Monthly Archives: September 201532

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Fresh Find: Wrap Bench

Wrap Bench | CB2

Available at cb2.com

Every room, no matter how traditional, needs a splash of organic to keep things from getting too heavy. We love this au naturel ’70s moment created by the Wrap Bench ($399) by CB2. This is one of those pieces that you end up keeping forever because you can find a place for it in any home you live in, whether in the foyer, at the foot of your bed or as a statement coffee table in a small space.

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Measuring 43 inches wide, 17 inches deep and 15.75 inches high, this tribal bench is made of sustainably harvested acacia wood and intricately woven with eco-friendly jute rope. The iron braces at each end give it a mild industrial vibe, which makes it aesthetically very versatile. It was designed by Ayush Kasliwal exclusively for CB2 and handcrafted in India.

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Double Loop Mirror Holder and Shelving Displaying Complex Craftsmanship

DOUBLE LOOP by Libero Rutilo of DesignLibero is a Mirror holder consisting of two “bands” in solid wood with curvature inspired by the harmonious shapes of fabric and paper: the rectangular section of the two concentric rings twists through 90-degrees in the lower part, creating two curvy shelves. The seemingly simple and straightforward aesthetic of the product actually hides a high degree of complex craftsmanship, requiring considerable skill to curve the solid wood in such a way as to make it fluid and light like fabric.
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Exhibiting a stylish and relatively think wooden frame, the mirror holder is a powerful statement in a private home, but also in various types of public venues. The two small shelves are just enough to store your magazine or remote control; in fact, two many objects would negatively interact with the overall design which inspires elegance and simplicity. With a height of 125 centimeters, Double Loop offers a potential focal point in any interior. The project is a winner of PORADA design award 2014. What do you believe are the highlights of this mirror holder concept? [Photos and information provided via e-mail by DesignLibero]modern mirror (3)modern mirror (4)modern mirror (5)

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Philadelphia Apartments: The Ultimate Renters Guide

Roofdeck Pool at Evo Cira Centre South

Philadelphia is one of America’s oldest cities, and its historic and ornate architecture has wowed architects and design enthusiasts since its development in the 18th century. While larger apartment buildings may not have the same curb appeal as an ornate Victorian home, we’ve discovered some historic features amid the modern renovations to many Philadelphia apartments.

Given the booming growth in this East Coast city, there’s no shortage of sleek, modern apartments to select from, either. That’s why we at Freshome have narrowed down the best apartments in the City of Brotherly Love to provide you with a wealth of information on them and their lively neighborhoods.

We spent more than 40 hours conducting extensive research on Philadelphia’s apartments, its neighborhoods and the residential options within them. We looked at over 600 apartment complexes in the Philadelphia area, categorizing them by location and comparing them with a set list of variables.

Besides basic information such as year constructed, number of units and average rent prices, we factored in community amenities such as outdoor spaces and fitness facilities. We delved into the interior design, looking for features such as hardwood flooring, stainless steel appliances, balconies and many other modern features. We also placed strong consideration on Walk Scores and accessibility to respective neighborhoods, all to make confident decisions as to what is the best of the best.

From the the hip, eco-powered lofts of Northern Liberties to the ritzy abodes in Rittenhouse Square, we explored 14 popular Philadelphia neighborhoods. Whether you are considering a move to Philadelphia, are a new resident of the city or simply want a glimpse into the multifaceted communities within, we hope you will enjoy this Philadelphia apartment guide and the urban neighborhoods we feature.

Neighborhoods Covered in this Philadelphia Apartment Guide

Fairmount/Art Museum

Just north of Center City, the Fairmount/Art Museum neighborhood begins at its crown jewel, the Philadelphia Art Museum, and runs east to 20th Street. Full of appreciation for art and history, this stately area combines the high culture of a city with the quaintness of a suburb.

Beautiful, historic rowhouses with ornate detailing and manicured lawns make this one of Philly’s greenest neighborhoods — both in landscaping and property values. Most residents here are homeowners, professionals and families that work in Center City but prefer Fairmount/Art Museum’s slower-paced lifestyle.

This area is densely populated, and it should continue to rise in popularity and price in the coming years.

Things To Do

Besides the Art Museum, this neighborhood has plenty of historical sights and landmarks. Go behind the 30-foot walls of the Eastern State Penitentiary, see sculptures at the Rodin Museum or visit the Fairmount Dam and Water Works. Nearby on the Schuylkill River is Boathouse Row, which has been the picturesque home to 15 boathouses of collegiate and recreational rowing clubs since the early 19th century.

This is a residential area, shops and dining are limited to a tree-lined stretch of Fairmount Avenue. Here, you’ll find a professional crowd frequenting its many coffee shops, bars and restaurants. BYOBs are popular here, and locals flock to spots like Greek tavern Zorba’s and the Latin-inspired BlueCat. On weekends, Bishop’s Collar and London Grill are the places to go for a drink.

Transportation

Because of its proximity to Center City, biking is the standout mode of transportation in this neighborhood, as is walking along Fairmount Avenue. SEPTA’s Broad Street Line stops on Fairmount’s eastern border, and bus lines (the 48, 33, 32 and 7) connect the neighborhood with Center City. This is one of Philly’s most difficult places to park, as the museum and large attractions take up the little street parking available.

Fairmount/Art Museum Apartments

Average 1-Bedroom Rental Price: $1,505

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Park Towne Place Premier

  • Year Built: 1959
  • Number of Units: 229
  • Number of Layouts: 20
  • Rent: $1,598-$5,824
  • Highlights: Completing extensive renovations in 2015, Park Towne Place Premier provides luxury living across the Schuylkill River from Drexel University. The apartments here have designer finishes, including gourmet kitchens and wood flooring. Updates to the community include a resort-style pool, a fitness center and green space for relaxing and entertaining.

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The Granary

  • Year Built: 2013
  • Number of Units: 229
  • Number of Layouts: 38
  • Rent: $1,925-$5,995
  • Highlights: Within walking distance from City Center’s museums and major office buildings, these sleek and impeccably designed apartments come with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and hardwood flooring. Residents have access to the community clubroom and terrace, luxury fitness facilities and a dog run.

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Lofts at Logan View

  • Year Built: 1903 (renovated in 1986)
  • Number of Units: 108
  • Number of Layouts: 3
  • Rent: $1,540-$2,000
  • Highlights: Exposed brick walls and lofty ceilings give these renovated-warehouse homes a cool, industrial vibe — especially units with wrought-iron spiral staircases. Residents here receive complimentary membership to the MetroFit fitness center, and access to vibrant City Center is just outside their doorstep.

The Runners Up

Logan Square

Logan Square — bound by Spring Garden Street to the north, Market Street to the south, Broad Street to the east and the Schuylkill River to the west — is home to several iconic Philadelphia attractions. It is named for a traffic circle on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway featuring the Swann Memorial Fountain, which was modeled after the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

From modern high-rise condos to ornate row homes, living in bustling Logan Square comes with a high price tag. Its residents are mostly young professionals who don’t mind the heavy tourism and loud weekends in exchange for living in one of the most exciting areas of Philly.

Logan Square is in constant demand, and though new high-rise housing will create more availability, housing prices will continue to rise in this desired neighborhood.

Things To Do

Looking up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from the fountain reveals an impressive view …read more      

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How to Choose the Best Keyless Entry System for Your Home

Image Source: Wendi Young

Lose your keys again? OK, so maybe you just misplaced them. Still, life is too hectic to spend even an extra five minutes looking for house keys, or — worse — being locked out of your home. That’s where a keyless entry system comes in.

With all the technological innovations on the market, we may soon be sending keys to the museum. Our children’s children will laugh at the hilarity of those ancient civilizations that once used an odd-looking metal key to drive their cars or gain access to their homes.

Unlock the door to the future with a keyless entry system for your home. Here, we review three — Schlage Connect, MiLocks Electronic Touchpad and Kaba E-Plex — in terms of style and weigh their pros and cons to help you choose the one that’s best for you and your home.

Image Source: Fleetwood

Schlage Connect: Flexible Keyless Entry

Click here to buy at amazon.com

The Schlage Connect comes with a Grade 1 Security Rating — the highest in the market. The company’s website says its deadbolt is “strong, motorized and has an anti-pick shield.” This keyless entry system is available in a number of styles and finishes to suit any home design, including stainless steel and decorative copper, and retails for $150-$200.

Pros:

  • System can support up to 30 users.
  • Includes a fingerprint-resistant touch screen that allows friends/family to enter a code without a key.
  • Tamper alerts, forced-entry alerts and activity alerts can be sent to your phone, allowing you to monitor your home wherever you are.
  • Offers a built-in alarm that beeps from the bolt casing.
  • Compatible with Z-wave technology.

Cons:

  • The high number of users could mean an increased risk of codes being passed around unknowingly (although you can easily change access codes).
  • Alerts could become excessive when you have a big, busy family coming and going.
  • Must be set up with a third-party home-alarm system to receive the mobile features. (Note: The Schlage Touch is a simpler keyless entry system whose features don’t rely on an alarm system.)

Image Source: Todd Bonneau

MiLocks Electronic Touchpad: Budget Keyless Entry

Click here to buy at amazon.com

MiLocks offers three series of keyless entry systems: the D-Series, R-Series and Q-Series. All offer keyless technologies, but we will focus on the D-Series, since it reached #1 Best Seller status on Amazon’s doorknob category. These locks are available in satin nickel, polished brass, antique brass and oil-rubbed bronze to complement most home styles, and retail for $50-$80.

Pros:

  • Direct touchpad entry has up to six assigned user codes.
  • Includes an option for an adjustable latch and fits standard doorknob settings.
  • Has a 25-year mechanical warranty.
  • Offers both keyless and standard key options.
  • Available in deadbolt, knob, lever or handleset and bolt combination styles.

Cons:

  • Batteries may last up to 4,200 hours but still need to be monitored and changed.
  • In case of malfunction or battery failure, you will need a key on hand.
  • Locks simultaneously on both sides, or stays open on both sides; no option for one-sided locking.

Image Source: Phillip Smith

Kaba E-Plex: Commercial-Grade Keyless Entry

Click here to buy at amazon.com

While Kaba is more commercially inclined, we thought its systems were worth looking into. Kaba offers four main keyless entry product lines: E-Plex, Simplex, Powerplex and Embedded Access Control. We looked at the E-Plex series, as it is the most adaptable for the home. It’s available in standard chrome satin or bright brass, and retails for $350-$650.

Pros:

  • No door wiring is required, which can reduce pinched wires and mechanical problems.
  • Up to 100 access codes can be programmed.
  • Lock is programmed easily with keypad or with optional Excel-based software.
  • Up to 1,000 lock events are recorded and can be viewed with optional software.
  • System can be programmed to relock after a certain number of hours.

Cons:

  • Aesthetic options are limited, with only two finishes available.
  • Limited two-year warranty.
  • Up to 100 users means an increased risk of codes being passed around unknowingly and can lead to code confusion.

Image Source: Details Design

Keyless entry systems are convenient for busy families. They allow you to keep track of everyone’s comings and goings, and add a measure of security to your home entry. Are you ready to go keyless? Have you gone keyless and love it? Or are you locked to your keys? We’d love to hear from you!

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“Play the People Who Play the World” With Bold Speaker Design

Art and its myriad expressions moves people into uncharted territory as they progress in creativity. Design ideas turn things that preoccupy artists into real objects. This Vladimir Putin bust speaker imagined by Russian artist Petro Wodkins is part of the SOP or The Sound of Power collection. And with good reason. Turning heads with its design and audio quality, this bust representing the Russian president was build based on this idea:

Play the people who play the world“.

Harsh looking, but smooth sounding.” That’s a short, descriptive way of embedding feelings into functional art. The first of the series, the bust of the Russian president Vladimir Putin plays whatever song you want.

The Sound of Power Putin Speaker Design by Petro Wodkins (1)

“The Sound of Power (SOP)” was imagined by Petro Wodkins as a bust sculpture of Vladimir Putin with a speaker that you are encouraged to “play with love”. “The first design in this SOP series is Vladimir Putin, AKA St. Vladimir.”

The Sound of Power (SOP) series is a tribute to the porcelain figurines and the busts our grandparents loved to collect. Glossy white men and flawlessly carved maidens reminded us of something bigger than our ordinary lives and inspired to greatness. The Sound of Power is a contemporary reincarnation of these classical objects combining striking visual and audio quality. ”

The Sound of Power Putin Speaker Design by Petro Wodkins (2)

Each piece is individually cast and polished so that visual, textural and finally, audible, come together to shape a bold artistic endeavor. The amplifier which serves as the SOP stand is also handcrafted, making the process time consuming as the details are carefully built. According to its creator, “the level of craftsmanship in SOP production is as high as it’s made for art exhibition.” The price of this speaker is also a detail that explores artistic expression: €1,111. And they are limited edition items: only 100 were made.

The SOP Bust speaker is made of durable and marble like composite material. Equipped with a full range 4″ driver and built in base reflex. The SOP bust speaker offers distinct performance and sound clarity. The wooden SOP stand also serves as a bluetooth 20W amplifier. Gold like connectors and textile audio cords make SOP experience pleasant both visually and acoustically.”

What other public figures will the collection introduce next?

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Sustainable Family Crib in Mexico Embedding Privacy Protection

Designed by Grupo Arquitectura, this modern family crib known as Dalias House is located in Mexico City. Concrete and steel make up the basic structure of the Dalias House. Glass comes in to offer an openness that helps integrate the outdoors in the interior spaces and create an unbreakable bond between the two. Imported furniture and automated electrical systems compose both visual and technological appeal. A comfortable ambiance reigns inside. Outdoor spaces are what give this house the feeling of freedom.

The first impression fails to showcase the connection between interiors and outdoors, as the closed volumetric architecture focuses on the importance of home privacy, as well as space orientation.

Dalias House by Grupo Arquitectura (1)

Photos by Agustín Garza show two separate limestone volumes that shape the 11,840 square foot home. These two separate geometric volumes have been imagined to be almost closed to the street. The transparency of this house was aimed at the garden, making the family feel safe and allowing them to have both privacy and openness.

The main lobby keeps all spaces connected. From this central spine, the flow between the rooms all guide your steps to the garden. Terraces facing south and west capture and draw natural light deep inside the home. Imagined to be both suited for sunshine-filled days when you want to spend time by the pool but also have some shade inside, when you decide to call it a day, aluminum sunshades were mounted on top of floor-to-ceiling windows.

Dalias House family crib by Grupo Arquitectura (2)

Beige limestone, black granite, leather, all these are textured colors that can be found inside this modern family crib. Pops of color were embedded through furniture and furnishings, but the largest color splash is the green garden. Neutral colors shape a versatile environment that can become a joyful opportunity to decorate as they please.

Sustainability features ensure owners have a constant pleasurable environment. Optimal space orientation, solar cells heating the pool water and domestic use and radiant heating, alongside recycling wastewater for irrigation and water purification filters maintain a balance in the house’s environmental responsibility. Check out the 10 of the hottest green technologies for an in-depth look at what modern homes flaunt these days.

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Healthy Living and Seclusion Provided by Martis-Dunsmuir House in California

Providing a warm environment to enjoy the natural beauty of Martis Camp near Lake Tahoe, California, Martis-Dunsmuir House is a rustic-contemporary getaway designed by sagemodern. The residence displays a complex exterior, with large expanses of glass and an eye-catching array of finishes: “Silver-grey barnwood siding blends into the natural environment and natural ledgestone anchors the home to the land. Architectural concrete and steel columns support the unique butterfly roof. During spring rains and winter runoff these columns will become an active water feature and icefall. A large covered dining patio provides year-around shelter with a protected grill area that is accessible during winter”, explained the architects.
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The layout of this family retreat was envisioned for privacy, flexibility and entertainment: “The home is designed for easy indoor/outdoor living and opens out to a gentle flowing creek that provides a serene setting to relax and enjoy the fresh mountain air. The 1,600 square-foot outdoor living area has a gas fire pit surrounded by moss covered granite boulders, built-in BBQ grill area, covered dining and a covered integrated six-person hot tub that provides shelter and privacy.” Enjoy the photo gallery below and share your thoughts with us in the comment section! [Photography by Lisa Petrole Photography]
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Fresh Find: Half Moon Ink Diptych

Half Moon Ink Diptych | West Elm

Available at westelm.com

It can be difficult to find quality art from national brands; there’s a lot of generic stuff out there that looks cool when you buy it but leaves you feeling kind of empty. So we were thrilled when we heard that West Elm partnered with Los Angeles-based collective The Arts Capsule to create dynamic abstract pieces based off of their original paintings. Cool pieces at great prices? Yes, please.

We especially love the Half Moon Ink Diptych ($369), which has a slight Asian influence. The set of two features a watery deep indigo and a shimmering gold moon. Made in the USA and framed in real wood with a gold metallic finish, each piece is 16 by 28 inches and printed on metallic paper. Congrats — you’re an art collector.

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Casa Chontay in Peru Unveiling Two Nature-Encircled Volumes

Located within a beautiful rural plot south-east of Lima, Peru, Casa Chontay by Marina Vella Arquitectos is an example of modern sustainable building. The residence blends with the landscape (mainly due to extensive use of natural materials) and exudes an optimum indoor-outdoor relationship: “Choosing an exact location was challenging and it lead to a solution of two independent volumes articulated by a garden lined up with the existing trees and the valley. This allows the users to have constant connection with nature and outdoor activities.” The two wings of the house are both encircled by vegetation, loosing their front-back perception.
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Functionality and communication were the main concepts at the basis of the layout planning process: “The living room, dinning room and kitchen are located in a 68 m2 area sheltered by a tall volume, large window screens assure natural light and cross ventilation. The 67 m2 (721 ft2) lower volume has a distribution hall to 3 bedrooms, an attic, 2 bathrooms and the terrace. To ensure the bedroom’s good ventilation and lighting low windows are oriented towards the East and the “teatinas” (Peruvian roof windows used since colonial times) are oriented towards West. The balconied terrace is oriented towards the valley.” [Photos by Gonzalo Cáceres Dancuart]
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Stylish Chest of Drawers Merging Old and New: “Life” Project by Hrvoje Vulama

Zagreb-based designer Hrvoje Vulama created “Life”, an original chest of drawers developed from a centuries-old oak tree. The project was made using material that is no longer needed for life support: logs that would be used as firewood, if not “given another chance”. The majority of treatment was reduced to manual labor, as the designer hand-treated all the twists and curves of the wood in order to achieve a smooth finish. Compounds at the corners cabinets are hand-cut and processed in “dovetails” for strength and durability, but also as a statement highlighting the traditional blend.
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The new modern high drawers in black sheet metal and glass contrast the old wood which dates back up to 300 years: “I love the contrast of the furniture in dark and light, straight and curved; as in life, nothing is ever completely black nor completely white. One opposites the other and emphasizes the diversity of the world“, the designer stated. The chest is coated with a mixture of beeswax, linseed, and Tung oil. The dimensions of this unconventional piece- width 180 cm x depth 50 cm x height 75 cm- make it a focal point in any large-sized interior in need of personality. [Photos and information provided via e-mail by designer Hrvoje Vulama]
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