Modern Home: Quick Cleaning In Minutes Before Guests Arrive

Exhibition Chair and Footstool

Our Exhibition Chair and Footstool in Black Leather

When life gets busy and your keeping your modern home tidy falls to the bottom of the list of priorities, there’s no better reminder its time to clean up than those 10 minutes before guests are due to arrive.  Considering it is going to take more time to get your modern home back to it’s usual pristine condition, focus on tackling certain areas for now and you can have your modern home look put together enough just as your doorbell rings:

Clear Surfaces: Its easy to let clutter build up on any available surface without paying much attention to it, but by clearing the dishes you may have on your kitchen counter and hanging up the jacket you mindlessly tossed on your Exhibition Chair (and all other surfaces in between) your modern home will already appear vastly tidier than it was before.

Bathroom: This is an area all guests will see at some point, and where you need to focus on straightening up and wiping down all surfaces, even if there’s not enough time to do a thorough deep cleaning until later.  It is the one spot in your home where being anything less than clean is hard for guests to ignore.

Sitting Area: Since this is the other area your guests will all see, take a few minutes to wipe down and vacuum the overall area.  It will create a fresh and welcoming area for everyone.

Love Is In The Details: But this is not the time to devote to arbitrary details as if you have all the time in the world.  Still, it takes mere seconds to light your new soy wax candle or to set out those fresh flowers, thus transforming your modern home into a comfortable environment for you and your guests.

Sparkling Clean Dishes and Glassware: Is there anything as cringeworthy as noticing foreign food particles on your wine glass just as you are going in for a sip?  Be sure not to put your guests in this awkward position and have everything cleaned and inspected before they arrive.

These are just a few of my tried and true methods, what are some your favorites?  Share below or in person by visiting us at any of our three factory showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

 

Transition A New House Into Your New Home

Autumn Tan Leather Executive Armchairs and Modern Vignette For Your New Home

Autumn Tan Leather Executive Armchairs and Modern Vignette For Your New Home

Transitioning into a new space is an exciting process, albeit settling in can at time feel a bit… unsettling.  Once the boxes are delivered and the movers leave, the process of transforming this new and unfamiliar atmosphere into your very own new home can begin.  In the years I have lived in Chicago, I have had five apartments and a list of my go-to methods I consider part of the standard moving procedure so I can immediately settle in and feel at home:

Modern Vignette:  If useful and beautiful are the criteria, consider a vignette to be a bit of both. Looking to an empty side table, mantel or empty shelf, a well-balanced modern vignette has a stronger transformative power on the entire room than you might realize.  There are no hard rules when it comes to creating a modern vignette, though I find sticking to three or five items and thinking symmetrically looks best, lest it turn into a knick-knack nightmare.  Exactly which items to use?  Consider it a chance to have fun with functional items as decor: clocks, lighting, plants, its up to you!  If it brings you joy when you see it, even just a little bit,  then you did it right.

Lighting– If mind-numbingly harsh LED overhead lighting is not your thing (what I call the alien mothership lights), look to the infinite other lighting options.  Whether its the ostentatious chandelier or a $5 table lamp, accent lighting instantly changes an atmosphere from a one-size-fits-all to your personal sanctuary.

Signature scent– We all know smell is the strongest sense linked to memory and moving into your new home means memories are in the making. Diffuse your signature scent (anything lavender or sage are my favorites), throughout your new home early on and soon it will become the first thing you, and everyone else, will notice upon walking in the door.  Years from now, this scent it will trigger all the memories of this settling in phase in your new home.

Furniture– Form follows function, in other words, step 1, make it useful then step 2, make it beautiful (not the other way around).  Comfort is a key ingredient in settling in, so if you are using the floor in your home office to sit, those Executive Armchairs  you’ve been considering are going to serve a critical purpose and address your immediate need which is to stop using the floor as a chair (and they happen to be beautiful too, two birds one stone).  After this, you can go crazy with your modern decor ideas you have been pinning.

Entertaining– There is a reason its not called a housecooling party, but even after you throw your housewarming party,  filling a new apartment  with friends and loved ones is always means good memories in a new home.

If you are looking for a bit of modern inspiration to bring into your new home, visit any of our three factory showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

Interior Design Trends In 2017: Our Top Picks

Fiddle Leaf Fig and Our Ox Chair Replica in Camel Tan Leather

Fiddle Leaf Fig and Our Ox Chair Replica in Camel Tan Leather

As much as I love pouring over the lists of upcoming interior design trends at the start of  every new year, my eagerness in seeking to know more about 2017’s interior design trends has been in more of a ‘no, say it isn’t so’ kind of way (I will never get on board with butterflies as home decor, nope, not in any way, shape or form).  Although, it is not all bad news for 2017.  In fact, I’m excited to pair some of these interior design trends with my favorite unwaveringly classic pieces.  It is important to remember these trend lists are not the end all, be all and going with your own first instinct is where your personal style lies.  That being said, here are a few upcoming trends I can get on board with so far this year (and I’m going to try and remain as objective as possible, but no promises):

Natural Textures and Earthy Tones: If last year’s stark white and minimalist look left things feeling a bit too cold, this year you will see a lot of earthy tones and textures being added in and warming up these spaces.

Navy Blue:  Navy blue being my favorite color makes this particularly good news for me, but I’m not going to get behind anyone claiming its replacing last year’s gray trend. That is like saying oxygen or water is out… its just not possible.  The really great part of this trend is Navy Blue works well with almost any gray, so it will be easy to combine this trend with last year’s.

Bold Florals:  This is a welcome change to last year’s solid color blocking, but its a fine line between having just the right amount and overdoing the florals, thus making a space resemble a middle schooler’s bedroom.  Same as with color blocking, look at bold florals as something you can always add more of but not always take out of a space.

Bronze: Well, its about time!  I have always loved how bronze pairs with the clean lines of a modern home and furniture (and the fact its predicted to bring about the end of rose gold is just icing on my cake).  Whether it be a cool lighting fixture or smaller accents, I can see the bronze trend staying around for a few years.

Olive Trees: Supposedly the olive tree is going to be replacing the insatiably popular Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, but I’m guessing anyone claiming this is probably stuck on the waiting list to get a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree.  Considering there even is a waiting list, I’m not going to be tossing out my Fiddle Leaf for an Olive Tree anytime soon, especially when there’s plenty of space for both.

As with any interior design trend you come across this year (or ever), its important to remember they have a shelf life, unlike the classics which will always be on point.  If you are ever seeking out some modern classic inspiration, visit any of our three Modern Classics Furniture Showrooms in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

Maintenance Methods For Your Modern Furniture

Our Exhibition Chair and Ottoman Ready for Cleaning

Our Exhibition Chair and Ottoman Ready for Cleaning

No matter how careful we are, the law of entropy states at some point we will spill, bump into, stain, scratch or knock over items at home.  Since I have always been a bit accident-prone (my friends consider it an endearing quality…. sort of), I know all too well the best methods for modern furniture maintenance and how to reverse these everyday mishaps.

Since its a new year, its as good a time as any to spend some time on your modern furniture maintenance and get it back to looking brand new!

Leather:

It is a good habit to clean your leather furniture a few times a year or as needed.  I only use Lexol leather products, but whichever brand you use you will need to test it on a small area before proceeding to clean the rest of your leather furniture:

-Apply cleaning formula to a wet cloth and rub vigorously enough to work up a lather.  Wipe away foam with new clean and damp cloth.

-Apply conditioner to a new damp cloth and massage into the leather in a circular motion.  Wipe away the excess and allow leather to dry.

Helpful Tips:

Don’t be a rebel here and apply the cleaner or conditioner directly to the leather.  By applying it to the wet cloth first, you maintain control and will not waste any cleaning formula dripping everywhere.

For tough stains (for example, spilled makeup on white leather), I have always had luck with dabbing olive oil or coconut oil on the stain and letting it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away.

For really tough stains or deep visible scratches, find a leather care specialist.  They have the tools to fix it and make it look like new.

Wood

No matter how careful you, wood scratches are going to happen at some point.  Luckily, there are a few easy ways to fix them:

-Rubbing half a walnut or almond over a small scratch can sometimes make it less visible.  I’ve never been satisfied with the results of this method, but in a pinch it will do the trick well enough.

-Wood Scratch Repair Kits are found at any hardware store.  The tools and materials they provide are perfect for taking care of those minor but visible bumps and scratches.  I pretty much always keep one within arm’s reach.

-For larger scrapes, seek out a professional who can match the wood finish to the rest of the chair.  Though it may set you back between $100-200 depending on the damage, in the long run its worth every penny.

Stainless Steel

Aside from shining away the occasional finger prints, stainless steel’s impressive durability means low maintenance and therefore perfect for high traffic areas of your home.

What are your best furniture maintenance methods?  Share below or visit us at any of our three showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

 

Modern and Contemporary Design: Know The Difference

Modern Classics Ox Chair and Eileen Gray Side Table

Modern Classics Ox Chair and Eileen Gray Side Table

Whenever I hear a design professional on TV use the terms modern and contemporary interchangeably, I just shake my head at their error.  For example, the contractor/host on any home improvement show today will always mention the main issue with his clients is something along the lines of “Joe’s style is traditional, where as Jane’s style is ‘modern contemporary'” (if you have never noticed this, now you will).  I may not even be bothered when these terms are used incorrectly when speaking in reference to architecture and design, if not for those four years I spent studying art history, making it impossible not notice this.  Since not everyone has a degree in art history, I am here to definitively clear up what is modern and and what is contemporary as it relates to architecture and design (I mean, this was taught in Basic Art History 101 so I would think my favorite celebrity house flippers would know better, but whatever).

Modern:  The 20th century style made by the famously creative minds of the Modern Movement.  These famous designers created an unprecedented style comprised of distinct elements representing the ideals of The Machine Age.  Features include minimalist and clean lines, absence of ornamentation and using materials representing the industrial age, like concrete and steel.

Contemporary:  Unlike modernism, contemporary architecture refers to the evolving architecture of the present day.  Contemporary architecture represents a broad range of styles and are homes that have been constructed in recent years, serving to meet all the needs of today (unlike historic modern homes constructed decades ago and usually holding landmark status).

…and there you have it.  Any questions?  Feel free to drop us a line or, even better, stop by any of our three factory showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

 

 

 

Sustainable Methods To Make A Green Home

Sustainable practices for a green home

Sustainable practices for a green home

When it comes to living in a sustainable home, certain measures can be taken to have a bigger impact on preserving the environment than you may realize and, once set in place, require even less effort than walking all the way over to the recycling bin to throw away your water bottle.

Lightbulbs:  Replacing your five most used lights in your house with energy efficient lightbulbs, such as LED or CFL, in a year will save you enough for a mini-shopping spree (around $75-100).  Even better, resolve to replace any traditional incandescents with only energy efficient bulbs.  This way you can gradually transition to an entirely sustainably lit home without wasting any incandescents already in place, and buying the energy efficient bulbs as needed (instead of all at once) is more manageable on the wallet.

Non-Disposable Containers:  A few months ago, I bought a dozen glass water bottles and made a commitment to stop buying plastic water bottles.  This small change has saved so much money and trips to the recycling bin, and even looks way more stylish than a carrying a crinkled plastic water bottle.  This same practice can be applied to every type of container in the house and only requires a few adjustments how you buy the products going in them (for example, buying in bulk or making your own cleaning formulas)

Making Your Own Cleaning Formulas:  Not only can these easy-to-make formulas decimate germs and bacteria just as well as anything store bought, but harmful chemicals are kept out of your home, thus protecting your health and the environment.

Furniture:  Do you know where your furniture was made and where those materials were sourced and how their manufacturing practices might impact the environment?  Its a surprising number of well-known furniture manufacturers who do not have these answers.  By manufacturing all our furniture in our factory, we have full control over the entire production process, and a big part of it is ensuring the most sustainable methods are properly being practiced to minimize any impact on the Earth’s limited natural resources. Our sustainable practices value human safety and the environment, and our customers can feel good about having our furniture in their homes.

You can learn more and visit us at any of our three factory showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

Space Planning Your Modern Living Room

Space Planning with the Exhibition Chair and Ottoman

Space Planning with the Exhibition Chair and Ottoman

In the words of one my most memorable high school teachers “failure to plan is a plan to fail.”  As it turns out, there is universal truth to this classic saying, particularly when it comes to furnishing your modern living room and proper space planning.

Space planning in your modern living room is an incredibly personal venture (not private, just personal) and will differ from household to household based on a variety of factors from kids, no kids, television watchers, avid entertainers, etc.  That being said, these are mere guidelines to get you started in the right direction:

Functionality:  When John and I were furnishing our first place, he would remind me on several occasions “our home is not a showroom” and, admittedly, point taken.  As much as I love a pristinely furnished modern living room, it is useless if not a sustainably comfortable and livable space.  Whether the main use is entertaining guests or a place to chill at the end of the day, establish the main function of your living room first and everything that follows will fall into place to create the best living room for you.

Focal Point:  This could be anything, from a novel piece of art or furniture, a new Barcelona Chair Reproduction, or simply the television.  The focal point’s main role is where in the room the eye is immediately drawn, and is usually the first significant addition and the central point of reference to furnish the surrounding area.

Traffic Flow:  I’m not one to make a thing of it when I’m right and John is wrong, but when it came to our way-too-big-sofa, well… Me: 1 and John:0.  Take special note of which size your furniture should be before you even begin shopping so you know what to look for to allow adequate space to create a path instead of jumping over the back of your sofa to sit (anyone who lives with an open floor plan can relate).  There are entire textbooks written on spacing rules and for every possible type of furniture and decor, so to get you started (and for  the sake of brevity) here are a few living room rules for spacing that everyone will use:

-30-36 inches between walls and furniture

-14-18 inches between coffee table and sofa and other seating

-At least 3.5 feet between seating furniture which will allow easy conversation flow in the room without feeling crowded

As I said, these are only meant to serve as guidelines to get you started in the right direction.  You can take it wherever you like from there and we always welcome comments and pictures of your space planning genius.  You can also visit us at any of our three factory showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

3 Secrets For A Clutter-Free Minimalist Home

Nelson Bench Replica in a Clutter-Free Home

Nelson Bench Replica in a Clutter-Free Home

After years of renting, you take the momentous leap into adulthood and are now a first-time homebuyer and settling in to your clutter-free modern home with modern furnishings to replace your old bean bag chairs and college futon (seriously, get rid of them, donations are usually tax-deductible).  Do not undo all your hard work by throwing your dirty clothes over your brand new Nelson Bench Reproduction.  You are a grown-up now, remember?!  This means from now on you are neat and tidy!  If only it were that easy to break your slobbish habits you developed in college, when you first escaped your parents nagging and saying “the floor is not not a hamper.” It can be and here are three simple habits to adopt to keep your new modern home clean and tidy in a way that says a grown-up lives here!

One-Touch Rule:  Adopt this mindset and you will never spend another second of your life searching for your other shoe (or keys, or wallet).  If put where it belongs, an item is only touched once until you next time you need it.  Think about the dirty dish you are about to put in the sink when it belongs in the dishwasher (touch #1).  Here is what happens next: other dishes pile on top of it until its overflowing, so you move everything onto the counter (touch #2) and begin loading everything into the dishwasher (touch #3).  It takes as much effort to put that same dirty dish in the dishwasher which is literally right next to the sink.  Have you ever woken up to a perfectly clean kitchen?  Trust me, you will love it.

Avoid the ‘Clutter to Maintain Clutter’ Complex:  While there is tremendous value in finding an organizing unit solution for a chaotic spot you are constantly trying to keep in order (lids for the pots and pans, perhaps?) if not put to use, its only more clutter.  Oh, the irony.  Be mindful of this and avoid it before it starts by only buying organizers you need and most importantly:  Keep it simple!  This is supposed to make your life easier, so overcomplicating it will only deter you from using it to maintain the clutter.

Got a minute? De-Stress and Create Order:  When you find yourself with a minute to spare, take the opportunity to get a small area in order, like that one drawer in your console table or the kitchen cabinet with the baking sheet avalanche every time you open it.  You will be amazed how satisfying this practice becomes and how eliminating the clutter also eliminates stress you only recognize once its gone.

Abide by these three methods and you will notice everything falling into place, seemingly on its own, but its all you and your mature habits replacing the old bad habits.  You can find inspiration and check out all we have to offer by visiting any of our three factory showrooms in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

Indoor Plants: Green Ideas for Modern Decor

When exploring useful modern decor for a modern home, indoor plants have an instant impact to warm any space, creating a soothing environment.  Just because I have a tendency to be “botanically-challenged” (I can never seem to keep a plant alive for long) does not mean I have to be deprived of indoor plants at home.  Here are a few indoor plants that require minimal maintenance and serve as stunning modern decor:

Indoor Plants Above Our Womb Chair Replica in Cayenne Red

Indoor Plants Over Our Womb Chair Replica in Cayenne Red


Indoor Succulent Plants:

I love finding new ways to display succulents and these guys are adaptable to almost any environment. Filling the vertical space with a variety of hanging succulents brings a whole new dimension to what would otherwise be a dwarfed Womb Chair Replica with too much empty space that is beckoning for the good energy (a necessity for proper lounging) only nature can bring to a space.

 

Indoor Plant and Our LC-3 Feather Relaxed Lounge Chair Replica in Polar White Leather

Indoor Plant and Our LC-3 Feather Relaxed Lounge Chair Replica in Polar White Leather


Yucca Plant:

I’ve had mine for over a year, which speaks volumes of its longevity.  Its size makes it a perfect indoor plant to fill an empty space or corner in a modern living room, creating a relaxed environment when in close proximity to a LC-3 Feather Relaxed Lounge Chair Replica as is seen here.

 

 

 

Indoor Plants and Our Ox Chair Replica in Camel Tan Leather

Indoor Plants and Our Ox Chair Replica in Camel Tan Leather


Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant

Last but not least, the fiddle leaf fig plant is a fixture in most Mid-Century Modern homes, and is a stunning indoor plant to use next to our Ox Chair Replica.  This classic green indoor plant only needs watering once a week and can last for years in your modern home.


 

You can find inspiration for your own home and also check out all we have to offer by visiting any of our three factory showrooms in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

Modern Furniture Shopping Tips for the New Homeowner

wombchair

Our Womb Chair Replica in Cayenne Red

Moving in to your new modern home marks the start of your next life chapter, full of all your hopes and dreams of a bright future…. until you realize your new modern home did not come with the modern furniture from your daydreams. Daunting as it may seem as first, here are a few ways to begin modern furniture shopping while also saving you time, money and many headaches:

Understand Furniture Styles: The term ‘Modern Furniture’ encompasses a broad range of styles, from contemporary designs to well-known current designers, from Italian designs to the iconic classic furniture designed from 1920 to 1960.  Even in between are the styles which I consider more neutral or basic American modern with some re-design of Florence Knoll and Hans Wegner.  We wrote a couple of pages to give a little background on Modern vs. Contemporary in our website.

Set a Budget: stop flipping through your latest Dwell, stop pinning, put the Ideabooks on hold, just don’t do anything until you determine this exact number because without it, any step you make forward with your modern furniture shopping will turn into two steps backward.

Create Your Floor Plan: whether you use one of the many room planning apps or scratch paper and crayons, a scaled visual floor plan will determine the modern furniture you will be buying and the size the modern furniture needs to be.  Also, seeing your future living room on paper (or iPad or whatever) instantly squelches any stress you may have had, since this seemingly overwhelming notion is now a methodically feasible plan.

Prioritize Your Purchases:  Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your modern kingdom.  Taking your budget and immediate needs into consideration, figure out the first item to add to your bare living room (hint: the easiest first item is a sofa).  Remember functionality first, so if you’re deciding between the Exhibition Sofa you will use everyday or the Sputnik Chandelier whose only function is sparkling, the sparkle can wait for a later date.

Plan Your Palette: One of my favorite features in a truly modern home is a perfect pop of color you instantly notice throughout the room (I pick red, but its up to you).  Establish the neutral palette to occupy the majority of the room and serve as the subtle backdrop to make your Saarinen Side Chairs really ‘pop’.  Best of all, if you want to make a change to the room in a few years, with your neutral palette already in place, its as easy as swapping out the color to instantly set a new tone for the whole room.

With these primary plans in place, you will be ready to hit the ground running with your modern furniture shopping for your new home.  If you are looking for a great place to start, I would suggest visiting any of three factory showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!