As a resident New Yorker, there are two things I can’t seem to get enough of: space and sleep. So when it comes to the 375 square feet that I call home, I take great care in making it feel like a respite from the chaos that is Manhattan. But I confess that, in my relentless pursuit of small-space, utilitarian design, I overlooked an essential bedroom accessory: an alarm clock.
Somewhere along the line between graduating college and becoming a full-fledged adult, I picked up the nasty habit of using my smartphone as my alarm clock. I rationalized my way out of purchasing a proper one for years. “Why spend the money or precious nightstand real estate?” I’d ask myself. For starters, the default Radar ring of my iPhone has consistently woken me up in a panic attack. (I realize I could change it to something slightly less offensive, but did Apple really design its ringtones with a quality wake-up experience in mind?)
All jokes aside, smartphones are notorious for weakening the quality of your sleep. Aside from the temptation to text and check social media late into the night, the blue light of your smartphone has a proven track record of suppressing the sleep hormone, melatonin. So it’s probably for the best that you treat your phone like a first date — meaning don’t invite it into your bedroom.
I decided to break up with my smartphone alarm and get cozy with a real clock that’s both functional and easy on the eyes. I knew of a few brands with which I could launch my search, like Newgate and Philips. Once upon a time, I worked as an interior design consultant at a gallery on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles, home to some of the world’s foremost names in design, including the iconic Pacific Design Center.
But I didn’t stop there. I scoured Pinterest boards, Amazon wishlists, and design blogs for the most iconic clocks I could find. I was looking for clock brands with a signature style — you know, some chutzpah. And I didn’t want an art piece. Unlike my shoe collection, these clocks had to be as practical as they were pretty, but I tried to steer clear of reproduction and imitators. No Canal Street knockoffs here.
This Tivoli alarm clock is the one I ultimately end up with — what a beauty.
I had to kiss a few frogs to get there, but I finally settled on 12 of the most eligible, design-forward alarm clocks that successfully marry form and function — from those 12 I chose the one for me. Of course, I had to do my due diligence: I had nearly 20 alarm clocks delivered to my studio apartment. The scene was surreal, and I definitely tripped over some boxes to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night. In the end, it was worth it: I’ll sleep better at night knowing I’ve spared you the indignity of falling naked into a pile of packing materials in your own quest for the best alarm clock.
I started with clocks that were designed for small spaces — like my apartment.
Who knew an alarm clock could be so chic? Depending on which color you fancy, the Tumbler Alarm Clock by Norm Architects for Menu has a painted stainless steel or brass body with a glass-protected face. It’s deceivingly hefty because of its weighted bottom, which allows for a Leaning Tower of Pisa-esque design. It also has a tendency to spin, and like the QLOCKTWO TOUCH clock I also played with, it’s not something you’d want to knock off your bedside table. (It’s not something you’d want to drop on your foot either — ouch!)
Not that I’m giving points for packaging, but it’s worth mentioning this clock does come in a lovely, cylindrical box that could make for quite the impressive gift.
The clock is simpler to set than it is to read. No numbers on the face plus the leaning design make it just a little harder to tell the time — especially in the middle of the night. To turn the alarm off, you actually have to flip the clock (gently) on its face, but only if it actually wakes you up. That’s the real drawback to the Tumbler: Its ring volume is very, very weak. This critical flaw renders this piece best for the office and timed tasks instead of slumber. Let me put it to you this way: The ambient noise from the restaurant patio below my apartment is more than enough to drown it out, and I can sleep quite soundly through bottomless mimosa brunch.
Onto the Natalie Sun Cube Clock, where minimalist design delivered surprising maximalist function. I purchased it at the MoMA Design Store and despite its low-tech appearance, it’s pretty sophisticated: the clock responds to touch and sound. You can either tap it or snap your fingers to reveal the display; otherwise, it disappears in the same manner as an inactive computer screen. Clapping or tapping the table it rests on works just as well. At first, I didn’t realize that was a feature. I thought the clock was a dud, and I kept whacking it like my dad used to slap our old box television. Imagine my humiliation when I consulted the user manual. In any case, a gentle tap or audible snap will bring the Natalie back to life.
In …read more
Paul Bernier Architecte completed House on Lac Grenier, a sustainable, innovative residence on a lakefront site in Estérel, Canada. The construction responds to its surroundings with natural bends and openings, nestled lengthwise between a creek and steep slope.
Cedar flats surrounding the exterior are placed in an openwork manner that mirrors the home’s wooded background. The architect envisioned that “as the cedar slats fade and trees and ground cover grow back in and around the building, architecture and nature will intermingle.” This distinctive design is completed by a green roof that allows nature to grow onto the home itself.
The interior features three abstract hickory built-in units that guide you through a sequence of minimalist rooms with views of the surrounding forest and creek. Its large windows take advantage of the shade from nearby trees for cooler temperatures in the summer. In the winter months, these same trees’ bare branches allow sunlight and warmth to fill the space.
The built-in units provide storage and hide away living essentials, allowing the focus to be on their shape and design. They also separate more private areas from the open atmosphere of the house’s main rooms. [Photography and information courtesy of Architizer]
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You’d have to live under a rock not to know how important it is to drink water — and plenty of it — every day. But I must confess: I don’t like it. It’s not as though I think it tastes terrible; I just find quaffing enough of it endlessly monotonous. To be fair, I come by my ambivalence honestly; I was born into a family of camels. I don’t recall any of us — my father, mother, sister, or I — ever drinking any when I was growing up. Not at mealtimes, not after softball games or playing in the backyard (that’s what Kool-Aid was for), and certainly not just for the sake of staying hydrated.
As an adult in a newer, more health-conscious century, I know better, so I’m constantly devising strategies to help me hit my daily water quota. So I had a thought: Maybe a new delivery system — say, in the form of a modernly designed, almost-a-work-of-art water filter — could help me commit to developing a regular habit. We’ve all used the typical hulky pitcher that hides out in our fridge, hogging up half a shelf, but now there’s a crop of sleeker, more sophisticated options with both functional and table-worthy appeal. Who says hydration needs to be ho-hum?
When I set out to learn what’s new on the water filter market (by both researching and eliminating scores of options and personally testing more than a dozen), I discovered and fell in love with a filter category that was a breakthrough to me: glass carafes. While I’m definitely not paranoid about any poisonous effects of plastics, I find that all beverages — water, Provençal rosé, even Coca-Cola — taste cleaner and crisper out of glass. And there’s no question that a carafe’s simple elegance makes a welcome guest to any dinner party.
The best water filter I tested was Box Appetit Eau Carafe + Active Charcoal Filter by Black + Blum, a sleek, 34-ounce hand-blown glass carafe that filters tap water by placing a piece of Binchotan charcoal directly into the bottle. I was wary at first of sipping something that had a small log of carbon floating around in it, like I was somehow just one step removed from sucking on a BBQ briquette. Binchotan charcoal, which is charred wood dusted with earth, sand, and ash, attracts the ions of the contaminants found in drinking water; those contaminants are what make water less-than-satisfying to drink.
Activated carbon is used across pretty much all pitcher filters. “The carbon used in water filtration is activated by a process called charring, which leaves pores and cavities in the carbon that create a massive amount of surface area that contaminants stick to,” says Eric Yeggy, director of technical affairs for the Water Quality Association. Granted, not all carbon is created equal — there are certifications from institutions including the Water Quality Association and NSF International that guarantee how much of certain types of contaminants a charcoal filter can absorb. An NSF-42 certification indicates the charcoal filter can only improve taste and odor by reducing particulates and chlorine; NSF-53 certifies the reduction of specific metals and chemicals; NSF-401 is capable of filtering microbiological and pharmaceutical contaminants like bacteria and ibuprofen.
I should say now that I did not look for certifications in my search for the best water filter: If it looked good and made a difference to me in how my water tasted, I was on board. Case in point: Black + Blum’s Eau Carafe has no third-party certifications, but it made my water taste clean and cool, even when it poured at room temperature. Truth be told, I’d never given much thought to the actual taste of my tap — now I realize its chalky flavor may have been part of the reason I could never get too psyched about it. I downed an entire filtered bottle in an hour without even realizing that I had. Without question, it delivered the most thirst-quenching water of all the pitchers I tested, even though its filtering system was by far the most basic.
While it feels as comfortable in your hand as an old-timey milk bottle, it’s not the best fit for families — 34 ounces doesn’t pour very far, and it takes a minimum of an hour for it to filter water again (although instructions say that four hours is even better, and eight is ideal). But if you’re looking for something for a nightstand, an office desk, or a table for two, this pitcher is an easy first choice.
The better carafe for multi-resident households is the KOR Water Fall, a modernly designed countertop system that’s based on the concept of pour-over coffee makers like the cult favorite, Chemex. Dump the water into the top of it, and let the goodness dribble out. Unlike traditional filter pitchers where you have to haul the whole shebang to the sink, this sleek stand and filter stay wherever you choose to display it, and only the 1-liter glass carafe — two of which come with the device — needs to be moved around. The bottle two-fer means it can please both those who prefer drinking their water at room temperature and those who want it chilled. Or maybe you’ll want to reserve one of the carafes for spa water options. (I don’t know about you, but having a flask …read more
Creative offices should be just that. Those who think outside the box for a living need an imaginative space to thrive. This project by Terry.Terry Architecture housing a growing graphic & product design office has done just that. It is located within an existing brick building in the Jackson Square Historic District of San Francisco, California, USA.
The design required the removal of the existing interior structure, while leaving the existing perimeter brick walls and the original front facade intact. A second story volume was added above the original floor. It opens out to a roof deck which brings elements of the outdoors into the office. A steel ribbon surrounds the front facade to create a large bay window and entry shroud, forming a looking glass from the workplace to the busy street life this neighborhood provides.
The main graphic design office space and conference areas are located on the first floor, while the second level hosts additional office space and exhibition venues. The new addition (above) straddles the existing structure and provides an informal conference area that is adjacent to the modern kitchen and outdoor deck space.
A series of steel frames are used as the primary support structure throughout the building. This is to seismically brace the existing brick walls as well as to collect the additional loads of the new second story. Both the roof plane and roof deck have been peeled back slightly from the perimeter walls to create skylight openings, which allow natural light to spill into the core of the building.
Enjoy the virtual gallery of this graphic design office below and let us know what you think! [Photos and information provided by Terry.Terry Architecture]
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Daniele Claudio Taddei Architect completed the design of Autumn House, a contemporary residence in Switzerland that perfectly suits the living needs of a multi-generational family. “For 3 generations, 2 cats and 1 dog living under one roof was a bit tight, so the grandparents decided to use a leftover corner from their property to get their own roof, building a house attached to the old one for themselves and their pets in this neighborhood adjacent the City of Zurich,” the architects said.
“Three generations, two cats and one dog living under one roof was a bit tight, so the grandparents decided to use a leftover corner from their property to get their own roof, building a house attached to the old one for themselves and their pets in this neighborhood adjacent the City of Zurich,” the architects said.
The idea was to have a vertical building wrapped in wood and annexed to the initial construction. A metal staircase in stainless steel connects the three floors of this new addition.
The Autumn House is accessed through the street level, which also doubles as a laundry room. On the ground floor, the living room can be fully opened up to the outside with foldable glass panels to the garden in the south. This brings the serene atmosphere of the garden inside, giving a sense of openness despite the relatively small size. It also adds some color and life to the clean minimalist design.
The second level faces the airy staircase and accommodates one bathroom and two bedrooms. One bedroom has a secret door leading directly to the granddaughters’ room, making babysitting very easy. “The project modernized and cleaned the look of both houses, giving them a distinctive face in this suburban surrounding form the 60’s,” concluded the developing team about Autumn House. [Photos and information courtesy of Daniele Claudio Taddei Architect]
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Image: Shore Rugs
A finalist in the Best in Show category of the NYCxDESIGN awards, Shore Rugs are woven from durable silicone cord into bold, modern textures and color patterns. Designed for use indoor or out, they feel cushy underfoot all while looking fab.
This flexible pendant is outfitted with LED lights that illuminate a room in a stunningly stark, architectural way. Besides being a finalist for the NYCxDESIGN award at the International Contemporary Fair, the Mesh pendant also won the prestigious Red Dot “Best of the Best ” for 2016.
ICFF’s next show is slated in Miami Beach October 5-6. 2016.
The Riverstone Bathtubh is a unique, organic bathtub. The hollowed boulder creates a majestic focal point in any luxury bathroom. The raw stone material appears raw and harsh on the outside but is soft and smooth inside. No two are alike!
The next Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair is February 6-12, 2017.
Sit by Katarzyna Kempa
Young Polish designer Katarzyna Kempa took the best in show prize at the International Furniture Fair in Singapore for her Sit ergonomic office stool. Although not for sale to the masses yet, Kempa made many contacts in Singapore which may lead to a production run of her chair and other office furniture designs.
The next IFFS in Singapore is scheduled for March 9-12, 2017.
The Dwell on Design New York show’s top hits included Chandra’s Shuffleboard Table. The solid wood table has leather accents and doubles as a pub-style dining table and shuffleboard center. A special coating protects the table surface and ensures that the pucks will slide well. The table’s design features graphic, interwoven legs and a contemporary vibe.
Another big draw was the Lovesac Sactionals introduction. Lovesac has evolved beyond a beanbag company and into smart, modular furniture pieces, like the Sactional. The collection pieces are deceptively well tailored with clean, contemporary lines. The sleek Sactional designs have removable, washable covers and can easily be configured into various shapes.
Look for the upcoming Dwell on Design Show, open to the public, from June 24-26, 2016.
Many of these products (or versions of them) are available online. Now that you’ve had an insider’s look on what the top stores and designers saw at the international shows, take inspiration from the latest trends to freshen up your space.
The post Best in Show: Highlights from the Top International Design Week Events appeared first on Freshome.com.
This lovely apartment in the center of Gothenburg, Sweden showcases an inspiring design and a playful layout. As listed on real estate broker Alvhem‘s website, the 791-square-foot crib takes up the upper two levels of a historic house that dates back to 1873. A living room ceiling height of 9.85 feet, a rustic brick wall in the bedroom and exposed wooden beams are just a few of our favorite features in this space.
Beginning in the entryway, a black and white color scheme with wood accents make the dwelling feel airy and inviting. The kitchen provides a soft and rustic ambiance, with a generously-sized wood dining table as the focal point of this room.
The living area is peacefully located overlooking an inner garden. Two chairs, a sofa and a variety of decorative pillows make this contemporary corner perfect for a tea break with friends.
Up the stairs is a versatile space, where a small desk allows for an improvised work zone while being able to keep an eye on what’s cooking in the kitchen. Located behind the staircase, the bedroom is arguably the most captivating interior of the apartment. There is ample space for a double bed, large dresser, and cozy reading area. A skylight brings light to the white-painted and plastered walls and parquet in oak. The brick accent wall serves as storage and gives additional character to the room.
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Welcome to our very first DIY on Freshome.
Today we’re going to do a bit of weaving. Recently, woven crafts have become a trendy way to decorate walls with colorful yarn and fabric designs in all colors and sizes. With a little practice and patience, they create stunning results.
I’ve done quite a bit of weaving myself. And while it’s simple and relaxing, it is also undeniably time-consuming and requires more materials than I have at the ready. It’s a wonderful hobby, but certainly not a quick DIY.
And so this creative endeavor is brought to you in part by:
- 1. My love for easy DIYs
- 2. A stack of design magazines on the coffee table
- 3. These bare walls staring sadly at me
The DIY paper weaving artwork is a simpler alternative to its textile counterpart and calls for only common household items that I’m willing to bet you already have laying around.
For me, the hardest part of this DIY paper weaving is choosing the two pictures to weave together. Because I have too many magazines that need to be recycled, I actually used two pages from a Wallpaper magazine instead of printing my own photos. I also like the idea of taking two different pictures of homes and combining them — but that’s just me being a sap about home design.
Whatever images you select, you can embellish them further by additionally weaving in ribbons, colored paper, etc. Another idea would be to weave two different book pages together. Oh, the possibilities!
DIY Paper Weaving
DIY Paper Weaving
For this project, you’ll need:
- 2 photos of your choosing, printed to fit 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper
- 2 sheets of blank 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper
- A ruler
- Pen or pencil
- 4 small binder clips
- Clear tape
- Optional: ribbon or colored paper
To begin, you’ll need to create your cut-out templates.
With your two blank sheets paper, use your ruler to mark and draw the lines. The first page will be vertical lines that measure 2 cm apart.
The second page will be diagonal, so measure 3cm marks this time along the top and right sides, then connect the dots to create the lines. On the diagonal page, you’ll want to stop your lines at the last centimeter of space on the left and top sides. This way, you won’t cut all of the way through.
Once your templates are drawn, secure them on top of your pictures with binder clips. Cut along the lines of both pictures, remembering not to cut all of the way through on the diagonal image.
Remove the binder clips and discard the templates.
Now, you’re ready to start combining the images. Take a vertical strip and weave it through the left side of the diagonal image. You’re simply going over and under to create a lattice pattern. Once you’ve finished the first strip, make sure it’s pushed all of the way to the left and that the top and bottom edges are flush.
Take the next strip and weave the opposite pattern. If you started over-under on the first strip, then the second one will be under-over. Continue weaving with the remaining pieces.
Once you’ve finished your weaving, secure the edges again with binder clips.
Flip the entire thing over (a bit easier if you use paper that is sturdier than a magazine page) and use tape around the edges. I was surprised to see how cool mine looked from the back!
You can also trim off any excess paper to get your design to just the right size. Just be sure to have tape wherever you are cutting.
Turn your paper weaving back over and marvel at your piece of art. Lastly, you’ll want to find a frame and get it up on your wall.
Did you do this DIY paper weaving? I’d love to see your results and hear about how it went! Leave a note in the comments, or send us some love on social media.
In her book Bread, Wine, Chocolate, journalist Simran Sethi explores the idea of setting our tastes based on what is ethical. She gives the example of wild-grown coffee, which is gentlest on the environment but, when brewed, doesn’t match our typical idea of what good coffee tastes like. (It tastes “earthy,” or in other words, kind of like dirt.) But tastes are subjective, and they change throughout our lifetime. So, what if we made the conscious effort to shape them based on the changes we want to see in the world?
Sethi may have been writing about coffee, but this same philosophy can be applied to any area where big changes are waiting to happen — including energy.
If you don’t want panels on your house at all and have enough yard space, you may be able to opt for ground-mounted panels. Because this kind of array won’t require you to make holes in your roof, it’s also a great, low-risk place to explore DIY options. These kits range from small arrays to larger ones that could generate all the electricity you need, depending on where you live and how much energy you use. One of the leading manufacturers of DIY solar kits is Grape Solar, whose products you can pick up at big chains like Home Depot or Costco.
Source: Home Power via Pioneer Settler
The main drawback to DIY options is that you won’t have the help of an installer to figure out local codes and incentives. Mother Earth News lays out the steps for DIY solar well, and warns that putting together your solar kit will take more work than assembling an IKEA table. “You’ll soon become familiar with the websites of the companies that manufacture the parts — especially the ‘download manuals’ area,” writes the author. But this extra work will be worth it for some people: kits run about $5,000 to $20,000 and are eligible for the solar investment tax credit, making them much more affordable than panel arrays you don’t have to put together yourself.
Whether you want to shout your green warrior status literally from your rooftops or get your solar benefits from a secret corner of your yard, silicon panels will be the easiest to find, purchase, and install. But they are hardly the last word in solar energy.
Not into panels? Integrate solar into your home — starting with the shingle.
Since shingles and solar panels can already coexist on roofs, consider combining them into one thing that serves both functions: keeping the elements out of your house and bringing the sun’s energy in.
The solar shingle is already here. It’s not yet as widely available, or as efficient, as the solar panel, but it represents just the beginning of a new, growing trend of building-integrated photovoltaics, or BIPV for short. Like its name implies, BIPV is installed as the rest of your house is being built, so it’s really only an option if you’re ready to replace your roof, or if you’re working on designing a custom home.
When Chris and Diane Murphy began planning their house in Greenwich, Connecticut, a few years ago, they decided that “it was going to be green, and it was going to be beautiful.” For them, solar shingles were a natural fit.
Along with his brother Sean, Chris owns Murphy Brothers Contracting, which emphasizes that “building green is just building smart.” The home Murphy Brothers built, with Crozier Gedney Architects, is a perfect example of the kind of architecture that doesn’t work as well with solar panels: It’s built in a coastal colonial style, with not just one or two planes making up the roof, but at least seven. On this roof, the solar shingles are subtle, catching the light like patches of ice.
Source: Murphy Brothers Contracting
I spoke about Murphy Brothers’ philosophy with the company’s director of new business development, Michael Murphy (no relation to Chris and Sean: “We’re kind of like The Ramones,” he says).
Michael Murphy confirmed that shingles aren’t yet as efficient as panels because so far their main purpose has been to be a better-looking alternative, not a more powerful one. A typical 5kW installation can cut your expenses by about 57-74 percent. For this much power, you would need either about 22 panels or 84 shingles. Most people choose to put shingles on just part of their roof space, like Chris and Diane Murphy did. But it is possible to cover your entire roof with them for even more power and savings.
Because they do two jobs at once, solar shingles cost more than either regular shingles or solar panels would alone. But they’re also eligible for the solar investment tax credit and will pay for themselves in energy savings over time, if you don’t plan to move for a while. Chris Murphy wanted his home to be a shining example, to show his customers that “by spending about 15 percent more up front, they could save 50 percent per year on their energy bill.”
The big solar shingle manufacturers right now are Dow and CertainTeed (Murphy Brothers has been using Dow for about two years). Since shingles are built into your home and not added later, like silicon panels, you’ll be working with an architect and contractor rather than a solar installer. Michael Murphy also recommends bringing one more person into the mix: an energy consultant.
“I’d say the first person you’d want to go to is an energy consultant,” he says. “See if there’s someone that fits your philosophy with their practice, and then from there, if you feel comfortable, have them as part of your team. Then bring along the architect and contractor.” …read more
Want to show off your travel bucket list, or keep a reminder of your hometown in a new city? These custom-made maps are available as murals or posters, giving you the option of traveling the world in your living room or taking a little piece of home wherever you go.
Founded in Montreal, Canada, Customaps is the result of an unusual collaboration between a Parisian mural specialist and a Marseilles-based cartographer. With their combined areas of expertise, Customaps creates unique posters, murals, and pre-stick wallpaper of maps and satellite images, each detail tailored by the buyer down to the zoom-level, style, and font. The possible customizations are almost as endless as the locations.
Their resources for maps include NASA satellite imagery and local library maps. “Our passion is seeing the Blue Planet from above, as we feel that nature’s abstract beauty is only truly revealed from a bird’s-eye view. Satellite images bring a unique and new perspective of our planet.”
For customers who want to travel across time as well as space, maps of vintage locations are also available for purchase. “We are always in contact with our 18th-century cartographers, so don’t sweat it, we are constantly updating…more maps to come!”