Beautiful Retail Interiors

Nordstrom department store opens inside world’s tallest residential skyscraper. A curvy glass façade lined with chainmail fronts the first location of the new Nordstrom in New York City.

nord 1.pngThe 320,000-square-foot Nordstrom store opened October 24th, at the bottom of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill’s Central Park Tower, which is the tallest residential building in the world.

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Nordstrom worked with design firm James Carpenter Design Associates on the design of the store, which comprises five floors fronted by the undulating glass façade, and two levels located underground. Inside, LED lights are used to light up the glass walls, while chainmail is used as a curtain to shade the interiors from strong light.

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Rather than using walls to segment luxury brands, the team also created partitions from the metallic material. The small perforations allow natural light to filter through the screens, which are then left to drape and gather at the bottom on the off-white terrazzo tile floors.

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Ceilings are 19 feet tall to keep the retail areas feeling spacious and light, despite no windows anywhere else in the store except for the front. Two stairwells flank the entry, and an escalator spans the seven levels with views to all of the floors.

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Nordstrom’s New York store also features a lounge designed by local studio Rafael de Cárdenas, Broadway Bar, and a bar in the women’s shoe section. The store is complete with nine drink and dining options, with the restaurant Wolf open after shopping hours and accessible with a separate entrance. A pizza outpost, seafood café and donut spot are located at the lowest level.

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Nordstrom is located two blocks south of Central Park on 225 West 57th Street and Broadway, and accompanied by a new Nordstrom Men’s Store across the street.

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Beautiful Places to Visit In Soho

SoHo and its surrounds; a hip, bustling enclave in Lower Manhattan known for its historic architecture, art galleries and designer boutiques. Read below to discover top spots and favorite haunts.

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Exploring BDDW
BDDW is a must for any interior design lover. As soon as you step into the labyrinth-like showroom, you can totally see why the company has a cult following. The solid wood furniture, all made by hand, is at once minimalist and rustic – the kind of pieces you will own forever – and accompanied by exquisite objets d’art, from handmade ceramics to vintage fashion to one-of-a-kind paintings. This is an interiors store like no other – just take a deep breath and enjoy!

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Perusing Roman and Williams Guild
Roman and Williams Guild takes retail to a whole new level with a two-story space that houses The Founding Collection design showroom, French all-day eatery La Mercerie and a florist. At the café, everything from the tableware to the tables is for sale. Diners not only receive a menu but also a dim sum-style card with illustrations of plates, napkins and candlesticks that can be purchased and delivered the same day. How’s that for service?

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Popping in to The Primary Essentials
Next destination is one of Armadillo & Co’s local NYC stockists. Founder Lauren Snyder is a former fashion stylist and her discerning eye is reflected in a curation of artisanal goods that feels hand-worked without being crafty. Lauren is an advocate for independent design and an expert in advising customers on how to organize, spruce up or completely overhaul their homes. This space, like its Brooklyn counterpart, boasts a considered array of tabletop, ceramics, textiles and stationery.

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Lighting jungle at Ochre
A few blocks over is the forever stunning store Ochre, a British brand renowned for its custom light installations crafted from unusual materials like blown glass, chain mail, saddle leather and horsehair. The Broome Street store oozes sophistication, with glamorous chandeliers adorning the ceilings and beautifully refined furnishings lining both walls.

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At home with The Apartment by The Line
The entry to The Apartment is not obvious to the general passer-by, as you have to head up a very small elevator to reach it. Once the doors open, you’re greeted by a high-end atelier laid out like a real home (albeit one belonging to someone with enviable taste in fashion and décor). Intimate, storied objects are dotted throughout the space, which unfolds from a monochromatic bedroom complete with freestanding bathtub, to an elegant dining room that doubles as a home office, and finally, a walk-in wardrobe brimming with luxe basics.

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Lunch dining at Sant Ambroeus
Lunch is at old favorite Sant Ambroeus, a modern Milanese restaurant on Lafayette. With its classic New York style interiors, the atmosphere is lively and chic. The menu puts a contemporary spin on northern Italian cuisine, with signature dishes like vitello tonnato and cotoletta alla milanese.pic 8.pngScents at Le Labo
Fragrance label Le Labo’s SoHo outlet is soulful and irreverent, with raw materials strewn about in sensory vignettes. Their approach is incredibly personalized, with each bottle freshly blended and hand-labelled in front of the customer – but it is their values that I admire most. The brand is 100% vegan, opting for synthetic fragrances that have been lab-tested on humans instead of animal products.

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Pretty in pink at Pietro Nolita
A mid-afternoon slump calls for a visit to the Pinterest-worthy Pietro Nolita, a tiny and very pink Italian restaurant whose candy-colored stone entryway leads into a blush-tinged boudoir. Inside, everything looks like it is being viewed through rose-colored glasses, from the walls to the ceiling, tableware, chairs and bank seating. The bathroom received the pink treatment too!

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Interior indulgence at Ulla Johnson
Venturing off-track, divert north to the beautiful Ulla Johnson boutique on tree-lined Bleecker Street. Like the designer’s soft apparel, the interior feels like a tactile celebration of femininity and optimism. I love this store as much for its interiors as for its fashion, with finishing touches provided by artisans near and far, including a bronze door handle by Rogan Gregory, pendant light from Lindsay Adelman, macramé wall hanging by Taynya Aguiñiga and rotating floral arrangements from Saipua.

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Blooms at Adore Floral Inc.
Neighborhood floral studio Adore brings a touch of color and romance to SoHo’s concrete jungle with an organic flower market feel and a gorgeous selection of rare blossoms, fresh cut greenery and leafy house plants.

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Drawing inspiration from Olsen Gruin Gallery 
The Olsen Gruin Gallery, slightly off-track in Chinatown. The contemporary art gallery was founded by a trio of fellow Aussies – art dealer Tim Olsen (son of artist John Olsen and brother to Dinosaur Designs owner Louise Olsen) and gallerists Emerald and Adrian Gruin. Despite its pristine presentation, it has a familiar and friendly Australian vibe.

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Drinks and dinner at 11 Howard
The day comes to an end with drinks and dinner at Le Coucou. The Parisian restaurant is located within 11 Howard, a boutique hotel known for its “conscious hospitality” – the hotel works with the Global Poverty Project, so every direct booking goes towards fighting inequality around the world. The Scandinavian-inspired bar is perfect for lounging – enjoy the sleek interiors and fabulous cocktails before you head into the restaurant.

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Originally published Armadillo & Co.

Beautiful Oddity – Abandoned Turkish Village

Drone footage reveals hundreds of abandoned Turkish chateaux. Hundreds of chateaux have been abandoned at the Burj Al Babas luxury housing development in central Turkey, after its developer filed for bankruptcy, as shown in this drone footage.

Approximately halfway between Turkey’s largest city Istanbul and its capital Ankara, the Burj Al Babas development will contain 732 identical mini chateaux when, or if, it completes. Begun in 2014, the hundreds of houses have been left in various states of completion since the dramatic collapse of the Turkish economy led to developer Sarot Group to file for bankruptcy in November. The complex has debts of $27 million, reports Bloomberg.

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Each of the houses are identical, with the developer controlling the external appearance and buyers allowed to customize the internal layout. The houses, which are being built in the style of mini French chateaux, are all three storys tall with a round corner turret and a square tower above their entrances. They are closely arranged on 324-square-metre plots on a rural site near the town of Mudurnu, as can be seen in the footage above.

 

Beautiful Farmhouse

Recently I came across a stunning home that stopped me in my tracks. By Yoanna Kulas, this beautiful Farm style home is located near the shores of Lake Michigan. Below is the imagery of this beautiful home, along with a bit of background about the project.

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Completed in May last year, this is the second home that Yoanna has built with her husband. Wanting to downsize from their previous home – a large French provincial home on three acres of land – and move closer to the city, nearer the beautiful Lake Michigan in Winnetka, they found just the right property. Surrounded by beautiful trees, she immediately had a vision for the new home.

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Wanting to live a much simpler life and create a lovely environment for her family, Yoanna is both fascinated and inspired by Belgian style architecture and interiors, and also very much influenced by Scandinavian design. The style is simple, feminine and minimalistic, keeping the color palette neutral, mixing different textures and bringing light inside by choosing the right windows. The interiors are surrounded by beautiful things without clutter and unnecessary objects.

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Taking two years to complete, Yoanna worked with architect Michael Abraham of Michael Abraham Architecture and Mick De Giulio of De Giulio Design for the kitchen and master bath. She carried out all the other interior (and landscape design) herself, carefully choosing every element including wide plank European White Oak flooring, White Carrara honed marble countertops and custom wood cabinetry. The same approach was applied to the furniture, lighting and accessories. The master bedroom and kitchen lighting is by Belgium brand Delta Light, and the dining room table and benches and kitchen counter stools are by Antwerp-based AM Designs. The living room features Togo sofas and chairs by Ligne Roset, lamps by Flos and hand made hemp rugs from Turkey.

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Large-scale art works that feature throughout the home are by Wesley Kimler and Marc Chagall, and the beautiful kitchen china is by Belgium designer Piet Boon. Wanting to create the master bedroom and bathroom as a calming place to relax and unwind, Yoanna chose Gervasoni Ghost furniture by Paola Navone and a beautiful freestanding bath. The gorgeous powder room accessories are by London-based designer Malgorzata Bany, whose work I introduced you to here.

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Function and livability were hugely important when it came to the design of the home. The incredible indoor-outdoor flow is defined by huge steel and glass doors that open up to a covered barbecue area, where natural timber furniture creates a seamless connection with the interior. The landscape design beautifully compliments the exterior of the home, a mix of white stucco and cedar wood, while the custom front door, hand made in Poland, creates quite an impact.

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First published http://www.thedesignchaser.com
Photos are by Belen Aquino 

Beautiful Beach TeePees

Summer time is here and living is easy – well at least in most parts of the world. Not so much is Seattle I can still dream. I’ll keep singing – The sun will come out tomorrow bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun….

Forget about the classic beach cabin, exit the umbrella: to shelter from the sun at the beach, the essential is the tipi. It is the surfers and bohemian enthusiasts lifestyle who started the trend by planting their tepee on the beaches waiting for the right wave to it. Brands have quickly seized the idea, like One Foot Island or Indoek, who created their beach tipis, easy to carry and anchor in the sand. On the ground, it is of course the must have of the summer to protect young and old from the sun’s rays.
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DIY version at Ikea

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The tipi imagined by WaveWam for surf brand Indoek

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The essential round towel The Beach People

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The beach atmosphere imagined by Urbanara

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The beach teepee of the Australian brand Ginger & Gilligan

Beautiful Mid-Century Modern Reimagined

To meet demand, developers are bringing back the ‘midcentury’ home. The most iconic image of midcentury American architecture is arguably Julius Shulman’s photo of the glass-walled Case Study No. 22 house in Los Angeles, which appears to float weightlessly, almost magically above the city. The appeal of the image—which Time magazine called “the most successful real estate image ever taken” (and which was in fact staged with models in cocktail attire)—lies in the way that the silhouetted inhabitants appear to live in another plane, absent any extraneous furnishings or walls, yet safely enclosed and bathed in the home’s light. The luxury the home evokes is neither gaudy nor accessible; it is desirable because of what and who isn’t there—walls, clutter, crowds, or street. Shulman’s photo and the architecture it depicts have in years since helped stoke a mimetic desire for a weightless, minimalist, perfectly curated life, a desire that now drives an entire industry of midcentury real estate, furniture, and associated lifestyle goods.

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But midcentury modern homes are increasingly rare and can require expensive repairs, while suburban upper-middle-class homes built after the midcentury period, with their thick walls and frequently Southwest or Mediterranean features, tend to be the formal opposite of the Stahl house. With actual midcentury homes out of reach for most, developers and architects are now attempting to satisfy—and of course sell to—this desire with midcentury-inspired construction. But the new midcentury-inspired home does not look quite like the Case Study house in Shulman’s photo. Comparing Case Study House No. 22 and its ilk to new midcentury-inspired homes tells us not just what was so appealing about midcentury architecture, but also what architecture has lost since that period.

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Midcentury modern architecture has been less popular with practicing architects than with homebuyers, since architects are incentivized by their trade and its publications to architect forward, not backward. Several architects I spoke to said that even as the midcentury fervor has grown, many refuse to rebuild the old styles, favoring new work in organic and futuristic forms over repetitions of old designs. According to architect Ray Kappe, who is known for his glassy, transparent midcentury home designs, “most graduates of schools of architecture since the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s have wanted to move architectural ideas forward. They are interested in having their work published in the magazines and books, [and] most publications are presenting other work.”

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Skinner House – Beverly Hills, California

“We would rather design for this era than a 70-year-old era,” says Palm Springs architect James Cioffi, who worked in the ’70s with iconic midcentury architects like Hugh Kaptur and says he is often called a midcentury architect but doesn’t consider himself one.

But even when architects are amenable to reproducing them, certain classic features associated with midcentury modernism are no longer allowed by construction codes. “As we [got] further along in time the thinness of structural elements tended to change,” Cioffi says. “A lot of that was code-driven. We can no longer use 2-inch square columns to hold up overhangs.” That’s only one reason why the seemingly sky-high glass-to-column ratio of the Stahl house cannot be replicated. In California, where many of the most famous midcentury American homes were built, new homes must use tempered glass for windows fewer than 60 inches from the floor, meaning that the midcentury’s untreated, single-pane floor-length windows have been left behind. California codes also require ever-increasing measures for energy efficiency to reduce the amount of solar heat that can penetrate the window. According to Kappe, “In the midcentury there were no energy codes or limits on glazing sizes so the detailing of glass could be simpler and, in my opinion, better.”

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Kaufmann House

So what happens when the market demands architecture from a 70-year-old era? The resort town of Palm Springs was the site of many iconic midcentury developments and is now at the center of a wave of what developers are calling “midcentury modern” homes, though they are being designed and built today. Looking at these replica midcentury homes from the street can be a bit hallucinatory at times: They look like something out of a photograph from the 1960s, except that everything is smoother, thicker, and brighter, with perfectly sculpted desert landscaping and hardscaping out front in place of the midcentury’s well-watered green lawns.

The degree to which new midcentury developments attempt to remain faithful to midcentury models varies. “It’s a choice between whether you want 70 percent midcentury with a contemporary inspiration, or 70 percent contemporary with a midcentury inspiration,” said Tyson Hawley, an agent with KUD Properties, who is developing a collection of houses in Palm Springs called the Desert Eichlers.

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The Desert Palisades

Unlike most of the midcentury replicas that are on the market, the Eichlers are based on original midcentury plans—for developer Joseph Eichler’s Bay Area tract homes—and the final product adheres fairly closely to the original Eichler look, with a living plan surrounding a glass atrium that provides views between several living spaces. Even the thin roofs of the original Eichlers appear to be replicated, although according to developer Troy Kudlac, that appearance is more a matter of proportion than fact. “The original Eichlers were tongue-and-groove with a rolled roof right on top; ours have several layers consisting of foil, plywood, insulation, and foam,” he says. “But they look thin compared to the other midcentury replicas around that are thicker.”

Like other new “midcentury” developments, the Desert Eichlers have a kind of technicolor perfection that differs from the more muted, sunlight-tempered hues of original midcentury homes, utilizing brightly stained wooden ceilings and a new “Eichler” multicolor paint palette co-branded with Dunn-Edwards. The reinterpreted Alexander Construction Company homes that James Cioffi built in 2014 have a similar hyperreal look, like the Palm Springs originals but brighter and weightier: The architecture is nearly identical, but the roofs are higher and thicker to accommodate energy efficiency and a modern desire for higher ceilings. Cioffi’s Alexander homes, unlike the original Alexanders or the new Desert Eichlers, also produce their own solar energy.

The “midcentury modern-inspired” Skye development, also in Palm Springs, creates a less faithful, larger-than-midcentury look that incorporates elements of midcentury design into a contemporary format. In Skye, the ceilings are higher and the rooms are larger than in a midcentury home, but in midcentury fashion, the great room features a slanted roof, an articulated brick fireplace, and a wet bar with views onto the pool. Skye’s preponderance of white tile, white walls, and white beams is in contrast with the more mod, bright accent colors at the Desert Eichler and new Alexander developments, but remains brighter than the original, sun-faded midcentury homes, which seem sepia toned in contrast.

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The Skye development

Kaptur Court is a complex of three homes designed by Hugh Kaptur, the architect of many of Palm Springs’ most iconic midcentury and late modernist buildings. Kaptur Court in Palm Springs makes faithful use of midcentury accent materials like rock-faced walls, square concrete brick, and clerestory windows; however, the heft of the walls and roofline are clearly of the contemporary era. This heft, in service of insulation and energy efficiency, is perhaps the biggest reason why new homes, however “midcentury modern” inspired, can never quite assume the elegance of the Case Study houses. And of course, while Skye, Kaptur Court, and the Desert Eichlers all deploy abundant glass panes to achieve Palm Springs’ requisite “indoor/outdoor” feeling, the use of glass remains limited to areas like patio sliders and windows, rather than entire lengths of the home.

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The Skye development

New “midcentury modern” homes have developed their own dialect for midcentury modern design, raising the question of what the phrase “midcentury modern” means in a contemporary context. If it can’t mean the specific form of Case Study No. 22 and similar architecturally obsolete glass boxes, “midcentury modern” then must become a way of trying to capture the feeling the images from the period inspire. What the Shulman photo depicts beyond the architecture itself are two women in party dresses, appearing to be in animated conversation, surrounded by slim furniture as lightweight in appearance as the home itself. Beyond our insatiable desire to live in floating glass homes, what the Shulman photo engendered is a sense that midcentury modern means effervescent social life, perfectly dressed and curated and yet also apparently at ease, like the women in the photo.

To buy a new “midcentury modern” home, then, is to buy a vision of oneself in such composed yet carefree happiness. What one can’t achieve in full glass walls one can approximate with minimalist decor and large, open entertaining spaces. This is what the new “midcentury modern” developments are building and selling: not necessarily replicas, but homes focused around large, airy entertainment space, with clean angles and unadorned edges in place of what in recent decades were curvy, decorated facades. The new “midcentury modern” housing development, in addition to recreating the sparkling, effortless cocktail vibe associated with the period, is about creating a home that in its sleek, minimalist, sparsely decorated lines works hard to make the viewer imagine that the more ornate ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s never happened.

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Beautiful Mid-Century Renovation

I love the before and after image of this mid-century modern home renovated by Nest Architects. The home now has a chance to live another life. The beams are a fantastic architectural statement and at the same time giving the house volume and openness. The built in bench on the wall is a nice addition. If you haven’t heard of Nest you should go check them out, they have some great renovations.

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The home is a high-quality example of late 1950’s era residential architecture that was in disrepair. The client’s vision to salvage the house and restore the existing architectural details guided the renovation. The original home features iconic roof geometry, exposed beams, and large expanses of glass that address the views. Strong datum lines emphasize the horizontality of the home’s massing and views of the low-lying landscape.

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