Friday, December 20, 2013

Let there be Light!

I love these bowls from Design within Reach! Here's some info about them: 
“I am excited about shapes and structures,” says Danish designer Herbert Krenchel. “The surface on a design object is important because it makes people want to reach out for it.”
His hand-finished Krenit Bowl (1950s), with a bold colored interior that pops against a matte black exterior, serves as an inviting vessel for all sorts of items. Its utility and form are purposeful: “I also believe that there has to be a balance between function and aesthetics,” continues Krenchel. “A good design must therefore contain more than one aspect to make the perfect overall impression.” Krenchel’s now-iconic Krenit (a combination of his name and Eternit, the name of a fiber cement he used in his work) was the recipient of the gold medal at the 1954 Milan Triennial. Introduced in the early ’50s, the bowl was produced until 1966 and reintroduced by Normann Copenhagen in 2008. The Danish design company has stayed true to Krenchel’s specifications, finishing each piece by hand, but has updated the interior material from hard-to-maintain enamel to durable and lightweight melamine. “
Lately I have been very interested in the mid century modern style as it is the style I grew up with and I am working on a house of a similar era. I love the classic but fun elements of that period and it is so fun to see revival of the same pieces that I have loved for many years. 
As a new designer 10 years ago I never would have believed that lighting in kitchens, baths and other rooms is so integral in functional design. Since I work in a lot of old homes in South Minneapolis I have to look for lighting that will work in traditional settings but has installations that do not disturb the current ceilings and walls. Lighting in kitchens is so important that it is usually one of my first 5 questions to clients. Particularly as we age, we not only need adequate lighting to see where we are working but we also need surfaces that reflect good light. Black counters are particularly difficult for aging eyes and almost all surfaces should have lighter colors and possibly not an abundance of very distinct color contrasts. We still want to keep the space interesting by introducing some contrasts in a pleasing manner.
I am very familiar with the furniture featured from Design Within Reach, however, when I received the current catalog I was enamored with the traditional mid century fixtures and how versatile they are that they can be used in many different settings.
The photo at right is the famous globe light used in threes over an island in a kitchen. Also notice the stainless globe that is suspended over the table from a curved bar will be shown more and described later in the blog.
“An innovative take on a hanging glass globe, Jasper Morrison created his Glo-Ball series of lamps for Flos (1998) to provide a range of blown-glass globes for almost every imaginable situation. Featuring a clean, geometric appearance, the Glo-Ball S1 Suspension Lamp is crafted with hand-blown opaline glass that’s externally acid etched and flashed for a pristine surface that evenly diffuses warm glowing light.”from Design Within Reach

Here is that same basic globe shape placed outside near the front entry way. I am pretty sure this is California or another state when these lights would be o.k. with the warmer temperatures. However, there is probably available the same globes for outdoor use. Please check with a reputable lighting store for the proper lights for outdoor use.
I love the trio of globes (right) with different shapes placed in a living room for ambiance and a great design element.
The same oval shaped globe (below) can be used over a dining room or kitchen table. At my home in the 50's my parents used the very inexpensive white rice paper globes over the table which are still available in multiple sizes and colors. These fixtures in the DWR line are called Nelson Bubble Lights after the original designer George Nelson.

This is from Design within Reach: “Architect George Nelson, who was Herman Miller’s design director from 1946 to 1972, said: “Every truly original idea seems to find its most important expression in a chair.” And then he blew the doors off lighting design. When Nelson was outfitting his office, he coveted a silk-covered Swedish hanging lamp but found it prohibitively expensive. He then recalled seeing a photo in the paper of Liberty ships being mothballed “by having the decks covered with netting and then being sprayed with a self-webbing plastic,” said Nelson. “And then, Whammo!” Inspiration struck, and by the next night, Nelson had designed his first Bubble Lamp® (1947), using a spray coating of translucent plastic polymer over a skeleton of steel wire. “When you put a light in it, it glowed.” A wide range of shapes and sizes are now available. “

These classic floor lamps (above) are called Arco Floor Lamp, originally designed by Pier and Achille Castiglioni in the 1980’s. Achille would implore his students to “start from scratch. Stick to common sense. Know your goals and means.” The lamp was inspired by a street light. The lamp provides overhead lighting without requiring ceiling suspension. Again this is a great modern option for the older home which adding more holes to an old ceiling is not an option. 
Of course this lamp looks great and is functional in living rooms, kitchens (first photo)  and bedrooms!
I love the “fantasy feel” of a combinations of the globes and the Arco below. It is fun to see the reflections of the globes on the floor. I hope that all of these lights have dimmers which are another must for ceiling lights.

I love the overhead lamp below because it can provide illumination in and entire room with just one hole in the ceiling. This could also be used in a kitchen instead of recessed lighting.

Here's Product Information From Design Within Reach:
“Serge Mouille designed his angular, insect-like lights as "a reaction to the Italian models that were beginning to invade the market in 1950," which he criticized for being "too complicated." The Three-Arm Ceiling Lamp (1958) is a hanging interpretation of his original Three-Arm Floor Lamp, and maintains the original's kinetic, sculptural aesthetic. All of his lighting solutions feature Mouille's hallmark signatures as a designer: the way the arms are joined to the diffusers, the washer and six-sided screw hardware, the form of the reflectors, and the refined lines of the steel tubing. Bulb (not included): 75W/E26. Made in France.
  • Three arms rotates in various directions.
  • Shades are produced using the original molds, proportions, materials and techniques.
  • Each lamp is stamped and numbered. “

So as we enter these shorter days of light think about illuminating your spaces with warm glowing lights!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Make it Mid Century Modern!

The mid century modern style has returned to this century and it is a period that reminds me of my parents, who are both artists, and some of the items in my home growing up. 
Our house was not mid century modern but an old parsonage house built in the early 1900’s. My mother called it the funky farmhouse since that was her background!  They pulled down all the old wood moldings around the archways between the rooms, painted the walls all white, which my father believed was the best color on which to display art, and they painted the ceilings bright colors to get their pop of color.
Besides my Dad’s colorful paintings, that is where I get my intense love of color. The colors of my business branding are those mid century colors: lime green, turquoise and orange. I love to see them commonly used now in fashion and home furnishings!
We lived with furniture pieces designed during that period by famous designers like George Nelson, Herman Miller, Charles and Ray Eames, and Harry Bertoia (however, we could only afford the knock-offs).

This blog post was inspired from a mid century modern house I am currently working on in Falcon Heights. It is part of the U of M properties - some designed by leading architect Ralph Rapson and other professors from the U of M.
I started doing research on the colors of mid century modern and found some delightful combinations (see possible palettes below). We painted the cabinets a grey with tinges of teal to blend with a granite and painted the walls a clay orange color! We ordered some fun drum fixtures with orange mums printed on them.

As you can see and read.... I have a strong background in color and it shows in my work. My love for mid century modern is my upbringing and it is so fun that the style has made a comeback 60 years later. Whoops - I am giving away my age!  I firmly believe in the power of color to affect or change our moods and I love that part about my services. I tell my clients I want to gently take them a little out of your comfort zone if they are open to that journey with me. I strive to make people smile with delightful color combinations that brighten our lives every day!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wow - I LOVE the new bold colors by Kohler! My favorite line is by designer Jonathan Adler, who says, "One rule of color is that there are no rules." Kohler's new line is really stunning, bringing personality and bold pops of color to kitchens and bathrooms.
Jonathan Adler - Photos by Kohler
Jonathan Adler, potter, designer, and lead judge on Bravo’s Top Design, recommends peppering every room in the home—including the kitchen—with little surprises and exclamation marks of color. “It’s the surprise factor that makes color work,” he says. According to Adler, there’s nothing better than a colored sink to bring a kitchen to life. Even better, he says, “These colors work in just about any kitchen color palette to add a little punch.”
Photos by Kohler
You can add bath accessories, towels, soap dispensers and paint to freshen up the look, but these fantastic fixtures are sure to anchor the room.
Photos by Kohler
If you're considering adding a pop of color to your bathroom or kitchen, think about these things: 
How do you use the space?
What do you want to feel when you enter the room?
Are you looking for a calming effect or an energizer?
If you're unsure about how to balance these bold new hues, or don't know where to begin, contact me and let's chat - I'd be happy to help you!
Photos by Kohler