Friday, October 30, 2009

Design Blogger Profile: Vanessa de Vargas of Turquoise!

We’ve got today a great design blogger, Vanessa de Vargas, from the wonderful interior design business known as Turquoise. A prolific designer, fashionista, furniture re-designer and blogger, de Vargas has plenty of inspiration on both her website and blog.

The Los Angeles based designer is known for her young, bright, fresh and sassy interior work, working with clients in their homes but also running quite the successful e-design business, where she helps come up with inspiration boards for clients for a fee. That’s only one half of her talents, however, as she is also known for her ingenious and creative revamping of treasured vintage furniture. Not just fixing furniture pieces structurally, de Vargas gives them a touch of her own style, making them the perfect additions to our generation's more modern sensibilities.

As a blogger herself, she shares her take on the top trends in the design world weekly at Apartment Therapy Los Angeles, but also looks to inspire on her own blog. Sharing stories and photos from client projects (both local to L.A. and online), lots of fun home d├ęcor finds and creative ideas she uses her blog as more than just a tool to promote her business, but rather help others create their perfect homes.

Our favorite element of de Vargas’ work is her great use of color, pattern and detail. Her work is fun, sometimes feminine and frankly, flirty. She’s not afraid of any of these elements, and uses them all to enhance spaces, not overwhelm them. Flipping through her online portfolio you will see an inspiring array of color palettes with which to inspire your own home makeovers.

Already a strong presence on the Internet, you can also check out de Vargas and her work in numerous publications, such as The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Sunset Magazine, Washington Post, Instyle Magazine, Architectural Digest-Italy, Lucky, California Homes and Design, as well as other blogs like Decor8 and Stylecourt.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Flickr Features: Minimalist Interiors!

Last Flickr Features we brought you lots of photos of homes considered to be futuristic. Often times, when we say the word "modern" we refer to one of our favorite styles "Mid-Century Modern" a style that was popularized in the 1950s and 1960s. Modern can refer to any number of interior decoration styles, though, one of which is minimalism. An often misunderstood style, many people at first glance consider these sleek, simple and starkly furnished rooms as cold or inhuman. Minimalism, which favors no ornamentation and function over form, can be warm and comfortable, however, and the less stuff you have the less you have to clean! We bring to you today some great photos from a Flickr group called "Modern Minimalism." Judge for yourself whether you think minimalism is cold or comfortable! And be sure to check out all the photos we didn't feature in the group yourself.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This Week's Top 5 Favorite 1stdibs Items: Seaside Inspiration!

The cold weather is now taking its hold on the southern part of the country (not that we're complaining) and we're only just realizing this officially means the end of summer and warm weather. While we love the fall and winter there's something special about the memories that come from the summer. If you've been missing summer as well, why not infuse your interiors with a little seaside inspiration? These fun accessories will have your room feel like a sunny beach house all year long!

1) Mosaic Tile Bench
From Buenos Aires, Argentina this large-scale bench made of multicolored glass tiles depicting sea creatures is from the 1960s, and while it's a bit loud, it's also wonderful! How fun would this be to have in an interior? We love it!
Price: $8,500
Bush Antiques

Okay these amazing chairs aren't specifically seaside or beach themed, but you can't deny they look like two giant seashells! These could be chairs that you can add for a fun pop of seaside inspiration in an otherwise non-seaside decorated space.
Price: $11,000
Donna Parker Habitat

3) Antique Lead 'Neptune' Fountain Sculpture
Who better to have in your sea-inspired space than Neptune himself? This is another great example of a subtle element you could add to an already decorated room to incorporate a seaside theme to it. Even without other seaside inspired accessories, it is a lovely sculpture.
Price: $5,800
Regan and Smith

Seashell encrusted home decor came back into style a few years ago again, both to the delight and horror of homeowners everywhere. Depending on the space, a piece like this could add a fun sea-feeling to it, or it could overwhelm. Pair this with simple surroundings to really let it shine. Price: $2,000
Darrell Dean

5) Large Yellow Seashell Centerpiece
Yellow's not a color commonly associated with seaside inspired home accessories, but we love it on this seashell centerpiece. What a bright, bold and fun addition to a seaside-themed space---or any space for that matter!
Price: $2,800
Palm Beach Antique and Design Center

Don't forget to check out the rest of this week's listings from 1stdibs, where you can find more fabulous, one-of-a-kind show-stopping pieces, as well as a number of other great pieces!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Perfect Pair: Bertoia's Diamond Chair and Amy Grigg's Turned Wood Lamps!

Yesterday we brought you the fresh and modern designs of Mid-Century furniture maker, sculptor and artist Harry Bertoia. We loved the Diamond Chair as much yesterday as we have for years, and thought it was high time we featured it in a Perfect Pair!

We think Bertoia said it the best when he described his Diamond Chair (or any of his grid-like, steel welded furniture) “If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them." We love the description of a chair made of air, one of our earth’s elements. It makes something otherwise completely industrial looking have a more natural-feel to it. Not that the undulating curve of the back of the chair doesn’t give off a natural feeling itself. Altogether, the piece is a stunning example of furniture standing for something other than just a piece of furniture. It's good-looking, and if you’re worried about the comfort of sitting on a metal grid, know that many upholstered cushions are available for this style chair.

We’ve yet to feature an Amy Grigg hand turned wood lamp in a Perfect Pair yet, and that’s a shame! Her wood lamps are at once nature-inspired and completely Mid-Century Modern-esque. This particular pair is sleek, thin and tall, with a lovely glossy sheen. Made of stacked walnut pieces in a reversed grain pattern, the piece comes with lovely and subtle horizontal stripes. These lamps are also signed by the artist herself.

Though it might seem like we’re trying to pair two completely different styles by suggesting the Diamond Chair and the Amy Grigg turned lamps go together, at closer inspection the two have more in common than not. On the outside, sure, the Diamond Chair is a lot of metal giving off a modern and industrial-feel, but remember that it also represents one of Earth’s elements: air. In the same vein, the Grigg lamps seem sleek and Mid-Century Modern, but they are made of another one of Earth’s elements: wood. Together, these two pieces represent a powerful natural combination---and they look good together to boot!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Art and Furniture of Harry Bertoia!

After a couple of weeks of focusing on contemporary furniture and interior designers we go back again to the classics, this time with the great Mid-Century furniture designer Harry Bertoia, who along with creating a few extremely important iconic chairs was also a creative and prolific sculptor, painter and artist.

Bertoia’s most famous piece is probably his Diamond Chair (pictured above). Designed for the famous furniture manufacturing company Knoll, the Diamond Chairs feature a geometrically diamond shaped back made out of a grid of thin, welded chromed steel rods. The magic of the Diamond Chair is its ability to seem lightweight and ethereal even though it takes up a large swath of space in terms of size. It’s a focal point sometimes, and yet can blend seamlessly and even invisibly when needed. A few of his other pieces have similar characteristics like his Child’s Chair, Bird Chair and ottoman and Asymmetric Chaise, all for Knoll. What also made his furniture pieces so fun is their ability to be changed with removable cushions, some simple and some wildly patterned or textural.

What is perhaps the most interesting thing about Bertoia is the fact that he never set out to be a design-world changing furniture maker. Born in Italy, he traveled to the US when he was 15 to visit his brother living in Detroit and never left! He did much of his schooling in the U.S. including the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts (now known as the College for Creative Studies) and the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he came into contact with such luminaries as Walter Gropius, Edmund N. Bacon and Ray and Charles Eames.

Bertoia started his creative career in jewelry making, opening a studio in 1939 teaching jewelry making and metal work, going on to work on projects like Charles and Ray Eames' wedding rings and eventually working on all sorts of projects with them, like airplane and medical equipment and early work with molded plywood furniture. In 1950 he moved to Pennsylvania and began a lucrative relationship with the Knoll company, producing his now well-known wire furniture, of which he describes best himself “If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them."

His Knoll furniture sold so well, that he gave up furniture design for sculptural work, going on to have a successful and important career in the field of metal sculpture, experimenting with what he called sound sculpture, sculptural pieces that created sound when interacting with wind and other elements. And though he may have not produced any more furniture as successful as his work with Knoll, his important contributions had already been made to the design world, and his chairs continue to be sought after even today!