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A coffee and sit down with Icelandic designer Helga Guðrún, owner of Stáss Design and one of four companies in the artistic collective Netagerðin, to learn about Iceland opened my eyes to everything design and architecture in Reykjavik, Iceland. We talked about everything from Reykjavik's turf house beginnings to the cities love of modern, new products with traditional influences.
At first glance, Reykjavik seems like a New England coastal town. I was interested to learn that up until the early 1900's most of the home and buildings in Reykjavik were turf buildings, made out of stone and turf material like matted grasses. The first permanent stone structure was their parliament building, built in 1881, and the oldest areas of the city only date back to the 1930's.
Icelandic people love new design; they always want to be up-to-date, sometimes even to a fault. In the 1990's and early 2000's, as the country's economy thrived, there was a craze to remodel and update. Sadly, as they did this, they would tear out and tear down the old designs and literally throw out old furniture and home decor. When the economy crashed in 2008, people in Reykjavik modified the way in which they remodeled their homes and became much less frivolous about their previous possessions.
Places such as Netagerðin have tried to incorporate Icelandic antiques as well as local materials and traditions into their design. Their shop was once a warehouse in the 1960's that was shut down for years before they bought it. When they opened the doors, it was filled with vintage ceramics, furniture and appliances, some of which Helga incorporated in the design of the attached restaurant, Forrétta. The modern sleek mini-pendant lights mixes it up and gives the design a modern look. And note the nod to Bjork in the form of the stork pouf...
Helga went on to tell me that all the artists in the collective at Netagerðin focus on using local materials, local traditions and traditional Icelandic patterns in their design. She tells me that there is always a story behind the product that ties in with the country. One significant design inspiration in Iceland has always been the sea as the country, especially Reykjavik, is surrounded by it and it is such a big part of their history.
Until recently, Helga tells me, there were not any monumental structures in the city. Thankfully the construction of the Harpa concert hall survived the economic crash and is now a gorgeous structure on the edge of the coast. It was a collaboration between design firms Henning Larsen Architects and Batteríið Architects and artist Ólafur Elíasson to create a beautiful, interesting, monumental space. Harpa was awarded the World Architecture Award in 2011. The building is a cultural icon reflecting the sea and the city, and glows like a jewel box through the summer nights as the sun coasts along the horizon.
Another significant building in the city center is the Hallgrímskirkja church. The style of the building is supposed to resemble the lava flows of the Icelandic landscape. Taking over 38 years to build and only being completed in 1986, the church stands as the tallest building in Reykjavik. It is beautiful to see how it is illuminated in the midnight light during the summer.
Icelandic design in Reykjavik is still quite young, but I have a feeling that it will soon be a city to watch in the design world.
Images: Allison Rosenberg, Harpa Press
I have my favorite home design blogs (besides our own blog of course). I am constantly venturing around the web to see what other people are inspired by and what projects designers are currently working on. Each blog on my list is very different than the next with its own unique voice. So... let's talk about the list!
My Marrakesh: Yes yes yes! For everyone and anyone that is obsessed with Moroccan inspirations, then this is the place you need to be. The author of the blog, Maryam, lives in Marrakesh and owns a stylish boutique guest house and is the author of the inspirational picture book, Marrakesh by Design. I visit her blog (often) for decorative accent pillow and rug ideas from Morocco.
Stylelist Home: Stylelist Home is AOL's design blog. It is the "something for everyone" blog with house tours, craft projects, entertaining tips, etc. I love visiting their blog for trending design topics. I also write for AOL Stylelist Home, so of course it had to make the list.
aBLOOMSBURYlife: aBLOOMSBURYlife is the end result of a stylish mom, who is also an embroidery artist, is passionate about interior design, and loves to travel the Globe. Her own personal home is quite amazing and she often shares new projects around the house. Her blog is a one woman shop, so I love the personal/diary-like tone of the content.
maison21: Christian May (interior designer and blogger behind maison21) is the most social person I know! If you want to know what is happening at ALL the design events in Los Angeles, check into the maison21 blog often. There isn't a design event invitation that he doesn't turn down. So I love to stay home and check in on his blog for the party recap!
the Real Estalker: If you must have your celebrity gossip in the world of real estate and design, this is the place for you! I have been quite addicted to the Real Estalker for many years. It reports on celebrity real estate purchases and homes on the market. I love the voyeuristic nature of seeing how celebrities really live. Bring on the over the top chandeliers, bold color choices, and overall luxury living!
It’s strange to think that by using reclaimed materials you can create totally modern kitchen decor. Move over Laura Ingalls, kitchen decor can be both modern and warm at the same time if you know how to combine rough-hewn wood with age and patina with crisp modern surfaces and lighting.
I think this room is stunning and simple to achieve. The room is essentially an unadorned white box with modern, square lines with interesting lighting. Wide-plank reclaimed wood clads the rectangular island in a horizontal direction that literally turns an old material on it’s side making it fresh and modern. The open shelving also uses reclaimed wood for a chunky yet still minimalist aesthetic. Functional kitchen bar stools in metal balances the natural materials while an old world dining room chandelier carries the metal theme through to the dining room.
Another way to modernize and balance the reclaimed materials is with what appears to be a concrete counter and geometric tiles up the back wall. Except for the simple run of under-counter cabinets and appliances there is very little additional expense.
The hot new look is to use old-world style lighting fixtures in contemporary rooms. That is done successfully here with bare bulbs over the shelves and turn-of-the-last century style metal shade pendants. Because they remain simple in form they “read” contemporary. The old school mini pendant light above is just the right amount of old! It references the past just enough to add charm to a modern kitchen.
This black Windsor chair is similar to the one above. The black matte finish looks great against a contemporary white wall and like the pendant above, allows you to reference the past while still keeping a safe distance from the wagon trains of ole and a jaunt through Donner Pass. I think reclaimed materials in modern kitchen decor is here to stay. The best of both worlds, simply put, is the best.
Image credits: The Zhush.
Looking for a deal on lighting? I rounded up 5 contemporary table lamps under $50. The lamps are perfect to replace an old and outdated lamp. Or... need extra accent lighting in a kid's room or home office? For a budget-friendly price, you surely won't have buyer's remorse the next day!
Flexell 600 Natural Finish Wood Table Lamp
1. The wood shade table lamp doubles as a work of art. The shade is made of wood slats and is flexible to be twisted and turned to create your own shape. Both kids and adults will love this lamp!
Random Stripe Two-Tone Ceramic Table Lamp
2. A simple design yet still very elegant, the stripe ceramic table lamp is great for a classic living room or neutral tone bedroom. The stripes add just enough pattern to add interest to any room.
Stacked Glass Globe Table Lamp
3. Clear lamp bases are a hot trend right now! They are a fun material and break up the typical materials you find in a room.
Contemporary Bamboo Printed Acrylic Shade Table Lamp
4. Going for a natural look in your design! The contemporary bamboo printed lamp really makes it feel like you are bringing in a touch of the outdoors.
Double Globe Brushed Steel Table Lamp
5. Glam it up with the brushed steel table lamp! The reflective surface is a fun accent in any style decor. I would love to see the lamp being used as bedside lighting.
What is your favorite budget contemporary table lamp?
UPDATE #2: We're pleased to announce the winners of our Pinterest contest: Jacqueline Taylor Griffin (French Market); Dawn Shelton (Hollywood Luxe); Quincey Shelton (Global Style); Joyce Moore (City Chic); and Renee Scott (Natural Inspirations). Thanks to all who entered and voted!
UPDATE #1: The contest entry period has now expired. Congrats to all the finalists in the Lamps Plus Pinterest contest. Head on over to the Pinterest contest board to see all the finalists and help us chose the winners by voting for your favorites. Remember the finalists' boards with the most repins will win. Good luck to all!
Now is a chance to show off your design skills and put together an inspiration board reflecting your style in our Pinterest contest. Are you more of a naturalist or do you find yourself leaning toward global influenced design? Let us know!
We are giving away a total of five $500 online shopping sprees. Below are the details of how to enter.
We will select the boards with the most creative flair as FINALISTS. The WINNERS will be chosen by YOU. So Find Your Favorite Style and Start Pinning It to Win It!
For more information about the design styles, check out our Hot Trends Pinterest board. Need an invite to Pinterest? Send your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject Pinterest Contest Invite) and we will try to invite you. To learn more about Pinterest and how to get started, check out the Pinterest About page.
Note: Contest open to US residents only. Residents of Rhode Island are unable to enter the contest. Read our complete contest rules here.
When it comes to lighting coastal style great rooms, variety is the key. Because “coastal” has a relaxed connotation, let your room look like it has evolved over time, through many generations and through many summers. Also, because the typical great room must function on many levels, think of lighting the space in terms of zones. In the “work zone” there are kitchen recessed lights for general illumination, individual wall lights over each window and classic schoolhouse lights over the bar. Speaking of the bar, how cute are the red, casual bar height stools? If wet bathing suits or messy kids are the norm in your house, forget about fancy fabric!
I like the idea of using these schoolhouse brushed nickel ceiling lights in a kitchen. They lend an air of authenticity and age to any space, plus they offer enough light for casual dining.
Speaking of dining, and heaven knows I’m always ready to eat, this dining space is another success story in coastal style design. The woven dining chairs look as though they could have been brought in from the porch, but still manage to be chic as does the lantern style lighting fixture. I’ve always said if you love a fixture, don’t be afraid to use outdoor lighting indoors.
The Rue de Royal hanging light will introduce an antique style flair to the coastal style great room because it looks like the kind of fixture you can find at an off the beaten path antique store. Making a room look like it’s been around for generations is easier than you think, it’s all about where you look to find items that inspire.
Photo: House of Turquoise
Regardless of the coast I’m mad for beach house design ideas. Today we're going to take a look at two homes. One in the Hamptons, the other Malibu. Many people do play favorites and can’t understand why anybody would visit the other...snobs! I like the overall informality of both spots and am here to show you some looks and differences found in each design.
The Malibu beach house above is classsic. Simple white slipcovers and natural wood accents reflect the white sandy beach and driftwood. The Malibu lifestyle embraces natural and neutral tones, crisp lines and can borrow sllightly from California’s Spanish ancestry with the use of terra cotta on occassion and warm dark woods. The Hamptons have a more traditional New England bent, with an emphasis on nautical and preppy interiors.
The Hamptons bedroom, while fresh and bright, incorporates design touches like whitewashed floors, heirloom-style furniture and decorative area rugs that could be generations old.
The Malibu bedroom has a modern, Spanish Colonial vibe. Earthy colors and textures play beautifully with the contemporary lines of the architecture and furniture.
The Hamptons bath has classic beadboard walls, farmhouse sinks and antique-style bathroom wall mirrors. School house lighting completes the “East Coast” look.
Want to re-create this look? The Sussex bathroom light is a great place to start.
The Malibu beach house bathroom has a similar color palate but is much more contemporary with its treatment of the vanity, mirrors and lighting. All of these elements are modern and more geometric.
This rectangular nickel wall sconce oozes Malibu chic.
There you have it. A few beach house design ideas without leaving the comfort of your home.
Images: Coastal Living, Cottages-Gardens.
Everyone is talking about Yahoo!'s new CEO, Marissa Mayer, and her pregnancy. Since she is now team Yahoo and is supporting purple colors, we put together a few purple baby nursery decor ideas. Wouldn't it be fun for her to have an all purple baby nursery to show support for her new company!
(Top Row: Giclee Purple Horizontal Stripe Table Lamp, Purple Fontella Felt Rose Pillow)
(Bottom Row: Camden Collection Suzani Tile Lavender Area Rug, Surya Timora Plum and Tan Throw Blanket)
Purple is such a great color and is known for having a calming affect, which after taking a new high stress job, might be just what her and her baby needs. We selected some of our favorite home decor picks. A striped contemporary table lamp for just enough lighting for bedtime stories. A decorative pillow for a fun accent on a side chair. A lavendar rug, so once the baby stars crawling he/she can have a nice soft surface to practice rolling over. And of course, a soft throw blanket for snuggle time with mommy.
Good luck Marissa with your new job and soon to be new baby!
Images: Businessweek, The Christian Science Monitor, Reelybored
(Top Row: Candice Olson Margo 6-Light Large Modern Chandelier, Candice Olson Basie Gold Table Lamp)
(Bottom Row: Candice Olson Logan Table Lamp, Candice Olson Sahara Wall Sconce)
Have you been following Candice Olson since her first Divine Design TV show days and love Candice Olson lighting? Us too! We are fortunate to carry a great selection of Candice Olson lighting products, everything from table lamps to wall sconces. What we love about her design aesthetic is that almost every design and product has a major glam and bling factor.
We are swooning over the large modern chandelier! It says to guests, "Hi, I am kinda fabulous and I throw great dinner parties!" Oh and don't get us started about how much we are loving gold as a finish right now. The Candice Olson Basie Gold table lamp makes a huge statement in any room. The satin nickel and black shade table lamp can go glam and masculine at the same time which is great for couples who need to come to a compromise. Looking to incorporate some different materials into your design scheme. We are loving the sahara wall sconce with abalone shells and a chrome finish.
What Candice Olson lighting product is your favorite?
Image: Candice Olson
It’s time to dazzle you with more of my work and offer some tips on designer bathroom basics. I love the challenge of creating a designer bathroom for clients. For me, it’s all about integrating the functionality of a bathroom with beautiful aesthetics and elegant materials.
This Los Angeles bathroom is spacious, so it was important to use materials for the counters, tub and floor that would warm up the already bright white space. I opted for a creamy gray stone with white veins. Keep in mind, large spaces can seem too big and cold at night, so proper contemporary bathroom lighting is key. It’s a pretty basic formula to follow: use a combination of sconces and decorative recessed lighting on dimmers.
This George Kovacs Nickel Wall Sconce is similar to what I used above. I love how a tall cylindrical light can work in tight spaces and how the frosted glass creates a soft, muted light.
The tub and shower area of this bathroom is where I splurged. I mounted a TV for the homeowner so they could watch in the tub or shower and added a table near the tub for extra towels or a spot to place the TV remote while soaking. As with most designer rooms, when a bathroom is large and bright it’s nice to have a small pop of black to ground the space. Whether it’s the TV screen or an accent table, consider that basic designer trick.
This Arteriors Home Olympia Wavy Iron and Marble End Table could be super chic in a bathroom. The materials are great for a wet space, and it’s open design will not weigh down a small designer bathroom.
Photography: Karyn Millet