The 70's are still hot, man!

Apartment Therapy recently posted an entry that remarks on how some of the best elements of 70's design is being used in contemporary interiors and I couldn't agree more. I've been on the 70's revival bandwagon forever. Even before MCM became so hot. I mean like 15 years ago. But I didn't find many other people that felt the same way!

Well, my how times have changed. And by changed, I mean that they actually haven't. Here are a few pics from the article showing some good examples of 70's inspired looks. So hold up there Mrs. Wearstler... I'm not quite ready for the 80's yet. There's still a lot of life left in the age of disco.

Original article here.

I MUST have this carpet in my bedroom! Does anyone still make this?

I am totally bringing mirror walls back. Done right, these look amazing!

Wha-?! Cheetah Stairs? Yes, please.

Oh, man. I have to start just posting more stuff like this. Just rooms that I run across on the interweb that strike me as particularly brilliant. This room is all kinds of awesome for many reasons, but DAMN look at the Cheetah print on the stairs.

It's definitely Cheetah, not leopard (Leopards and Jaguars have rosettes, not solid spots). What's weird it that I hate leopard, but I love cheetah. I think it's just that leopard is usually so dark and somber and cheetah just has such a happy, graphic punch to it. See below for proof.

Ice Cream Store Concept Design

A few months back, I was asked to come up with a brand new concept for a local ice cream company that was opening their first store here. Right off the bat, I told them to stay faaar away from the dreaded Pinkberry clone phenomenon. You know what I'm talking about - cheap white modern furniture, lots of white laminate, and neon colors.

Yes, Taylor Swift likes ice cream!
The ice cream these guys make is not only incredibly good, it's amazing to look at - really colorful with lots of texture and personality. I wanted to create a space that would showcase their brilliant concoctions (which are a mashup of different dessert elements with ice cream) by dialing back the color pallete quite a bit, amping up the texture, and mixing up design elements in unique ways. Like having a wood floor on the ceiling and high quality artificial grass on the wall. The lighting was a combination of classical crystal chandeliers and homemade mason jar fixtures to further the "mashup" concept. I retained a bit of the brand's signature colors in the counter, tables (which are made from recycled pallets), and seating.

The shelving and prep areas behind the counter are made of recycled wood and merchandised with the ingredients used to make the ice cream (which is made on site!), as well as the other schwag they sell. The daily flavors would change often and be creatively written on a huge chalkboard. I really wanted it to have elements that would be reminiscent of both an old time general store, and a soda fountain, but without actually reproducing either of those spaces. This needed to feel like something new.

Unfortunately, even though the client loved the concept, they ultimately decided that they didn't have the budget right now to do a complete overhaul of the existing space. Hopefully that will change in the near future though!

The renderings here are definitely kind of rough, but the design was changing constantly (almost daily), so I wasn't really able to do really nice renderings of every iteration.

Event area with metal ceiling

...and another version with a living wall and wooden acoustic drop ceiling.

New art for the kitchen.

This lovely lady is from artist Cheyenne Randall. You can see more of his work here. I'm not sure that he sells prints of his pieces, but he totally should!

I painstakingly assembled this piece in photoshop as a high res rasterbation and then had it printed as a single image. And it looks awesome in the kitchen! I totally hear the Wonder Woman theme song in my head every time I walk by.

UPDATE: I just found out that he does have prints available here! I need another one!

via Instagram


I felt like my coffee table needed a little pizzazz. Sort of Zorro meets Damien Hirst. My living room has been finished forever, but I just need to get it shot by a pro. Or really anyone other than me. (Did I mention what a bad photographer I was?)

via Instagram

How do you liven up a dull and cluttered daycare entry...? this hopefully!

These are the concept renderings I did for a new project I'm working on for the Kirkwood School district. They're admittedly really basic renderings, but I didn't think spending hours and hours more on the details would help to sell the idea in this case. This was a cold presentation - they hadn't seen anything at all yet. And I was nervous...I felt like they would either love it or hate it. (Spoiler...they loved it!)

So here's the basic concept.

This is the entry/lobby area that you see when you enter the main door to the Kirkwood Early Childhood Center. I hate it when I see the same design language of primary colors and basic shapes used over and over in children's spaces. I also don't like things that are too literal, I prefer to use abstracted forms that let the kids imaginations determine what they are - kind of like finding shapes in the clouds.

So I presented the idea of using the image of a tree (which has been done to death in schools) but in a new way - by using negative space to form the "tree" between solid sheets of wood. These sheets would be set off from the wall by a few inches and the wall itself mirrored. So when the kids come in every day, they actually see themselves in the tree and they (and their parents) can watch as the way they're reflected changes as they grow. I also wanted to use the basic shapes that they learn in preschool, but combine them in a more complex, but still understandable, way. And I wanted to shove as much color in there as I possibly could. It needed it.

The space is also used by parents and kids that are waiting for appointments in the building, so it needed some seating and something to occupy the kids for a few minutes. I created a little seating "nook" that separated the waiting space from the hall space using unexpected materials such as artificial grass for the seating surface and turning the seat into a tunnel that the waiting kids can crawl through and explore (see the video below). If I just added climbing hand holds to the wall, I'd have my own little adventure playground! There are also books, and a spot tailor-made for littles to curl up in and read on the grass for a few minutes. And for the artists - a 3D, pyramid shaped chalk board.

I couldn't change the flooring or the drop ceiling, so I suggested they suspend triangles of colored plastic from the existing grid and possibly change the color of the tiles to blue (not in the rendering).

They asked me if the triangle clusters on the ceiling were supposed to be leaves or clouds. Both or neither, I told them. I think that's what sold the idea ;-)

So, very limited scope and limited budget, but I think it's going to look awesome!

29 Design Lessons from Domino Magazine

So this is old news by now, but apparently Domino is back. (Belated Yay!) I knew that they had published several quarterly editions that collected material from the old original mag, but since I already own all of those, I never saw any reason to pick it up. But somewhere along the way, I missed the announcement that they were publishing new stuff now.

Initially I was really excited, but then I kind of went...meh. Don't get me wrong, I'm still gonna buy it and support it because I'm old and I still like to actually turn pages in a real, honest to God magazine. And also because I'm not allowed to take my wife's iPad into the bathroom. (Have I shared too much again?)

But do we really still need Domino? It was a breath of fresh air when it debuted, but since it's untimely and unexpected demise, a whole lotta stuff has rushed in to fill that void... Apartment Therapy, Lonny, Design Sponge, a lot of really great blogs. I mean a lot. And the mother of them all - Pinterest. Were people actually still pining for Domino or just wistful for the days when Domino was the go to source for good design for the non Elle Decor set? Time will tell, but I think that they will definitely need to bring a fresh perspective to the new magazine to get people to shell out money for it when they can get an all-you-can-design buffet of great content online.

Here's a great article from Buzzfeed from a few months back that is spot on...

29 Design Lessons We Learned From Domino Magazine

There's some really great advice in there. I had to be sure to point out number 1 to my wife especially... We're constantly arguing about my ever expanding collection of "crap that needs to be framed". Even uttering the phrase "gallery wall" is guaranteed to elicit a fairly withering look from her

A few of my favorites:

#2 You can never have too many photos

#3 Paint your ceilings

#10 Mix and match your art

#15 Light fixtures can make the room

#26 Always consider the unexpected

You can check out the original article on Buzzfeed here.
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