Home Design Find - Interior Design, Architecture, Modern Furniture - Part 2
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Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Going Very, Very Minimal

scandinavian living room interiors

We’re not sure if we could ever do it to this extent, but minimalism certainly has its advantages: it’s easier on your pocketbook, it’s easier on the earth, it’s easier to keep clean, and it’s one less worry during the course of the day. People who live in minimalist homes aren’t worried about the cat scratching up that leather couch, because, oops, there is no couch.

Bearing all these advantages in mind, we recently ran across this 700 square foot apartment in Copenhagen, Denmark, that takes minimalism to its final, white conclusion. The apartment is owned by Maiken Winther, a fashion stylist, blogger and former fashion editor who was looking for a serene blank canvas of an environment to combat her image-filled existence. She gets so much color at work, she couldn’t take any more of it at home. Her apartment is one option for those interested in going the minimal route.

First, everything is white. The few things that are not white are mostly not white for practical reasons. The owner says she wanted a white couch, but she is a heavy user of her couch and she likes chocolate. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that sooner or later, little flakes of chocolate were going to end up smeared on her white couch. So she opted for a more forgiving deep blue couch instead, and we’re glad she did. The blue adds an unexpected punch of color and accent in what might otherwise be a predictably white apartment.

There’s one other touch of color too. Very pale pink shows up here and there, as in the round side table above and below.

scandinavian living room interiors

Pink also shows up on the lamp below and some of the doors have been painted the same pale pink. While we’ve never considered ourselves lovers of pink, we’ve seen this color pop up a lot lately. One thing we do like about it is that it feels relatively fresh, compared to other colors Winther might have chosen. When you’re working with only one or two colors, better make them really unpredictable ones for more impact.

scandinavian living room interiors

When you’re doing minimalism this extreme, the look of every piece of furniture counts. That’s why Winther bought a TV she especially liked, even when it’s turned off. When you see it from the side, it looks like the san serif I. The lamp, the chair, everything has sculptural qualities that provide some nice eye candy.

And that even applies to the wall art. The artwork below has lots of texture, which helps keep things much more interesting than a flat canvas might have in this serene environment.

scandinavian living room interiors

The kitchen dispenses with upper cabinets. Not having them is in keeping with the minimalist theme, opens up the space and helps the kitchen to feel larger.

scandinavian kitchen interiors

Here’s the other side of the kitchen:

home design interiors

The naked bulb in the entry way and the visible clothes rack set the stage, as soon as you walk in. You know immediately what you’re in for:

scandinavian hall interiors

When you’ve gone this minimal, you have to take your indulgences where you find them. Winther’s one indulgence is a fluffy pair of pink slippers that fit in perfectly with the rest of her home.

scandinavian bedroom interiors

So there you have it, minimalism at it’s most extreme. Do you think you could do it?

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Design Dilemma: Accent on Accent Chairs

contemporary bedroom furniture 2

So what’s all the fuss about accent chairs? If your living room includes a couch, you’re good to go, right?

Well, maybe, but maybe not.

While accent chairs can provide useful and practical seating in many instances, they can also play a decorative role that can set the tone of the entire room. If you think of the extra depth an added spice can give to your favorite chili recipe, you’ll be coming close to what an accent chair can do for a space. Not only does it provide seating for guests, but it adds a little pizazz at the same time. An accent chair can be dramatic, warm and homey, iconic, sculptural or simply utilitarian. If you want to choose one that will complement your space, keep a few things in mind.

scandinavian living room furniture 2

1) Mood, baby, mood.

An accent chair is the perfect place to bring the mood of your space to its fullest expression. If your room is formal, then by all means, pull out all the stops and opt for an elegantly traditional wingback chair. Don’t be afraid to play it for all it’s worth. And if you are a minimalist looking to create a relaxed and playful, feel in your room, then why not do something really risky, like the swing chair above? This open and airy loft just wouldn’t feel the same without it.

 

contemporary living room furniture 2

2) Add color.

Are you afraid of color and pattern in your room? Afraid you’ll tire of a graphic black and white pattern or a brilliant magenta on a couch? Do you have a tendency always to gravitate to “greige?” The solution for you is an accent chair — but this time outfitted in the biggest, boldest color or pattern you can imagine. This is your opportunity to go completely off the deep end, into territory where you never thought you’d venture . Above, bold magenta chairs and a graphic black and white pattern on two wingbacks manage to look perfectly civilized, at the same time they are both bold and chic.

contemporary dining room furniture 2

3) Do the exact opposite.

Sometimes, you get the biggest impact by getting an accent chair that contrasts with the predominant style or theme of your room. If you’ve got a chic and modern living room, throw in an antique for some added interest. If you’ve gone traditional everywhere else, consider a modern accent chair. Two examples, are the chairs used in the dining spaces above and below. The mid-century modern Saarinen tulip chair is mixed with what seems to be similar to a traditional Shaker chair. Below, Kartell’s Louis ghost chairs are mixed with traditional Martin arm chairs. Eclecticism is hip. When mixing and matching the main thing to keep in mind to get it all to work is that the scale of the furniture should be roughly similar. Very low, sleek pieces may not work with large scale, heavy or tall pieces.

eclectic dining room furniture 2

4) It’s your chance to be artsy.

Are you looking for art for your place, but you don’t know where to begin? Begin with an accent chair! A chair can add interesting lines, texture and shape to your room in a pleasing but entirely non-threatening way.  Any of the chairs below could help elevate your home the way that art can.

 

transitional bedroom furniture 2

The organic feel of the chair above would look perfect in a home featuring lots of African art.

contemporary furniture 2

The sleek minimalist chair above would look great in a home with large, color field paintings.

eclectic bedroom furniture 2

This eyecatching traditional chair outfitted in neon bright colors and patterns would look great in a home featuring lots of pop art or boldly modern figurative paintings and portraits — maybe Chuck Close or Andy Warhol.

eclectic living room furniture 2

We can see this chair in a room filled with Western memorabilia and bold landscapes.

contemporary family room furniture 2

And above, this chair can work in a room with large abstract canvases, as you see, but would also look good with pop art, or no art at all!

The takeaway: adding an accent chair to your room is often a necessary and practical thing, but it’s also one area in which you can totally let loose, have fun, and step out of the box. Give it a try and you will be amazed at how a simple chair can turn your room into a whole new space!

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Design Dilemma: Living Outdoors in the Middle of the City

home design interiors

One month into Spring, we’re already thinking about spending more days out in the sun. But have you thought about making the outdoors an essential part of your home? One couple in Barcelona did, taking an old unused terrace and transforming it into a vital part of their homes.

This is what the terrace looked like before:

home design interiors

The apartment is only 517 square feet but its terrace is nearly twice that size at 753 square feet. The sheer size of the terrace in comparison with the size of the apartment, made it imperative for the owners to make use of all that space. Since the apartment is located in the sunny city of Barcelona, it’s possible to use it nearly year round making this renovation of $118,000 truly a great value.

Here’s another before picture:

home design interiors

And here are some after shots:

And here:

One of the biggest feats of the renovation involved lowering the terrace floor so that it would be at the same level of the apartment floor inside. Just this part of the job cost the couple nearly $12,000. But lowering the floor made a big difference, because it allowed the terrace to blend seamlessly with the apartment. A new sliding glass door out to the terrace dining area makes it easy to carry trays and plates from the kitchen.

The couple eats almost all their meals outside. They erected a pergola to protect them from the sun in the hottest summer months. Protective curtains allow them to linger on the terrace as long as they like.

The living area of the terrace also functions as a workspace. A small kitchen garden, below, includes a lemon tree, strawberries, cacti, geraniums, lavender, mint and other aromatic herbs for cooking.

And here’s a view of the apartment’s interior:

And here:

It’s easy to see just how essential the terrace is to the functionality and feeling of the apartment itself.

Here’s a view from the bedroom.

And another view from the living room:

Kudos to this couple for nearly doubling their apartment space, making for wonderful indoor/outdoor living!