Wednesday, March 9, 2011


This manhattan apartment designed by West Chin is a good example of a well planned space where casual, modern living was kept in mind. The layout is great for entertaining - large & open kitchen with a lot of storage to hide all the messy stuff. A dining table parallel to the island makes it easy for people to wander over to it after gathering in the kitchen, as most of us tend to do when we’re at a party. Before I move into talking about the rest of the space, I should point out how awesome I think the hood fan is with the white tile as a backdrop behind it - this design makes the kitchen feel open and like it’s part of the rest of the room and not just a dark wood kitchen stuck in the corner.

My favorite part about how this space was orchestrated was achieved by the clever choice of modular modern furniture. The sectional is like a giant island in the space, which while being one, it faces towards two very distinct areas - the Bocci chandelier above it accents this ‘island’ area. The smaller end of the sectional is the cozy side, right next to the fireplace. The fireplace is totally stripped down to its essence... all black, surrounding a black box where fire can flicker away inside. The long, black, strong horizontal fireplace surround perfectly anchors the oversized black and white photo which hangs above it. The fireplace & photography combination creates a strong focal point in the room, good choice of where to use black as a bold statement. The wall mount white built in buffet at the end of the dining table juxtaposes the fireplace form nicely.

The more open end of the seating island is combined with a pair of gorgeous chairs by Patricia Urquiola (Smock chair, by Moroso). I love the chair and the sectional and understand the design intent, however I think that the chairs are a little bit too high for this low to the ground sectional design, the scale is a little bit off. Judging from the choice in armchairs, I’d venture to guess that the people living here are probably into fashion, they just yell out high fashion to me, just like impeccably tailored apparel and luxury car interiors do. They’re sexy... The photos are pretty sexy and edgy - soft outtake of topless Marilyn Monroe along with the bold oversized black and white of a blond (who I'd safely guess is Madonna) from behind holding a whip.

This seating area faces another grouping across the room - the tv corner. I love love love the fact that they’ve managed to keep the tv in the open, not hidden it behind doors, but it’s only a focal point to the one area it faces. It’s not dominating the space, as it shouldn’t.

The choice in kid’s furniture are among some of the features that drew me to this space. A bright orange baby high chair by Bloom in the kitchen and a red sofa in the play room make the space kid friendly without taking away any of the grown up sophisticated qualities it has.

The colours are quite subdued throughout, other than a few bright pops of colour brought in by the kid’s pieces and the bold black fireplace surround, which manages to disappears well into its surrounding while still creating a strong focal point. More colour is brought into the space through small subtle accents, art work & flowers. For example, the bedroom, where monochromatic layers of sand tones and greys are accented with red flowers, red pillows and subtle red hints in the painting on the wall. The pink flowers in the TV area pull the tones from the painting hanging in that area and the black Calla Lilies near the fireplace. I love the use of flowers in interiors. Individually, I think of flowers as unique little living sculptures. As a group, they can transform the feeling of a room or simply add texture, life and colour.

My love for flowers and working with them really set in after taking a Flower arrangement course at the Flower School of New York. I love walking through places or seeing photos of spaces where the designer behind them obviously shared the same feelings towards the use of flowers with me.... Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you're enjoying it :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011


It’s been a while since my last blog post and I’m feeling inspired to share some good stuff. In January I was lucky to spend some time in Maui, which was amazing. I loved my time there, but soon after I was brought back to reality. Upon my return home and to work, I’d daydream about Maui and figured there had to be some great modern gems throughout the island which I just hadn’t come across. Well, I found one and it’s sublime, simple and raw.

The home is on the North of the Island on a beach called Slaughterhouse Beach, near the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua. Olson Kundig Architects made use of simple and honest materials, such as corrugated metal, glass, concrete, rammed earth walls and Ipe wood. They combined traditional hawaiian architectural elements, modern sustainable features and functional creativity.

I would have loved to have seen this home in person, it’s huge, but in the photos it blends very well with its environment. From my readings, I found that not only does the house appear to blend well with its environment it also respects it and makes good use of it. The roof lines are reminiscent of traditional hawaiian roof lines, the extra deep overhangs to protect the interior from the elements. The roof is designed in a way to help ventilate the interior and makes use of the trade winds as a cooling aid. The thick (18”) rammed earth walls also keep the heat out during the day and keep the warmth in at night - the material used to build these walls is all local and toxins free.

The way the entire front of the house opens up to the vast views is what I most loved about the architecture. This fully pulls the exterior with its amazing views right into the home, the line of sight created by the massive, dramatic and amazing cantilevered accentuates this, taking your eye right out to the views, the horizon.. and the local surfers ;). The table’s end pokes through the glass front when it’s closed and seems endless when it’s open. The main room is effortlessly great with a lot of open space... simple and clutter free.

I can only imagine what it would be like to walk through there, pick up a mai tai and sit on this concrete table to watch one of Maui’s legendary sunsets or voracious rain pours.

Info & photos in this post came from various online sources, including the "La La Land" article featured in the WSJ: The Magazine from the Wall Street Journal