Friday, March 30, 2007

Schulte Design

This stunning kitchen island is called Grace and is produced by Shulte Design from Krefeld, Germany. The clean lines and proportions, with a spare touch of chrome finishing, balance out the heaviness of the wood. The result is a centrepiece that brings warmth and a hint of traditionalism to a contemporary kitchen, and creates a relaxed gathering spot for family and friends.

It is pictured here in walnut, but is available in olive, apple, wild cherry and other exotic woods. Length and height can also be specified.

Electrical circuitry is integrated and cleverly hidden, so there are no messy wires.

Matching benc
hes can come as single or corner modules, and with or without backrests.

Monday, March 26, 2007


One of my favourite discoveries in Dublin, since moving here from Canada, is a store called Muji. The Muji chain is originally from Japan, and is full of well designed household and office accessories.

The overall design concept is very clean and simple, with neutral colours and high quality production. They are also committed to selling recycled and environmentally friendly products.

There are many handy objects that integrate well with different interior styles.

A small but tasteful collection of tableware, place mats, bedding and clothing, is combined with a cornucopia of stationary and storage items. For someone who is organizationally obsessed like myself, it is heaven!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Lincoln House

Last year's spring/summer issue of the Harvard Design Magazine had a fascinating article on Lincoln House designed and built by Mary Otis Stevens and Thomas F. McNulty in 1965 and sadly, demolished in 2001. Intrigued by the story, I searched the web for more information and images of the house and found that it has almost no web presence. Shocked by this sad omission from the digital universe, I have decided to give it some exposure in this post.

Built in Lincoln, Massachusetts for Stevens, McNulty and their three sons, the house was a revolutionary piece of domestic architecture. Work and living spaces were not separated, and almost all interior doors were eliminated as privacy and separation were given through the curvature of the walls.

All of the walls were free-standing elements made from a high lime content cement that gave a marble-like finish when cured. Each wall was connected to the next by a glass panel, and each glass panel opened out onto the surrounding landscape.

In Stevens words, “The curves were throwing you out rather than holding you in. Each projected its energy into nature. We used the invisible power of the concave walls to relate the building beyond its site to the woods and fields of rural Lincoln—and beyond to the universe itself.”

The house was placed on a north-south axis, so that on a sunny day a streak of light would shoot down the stairs and extend its length and, as the day wore on, finds its way along the hallway leading to the children's area.

The overall design has a beautiful feeling of movement; from inside to outside and room to room, and speaks volumes about what was to come with open concepts and communal spaces. It is so sad that a house like this could be lost so easily, as it represents a fascinating period in modern residential architecture that has only now reached mass popularity.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Think Tank

While writing my last post on funky cottage furniture, I began to think about one of my favourite designs for a lakeside cottage. Think Tank, by Gumuchdjian Architects, was designed as a birdwatching lakeside retreat for a private client near Skibberreen, County Cork.

What is striking about this building is the simplicity of its structure and its beautiful integration with the surrounding landscape. The project was a collaboration with a local builder, who used mainly local materials, and a specialist contractor. Environmental concerns were a huge consideration given the sensitive location and the goals of the client and architect to create a building that had minimal impact on the landscape.

Glass walls are broken in large squares that provide almost 360 degrees views of the lake and countryside. Cedar slats provide shade and screening, while at the same time continue the horizontal lines that are echoed along the pier. The choice of a pitched roof evokes local boathouses and barns and gives it a historic context.

It looks as if it was always meant to be there and always will.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Henri Quinta

Quinta Fran
ce S.A. is a family run furniture company based near Perpignan. It has been hand-crafting one of a kind pieces for almost one hundred years.

Henri Quinta, the current manager,
has designed a really interesting furniture line called Campagne Première, which puts a new spin on rustic country style.

The collection is made up of quirky individual pieces, that veer more toward Folk Art or Arts and Crafts movement than traditional country.

This furniture would be an obvious choice for a very funky cottage or perhaps a country home constructed from a refurbished barn or outbuilding.

I could also see many of them integrating really well with an urban eclectic interior, as many of these pieces could easily stand alone and make a statement.

This chair, for example, looks quite rustic with its distressed finish, but it still has strong contemporary lines that give it a flexibility within different interior styles.

There is also a kaleidoscope of colours to choose from.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Romo is a family run furnishing and upholstery fabric company based in Nottinghamshire, and I find the design and quality of their fabrics to be consistently excellent.

In their new Sarona collection I am quite taken with these soft vintage style shades in a tactile linen blend.

I also love the Roselli collection's silk and velvet stripe. The narrow lines give that opulent fabric a modern feel.

For an over the top luxury statement, there is the Tula silk collection in luscious shades of magenta, burgundy and rose.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Arcade Avec

Arcade Avec is an incredible group of artists and designers based in Bolzano, Italy who collectively make furniture and accessories for the home.

These beautiful amber vases caught my eye as they glowed on their respective display shelves. They were created by Ivan Baj and are hand blown, hand engraved and each one is signed from a limited edition.

Paulo Haubert designed these beautiful hand woven textiles. The basket (left) is 100% wool and the pillows and throws (below) are 100% silk. I like how Paulo combines rich materials and rough knit.

The texture is raw, but it is also soft and luxurious. These accessories would be perfect in a minimalist setting to provide an earthy comfort and balance sharp clean edges.

He also designed these black and white throws throws (left), which are made from hand knitted merino wool.

This chaise, chair and ottoman were designed by Kazuhiko Tomitaya. They are constructed from a yamathar core on a metal frame.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Selldorf Architects

Another one of my favourite architecture firms who create stunning interiors is Selldorf Architects based in New York. I love the careful restraint and placement of furniture, art, lighting and accessories. Everything is clean and simple, but at the same time luxurious.

Their interiors incorporate their clients everyday life and are extremely functional, though you would hardly notice. Every object is given breathing space, so that their forms stand out and yet integrate perfectly with other pieces in the room. I really admire the choice of chandelier (right) placed above the red sculptures below (both of which hint at coral) in room painted a lovely shade of chinoiserie green. The chairs provide an amazing framework by not being to heavy but adding simple clear lines.

In this room (left), rich reds and golds are used sparingly to bring warmth without erasing the liberating sense of space and light.

I love the choice of placing these gorgeous green subway tiles (right) next to the large grey granite tiles. This a really interesting play of lines, textures and colours.

"In an ideal house the sequence of space, private and communal, has an emotional logic that dovetails precisely with the needs and habits of its occupants"

Annabelle Selldorf

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hering Berlin

I came across this beautiful porcelain collection by Hering Berlin at Maison & Objet and the photographs really do not do it justice. Most of the work is very delicate with soft edges and curves.

Every piece in the collection is unique. Each is hand made or moulded on the wheel, and the surface decoration washed out manually. They also offer a bespoke service.

Hering Berlin was created in 1999 by Stefanie Hering together with her husband, the architect Götz Esslinger, and ceramics specialist Wiebke Lehmann.

They also make some lovely free standing lamps.