Minimal Design For The New Year

One thing that always comes to mind during a new year, besides making a list of goals, is starting from a clean slate. Organizing my apartment, throwing out things that are causing clutter and getting in the way of me being my best. There’s a refreshing feeling that comes with things that are minimal. You have no distractions and it’s easy to point out the most beautiful and important aspect.

While searching for the minimal and the beautiful, I came across Brooklyn jewelry designer Fay Andrada. Each piece in Fay’s collection is unique and exquisite. Her inspiration lies in handmade tradition and her goal is to create modern artifacts. With her innovative line, Fay has mastered the art of simplicity. Her work is unbothered and almost zen-like, Here are a few of my favorite things:

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Antique Rugs: Rustic, but Not Old

It’s not all bear rugs and antlers…

Rustic

The dictionary definition of rustic is as follows:

adjective: Of, relating to, or suitable for the country or people who live in the country

Too often we conflate rustic with other less-than-pleasant descriptors – old, worn, decrepit – and sometimes (especially where real estate listings are concerned) rustic is misappropriated as a euphemism for “in need of refurbishment.”

Even when we aren’t using “rustic” against its natural purposes, the picture it most commonly calls to mind is a grandparent’s cabin draped in scratchy Navajo blankets, or a ski lodge with a stone fireplace and leather booths in dire need of reupholstering.  A sense of aging lingers around “rustic” that is unfairly limiting. Although there are probably city folk who believe pilling textiles and scuffed furniture are what is worthy of country dwellers, the truth is that a transcendent rustic interior is one that is tastefully informed by its natural setting – a space that uses locally-sourced materials and incorporates cultural heritage and quality craftsmanship.

Perhaps due to the prevalence of outdoor lifestyles in northern Europe, Scandinavian designers in particular excel at forging contemporary statements using a rustic palette.

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Inspired by Eclecticism

Eclecticism derives from the Greek “eklektikos” which loosely translates to knowing to choose what’s best for the soul. The concept originally related to ancient philosophers, selective in picking out doctrines that fit their reasoning, today embraces art, architecture, religion, music and medicine among others.

The capital of Hungary, Budapest, is a good example for eclecticism in architecture. The city blends in different historical styles and is well known for its eclectic-style buildings and interiors that are a good source of inspiration and fresh ideas for interior design and home decoration.

The capital of Hungary, Budapest, is a good example for eclecticism in architecture

The House of Parliament in Budapest is one of the most remarkable combinations of neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance style.

The House of Parliament in Budapest

An eclectic mix of styles is often reflected in fine and decorative arts. Eclecticism is a preferable approach for everyone who is not afraid of changes, likes to experiment with aesthetics and combine different styles. Mixing antique pieces with modern elements adorns each room and produces harmonious and inspiring interiors.

This is an image of the room that incorporates techniques from a diverse range of styles. Irregular black and white stripes reminiscent of a barcode create impression of the lack of precision. Adornments and touches of gold along with 1930’s chair, modern-style mirror, white fireplace and plastic rocking chair designed by Henrik Pedersen make it a truly unique interior.

Room designed by Henrik Pedersen

Eclecticism likes to experiment with colors and shades juxtaposed in original and fresh combinations.

A Moroccan rug BB3689

Eclecticism does not hold rigidly to a single style. It represents a combination of a variety of influences and its only peculiarity lies in the ability to draw on different techniques that can yield aesthetic and unique arrangements.

Eclecticism

Its attractiveness resides in its very personal style that can be spiritual, sensual, dramatic, eccentric or colorful.

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African Art Re-Imagined

There’s a hot new designer in Italy that’s changing the world of African style. Her name is Stella Jean and she’s a half Italian, half Haitian former model who’s managed to merge her two cultures with a namesake line. Using her “Wax and Stripes” philosophy, Stella creates clothing with traditional bold prints (“wax”) and sharp tailoring from her Italian roots (which she refers to as the “stripes”). Her unique body of work has even garnered the attention of Giorgio Armani, who lent Stella his space to showcase her Spring 2014 collection- a first for the legendary designer.

The allure of Stella Jean lies in the new conversation it’s created for what African fashion can be. The introduction of tailoring and standout silhouettes is extremely refreshing, bringing in new customers who may never have thought of rocking African prints. A tea length A-line frock is a hit at an art gallery opening, while a printed trench and striped skirt is the perfect casual-cool ensemble. Since it’s debut, Stella Jean has been flying off the shelves.

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Essential Architecture

Rectangles and Squares: Corners, Lines and Design

At an art fair last week, I saw a portrait of Dorothy from Wizard of Oz. I didn’t notice at first, but a second look revealed that Dorothy’s hair and features were entirely composed of squares and rectangles – she was a girl made of cubes, but an unmistakable one nonetheless. I didn’t buy it, but it struck me as an interesting statement on the post-modern, pop culture-focused, digitized reality we live in.  On a related note, tattoos inked in pixilated-style  are increasingly cropping up on my Pinterest feed.

As citizens of the industrialized, computerized world, the rectangle is the basic structure of our lives – it’s the shape of the homes and offices we inhabit, and it’s the shape of the smallest components (pixels) of the images that travel across the screens we stare into.

Pixels

Our saturated exposure to this four-sided shape affects our perception in ways we aren’t even aware of. Take for instance this optical illusion:

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Which line is longer? Researchers discovered that typically Americans perceive the line with the ends pointed out as longer than the one with two arrowheads. This is because we live in spaces with linear construction, and that influences the way we perceive angles, i.e. this is how we usually perceive those lines:

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Interior Design: Looking Ahead

More 2014 Trends: Fabulous Floral

Nowadays, trends come and go at the speed of a good broadband connection. Thanks to our ever-expanding Internet connectedness – especially with the explosion of meme culture and aggregators like Pinterest – it keeps getting harder to predict which trends will carry through the coming year. Twelve whole months?! Try twelve minutes.

There are plenty of forecasting pieces floating around right now (a good round up of interior predictions can be found here. But one trend I believe will continue to have real impact in the new year is a giant crop of flowers – I’m talking big ones – on furniture, walls and textiles.

Comme Des Garcons

 

There was no shortage of pretty petals this fall at the spring 2014 runway shows. And where interiors are concerned, don’t expect your grandma’s boring floral armchair: Giant flowers can be very, very cool.

Interior Junkie                                             Via: Interior Junkie

A huge bloom on a dark background would seem like a loud statement, but I love the muted beauty of this and the sense of quiet it evokes – perfect for a bedroom.

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Fashion and Interior Design: An Artsy Touch

The first time I visited The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit in San Francisco, I was so amazed by the beautiful visuals that I had to go again the very next day. This Fall, the masterpiece has made it’s way to New York’s Brooklyn Museum. A friend invited me to the opening night, where Gaultier himself gave a talk on fashion. The multimedia exhibit is made up of 140 haute couture and pret-a-porter ensembles organized around seven themes tracing influences of Gaultier’s over 40 year history – “from the streets of Paris to the cinema.” Custom mannequins greet you as you enter and from then on, it’s a feast for the eyes. Everything from intricate gowns to fantastical photographs by one of the most innovative fashion designers of our time. Even Gaultier’s old stuffed teddy bear (on which he designed his first-ever cone bra) makes an appearance. Amongst the standout fashion, you’ll find behind the scenes images of Gaultier fitting Madonna for her 1990 Blond Ambition tour. There’s literally too many amazing instances in this exhibit to count. I left once again inspired by the unique way Gaultier creates art through fashion.

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Fellow style blogger, Aimee Song of Songofstyle is known as much for her apartment decor as her stellar style. The interior designer’s LA home is filled to the brim with color, texture and inspiration. Starting with the living room, Aimee uses a custom cobalt blue couch as a bold statement piece and continues the theme with a chic animal print rug, ink painting and tiled mirror. Bronze and gold pillows add ample color to the space. In the hallway there’s a gold table of art books and beautiful candle holders. A painting hangs above featuring a woman in colorful African attire amidst a black and white background. It’s a simple yet striking set up. Aimee’s “midnight blue” bedroom is serene sprinkled with fresh flowers and pretty plum accents. Off to the right peaks a textured beige rug. In the closet, Aimee color codes her clothing, which is a more artsy than neurotic habit as the grouped hues add dimension to the wardrobe. It’s a home that’s exciting and insanely unique. The space is artsy without being stuffy which makes for one perfectly lived-in home.

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Fashion and Interiors: Easy Elegance

For those who enjoy a sophisticated, minimal style, you will surely fall in love with Valentina Kova. Valentina started off as a jewelry designer in 2011 and for the Fall 2013/2014 season, she expanded her brand to include a womenswear collection, made entirely of Italian leather and silk. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Valentina studied classical art before moving to the states to attend Parsons. She then went on to study at La Cambre in Brussels before moving to Paris, where she worked closely with jewelry designer Natalia Brilli. After a three year stint teaching at Parsons in New York, Valentina decided to put her innovative ideas to work and start her own line. Her designs are for the woman who is confident and classy, with a bit of spunk. Valentina’s clean aesthetic is a breath of fresh air: classic silhouettes mixed with new-age flair. I had the chance to both view and try on the new Spring 2014 collection, housed at premier pr agency, The Collective (founded by Alex Dickerson and Erin Kelly). I was immediately struck by the line’s craftsmanship and luxurious feel.  Pieces on my must-have list include a long silk trench in cobalt blue, a sleek black leather skirt with sheer cutouts and the Spring/Summer staple: an fiery cutout silk maxi dress. The collection is pure luxury and the world has taken notice. Valentina’s work has been featured in Nylon, Harper’s Bazar Russia and Glamour Mexico, among others. Lady Gaga was spotted in a silk lipstick red jumpsuit, looking more sophisticated than I’ve ever seen her.

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Floored

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I like to think I have a bold confident approach to designing interiors. But then I see icons of the industry such as Mary McDonald, Alex Papachristidis and Miles Redd wowing us with custom painted floors –  and I am humbled. Truly humbled. Although the origins of painting designs onto floors are from less than glamorous reasons, modern interpretations of the art form have elevated it to unimaginable heights. Faux marble inlay? Tasteful herringbone patterns? Intricate geometric patterns that connect adjacent rooms? All of these are possible when you unleash the imagination of top tier design talent and their artisan partners in crime.

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Color 2014 Radiant Orchid: Ideas and Inspiration for Next Year’s “It” Color

Radiant Orchid

International color guru Pantone declared next year’s “it” color Radiant Orchid, a bold blend of purple, pink and fuchsia.

Pantone’s influence is such that you can expect to see this color on catwalks, at design expos, in showrooms and beyond. Pantone’s experts considered a wide range of factors in selecting this pretty, pink-tinted purple – everything from art, film, economics, technology and global events have influence, according to their website.

While last year’s pick (emerald) referenced revitalization and growth, radiant orchid evokes creative energy and original thinking.

Purple is a powerful color. Before the new year arrives, here’s a look at how prescient designers have incorporated various shades, from deep violet to delightful mauve, into awesome rooms.

HGTVVia: HGTV 

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