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!

 

Swan Chair by Arne Jacobsen: A Closer Look

swanchair

Swan Chair Replica in our Aegean Blue Boucle Fabric

Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Swan Chair is an original design he created for the SAS Royal Copenhagen Hotel in 1958.  During this exciting time for the Danish architect, there was new technology emerging, giving him the chance to experiment with the smooth curves his furniture is now known for.  By perching his Swan Chair on a swivelbase, the hotel guests could engage with everyone around them while sitting, thus creating a busy and welcoming environment in the same way this famous chair still does today.

Our Swan Chair Replica honors the same dimensions as the original design.  With improved and higher quality materials we have available today, we promise a higher level of durability on our version.   We add some extra cushioning to maximize comfort.  With 20 different boucle fabric colors to choose from, this is the perfect accent chair for any home or office that beckons for a modern touch.

You can check it out in person and see everything else we have to offer by visiting any of our three showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

Corona Chair by Paul Volther: A Closer Look

Volther Chair Replica in Beige White

Volther Chair Replica in Beige White

Do you remember seeing this chair on Mad Men a few years back?  Ever wonder who designed it and where you can get an excellent version of this Corona Chair Replica, an iconic classic?  Read on…

It is hard to believe Poul Volther’s famous Corona Chair, launched in 1961 in Denmark, was met with a disappointingly weak response by the Danish market. The persistent designer decided to take a chance on the US market and thank goodness he did because it became a smashing success and has maintained its iconic status as a 20th century modern furniture design ever since.

Our Corona Chair Replica honor the same dimensions as Volther’s signature model, although our version makes use of higher quality materials Volther did not have available during his time. Thanks to advances in technology since 1961, we are able to make use of these superior materials and an unparalleled comfort and durability. This includes the stainless steel swivel base, high resilient multi-density foam and molded fiber-reinforced polymer internal shell.

You can see seat and swivel in our version and also check out everything else we have by visiting any of our three showroom locations in Bellingham, Chicago or Dallas!