Decorating With Books and Bookshelves

On this day in 1833, the first U.S. public library opened in Peterborough, NH.  Now this may come as a bit of a surprise, but reading, in addition to being a great habit, can help your home’s interior design.  Hardcover books with elegant covers or colorful jackets can create a sophisticated yet tasteful atmosphere in your home.

Even though we’ve entered the digital age, printed books still remain fashionable and preferable.  As Apartment Therapy notes “many of us cling to printed matter and swoon when we see a home filled with books.  It looks, at the very least, cozy.”

Cozy.  Books and bookshelves are often characterized as refined, sophisticated, and high-brow, but ultimately the reason we really love them is so simple: they’re cozy.  Check out some of these cozy (and creative) bookshelves below:

Only books above us...Via Yeah Eye Candy

ColorfulVia Falling Sky

craniumVia DokuMaciorumCek

Cranium 2Via Be Brave Before It’s Too Late

Circle of KnowledgeVia Crackajack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Decorating an Entrance Hall or Vestibule

The vestibule is the first thing anyone sees upon entering your home - make sure they get a good first impressionThe vestibule – other than the door it’s the first thing your visitors will see upon entering your home.  So what should you do to make sure visitors enter on the right foot?

For starters, the vestibule should serve as an introduction to not just your home, but also you.  What kind of person are you?  What is your character?  What kind of first impression do you want your visitors to have?

But before you get carried away, let’s also step back for a moment and consider what would be a practical vestibule decoration.  It’s the entrance and exit to your home, so there must be something important about it, right?  Right.

You could keep a wardrobe or at least a coat rack nearby for a quick, easy coat grab on your way out the door in the morning.  Or even better, repurpose a nightstand or TV stand, which you could then use to hold a vase, a key jar, framed photos or any host of other options and combinations.

Of course, your vestibule should match the living room or whatever room it leads to in color and style.  Again, think of it as an introduction.  If your house primarily follows a contemporary style, your vestibule should follow a modern design philosophy as well.  Keep it open and spacious, single colored (you could add a border, but keep it subtle), and consider maybe adding a small furnishing that sums up your home’s style.

Of course there are endless ways to decorate halls and vestibules.  What are some of your favorites?

Photo Credit: EuropeanaEU

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Spotlight: Metropolis Entertainment Center Wall Unit w/Closed Storage

Metropolis Entertainment Center Wall UnitIs it hard to find a stylish home entertainment center with ample storage options and a super slick, laid-back exterior?  Of course not – we’ve been making them for years.

Take for example, the Metropolis Home Entertainment Center, one of our contemporary wall unit products. Like all our wall units, the Metropolis is modern and engaging, as well as 100% freestanding requiring NO fastening, hanging or securing to adjacent walls or floors.

Even better, it’s more than just a sleek, freestanding home for your flat-screen television.  The Metropolis also offers all the storage space you could need for audio/video components and accessories.  Located directly beneath the flat-screen TV mounting panel, you’ll find a 4-section component shelf with an open back for simple wire management and heat ventilation.  And then directly below that, we’ve installed two storage drawers each over a foot deep and nearly two feet wide.  Both the left and right sides also contain a storage cabinet with 5 different compartments.

It’s entertainment.  It’s storage.  It’s Contempo.

The Metropolis is available in a wide variety of custom finishes.  Choose from matte fronts, glossy fronts, painted glass or even sparkling mirror fronts that will make your room look bigger or give the piece a more transitional appeal, stylistically speaking.

And, the Metropolis can also be modified to include Contempo Wall’s unique Ambient LED Lighting system, which provides a warm glow behind your TV that will actually make the viewing experience better.

Offering all the style and storage features anyone could need, the Metropolis Wall Unit is built for the modern entertainment love who could use a little spare room.  Is that you?

Learn more about the Metropolis Entertainment Center Wall Unit here.

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Multifunctional Furniture

All furniture must function to the greatest of its abilityThe rooms of a home don’t have just one function.  As a child, I can recall doing my homework on the dining room table, exercising in the TV room, and making tye-dye t-shirts in the kitchen.  The modern home doesn’t call for rooms with singular uses (did it ever?), therefore, should it really be any surprise that furniture is following the same route and becoming multi-functional?

Take for example, the Jordan home entertainment center.  It has all of the basic tenets a home entertainment center requires (space for a TV, components and accessories).  But this wall unit also includes two storage drawers, two concealed top storage areas, an open shelf space and left and right side storage units with five compartments each.  All this extra space allows the Jordan to function as a display case, closet and storage center for anything at home that might need a little space.

Most of our wall units and home entertainment centers offer extra storage space to help you stay organized.  It’s an extra perk we’re more than happy to offer, since we know that great furniture needs to function on multiple levels nowadays.

Pictured Above: The Jordan Home Entertainment Center

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Your Home Office Furniture & You

Spice up your home office with the DavidsonWorking from home can be awesome, but it can also be sort of awful if you’re not careful about how you do it.  To keep your creative energy flowing and to avoid the boredom and isolation working from home can cause, you’ll need to have a great home office.

How can this be achieved?

Well, first off, make sure you set up your home office far from your bedroom.  Let your bedroom be a place for rest and relaxation.  Your office should be the home of work and productivity.

Remind yourself of what you’re working for.  When you aren’t in the middle of a bustling office with co-workers and clients constantly coming through, it can be difficult to remember what you work for or why you’re there.  Keep career memorabilia and other subtle work reminders nearby.  Decorate your desk/office with the type of energy you want your work to reflect.

Keep it clean.  Letting your desk get cluttered with papers and other work items won’t help your productivity.  Keep the space clean and organized.  You’ll think better and you won’t waste much time looking around for unnecessary items.

Have fun.  One of the benefits of working from home is that you can organize your work space however you like so make sure it’s a fun, stimulating environment.  However, don’t confuse fun with distracting.  There are plenty of distractions on the Internet.  You don’t need to bring them into your office, too.

I bet that many of you reading this work from home.  How do you decorate your home office?  What helps inspire you?

Pictured Above: Davidson Home Office

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Modern Revival

Modern architecture at its peak

Designs by Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, respectively

Youth culture appears to be caught in what pop culture critic Simon Reynolds refers to as “Retromania” – an addiction to pop culture’s past that’s steadily streaming into the modern conversation.

It’s evident in all forms of culture and entertainment.  TV fans are hooked on ‘Mad Men’ and its 60s-centric style, Hollywood is obsessed with remakes and even musicians considered hip and innovative, such as Best Coast, Vampire Weekend, and even Lady Gaga, have been unmasked as historians and collagists, not innovators.

Does this mean anything to us in the design world?  Well, yes and no.

Mid-Century Modern Design reached its peak as America became a rat race.  When skyscrapers rose above Manhattan and office workers poured in from the suburbs, architects such as Wright, Mies and Saarinen were reshaping the modern skyline to fit the changing tides of modern life and culture.  The post-war era brought grand cultural and technological innovations, which in turn changed the way people interacted with their space.

We’ve always been loyal to mid-century masterpieces, and our primary objective, as designers, is to further that conversation by merging the geometric simplicity and spatial harmony of these classic designs to fit the new hustle and bustle of modern life.  We follow in their footsteps through both our designs and our philosophy.

The mid-century modern designers believed form follows function. Well, function changes.  How we use our furniture changes with the way people live.

For example, when the housing market crashed, people started downsizing and flocking to smaller residences.  We realized that the impermanence of their living situation had truly dawned upon many residents of the American Northeast.  To answer this dramatic shift in the movements of urban and suburban consumers, we used our freestanding furniture to give consumers great furniture options that could be easily transported between residences.

Design answers people’s needs.  Like our mid-century predecessors, we live in times of drastic change.  Advanced telecommunications have revolutionized the way people live, and yet again how they interact with space at home and in business.  While we revive the style of mid-century modern furniture, with it, we’ve revived the attitude which dictates that furniture is meant to be used.  We design furniture for the here and now, and tomorrow, we’ll design for the there and then.

Falling Waters House Photo Credit: Serinde

Washington Dulles Airport Photo Credit: Joe Ravi

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Design For A Changing World

Designers have to move fast to keep up with technologyThe world’s moving fast, sometimes too fast to even realize.  Every year, maybe every month even, brings fascinating new technologies that change the way we live and interact with one another.  So what about furniture?

While we aren’t building touch-screen armchairs or Wi-Fi connected closets (the former is still in the R&D stages), we are using the latest technologies at our disposal to improve the overall furniture experience for users just like you.

Take for example our new LED light solutions, which we’ve recently implemented on Contempo Wall and Contempo Closet products.  With LED light strips outfitting our furnishings we can surround the piece with a heavenly glow, while bringing some light to dark closet spaces.

We’re also pretty excited about our Contempo Wall Ambient Light Systems, LED lights placed behind a flat-screen TV’s mounting panel that provide both a decorative accent and an enhanced viewing experience.

And we couldn’t forget the Bronson Room Divider, a room divider with a swiveling center-piece designed to add versatility and striking style to any room.  A real eye-popper, the Bronson turned heads at the 2012 Architectural Digest Home Design Show last weekend and it would probably turn a few heads in your living room, as well.

Although the world’s been changing at breakneck pace, one thing never leaves: good design.  Designers have to consider not just the implications of their designs, but how their designs may evolve with the ever-changing social and technological atmosphere of tomorrow.

Photo Credit: Graur Codrin

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Facebook Wall: A Tribute

Oh Facebook Wall, how we will miss youTomorrow, March 30, Facebook’s brand pages will switch to the new “Timeline” interface, leaving the Facebook Wall obsolete and dated.

It was a source of copyright controversy, an instrument of revolution in the Middle East, and, most importantly, the feature that made Facebook truly social.  The Facebook wall threw privacy to the wind, hosting a slew of personal updates for all to see.  Users were able to make life-changing announcements to hundreds of people at once.  Graduations, college acceptances, births, engagements and more were suddenly announced in short blasts to hundreds at once, often followed by a steady stream of “likes” and “comments.”

However with this new ease of communication, all of a sudden, everything became an event.  Trivial episodes and passing thoughts were crystallized into history with the Facebook Wall.  Petty arguments were broadcast to hundreds, sometimes thousands, and menial statements (e.g. “I’m bored”) ravaged the tubes like wild fire.  When the whole world’s a stage, there is no audience; only actors competing for the spotlight.

The Wall’s influence may never be rivaled.  While Timeline may be its replacement, it will not surpass a platform which streamlined communication, toppled dictators, and told the world how so many teenagers were bored in class.

Rest in Peace, Facebook Wall.  We hardly knew ye, but you let us know our friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances way better than we’d like.

Photo Credit: Funny-Pictures

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TV: Quality Time or a Waste of Time?

Who says TV time isn't family time?Now we all know that watching too much TV is bad.  But do we really know why it’s bad?  Some researchers link it to ADD, aggressive behavior, and an eroding link between families, but isn’t a large majority of that dependent upon the type of TV parents and children are watching?

There’s plenty of pointless TV that jumps from tidbit to tidbit with no context nor contemplation, and most TV news sources don’t do anything to ameliorate the mindless flashing images on the screen.  Likewise, in a world where the average child will watch 8,000 simulated murders by the time they finish middle school and 200,000 by the time they reach 18, who wouldn’t be aggressive?  And as far as eroding links between families, the same can be said of any time and attention-consuming activity.  The only difference is that with TV, we do it way too much (the average family watches 4 hours of TV per day, and that’s one of the more conservative estimates we’ve found), and we rarely do it together.

Some experts say that families should just get rid of the TV, but there’s no reason to go to such extremes.  If you want to assuage some of the damaging effects of TV on your family, don’t just limit how much time is spent watching TV, but how it is watched.  Gather the family to watch an insightful documentary, then discuss afterwards.  Or, find out what your family watches, watch with them and TALK about it.  Distinguish fact from fiction, good lessons from bad, and most importantly, teach yourself and your family to THINK about TV.

Photo Credit: Ambro

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Think Vertically With A Contempo Wall Unit

The AlexanderOn the interior design front, many of us tend to keep our feet on the ground (no problem with that), however we oftentimes let ourselves ignore the importance of a little upward momentum.  Space needs to be used efficiently (no surprise) and a great way to save yourself room on the ground is to look to the sky.

With a freestanding wall unit, you can visually occupy a space from floor to ceiling, letting your space feel warm and inhabited without taking over an abundance of floor space.  Our Contempo Wall Units feature enough storage space to keep all your components in one space along with a flat-screen TV, accessories, and decorations.

Although these wall units are primarily used for entertainment purposes, we build them for so much more.  A wall unit isn’t just a house for your TV and accessories.  It is a piece of your home.  With its size and stature, a Contempo wall unit converts a plain wall into a towering edifice of options, ideas and imagination.

Pictured Above: The Alexander 

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