Friday, November 25, 2011

Dream Loft

Lofts give me the feeling of uber coolness that I am the opposite of. Never really one to be in top control of how I speak and behave, it's inevitable that my home is pretty much a reflection of my character. There are a riot of colours everywhere and though I own a Scandinavian style furniture store, my home is free from any themes. The dining room is modern primitive, living room is Danish (somewhere between mid-century and modern), kitchen is mostly modern with mocha coloured glass cabinets and the rest of the house is undecided as I take my time to furnish it.

This loft apartment in Ukraine is an exception. There is everything to love about it. Each section of the house is well defined and every detail is a clean match to the whole.
The open concept living and dining room -  note the wall hanging of plants

The dining table extends from the kitchen island which I think is very convenient for everyday dining. Those chairs are super cool and it looks pretty light, another plus point for practicality. The blackboard contrasts beautifully to the concrete and wooden palettes.
Dining room
Just in case you're wondering what those holes in the wall are for, it's to store wine...what an ingenious idea!
Wine storage

Perfect combination of materials - louvered ceiling, open brick wall and solid wood flooring.
Dining room close up

A bright red container is a brilliant way to bring industrial cool into the house...given that your ceiling's big enough to accommodate. This red beauty houses a powder room.
Container in the house

It's all in the details. A spotlight that shines into the centre pillar of the house. What may have deemed an architectural flaw now takes center stage. The television is recessed into the feature clever!
View from the upper floor

A tranquil family room facing the living green wall and a recessed marine tank. More clever lighting desigsn here.
The family room

The kid's room is equally impressive and cool. Cool parents raise cool kids I suppose?
Kid's room

And I saved the best for last...this amazing view from the patio.
Patio - day
Patio - night

* All images are from the Contemporist. To see more images of this loft, please click here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Moss Wall Hangings

If you have ever been to a part of a forest with moss-covered floors and trees, you'll know that feeling of serenity, calm and coolness. I imagine the Garden of Eden to be like this.

The softness of moss that's like nature's carpet is so beautiful that contemporary designers have taken it as inspiration in their work. It's really a wonderful way of bringing something green into an urban space instead of growing plants or trees. I'm hoping to see some of KL's concrete walls covered in moss soon.
Moss covered walls by Norwegian design studio Pushak via Craft:

Moss Room restaurant, California via Metropolis Mag

Moss growing on volcanic rock wall, Iceland via Lushe

Letter B made of moss via Mamateur

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Over the Edge Fish Tank

The Bubble Tank fish tank by UK design house Psalt Design took its inspiration from a bead of water that's about to flow over the edge of a table. Each piece is hand blown and designed to provoke a reaction. It's definitely a head turner and caught my eye but I couldn't help thinking how small the tank is for a fish. Perhaps it would be better used as a vase?

* Images via Psalt Design and Design Milk

Monday, August 1, 2011

Smuk Living

I mentioned earlier that there's a good reason why this blog has been awfully quiet. It's because I'm starting up a new business selling Scandinavian style furniture and home accessories. There will be timeless and iconic mid-century designs plus modern Scandinavian designs. We haven't just stopped sourcing within Scandinavia. There are so many talented designers around the world who have embraced the Scandinavian design values into their work and we are proud to showcase their creations too.

Remember this name because it is coming to you real soon.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


My copy of 'Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design' by Christiane Lemieux, founder of Dwell Studio the brand of exquisite home furnishing has finally arrived. It took nearly a month to get to me after I ordered it over Amazon but it was worth the wait.

Undecorate inspires people to follow through with their own sense of style and stay true to it even if it breaks all the design rules. The book shows real homes of people who have boldly stuck to their unique eclectic style and some have outrightedly blown the 'matchy matchy' decorator rule to bits with the affirmation that there's no right or wrong when it comes to decorating.
Free yourself from traditional interior design rules and trends

This seems to be quite matchy to me but if the Queen of Undecorate says it's not, then it's not

When I first came across the book, I was ecstatic as it's a form of validation for my personal way of decorating. If there was a professional interior decorator's assessment that my home had to go through, I would have flopped with a capital F. My home has disobeyed all the rules simply because I couldn't stick to a single theme. Whilst I love mid-century furniture, there is also a modernist in me that loves clean lines, industrial edge and abstract art.

I'm not alone with my mixed, fusion, eclectic style. As observed by Christiane, more and more home owners are taking the reigns of decorating into their own hands and trading in stuffy impersonal designs by professional decorators for a look that they can call their own.

As for me and my family, somehow in our own unprofessional undecorated way, everything has come together beautifully, at least we think so and isn't that what matters most?

"Live with what you love," says Christiane Lemieux. I couldn't agree with her more.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tatami Residence

Dwell on Design Exclusive House Tour: Tatami Residence
Exterior of the Tatami Residence

My cousin S from Singapore would agree with me that modern Japanese interior design is simple, subtle, pristine and are a perfect match with Scandinavian and mid-century modern furniture, my favourite type. When these schools of design are put together, what you get is a light-filled, airy, minimalist space with punches of colour here and there for visual interest.

The Tatami Residence in Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles, was designed for a young Japanese couple. This residence spans 1,800 square feet over a single floor and ingeniously manages to fit in a courtyard in the centre of the house that fills the abode with plenty of natural light. The system of multiples of a tatami mat was used to ensure that the scale of each room was liveable and comfortable.

Dwell on Design Exclusive House Tour: Tatami Residence
Mid-century style living room and courtyard behind
Dwell on Design Exclusive House Tour: Tatami Residence
View from kitchen - love the extended wooden island
Let there be light...
Dwell on Design Exclusive House Tour: Tatami Residence
Natural lighting from the sky-lights

Dwell on Design Exclusive House Tour: Tatami Residence
Wooden deck courtyard
The work station keeps me guessing what the home owners do. Fashion designers maybe?
Dwell on Design Exclusive House Tour: Tatami Residence
Work station
A huge bathroom that has been thoughtfully designed with the bathing area (bath and shower) separated by a glass door from the rest of the bathroom.
Dwell on Design Exclusive House Tour: Tatami Residence

* All pictures via Design Milk.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Architect Barbie

We've seen Barbie as a princess, a fashionista, police woman, tennis player and as various glamour personalities. This is the first time ever that Barbie explores the field of architecture, all thanks to the partnership between Mattel and American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Architect Barbie
Barbie Architect via Design Milk

Even though Barbie traded in her couture gowns for practical work clothes, she still looks ever so glamourous with a hard hat, blueprint tube casing, a model house, chic work outfit and black rimmed glasses.

This has got to be my favourite Barbie, way better than haute couture Barbie and a million times better than the ones by Louboutin that come with a set of the red soled shoes. I mean, come on! Don't get me wrong. I love Louboutin shoes and wished I could afford to own more of them. But, what is the blatant marketing of a high fashion brand to young girls supposed to achieve?
Barbie by Christian Louboutin - how are young girls supposed to relate to this? via Barbie Collector

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Combating the Heat

Those of you living in Peninsular Malaysia will agree with me that the dry spell, heat wave and haze earlier this week was becoming close to unbearable. Malaysia is supposed to be a tropical country with plenty of rainfall throughout the year but there has been little of it recently. We need it so bad right now to bring down the temperature and clear the haze that has turned our skyline grey.
Blurred visibility of KL skyline earlier this week via The Star

I work from a little study in my home with large windows and a gorgeous view of a communal garden that I share with other residents in my gated community. Sounds lovely, but I suffer tremendously from this west facing room. Starting from noon each day, the sun fully exposes herself into the room. Whilst the windows are shielded by thick blinds, it is also absorbing the heat from the sun and radiating it into my room which produces more heat.

What are the solutions to fend off some of the sun rays without blasting the AC all afternoon? You could plant a tree to shade your window or you could tint your windows. I'm going for the second option. From my brief research, I found that automotive tinting companies such as LLumar and Huper Optik are able to tint your home windows with the same type of film that they use for cars.

There are many other window shield and tinting brands in the market so choose wisely. Go for those with warranty and understand the components in the films. From what has been explained to me, those made with china and ceramic are superior. If you have a different opinion to this, feel free to comment in this blog or email me. I'm speaking on behalf of Malaysians when I say that we are all looking for ways to keep our cool in a most energy efficient manner.

* Some images are from unknown sources. Please email me if it belongs to you and I'll happily credit you for it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Raiffeisen Bank in Zurich

It's been a pretty crazy few weeks and I'm finally able to find time for my beloved blog. I'm anticipating that the pace of things will spike very soon and I if I do neglect this blog again, I promise you it's for a good reason and I will reveal the secret once things are in place.

While perusing through some design blogs, this office space of a bank in Zurich caught my eye. I'm not one for modernist designs but I really liked this non-conformist approach for a bank.

Pictures of past members of the bank are etched into the Hi-Mac walls using digital production. It's a far more interesting way to keep the memories of an individual than putting their photos up on walls.
Skim Milk: Raiffeisen Bank by NAU
Portraits milled into Hi-Mac walls

And get this high-tech security solution...robots access and retrieve safety deposit boxes! I wonder what they'd do if they came upon an intruder. Are they also trained to fire at them?

Computer terminals are neatly concealed into furnishing elements. It's a cool idea and I'm all for seamlessness between technology and interior furnishing but what happens when it's time for a technology upgrade?

Skim Milk: Raiffeisen Bank by NAU
Concealed terminals

Nothing in this office is really straight. There are curves in every corner including the ceiling. The pendant lights by Tom Dixon add a touch of fun and glamour to the space, and ironically rejecting the impression of banks being unstylish. Adding to that, the nude-tan-earthy colour of the chairs is very today yet very timeless.
Skim Milk: Raiffeisen Bank by NAU
Meeting room with Tom Dixon's Mirror Ball pendant lights

Skim Milk: Raiffeisen Bank by NAU
Round edges and organic curves consistent throughout the design and furnishing

* All images are from Design Milk

Friday, April 22, 2011

Anya Hindmarch's Royal Wedding Kit

Just about every girl who I've known dreamt of being a princess. Dreams do come true, at least for Kate Middleton who is soon to wed the seriously charming Prince William.

Several companies have been cashing in on the big day of the much celebrated royal couple. There are mugs, t-shirts, posters and such printed with the dashing couple's faces being sold but none are more delightful than Anya Hindmarch's wedding kit. Packaged in a limited edition Anya Hindmarch tote, it contains a British flag incorporated with a "W&K" logo, heart shaped confetti a  a W&K tattoo.

Splendid, Anya Hindmarch, splendid!

* Image via Anya Hindmarch's website

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hidden Light by Giha Woo of Korea

Another brilliant Asian design discovery...the Hidden Light chair by Giha Woo from South Korea.

An inconspicuous chair that looks like this

turns out to be more than meets the eye. It's a 2-in-1 chair with a detachable top piece that's actually a task light and it is big enough to seat both mother and child.

Take some time to browse through the rest of Giha Woo's designs in his website. There aren't a lot of furniture but you will be fascinated by his practical and cutting edge industrial designs.

* Images via Giha Woo Design

Friday, April 15, 2011

Jarrod Lim - The New Mid-Century Modern Designer

It always makes me proud to see an award winning designer from Asia, especially South East Asia. Jarrod Lim is no exception. Based in Singapore, his work has been exhibited in the world's most prominent shows and have bagged a series of awards.

Jarrod's style is much inspired by mid-century modern designs and I've been a huge fan and follower since the first time I saw his work.
New from Jarrod Lim
Idle Rocking Chair
Butler Table
Interlock Coatstand
Century Table - solves the problem of hanging bags or umbrellas on the table's legs
Collar Magazine Rack

* All images courtesy of Jarrod Lim Design

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Welcome Sign for Guests

Make your guests feel special with a personalized welcome note that greets them as they enter your home.When you're not receiving guests, use the chalkboard as a notice board for your family or simply a place to leave sweet messages like "Smile and have a fab day". 
Entrance foyer wallpaper in Ferm's Birds on Branches via Clever Spaces

Thursday, April 7, 2011

From the Runway to Your Home

Some of my favourite fashion designers are spreading their design wings from the runway to homes of fashion followers. It's hard enough to resist a piece of their luxury ready-to-wear creations, then you see a humble looking yet exorbitantly priced homeware with the designer's magic lure, convince yourself that you need it and all will power goes down the drain. I'm a huge sucker for designer homeware and always manage to find excuses to need them and more of them.

Then, there are these fabulously chic designers who turn homeware into objects of desire and cast that same spell that draws a girl to empty her savings on a Chanel handbag.

From wrap dresses to home collections...Diane von Furstenberg
Left: DVF tableware, Right: DVF Bedding via The Fashion Wire
More DVF tableware via Midwest Home

Before debuting her own line of home collections, Diane von Furstenberg designed a range of carpets for London based The Rug Company.
Climbing Leapord rug for The Rug Company

Vivienne Westwood
Fashion with a little whimsy, Vivienne Westwood collaborates with the finest home furnishing companies to create one of the most recognisable designs of this generation. 
Vivienne Westwood wallpaper for Cole & Son via The Frisky

Left: Love Heart rug; Right: Westwood cushion; Both from The Rug Company

Alexander McQueen
Known for his edgy and feminine chic style, Lee Alexander McQueen puts his signature on the rugs and cushions designed for The Rug Company.
Cushions designed by Alexander McQueen for The Rug Company via Fashion Me Fabulous
Left to right: Hummingbird, Skull Black, Skull Gold

Rugs designed by Alexander McQueen for The Rug Company via Fashion Me Fabulous
Left to right: Feathers, Hummingbird, Military Brocade

Trina Turk
Breezy summery Trina Turk style and her signature prints are showcased in her home collection throw pillows, duvet covers, towels and candles.
Flagship Trina Turk Residential store via Simplified Bee

Vibrant colours and patterns via Simplified Bee

Kate Spade
Adding another feather to her cap, Kate Spade is launching her new home collection that will feature tabletop, bedding and bath. The home collection section of the website isn't ready yet but here's a sneak peak:
Cheerful chic bedding via Something Brue
Feast your eyes out on these gorgeous tabletop via Decor8

There's a long list of other designers who have successfully launched their home collections line, the earlier ones being Ralph Lauren, Missoni, Hermes, Kenzo and Versace

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