Q: My fiance and I are moving into a small apartment in Charlestown, MA and desperately need to paint the walls. The space has tall ceilings and three big windows but it only has direct sunlight in the morning. The biggest obstacle in color choice is the lovely 1970's mustard yellow stove. I fear that blues and greens will make it stand out too much and colors in the yellow family will clash! Editor: Leave your suggestions for Nicole in the comments - thanks! Got a question? Email yours with pic attachments here.
Solar energy and windows just seem like a no brainer, but while there have been plenty of concepts we've yet to see real life glass that can collect energy from the sun. One promising new product hopes to make that idea a reality. Engadget reports on Chin Hua, a company that's developing solar windows. They recently showed off their innovation at the Taipei International Optoelectronics Week. According to Engadget, the slightly foggy pane of glass can collect and deliver two watts of energy. It's unclear how long it takes to collect that amount and there aren't very many details, but it's an exciting development nonetheless. From what we've gathered, it sounds very similar to the Peer+ concept from the Dutch, in which, depending on how much light you let in through the window you collect more or less solar energy.
'La Malle Feu', or translated for us English speakers, the 'Travel Trunk of Fire', is one conversation piece sure to set the room aflame with curious wonder when opened. The modern white trunk opens up to reveal a mirrored top with a two flame bio-ethanol fireplace inside.... For more details about this $5,400 Pandora's box of earthly warmth at Atria's website.
There is a real renaissance in printmaking happening - small runs of cool prints and posters from artist run presses are available all over. Designers are producing more and more amazing wallpaper daily, too. If you are decorating with this type of affordable art on paper, then you know - framing gets expensive and push pins are unthinkable. This poster hanger might solve the installation issue. Designed by Jorgen Moller of Denmark, the poster hanger consists of two aluminum bars with black end caps that clip onto the poster. '20' size is available at Rare Device for $20. '24, 28, and 32' sizes are available at the MoMA store for $22-26.
Hotel bathrooms tend to be a touch more fearlessly designed than your average residential bath, which resulted in this list of ideas that all focus on don'ts that are worth doing. Don't buy into the concept that a bathroom HAS to have ultra-practical glossy washable walls and traditionally tiled floors break some rules and bring on some unique textures and finishes! This bathroom from the Bellinter House in Ireland shows how chalky matte-finish dark walls and painted wide plank floors look just as gorgeous in the bath as they would in the rest of the house. While they would require different maintenance, it might be worth it for such an elegant look. Don't relegate the penny tile flooring to just the floors. The floor plus wall install is classic concept when done with expensive marble and stone, but it works just as well with more affordable smaller-scale tile. Another point to remember: stopping at the chair rail works well in this example from the Hotel St. Cecilia in Austin - the dark color and intense pattern is made more powerful visually by the balance of the white space. While some closed storage is essential, it takes up lots of room and can visually really close in a small space bathroom. Now, if you were planning a reno and someone suggested a black toilet and sink, you be a little worried, right? But then they say, no, no, it looks great because the floors and walls are also all black - they are done in a super shiny black tile. Eek - you'd be even more doubtful, no? But then, look at this photo of a bathroom from the Hotel on Rivington and it all makes sense. It feels amazingly clean and not at all scary 80s. The main point of looking at these sounds-funky-on-paper ideas? The reminder that there are very few real absolutes in the world of design - keeping an open mind can net the most interesting and beautiful results!
In 1986, Pixar released its first film, a 2.5-minute computer-animated short featuring two expressive desk lamps. Rendered in an unusual gray-yellow, the Crane Desk Lamp from CB2 promises to enliven workspaces from drab to fab. Leave it to Design Within Reach to offer oodles of LED options. Its aluminum-alloy Kelvin LED Table Lamp stood out for its slender, square head that swivels. From the mecca of S-wrenches and Swedish meatballs comes the Janslö work lamp, IKEA's curvaceous light that consumes 70 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. The coil features six LED bulbs within its steel/aluminum construction. The Link Table Lamp, designed by Peter Stathis for Pablo, boasts 15 high-output LED lights and a high-low switch.
It can be tricky to fit everything into a small apartment, and often one of the first functions to get the axe is a dedicated dining space. A folding table, like this one spotted on Jelanie Shop, is a great solution if you have room for a smaller table but want a bigger one for dinner parties and special occasions. You could even fold the table up completely and tuck it into a corner or behind other furniture when not in use. If your space is so small that even a folding table is a bit of a stretch, a wall mounted table in the kitchen can double as an extra prep space and a dining area, and fold away to almost nothing when not in use. This is the solution I've embraced in my own apartment: a desk, on wheels, that can do double duty as a dining table when needed. If you're really short on space, and you often find yourself eating on your couch, a coffee table that lifts up to a proper dining height can help to dignify the process a little bit. Finally, Natasha and Rob have found an excellent dining solution for their 350 square foot East Village apartment: a coffee table that converts to a dining table.
For today's color combo, we thought we'd start with black and white, then spin the wheel for bold accent colors. We love the way yellow offsets the high-contrast scheme in this room, so we went on a search for other cool rooms that do the same using orange, purple, green, blue, red, and pink.... Black, White, and just a tiny bit of Red: Vitra.
In 2012, he moved into a 420 square foot apartment in SoHo, outfitted with all kinds of clever, customized solutions that gave the apartment the functionality of a much larger space. In 2014 he decided to go even smaller, and moved into a 350 square foot apartment in the same building. Graham saw the new apartment as a chance to downsize even more, but also to improve upon the design of the previous apartment. He wanted the new space to have a little more texture and character, and also be a little more affordable, with solutions that he could implement in some of his other projects. This diminutive space packs in all the features you would expect in an apartment more than twice its size. There's a living room, a sleeping space, room for a dinner party for up to 10 people, an office for Graham to work from home, and a guest room for visitors - all in 350 square feet. This may seem impossible, but the trick is that many of these functions occur within the same space, thanks to a clever layout and some very flexible furniture. The unit's office space also flexes to accommodate different needs. A 350-square-foot apartment is, even by New York standards, quite small, but Graham are making it work. This compact and highly efficient space is proof that, with a little ingenuity, and some very clever furniture, a little apartment can be the setting for a very big, rich life.