Florence_Knoll

Florence (Basset) Knoll was considered a champion of world class architecture, designers and professional architects. The inclusive, holistic “total design” belief system she developed embraced architecture, in addition to manufacturing, textiles, interior design, graphics, presentation and advertising. As an exceptional architect herself, she revolutionized indoor space planning with the innovative designs of her time.

Her applied design principles were considered to be a radical departure from standard practices in the 1950s. Eventually, the industry recognized the innovative aspects of her work and the principles were used to solve space issues. Her designs and acumen have continued to stand the test of time as widely utilized solutions.

Born May 24, 1917, she became a protegee of Eero Saarinen while studying at the Kingswood School of Cranbrook Academy of Art located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She also studied architecture at London’s Architectural Association and Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology‘s Armour Institute. She has worked briefly for Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius and Wallace K. Harrison.

She subsequently married and became a full design and business partner of Hans Knoll and formed Knoll Associates in 1946.

Her contributions are considered to be extraordinary to the design and architecture fields. As a result, her talents have garnered her the following honors:

*National Endowment for the Arts’ 2002 National Medal of Arts
*Design Excellence Award in 2004
*The Total Design Award from the American Society of Interior Designers in 1977
*IBD Award, Silver for the Florence Knoll Collection’s Table Desk in 1970
*Design Center Stuttgart Award, West Germany for the Florence Knoll Collection’s Table Desk 1969-70
*Gold Medal for Industrial Design from the American Institute of Architects in 1961
*American Institute of Interior Designers First Award for the Florence Knoll Collection’s Low Tables in 1954

The company she founded with her husband, Knoll Associates, has become an internationally recognized design leader. Under her vision, the company has been credited with inspiring work place furnishings characterized by their evolving and enduring aspects.

Florence Knoll’s commitment to innovative and modern designs has contributed to an extensive portfolio of furnishings related to seating, office systems, files and storage, desks, tables, wood case goods, textiles and accessories. Many of her design products are featured in major art exhibitions and museums across the world. Over forty Knoll design pieces are continually exhibited in the permanent Design Collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The Greener Way to Keep Lawns Green

GreenGrass

Having a beautiful lawn and being eco-friendly at the same time is possible. Home owners who follow a few simple steps will be able to maintain the beautiful yard they desire with a minimal waste of water.

Collect Rain and Bath Water
Purchase at least one rain barrel. Place the rain barrel under your home’s gutters to collect the water run off from the rain. Fill a watering can to give your yard and plants the drink they need. Utilizing rainwater is the most environmentally friendly means of keeping your lawn and plants well hydrated.

Collect Your Bathing Water
This water will have soap in it which will act as a natural weed killer. Using your water for more than one purpose will help reduce water usage in your yard and home.

Reduce Over Watering
Most people over water their grass because they are unsure of how much water is really necessary. If you have pools of standing water or grass growing in your driveway, you are watering too much. Purchase a water moisture meter, it will provide statistics on how much water is truly needed and how much water you are currently providing to your lawn.
One option is to install an intelligent irrigation system. This type of system will inform you how much water is being provided by Mother Nature and how much water needs to be provided by watering. This irrigation system is programmed to provide the exact amount of water needed to keep your lawn looking lush while preserving our most valuable asset on Earth.

Time Your Watering
Only water in the evening or the cool parts of the day. This allows the water to seep in without being absorbed by the sun. If you water during the heat of the day, a great deal of water is wasted and will evaporate before reaching the lawn and plant roots. Timing the watering will result in less water waste and a lush looking lawn.

Fjord Relax Swivel chair

When it comes to Patricia Urquiola’s Fjord Relax Swivel Armchair (named for the inlet shape in the back), one would find it difficult to find a more unique yet relaxing chair to lounge in. The swivel base is coated in powder-coat epoxy finish and the chair itself is made of molded polyurethane foam over steel frame, perfect for those that like a plush feel to their furniture. One also has their pick of two different styles. For those favoring a warm and rich tone, go for the Divina red wool upholstery with white top stitch on red base. If searching for more of a classic feel, one can choose the black leather upholstery with white top stitch on black base.

While the chair is certainly unique, it doesn’t mean that it looks like it belongs in Star Trek. No, the chair blends clean, simple lines with small details like the stitching on top. If one doesn’t want to sacrifice comfort for a modern style, one can’t go wrong with this chair. Not only is this chair ridiculously comfortable but it also comes with an ottoman, called the Fjord Stone.

Another benefit of this quirky chair is that it is bound to be a great conversation starter. For instance, if you invite guests over to your place, they will immediately want to sit in the chair and marvel over the shape. A crowd will no doubt congregate about the chair and demand to know where you bought it so that they can run out and buy it for their own houses. Friends will begin to ask you for advice on decorating. If that’s not a incentive, I don’t know what is!

Afraid that you won’t have enough space in your living room to buy the chair? No worries. The Fjord chair won’t take up that much space at all. It’s ideal for small rooms and can be tucked neatly away into a corner.

The only possible deterrent to buying the chair is cost. However, if you have the budget for it, I say go ahead and buy it. After all, how often do you come across pieces of furniture that is modern, sleek and comfortable?

The Furniture of Eero Saarinen

eero saarinen tulip

At the age of thirteen, Eero Saarinen arrived in America with his family from Finland. Eero studied sculpture and furniture design at Cranbrook Academy, a school his architect father, Eilel, co-founded in Michigan. The young Saarinen also studied in Paris1 and at the Yale School of Architecture2 before returning to Cranbrook Academy to teach.

Eventually, he collaborated with colleagues Charles Eames and Florence Knoll, designing a furniture collection called “Organic Design in Home Furnishings”. The collection, entered in an exhibition held by New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1940, won first prize; one of many accolades for Saarinen.

With regard to his architectural influence, one can easily recognize his impact on the landscape. Saarinen designed many prominent buildings, including airport terminals and corporate headquarters buildings for IBM, John Deere and CBS.1 The Gateway Arch in St. Louis may be his most recognizable architectural work.

Saarinen‘s modern furniture designs are just as familiar. His is the brilliant mind behind creations such as the Tulip table and chair, and the Womb chair, among others. Saarinen’s thinking behind the Tulip design, also known as Pedestal, was to “clear up the slum of legs in the U.S. home.”2; bringing airy simplicity into the modern household.

Mr. Saarinen’s design of the Womb chair stemmed from a request by his friend Florence Knoll. She wished for a chair that she could curl up in. The Womb Chair delivered with style. Created as a singular piece that is ergonomically shaped, the warmly padded structure invites and then cocoons its occupant.

His eye for streamlined comfort was so appealing that his clients frequently asked him to not only design their buildings, but the furniture inside them as well. His sofa design for the lobbies of the General Motors Technology Center in Michigan is one such project. The man who created cozy allure with the curved lines of the Womb Chair demonstrated exceptional skill, making straight lines and sharply cornered block forms look attractively comfortable. Inspired by the design of stock car seats, the boldly geometrical seating series is strong and inviting with a polished chrome framework that cradles sumptuously squared cushions.

The clean lines of his furniture and architecture are utterly aesthetic and functional. His “mid-century Scandinavian organic modernism is again in demand, as demonstrated by the popularity of stores like Ikea. Organic, ergonomic design is just what today’s eco-conscious consumer is drawn to.

French Country Bathroom

The bathroom is an area that gives a homeowner the chance to combine good design, efficiency and functionality into a pleasing space. Bathrooms are sometimes hastily designed to be purely functional resulting in a room that is unpleasant to occupy. There are a few basic tips that can be followed when revamping a bathroom that will create an enjoyable and relaxing space:

Design The Bathroom Like A Room

During the design stage the same considerations that are given to a living room, kitchen or home office should be applied to the bathroom. This means doing more than just arranging a toilet, sink and tub in any way that will fit.

Furniture like vanities for bathrooms and wall shelves should be considered in the design. The bathroom should have defined areas that are dedicated to a specific purpose. Each area should be spaced logically in relation to the others to create a well thought-out room in the home.

Use Low-Flow Toilets And Faucet Aerators

Part of revamping a bathroom involves updating fixtures and making the room more efficient. One way to do this is to use toilets that have a low-flow mechanism. This will reduce water usage while still allowing the toilet to function as expected.

Another simple way to make a bathroom more efficient is to install aerators in the faucets on the sink and shower. Aerators reduce water usage by a large amount without reducing pressure. This also saves on water heating costs.

Choose Quality Fixtures

New fixtures can help to define the decor in a bathroom. It is important to choose quality fixtures that match the surrounding design scheme. Fixtures like faucets for a sink can be made from many different types of materials. Spending a little extra to purchase fixtures that will not corrode quickly can mean a more cost-effective bathroom over time. Quality fixtures will also have fewer problems, will be easier to clean and will work more efficiently.

Make The Bathroom Accessible

Part of revamping a bathroom means ensuring that it is safe for everyone who will use it. People with limited mobility will benefit from a shower that has a low threshold so that it is easy to enter and leave the area. Vanities for bathrooms should be the correct height for use so that excessive bending or reaching is not necessary.

Additionally, each element of the a bathroom from the toilet to the cabinets on the walls should be placed so that there is enough space to move comfortably inside of the room without straining and contorting.

Revamping the bathroom can really help to change the dynamic of the adjoining rooms. It will establish a functional space that blends in well with the rest of the home. Making choices based on safety, water efficiency and good design principles will ensure that the bathroom will be a valued addition to the home for years to come.

What’s the Best Lighting For the Kitchen?

lighting-for-kitchens

The kitchen is the heart of the home. Besides a place where meals are prepared, the kitchen is central to many utilitarian activities. It’s also one of the most popular places in the home to entertain guests. People gather in the kitchen to mingle, nibble on food and relax during social gatherings. Kids work on their school projects on the kitchen counter, too. For these reasons, it is essential that the kitchen’s lighting is versatile.

Begin with the available natural light in the home’s kitchen. Effectively using natural light is an excellent way to reduce energy usage and brighten up the kitchen at the same time. Consider installing two or more large windows in the kitchen to allow daylight to pour into the home. Another way to let natural light into the kitchen is by installing a skylight. Skylights provide an open feel to the kitchen as well as letting in plenty of daylight. A less expensive alternative to a traditional skylight is a light tube. These tubes, or light pipes, are designed to transport light from one area to another by using advanced optics. Some light tubes even have a built-in shutter controlled by a traditional light switch.

Main kitchen lights are typically installed in panels above the center of the kitchen. Traditional florescent tubes or cold-cathode florescent lamps should be used due to their much greater efficiency over incandescent bulbs. Several color temperatures are available to suit personal tastes. Decorative panels are available to hide the main kitchen lamps and diffuse the light.

A separate light source above the kitchen sink should also be installed. Usually, a single lamp on its own switch is sufficient. This lamp’s color temperature should be warmer than the main kitchen lights to add contrast. Be sure that the sink’s light is very bright.

Accent lighting above the kitchen table and counter provide even more versatility. Lamps that hang down from the ceiling are ideal. The lamp shades offer another opportunity to add flare to the kitchen’s decor. These lamps should be configured on a dimmer switch with compatible bulbs to allow variation in their brightness.

Under-cabinet lighting adds the final touch to the kitchen’s lighting system. These lamps should be on two or three highly localized switches. Under-cabinet lights configured this way can throw light upon specific areas of the kitchen and pleasantly complete the kitchen’s lighting system.

Giving Your Bathroom an Eco Makeover

p_eco-bathroom_1618137c

The bathroom is an area that gives a homeowner the chance to combine good design, efficiency and functionality into a pleasing space. Bathrooms are sometimes hastily designed to be purely functional resulting in a room that is unpleasant to occupy. There are a few basic tips that can be followed when revamping a bathroom that will create an enjoyable and relaxing space:

Design The Bathroom Like A Room

During the design stage the same considerations that are given to a living room, kitchen or home office should be applied to the bathroom. This means doing more than just arranging a toilet, sink and tub in any way that will fit.
Furniture like vanities for bathrooms and wall cabinets should be considered in the design. The bathroom should have defined areas that are dedicated to a specific purpose. Each area should be spaced logically in relation to the others to create a well thought-out room in the home.

Use Low-Flow Toilets And Faucet Aerators

Part of revamping a bathroom involves updating fixtures and making the room more efficient. One way to do this is to use toilets that have a low-flow mechanism. This will reduce water usage while still allowing the toilet to function as expected.
Another simple way to make a bathroom more efficient is to install aerators in the faucets on the sink and shower. Aerators reduce water usage by a large amount without reducing pressure. This also saves on water heating costs.

Choose Quality Fixtures

New fixtures can help to define the decor in a bathroom. It is important to choose quality fixtures that match the surrounding design scheme. Fixtures like faucets for a sink can be made from many different types of materials. Spending a little extra to purchase fixtures that will not corrode quickly can mean a more cost-effective bathroom over time. Quality fixtures will also have fewer problems, will be easier to clean and will work more efficiently.

Make The Bathroom Accessible

Part of revamping a bathroom means ensuring that it is safe for everyone who will use it. People with limited mobility will benefit from a shower that has a low threshold so that it is easy to enter and leave the area. Vanities for bathrooms should be the correct height for use so that excessive bending or reaching is not necessary.

Additionally, each element of the a bathroom from the toilet to the cabinets on the walls should be placed so that there is enough space to move comfortably inside of the room without straining and contorting.

Revamping the bathroom can really help to change the dynamic of the adjoining rooms. It will establish a functional space that blends in well with the rest of the home. Making choices based on safety, water efficiency and good design principles will ensure that the bathroom will be a valued addition to the home for years to come.