Live Edge Repertoire

Live Edge is the new black in furniture. As old growth lumber are rarer and rarer, there is a growing appreciation for live edge wood slabs used in furniture design. The sinuous lines of live edges  are hard to resist. They speak of fluidity in nature and grace in parallel grain lines that meander in river like patterns. They represent bold strokes in a singular sweep – the larger the piece the more striking. Put a slab in a room and it dominates and takes over the room.

There are quite a few clever uses of this material. One has to agree that the simpler the vessel that carries the slab, the better looking the ensemble.

The most popular use can be seen in dining tables which give us the excuse to show off a large slab.

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Another way to use a large expanse of slab is found in bed headboards.

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live edge slab headboard

Other slabs found their way in kitchen island countertops where they reign and command the view.

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Shelves are easiest to plan with wood slabs.
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Vanities- a good use for a smaller slab.

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Coffee tables.

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Benches.

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Smaller examples of live edges found in home accessories.

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And when mere furniture is not enough…

Back CameraUse them on window sills.

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b8b4a8ddb72be2ebe60ac67af07bc0b2Have live edge horizontal siding. You will have to make sure you have enough…

acd186dedd0ed7741dd4c9243f398a9cSplurge on an entire wall of cabinets.

live_edge_1Line them up along a wall.

4c83203200207762e2813ee09f28800fUse them on a curvy staircase.

55f57f8389791c332d1e43aa7d4ff8b6Make a quirky door.

0462abc076f0ddce373190abe89cdefeFinally, when nothing would suffice, make a throne.  You deserve a thoroughly royal break!

For source, click on photos.

Counter Striking Stools

I have done quite a few kitchens now and the one thing that I strive for in all my kitchen designs is the island with seating on one side. It is as simple as that. Give the kitchen an island with seating on the long side away from the center of the kitchen triumvirate (range, refrigerator and sink) and voila, the first step to successful kitchen planning. When a kitchen project is done and it’s time to decorate, the first question had always been what kind of stool would go with the island. Counter stools generally come in two kinds: with back or backless.  If there is enough room, a stool with back is more comfortable.  When there is barely enough space to walk around the island or when the kneespace is too shallow, a backless stool is in order. Below are images of some of my favorite kitchen counter stools. I won’t have too much explanation for these stools as they would speak for themselves.

511dca1bd2fbe304a3661f34a4af73a02edbbeb4ab5dae65e90193a6fb5d9353Henson Wood Stools

0f5a3c5fff3d35f3214ab4e3eeebe93ede1b59efc2f8bbb5a9b7fe4e09218e0fSimple  iron zinc stool from India.

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aba5eb18f7ab952dd33e10e4ebd1dc49Rustic counter stool from West Elm

c9103cb2deb208330f8cd5c6fe65f3721f13bf01d93b0f62d28fd09f9c4a0aafChase stool from World Market

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Backless counter stool from AG Modern

Calligaris_Online_Bar_Stool_CS1002e30ca7c6fe6e7208ca0521e89cccca6bCalligaris On Line Counter Stool

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Marius counter stool

bdfc64a5aee7e3cfdee630bd8f0b83bdOviedo counter stool from Restoration Hardware.

b2ca694f41d195c5b8a793c334b896abYvonne Potter stool.

a6e1f2cf344bdac6c320992e7e621f3eeva_stool_1_bontempi_mediumBontempi Eva stool

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calligaris-even-leather-counter-stool-9Calligaris Even Leather stool

cb6fda779bed757b975fa9e989f84541Hay Hee stool

mood-stoolb5b28b5652e9ccadc28d981debc035dbCalligaris Mood Stool

picturecalligaris_air_counter_stool_cs57_01_1Calligaris Air Counter Stool.

c9b2202bd97c93699b1be1d14666f38c628d1f4a03c46e6622e3c13dfbfbcaefCherner Counter Stool.

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15df08c0bd7a52b6821f5870fcaeede8Series 7 Counter Stool.

a768d7d5ac71dd89afbb03a3f8971d2481856b020c1c1abb7cfe2afd0255f87bOnda Stool

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lem-stool-wood-seat-2.jpgLem Piston Stool

dc65495fed48fcd028d91e36fad00384knoll-jamaica-barstool_im_366Jamaica Stool.

82b45b37c869f00b08c3b73a32db9415705859Radius Counter Stool.

And then, there is always those wood block stools. Quite heavy to maneuver but, hell, they look good!

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Click on photos for source.

Grounds for Coffee Tables

Against competing features such as  the fireplace, the large heirloom painting, and a view beyond, the coffee table serves to refocus our attention to the center of the living room. By size, it’s also among the more diminutive must have items in the room. It is also surrounded by taller furniture such as the sofa and the armchairs or even the side tables and yet, such a piece occupies the center of the seating group, the center of conversations and could very well display the center floral arrangement or the conversation piece coffee table books.   It’s ironic that such a tremendous position is given to a “lowly” object.

The term “coffee table” might have made its first debut around 1868 in “Victorian Furniture” by R. W. Symonds and B. B. Whineray and in “The Country Life Book of English Furniture” by Edward T. Joy.  These forefathers of the modern day coffee table were probably taller to really serve tea and coffee at a height more suitable for straight back, prim and proper ladies.  Lower coffee tables probably came forth with the influence of Japanese low tables.

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Most famous architects had at one time in their career designed coffee tables to adorn their projects.

The 50’s gave us quite an array of classic coffee tables.

Noguchi table

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Modern day designers and architects came up with their fair share of coffee tables.

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A cursory browse at popular web sites and magazines gave me clues of today’s trends in coffee tables.  The rage is all on the raw wood look championed by Restoration Hardware.

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Then there is the live edge slab tables.  Nothing like letting nature do all the talking.  I myself would breathe out various sighing curse words in various forms of inappropriateness every time I see one of these tables.

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There is nothing wrong with wanting a wood table.  Wood coffee tables can be quite sculptural and beautiful.

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The glass coffee tables never went away.  There is the seamless modern glass table that is so versatile and there are others that takes on the  more classic motifs and shapes.

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One doesn’t mention glass coffee tables without mentioning their distant cousins, the lucite tables. They can be quite attractive, definitely higher than the rank of a poor relation.

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Glass and lucite… What come next are mirrored tables. I prefer the antiqued silver finish for mirrored tables.

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Lacquer finishes on coffee table often exude elegance. Let’s hope the finish is durable enough to avoid scratches.

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Stone tops are sturdy and add a cool touch to the room.  Most of the stones used behave well as neutral colors such as White Carrera, Calacata Oro or Asher Grey  with the occasional greyish lines.  Greige is so in right now. For warmer climes, travertine and Crema Marfil are the thing to go to.

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For a more casual look, rattan or woven natural materials are used.

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The industrial look is not far behind among the hotties. The coffee tables come with greige woods, metal legs, casters and mechanical fasteners.  I love this look especially when the tables are equipped with wheels. I get under the illusion that I can move them somewhere else when I decide to clear the living room for such things as dancing…

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Chinoiserie is quite timeless when used sparingly.

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One should also list the proverbial tray table. How appropriate it is to serve tea or coffee on a tray table! These tray tables come in all the styles and types mentioned in this post.

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The ottoman coffee table. What a concept. The ottoman gives us the option of putting our feet up and getting even more comfortable. If coffee or tea is served, we just have to add a tray on top of it.

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Coffee tables double serving as storage are great for the efficient minds. This is where trunk coffee tables work best.  We see wood chests, storage trunks, and travelling trunks. The travelling trunks fuel our imagination with exotic souvenirs being kept inside the trunks.

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I see the coffee table as a calm island amidst a sea of tumultuous beauties – a couch begging us to lounge and stretch our legs, the side tables with the pretty lamps, the rug that spreads warmth throughout the room and the armchair that offers cozying up.  The coffee table is where I would anchor the room.  For that reason, I like it to be of a simple – no fuss swooping gesture.  I like my coffee tables bold, to the point and unique in its statement.  Below are some of my favorites.

The half logs.

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Oval coffee tables are the epitome of grace.

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A modern metal tray table.

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A marble top table with walnut base.

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The most beautiful are usually the purest in form.50a0b781cde1e4997e4d2a4e6c6146aa

The lacquer table in the simplest form.

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Last but not least.  Splurge and don’t feel guilty: pure silver on reclaimed timber.  Have some tea on this piece de resistance and wonder about the dichotomy between luxury and recycling…

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Click on photos for sources.

Monte Sereno Craftsman

A woodland site is so precious – it seems a tragedy to fell oak trees so to have a house there.  So thought the owners of a Monte Sereno  lot with a wreckage of a house that had been ravaged by a fire.  After a tough planning process, a craftsman style house now graces the lot still surrounded by oak trees, preserving pretty much the existing contours and, as I like to put it, happiness ensued. I revisited the project as the owners are preparing to celebrate Christmas.  Some of the deciduous tree leaves have started to turn bright orange and yellows. I was induced to a state of merriment even before I stepped foot in the door.

Front entry

Rear view

The entrance porch took a visitor to a two story foyer which showed a hint of the library beyond the second floor balcony. The foyer sported a paneled look that breaks up the tall wall. The right doorway led to the family room while the left doorway opened up to the sitting and dining rooms.

The living room was reduced to a sitting room size as nowadays, most entertainment is really done in the family room with a less formal setting.  A delicate fireplace anchored the room with a settee and two gracious chairs.  The color scheme was coordinated from the paint color and choice of rug to the upholstery fabric and sheer drapes.

The dining room embraced a stronger presence with a strikingly bold wallpaper pattern.  The Murano glass chandelier pulled our eyes toward the cathedral ceiling.

The powder room took  on a theme similar to the dining room with the vibrant red colors on the wall. The oriental floral motif in the small room surged unexpectedly as guests enter.  The ceiling was gold painted for added depth.

The kitchen was generously designed with a long island and a curved row of windows facing the rear yard. The microwave, freezer and refrigerator were awarded their own alcove. The island was darks stained walnut with a warm red granite countertop. The cooktop splash got an Artistic Tile panel that was slightly reminiscent of an Art Nouveau swirl pattern. The pattern was repeated in bands throughout the other backsplashes.

The library ceiling soared in a dome shaped recess. The furniture pieces were chosen for comfort with colors to complement the red dome.  The balcony guardrail looks down onto the entry foyer.

The master bath received quite an elaborate Pratt and Larson relief tiles to compose the shower mural.  A very cute chandelier hovered over the tub and the shower floor tiles are large Calacata Oro hex tiles.

The house tour culminated in the master bedroom with an oval ceiling recess. The color scheme aimed to soothe. The furniture fabric and rug complemented the softness of the fireplace design and promised serenity at the end of a long day.

This project represented one of the most satisfying experiences I have ever had. The  owners were quite gracious and gave me the utmost confidence to carry through their vision and taste.  Besides the architectural shell, every interior detail of the project, from the custom cabinets, finish hardware, lighting, and paint colors to the furniture, draperies and rug, was thought over so a seamless feeling could be achieved thoughout the spaces.

Aaaah… What I would do for another project such as this one!

Cool Hot Seats

Among the different pieces of furniture, chairs are the most outspoken of all. They tell tales that no other furniture can. They take on personalities that owners might adopt or wish upon themselves. They could stand on their own or decide to cooperate in a grouping in order to relay the overall vision of a room. I pay attention to chairs more than the sofas when I walk into a living room. Chairs are more versatile because they can fit snugly in tight corners. They can create a world in a corner all by themselves. The two types of chairs I love would either say to me: “Come let me embrace you in warmth and comfort”, or  whisper something like: “Come sit and feel like you are pampered in style”. My task of choosing chairs, once quite daunting, is now a breeze if I consider those two categories.

I love chairs that have an alluring back such as the Castel Lounge chair. Has anyone walked into a party and saw a woman in a backless dress and couldn’t wait for her to turn around? This is that chair that promises good conversations and lasting embraces. The Oval X Back chair whispers the same but not in such a secretive way.

Then there are chairs that would whisk you away to dreams of luxury the minute you set eyes on them. I love the Archetype chair for its instant pamper even before I throw myself on it. The tufted back, the little curl as the seat meets the arms, the gentle swoop toward the arm as the back curves around you – luxurious simplicity.

My list of chairs would go on and on. I should just let the photos tell the beholder their stories of lazy afternoons, Sunday lounges, or just the music of your choice.

Images via: Kohler Interiors, Lee Industries, Holly HuntDonghia.