lighting roundup :: wood, bronze & knotty bubbles

I was pleasantly surprised with my most recent copy of the Fall 2014 Rejuvenation Catalog, which highlighted collaborations with Portland designers creating limited edition fixtures. I love these beautiful brass pendants and table lamps, there's something very mid-century about the distinct seam between the solid and the shade, like the perfect cocktail shaker! This line was created by Cedar & Moss, the more sculptural ceramic and wood table lamps were done in collaboration with Caravan Pacific. This melding of mineral (brass/bronze) and glass or wood and ceramic is a trend that has been steadily growing stronger these last several years, prompted by the intrinsic tactile qualities of each of the elements and their purity of form.   

Schoolhouse Electric is another local Portland go-to source for beautiful and creative lighting fixtures. I just realized now that I unintentionally chose 3 light fixtures with very similar bowl shaped shades, hmm, I guess I'm really digging on that shape. I certainly appreciate all the pops of color and texture these fixtures provide, especially when grouped as a chandelier, like this persimmon number. This multifaceted pendant, which comes with either a clear shade or white, is stunning in it's uniqueness - no two would be alike. I could see a few of these scattered over a huge wood butcher block kitchen island, again that dialogue between the natural elements of wood, bronze, glass and rock crystals (implied crystals, but you get the idea….) 

Last, but certainly not least, I wanted to highlight these fixtures created by Brooklyn lighting designer Lindsey Adelman. When I first happened on this line of fixtures at Roll and Hill, I had to look at them 3 or 4 times to get an idea of what I was even looking at, to be honest I don't think they photograph very well on a white background, kind of a hot mess. But when I started looking at installation photos of these things, they were stunning!

In much the same way you want to feel your way around the bronze globes and smooth ceramics of the light fixtures above, these pieces are over the top tactile with hefty knots, glass bubbles, and (what they call) ceramic barnacles. These light fixtures are appropriately named Knotty Bubbles, the largest coming at you with 5 large bubbles, 3 small bubbles and 5 barnacles all mashed (entwined?) in natural or khaki rope. I love how these look grouped under the skylight, I can imagine the shadows they would create in the spaces below as the sun moves above. They have that washed-up-on-the-beach quality which instantly imparts it with a rich curious history, perhaps full of knotty tales (sorry, I couldn't help myself)!

The Deam home (or is it dream home?)

Lara Headberg Deam, the founder of Dwell magazine, started everything off with this renovation of her family's home in Mill City, California. There's so much to love about this mid-century modern house tucked into it's hillside site. I've been on the hunt for some ideas on fixing up my backyard and the fact that the footprint couldn't be altered and the solutions to adding needed common space had to be clever, really resonated with me. From the indoor/outdoor strategies to the well articulated interior details, there's a wealth of tips in this article and this project is definitely worth sharing.

Also, what's not to love about the minimal palette of materials that was used? Stained dark wood can be seen both inside and outside on floors, ceiling and walls, with minimal pops of natural wood or color coordinating with the neutral tones of marble that are used in the kitchen and bathrooms. But there's no doubt that the star of the show is the amazing yellow (my fave!) steel windows and doors that beckon you to the backyard oasis from almost every area of the house!

There are many more details & beautiful photos to be enjoyed on the Dwell site, but these are some highlights to take advantage of for our next project or perhaps as daydreams for my backyard fix ....

Photo by Dustin Aksland.

 With the doors flung wide open, the Deams' outdoor space truly functions as an adjunct living room at the core of the home. The feeling of an outdoor room is reinforced by the linearity and evenness of the concrete patio surface, which was constructed with Stepstone's Narrow Modular Pavers. "I actually discovered them at Dwell on Design in 2006," Lara says. The three-inch-wide pavers are available in multiple lengths and in 12 different shades. 

Photo by Dustin Aksland. Stepstone's narrow concrete pavers add a graphic touch to the garden. 

Photo by Dustin Aksland.

Cal and Macy enjoy a snack from Mom at the almost 14-foot-long walnut slab table sourced from Arborica in Marshall, California. The wood came from a tree that fell into a Palo Alto, California, street. A trio of Tom Dixon Beat Lamps provide the perfect counterpoint to a slew of black plastic Eames shell chairs from Herman Miller. 

Photo by Dustin Aksland.

The materials palette is similarly restrained, making the only natural piece of wood in the house—the almost 14-foot-long walnut slab in the kitchen—really stand out. "If there was wood everywhere it would lose its gravitas," notes Chris. 

Photo by Dustin Aksland.

In paring back the home's aesthetic, Chris kept the color palette as simple as possible. Limiting the surfaces to either painted white or stained black allows colorful art, objects, furniture, and people to really pop. 

Photo by Dustin Aksland.

Can't find the right table for your space? Another option is to have a custom top cut for a recycled base, which is what the Deams did for their outdoor dining area. They had an existing Scissor table base by Bay Area designer John Randolph sitting unused, so Chris had a piece of hardy soapstone (it stands up to high temperatures) cut to match by Fox Marble. A subtle facet at each corner plays off the base's design and lends a more intimate feel to the long table. For a fraction of the cost of a full piece, the bases of design classics are often available on Craigslist and eBay. 

Photo by Dustin Aksland.

When it came to paint the 40-foot-long curving steel-and-glass window wall designed by Chris and fabricated by Sand Studios, the Deams turned to Steve Bauer of Baumar, who specializes in custom paint finishes, to get the job done. Metallic automotive paint stands up well to the elements—from blaring sunlight to heavy rain—and comes in an almost infinite array of colors. 

Photo by Dustin Aksland.




PLASTOLUX is keeping it modern

I have recently stumbled upon the design site PLASTOLUX and see it as a resource not to be missed. Created by a multidisciplinary designer with obviously many daily hours logged in culling through blogs, magazines and other inspirational material, the site focuses on mid-century and contemporary design. Or a blend of both, the best type of design in my opinion! The site has selections in many categories, there are great finds under headings like modern homes, interiors, landscaping, lighting, art - but the site is distinct in it's focus on Modern DIY and is documenting the modernization of a common track house by customizing the finishes as it's being built and items selected. Also, postings termed "The Method Behind" lend insight into the daily lives and work of artists, fabricators and designers allowing them to discuss their craft and process. I love pretty pictures as much as the next guy, but I definitely appreciate the attempt to showcase design as something that surrounds us and is part of our everyday life and society. Breaking down the process of an artist or a fabricator, or showing a series of DIY efforts lifts the veil on design being intimidating and allows us to incorporate these approaches ourselves.