July 30, 2009

Hotel Highlight :: Commune By The Great Wall

On the off chance that you're headed to China for vacation, I have the perfect place for you to rest your head.

Our second Hotel Highlight is the amazing Commune By The Great Wall. The Commune is comprised of a hotel + a variety of individual houses available for rent.

I am probably posting way too many pictures, but I highly recommend you visit the site and browse through the slew of other pictures in their photo gallery. The pictures I have posted don't even begin to give you a proper idea of the wonderful architecture, design elements and landscape. Gorgeous.

Here's a sneak peak:

They really aren't kidding about the "By The Great Wall" part!
Guess I finally found my reason to visit China!

July 29, 2009

The Stylish Way to Sleep Where You Sit

We've all seen and slept on our fair share of ugly sofa beds. We're talking fluffy, poofy, bars in our back, springs in our sides, coins and popcorn in our sheets, over-sized, over-stuffed...ugly. Something like this:

Ummm...no thanks.

Unfortunately, most modern sofa beds aren't much better...however, there are a few front runners that give you the convertability of a sofa bed and the good-looks of a modern piece of design. This new generation has shed the name "sofa bed" in exchange for the smoother sounding name, "sleeper sofa."

So, if you have a small house and long to have more room for guests, you just might find your solution below.

First off...I want to introduce you to the grandfather of good-looking sleeper sofas. This baby was made in 1968 and recently sold on Ebay for a pretty penny. You can see why...genius.

And here are a few of my modern favorites. Some are more affordable than others, but hopefully you'll find that all of them give "sofa beds" a better name.

Top Ten Sleeper Sofas

1. My favorite, no doubt, is the aptly named One Night Stand by Blu Dot. It sells for $1799.
2. I also enjoy the James Sofa by Gus Modern, selling for $1356.

3. Third, we have the designer Nomade-Express by Ligne Roset. Selling for $2580, it'd better be comfortable! It also comes in a large variety of fabric textures and colors.

4. Next we have the first of two sleepers from beloved DWR. This is the Havana Sofa with Storage, selling for $3500. (Okay...so we don't necessarily love DWR's prices...but still!)

5. Also from DWR, we have the Twilight Sleep Sofa, which comes in some fun colors and rings in a bit cheaper between $1680 - $1880.

6. If leather is your thing, we have the Oz by Innovation, coming in at $1346.

The next four comprise our "Easy on the Wallet" category of sleepers. For those of us who dream big, but earn little!

7. It just wouldn't be right if Ikea didn't make a showing. Here they are with their Karlstad Sleeper Sofa, coming in at $799. They have a few other sleepers, as well, but this one is the most sofa-like, in my humble opinion.

8. Next we have the Flex Sofa by CB2, coming just short of a four-digit price tag at $999.

9. Next to last, we have the new Clark Sofa by West Elm, also coming in at $999.

10. And in the last slot is a no-name find that is surprisingly attractive as well as being quite budget-friendly...a sleeper by Stendmar Sofa, coming in at a price of $675!

And...an honorable mention, just because it's so darn cool...the Doc sleeper sofa/bunk bed. Check it out:

So, now you really have no excuse not to be hospitable and invite the in-laws over for a stay. You can thank me later!

July 28, 2009

The Ultimate in Form and Function

While taking design classes, I was introduced to a product that had me ooh-ing and ahh-ing. It's called 3-Form and if you haven't yet heard of it, you've probably seen it without realizing it!

3-Form is an ecoresin product (sustainable, recycled co-polyester content) containing color, organic materials, and textures within translucent resin panels. It's most often used to create walls, dividers, doors and other architectural solutions and can be seen anywhere from homes to stores to nightclubs. It can look like wood, stone or glass. The versatility of this stuff is amazing. But even more amazing is how fabulous it looks and the astonishing effects you can create with it!

Here are some swatch examples of 3-Form. In person, a swatch is about the size and thickness of a piece of tile:

3Form set 1

3Form Set 2

And here are some examples of how it can be used (Click pictures to zoom):

Chandeliers, headboards, walls, room dividers, table tops, backsplashes...the list goes on. Basically, if you can dream up the idea, you can do it with 3-Form. The stuff is pretty impressive.

For more inspiration, information, and pictures, visit the 3-Form website.

July 25, 2009

Happy 80th Birthday, Barcelona!

The chair, not the city. Naturally.

2009 marks the 80th birthday of one of the most influential designs in the 20th Century. Created by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and based on the design of the ancient Egyptian "klismos" chair, the Barcelona chair (along with its descendants and close relatives) has been a steadily popular staple in design.

As long as we're having a party for the Barcelona, I thought we would invite a few other friends. Below are some of my other favorite, beloved chair designs from the 20th century. They have been knocked-off, modified and copied over the years (both well and poorly), but there will never be anything like the originals.

The guest list reads as follows:

First we have the plastic-molded Eames Armchair and the very famous Eames Lounge Chair (modeled after molded plywood leg splints he made for the US Air Force in WWII).
And we are thankful for all of Eero Saarinen's contributions as we consider his Executive Side Chairs (top right), his famous Tulip Chair (left), and his wonderful Womb Chair (bottom right).

We must be careful not to overlook the beauty of Hans Wegner's classics...the Papa Bear Chair (top left...who can resist the aesthetics or the name??), his lovely Wing Chair (right), and his very cool three-legged Shell Chair (center).

And last, but definitely not least, the always weird but wonderful Egg Chair by Arne Jacobsen.

Most of these great chairs can still be purchased new at Hive Modern, Herman Miller, DWR, Knoll, etc, or, of course, can be purchased vintage, but no matter where you find them, you'll pay a pretty penny. These chairs are more than furniture, they have become treasures of design.

Happy 80th, Barcelona!

July 24, 2009

Perspectives and Light

What's the remedy for that annoying, small, dark room in your house? Well, you may not be surprised to know that one of the best ways to multiply natural light and make a room look bigger is by using mirrors.

Place a mirror on the wall opposite a light source and the reflecting light will open up and brighten the space by leaps and bounds!

I came across this very cool modern mirror at CB2 and thought I would share it with you.

The other cool thing about this mirror is that the multiple angles will reflect wall colors and various room accents, which, depending on the boldness of your color palette, really turns this mirror into a piece of modern art! If you need a mirror, you might as well choose one that fully satisfies your creative appetite!

(CB2 is the modern take on Crate and Barrel. Much more my speed than the original. They have cool stuff and great sales. Keep an eye on them!)

Silverlake Art Craft & Vintage Fair

I've been hearing about this Silverlake Art Craft & Vintage Fair for awhile. It happens every Saturday in the Silverlake community of LA (I love it there). I've never been to the event and am curious if any of you have! I'd love to head up there some Saturday soon.

And for those of you who are excited about all things handmade, vintage and sustainable, I will have some exciting news for you next week! Stay tuned!

July 22, 2009

Hotel Highlight :: Copenhagen's Hotel Fox

Every once in awhile I'd like to feature some unique vintage modern hotels around the world. I'm going to start with a hotel that's more modern than vintage, but just as wonderful - Hotel Fox in Copenhagen, Denmark. I have loved and longed to stay at this hotel for a few years now. Unfortunately, the closest I've come is fondly gazing at photos from time to time.

Each room in this hotel is completely unique and has a different theme. Here's a sneak peek:

(Click on the pictures to enlarge them...)

So, if you're ever in Denmark, you know where to go. And if you never get there...well...maybe some of these rooms will give you inspiration for your own home!

July 21, 2009

A Second Chance Romance :: Wallpaper

I know. I know. The glue. The mess. The scraping. The sanding. Most of us have robust less-than-fond feelings for wallpaper. We were happy to see it go and are now settled in a warm and lasting relationship with our colorfully painted walls.

So, don't have a heart attack when I say that wallpaper is BACK! However, the drab wall coverings of yesteryear are no longer. Today's wallpapers are nothing short of wall art.

I've spent hours searching the land-of-web to bring you some of the best wallpaper designs out today. There's a wallpaper for every budget and every style. And rest assured...the papers of today are much easier to apply and to remove (or so they say)!

Regardless of the pain and agony it caused us in the past, wallpaper wants to rekindle a relationship with us. With the fabulous new wallpaper designs on the market, you might just find yourself ready to take the plunge...again.

(Click on any of the pictures below and you'll be able to see the papers up close and personal.)

Here are some papers that will appeal to the mid-century fans out there...

Mid Century Wallpapers

And here are some art deco and hollywood regency style papers that will inspire the old Hollywood starlets in us...

Art Deco Wallpapers

But what about the sleek moderns out there who only want a hint of vintage? There's some great papers for you too...

Modern Wallpapers

Whatever your style or budget, below are some sites where you can shop and dream and scheme:

Design Your Wall

Graham Brown
Ferm Living
Fabrics and Papers
Osborne and Little
Design Public
Bradbury and Bradbury

Enjoy...and if the project becomes a huge pain in the neck...don't blame me!

July 17, 2009

Rx For Your Black Thumb

If you lack a green thumb but need some greenery in your living space, don't fret! I have a prescription for what ails you.

Well-known in mid-century decor, succulents are versatile, easy-to-care-for plants that are coming back in a big way. Not only are they popping up in homes and yards, they are also becoming popular as party favors, gifts, wedding bouquets, you name it!

You can plant them alone or together in your favorite vintage ceramics. I've even seen them in birdbaths!

Another idea, recently featured on Apartment Therapy, is to make a terrarium in a jar.

Below is a great "white elephant gift" that my talented fashion-blogger friend, Laura (check out Ascot Friday), made for a friend of hers. I love this.

And this is a fabulous display that my very talented chef friend, April (check out Modern Foodie), made for her kitchen/dining area.

Having a miniature garden of succulents is also affordable!

Cheap tip: find some existing succulents (perhaps in your neighbor's yard...shh...), pinch off a stem/branch, find a cute container, plant it in some soil, water every couple days, and the plant will root and grow. Once the plant is rooted, it requires very little water and will last forever!

Below are a few succulents I have on my dining room table. All of them are recent clippings from pre-existing plants. I potted them in cheap (yet cute) white ceramic pots from Ikea. I drilled holes in the bottom of each and placed them on water-absorbing cork pads (from Target) to save my table.

Now your black thumb has no excuse not to green up your space and give some impressive, yet economically fabulous gifts!

Modernica Warehouse Sale in LA

For those of you who live in or near LA and would love to serve your appetite for mid-century furniture and accessories, Modernica is having a huge anniversary sale this Saturday! For those of you who don't live in LA, the sale is being extending to their online store, as well!

Visit Modernica.net: