in modern patio furniture, add modular or multi-purpose furniture to your outdoor living space.

Tonin Casa Kos Coffee Table with Light

Dimensions: 37.5″ W x 44″ D x 13″ H

This coffee table ($1,107) gives your patio a modern, Zen look thanks to its minimalist Italian design and LED lighting that casts a beautiful glow from within. The removable, transparent plexiglass top allows for storage inside the table and comes in six colors to adapt to your outdoor decor.

Bright, Creekside Home in Maryland Built for Its Views

Situated on the edge of Solitude Creek, in St. Michaels, Maryland, this modern residence by architect Robert M. Gurney makes the most of its privileged location. The project replaces an existing Dutch Colonial Style house, built in 1989, that had a cramped layout and was in danger of being flooded.

“The goals of the project were to take advantage of water views and provide light filled spaces, while accommodating the owners’ collection of modern art,” the architects said.  “A combination of windows varying in size, shape and location animate the spaces, while providing controlled views of the water, pine forest and adjacent marshes.”

A series of small decks and ramps lead the way inside. The interior has an open plan — the living room, kitchen, and dining space are connected and share a remarkably high ceiling. The entire space is characterized by its staggering height. Large windows allow natural lighting inside and ensure views to the creek.

The bedrooms and a home office are located on the second level. A generously-sized terrace cantilevers over the first floor and seems especially built for contemplation.

Interactive Exterior Slats Transform a Slovenian Kindergarten Classroom

arh jure kotnik vrtec kekec ljubljana slo

In 2010, Jure Kotnik Architecture modified a 1980s kindergarten classroom in Ljublijana, Slovenia to add a colorful and interactive facade.

The project transformed three of the exterior walls of the building with brightly painted wood slats (all locally sourced). The slats added a splash of color to the building and a bit of childlike wonder, too. When they’re spun, they reveal different colors.

arh jure kotnik vrtec kekec ljubljana slo
arh jure kotnik vrtec kekec ljubljana slo

The project was designed to give the schoolchildren something to engage with; the existing play equipment surrounding the school was sparse. Multiple children at a time can safely spin the slats while playing outside the classroom. The design also gives children a fun, unique way to learn and practice identifying different colors. It’s almost like the Van der Rohe Farnsworth House has been overtaken by the imaginations of the kindergarteners inside.

From the inside of the classroom, the open slats let natural light flood the room and the combination of light and sliver of color create an airy and upbeat atmosphere. This charming and engaging project transformed an otherwise barren school yard.

arh jure kotnik vrtec kekec ljubljana slo
arh jure kotnik vrtec kekec ljubljana slo

How to Highlight Your Home’s Exterior Architecture

overwhelming, but no matter what style it is, there are lots of ways to make it shine.

Take a good, long look at your home; note the things that set it apart from others, the things that you love most about it. Even if you live in the suburbs amid similar houses, consider the elements that make your home yours and bring a smile to your face when you pull in the driveway.

Got those things in mind? Great; now, let’s build on them.

Color Your World

As with interior architecture, one of the most cost-effective ways to change the look of your home’s exterior is through color. Granted, this isn’t going to be a 1-gallon fix, as your dining room might be. But compared with renovations, paint can be a budget-friendly way to draw attention to elements you like or downplay the ones you don’t.

Think about the features that you like most about your home; maybe it’s the way your front door is offset, or the gingerbread detailing on your historic Victorian. Highlight those elements by painting them a lighter shade or a complementary color of your main exterior walls.

Not so thrilled with your boring (but necessary) gutters and downspouts? Try painting them the same color as your walls so they disappear from view. Color can work both ways; use it to your advantage.

Keep in mind that color should be used in threes; that is, three tones of the same shade or three complementary colors work best for a pleasing palette. For example, you could have white siding, a bright red door and black shutters; or, for a more tonal look, light gray siding, charcoal gray shutters and trim, and a black door.

Still not sure what to do? Does color scare you? Try using Benjamin Moore’s online color tools to help you choose a color scheme for your home’s exterior.

Highlight with Lighting

How does your home look at night? Can passersby appreciate its architecture, or is it a dark void with a porch light above the front door? Don’t miss the opportunity to showcase your home even after the sun has set.

If there are elements that you specifically want to highlight, such as interesting columns or trim, spotlights are the way to go. If it’s beautiful brickwork or stone that makes your home a standout, try wash lighting, which sends a broad beam of light across the walls and makes dramatic contrasts of light and dark.

Don’t forget to keep your green spaces welcoming by utilizing landscape lighting. With your lighting choices, you have the ability to dictate exactly how people view your home.

Think of your exterior lighting on different levels, just as you would your interior lighting. For example, inside you might have a combination of ceiling lights, wall sconces and table lamps; every room is lit from floor to ceiling. Treat your home’s exterior the same way, from the ground cover up to the roofline.

Stay True to the Style

By working with the style of your home, its architectural elements will come to life. If your home has modern lines, for example, adding fussy trim would only detract from its clean, minimalistic look.

Even your landscaping should match your home’s style. An English garden wouldn’t work well with the overall aesthetic of an otherwise modern exterior. Conversely, an ornate Painted Lady would play up a Victorian exterior.

Make a statement by adding accessories that fit your home’s style. Things as simple as replacing a pre-fab front door with a solid wood door can have an enormous impact on the exterior of your home, and could highlight a Craftsman perfectly.

You might choose a nautical-inspired light fixture for your beach cottage, or house numbers in a font and finish that accentuate your minimalist home. A case often can be made in design for mixing things up; just tread carefully so as not to give your home’s exterior multiple personalities.

Don’t Forget the Surrounding Spaces

While you understandably want to focus on your home, ignoring the adjoining areas on your property is a common mistake. Pay attention to areas such as garages (attached or stand-alone), landscaping and the often-forgotten roof and driveway — everything that can be seen when approaching your abode.

Looking to spice up your suburban garage doors? Add decorative hardware that won’t impede their function but will improve their aesthetics. Did the previous owners of your adorable Craftsman add a concrete driveway? If it’s in your budget, consider replacing it with a brick drive to complete your home’s architectural impact.

Similarly, you’ll be amazed at how adding a white picket fence can give your Cape Cod more presence. All of these spaces will work together to make your home the jewel of your neighborhood.

Highlighting your home’s exterior architecture can be done on a small budget by considering color, lighting and other accents. If you have a larger budget, the options become even grander; you can replace the things that just don’t fit or add the details that are missing.

Evaluate your home with fresh eyes to see what it is really meant to be. Then take some notes and get started on unleashing its full potential and turning it into the home it was meant to be!

Walnut Panels Unify This Contemporary Ukrainian Apartment

The walnut panels in this contemporary apartment do a ton: they add character, unify the design, serve as bookshelves, hide the vestibule, and divide the space. Situated in a new residential complex in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, the apartment was envisioned by Nottdesign. Throughout the space, fixed wooden screens made from American walnut serve as dividers between the homes more public and more private zones.

“It was essential to divide the space into two functional zones,” the architects said. The common area includes an open plan living, kitchen, and dining space as well as a hallway that leads to the guest bathroom, a studio, and the laundry room. The more secluded area of the apartment hosts the main bedroom, a couple’s bathroom, and a study.

The two functional zones are separated by a small vestibule, craftily hidden by another walnut screen. “The fixed wooden screen, that also serves as a bookshelf, hides the vestibule from sight, but it does not prevent the penetration of natural light from the living room,” the architects explained.

The panels allow light throughout the space, which streams in from the many floor-to-ceiling windows in the apartment: they’re in the living room and in each of the bedrooms. The bedrooms are mostly white with a few walnut notes. The three lighting units above the dining table fit right in, too — the cones continue the theme of light streaming through a slatted structure.

Creative Shared Bedroom Ideas for a Modern Kids’ Room

Laughing…crying…playing…fighting. A shared sibling bedroom is a beehive of activity and needs. And that means there’s a lot for parents to tackle when creating their kids’ shared bedroom. With twice the amount (or more) of evolving personalities and necessities, it’s often a daunting task for parents to accommodate storage, space and the individual style of each child.

Here are some helpful tips to overcome common design challenges and create a happy and functional room for your young roommates.

Creating a Boy and Girl Shared Room

Designing a room for a brother and a sister doesn’t have to be challenging. In fact, it’s probably the easiest challenge to overcome when planning a shared room.

Your first step is to select an underlying color palette for the main elements of the room (walls, rug, furniture) that is gender neutral…and, if they’re old enough to chime in, that each sibling gives the thumbs up. Color combos such as white and grey, turquoise and white or a mix of primary colors work well for both boys and girls.

To complement your underlying palette, layer complementary colors and patterns on top of that. For example in a grey and white room, try accenting with yellow accessories. For patterns, lean towards stripes, chevron or solids with large geometric shape(s).

When selecting furniture, opt for furniture with clean lines and that’s non-themed (steer clear of the race car or sleeping beauty beds) and pair with neutral colored essentials such as lamps and window treatments.

The exciting part of creating a super fun bedroom for your young brood is accessorizing and customizing design elements to match their budding personalities. Select design elements that make the room feel like it belongs to both of them. Personalize accessories throughout the room such as wall art or coat hooks. Marquee lights with their names or first initial add a pop of energy and excitement to any space. Likewise, subtly add gender specific themes in one or two accessories, but keep them color coordinated. For example when accessorizing with red, try a throw pillow with a red fire engine for him, and a pillow with a red flower or heart for her. Storage that is complementary to the design scheme but specific for each gender (think charcoal for boys and yellow for girls) can also seamlessly pull a room together.

Creating a Room For Different Ages

Sometimes its not just Jeremy and Sarah that you need to accommodate, but a 3-year-old Jeremy and a 4-month-old Sarah can definitely add another layer of design anxiety.

The first thing to tackle is the furniture layout. If you have a baby, chances are you’ll be in and out of the room at night to tend to the baby. If possible, place their beds in opposite corners or walls with the crib being most accessible to the door. Obviously structural elements such as windows and heaters can dictate otherwise but your design objective is to give each child the most comfortable night’s sleep without one waking the other.

Creating a play area that both siblings can enjoy, even simultaneously, is super helpful, especially for tired mommies and daddies. Floor mats, cushions and soft larger items like a rocking horse and tents are perfect to outline the area and fun for both to play in. Place your older child’s toys in accessible storage containers, but higher than the floor so your youngest can’t easily touch it.

For example, whether it’s a bookshelf, storage cube or wall unit, place baby friendly toys and items on the lower shelves. Your toddler or older child can stand and reach for the basket of Lego.

Incorporate elements that show your children their growing family. Photos of the kids together, framed handprints of when they each were newborns encourage them to appreciate their younger or older sibling while adding a warm family atmosphere to their bedroom.

Creating Ample Storage for Two or More

Finding the space in one room for twice as much furniture and storage is one of the most daunting tasks when designing a shared room. This is where your resourcefulness and editing eye need to kick into high gear. Less is definitely more in a shared bedroom, as is multifunctional and shared design.

As a baseline, selecting streamlined furniture is essential to keep the room feeling as spacious as possible and allow for storage and playing. If your kids are old enough, bunk beds are always an excellent choice. Whether L-shaped or vertical, a bunk bed is an efficient use of space and oftentimes has built-in storage underneath.

Speaking of…under the bed storage such as rollaway drawers is always helpful in creating more space and can hold seasonal or limited use items. Storage chests with cushions can be used as a seat to a play table as well as conceal a mountain of toys. A wall unit with drawers can pull double duty as a dresser and desk.

Shelving is super convenient for toy organization as it doesn’t take up a lot of space and can be placed above dressers, desks, even above the door for hardly used items. Similarly, placing a bookshelf at the foot of the bed doesn’t take up valuable wall space and may even give you another surface near the bed for a lamp or nighttime book.

For clothing, wall and door hooks are helpful for every-day go-to items. In the closet, install two rods (i.e. double hanging) so each child can have separate hanging space.

Regardless of your design challenge, when creating a shared room for your little ones if you stick to resourceful, efficient, fun and creative choices, you’ll no doubt create a bedroom your kids will love!

How are you going to design your kids’ bedroom?

Modern Home Tours Announces 2016 Tour Dates in Four Cities

Get excited — some of the coolest modern homes in the U.S. are opening their doors this spring. Modern Home Tours just announced the upcoming dates and cities for the first four of their 2016 tours. For us modern home design enthusiasts, this is like getting to see under the wrapping paper of all the birthday gifts; each tour lets you go inside six or more private residences.

Modern Home Tours is the brainchild of two major modern design fans. The Austin-based founders, James Leasure and his former partner Matt Swinney, started Modern Home Tours so modern architecture lovers like themselves could see inside the homes of a few of the lucky modern-living aficionados. The self-paced, self-driving tours can serve as an inspiration for your next home project, help you figure out how to solve a design dilemma, or you can treat the day as a trip to a living museum.

Event Details: Self-paced, self-driving tours from 11am – 5pm. Tickets $35 in advance at the Modern Home Tours events page; $40 at the door. Kids 12 and under are free. The confirmed homes have not been finalized yet, so check back with Modern Home Tours when the tour date nears. If you or someone you know is an architect, builder or home owner with a property worthy of being on the Modern Home Tours program, you can submit the home for consideration.

Former Industrial Warehouse Converted Into Versatile Living Space

Andrew Simpson Architects completed the redesign of this 19th century industrial warehouse conversion in North Fitzroy, Australia. According to the architects, the building was once a jam factory, a carbonated water factory, and then an advertising agency. Now, it’s a home fit for a family.

The 4,700-square-foot, two-story building now accommodates “two side-by-side dwellings which have separate main street entrances for different members of the family,” the architects explained. On the ground floor, there are two living areas, a common dining table and a large bathroom. The upper level contains a home office space and a small bathroom.

Brick walls and exposed wooden beams add originality to the clean, contemporary design. Natural lighting  cascades in from operable skylights on the north- and south-facing roof pitches. The color palette — white, with black and gray accents — adds to the spacious feel.

“The ceiling geometry which intersects with the original warehouse roof trusses, varies and undulates along the cross-section of the building. It contains the electrical and mechanical services,” the architects added.

Townhouse in Australia Hides Minimalist Yoga Studio

The creative team at InForm designed the Elwood Townhouse, a private residence located in Elwood, Australia. A steel, glass, wood, and concrete exterior creates a straightforward and highly modern look. Inside, it’s white walls and lots of light wood — just right for a home that includes a full-blown yoga studio.

“A concrete party wall extends the entire length of the townhouse, separating it from it from the neighbor’s residence,” the architects said. “The wall visually connects the front entry to the rear courtyard garden.”

“A small den provides a quiet retreat and addresses the front deck and garden,” the architects added.“On the ground floor the study, kitchen and living areas flow around a glazed central courtyard”.

The social areas and the carport are located below, while the second level (up the custom timber staircase) accommodates two bedrooms and the yoga studio. The yoga studio isn’t just a personal exercise room, either. It’s home to Yoga Lane studio and vinyasa classes are held there four times a week. 

Maximizing Vertical Space and Light on a Narrow Lot

Platinum House is a residence in Tokyo, Japan designed by Atelier Spinoza. The narrow shape of the lot meant they needed to design up, but the interior doesn’t just showcase that main goal: maximizing vertical space. The architects were able to achieve an interior that feels spacious by letting natural light flood every single room of the three-story building.

There’s not a single part of the home that feels dark or closed off. In fact it doesn’t even feel horizontally narrow. The first floor abuts a small triangular courtyard and light comes in the floor to ceiling window and glass patio door. And, though most of the courtyard is covered by the second floor deck — the open grating lets light cascade in nonetheless. On the second floor, the floor-to-ceiling patio door and a skylight on one side both allow light to bound in. The central staircase is open so there no hallway walls close off the light. (Only simple white handrails mirror the geometry of the split floor layout.) And, the wood ceilings and interior windows make it seem as spacious and wondrous to look up as it is to look down.