DESIGNERS WE LOVE. what’s so great about midcentury furniture?

While updating our “favorites” page, I stumbled across some designers who use modern furniture in very different ways. Here is a cover on some of our faves, and why we love them.  

Sasha Emerson
Sasha Emerson shows us that modern design can lie between fun and classic, thus modern and timeless and ultimately, livable. Her attention to detail and color create warm spaces where styles and time periods flow together seamlessly. Her ability to create these crazy-fun yet homely spaces stems from her eccentric taste in the details while pulling modern sophistication from some more demure mid century pieces. After graduating Yale with a degree in theater, we can definitely see how her personality plays out in her flair for the dramatic…

Patterns and upholstery with quiet sophistication. Despite potential misgivings and skepticism from the fashionistas of the world, Merrill takes a risk and proves that she can successfully pull off the pattern on pattern look without being overwhelming, but instead rather endearing. For her, simplicity is in the detail, and she exhibits great taste and style within the little havens she creates.

As a community of designers who obviously love a challenge, the diversity of their work around the world is enticing and astounding. Ranging from the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs to retail stores in Japan and homes in Hollywood, Commune has the ability to make every new space unique and cohesive, yet adventurous and original. Some spaces range from being very simple and warm to sharp and detailed. Incorporating mid century modern furniture with characteristic design elements gives a great range in style and adaptability to the environment. Each space is very unique to the type of ambiance they want to create, yet cohesive in setting an overall tone or theme for the entire space. Commune’s strength is it’s ability to contextualize mid century modern furniture in any (and every) way.

Sally Breer brings some very interesting elements to interior design that serve the purpose of accentuating every room with quiet theatricality. Her consciousness of color themes for every room (grey, green, white, etc) and the dark/light contrast she focuses on brings both the warmth and cool to each space. The detail is also all about the floor – with her use of carpets (classic and modern fuzzy) on well finished wood floors that tie each piece of furniture, thoughtfully placed light fixture or curtain, and painted wall together. The combination of text and visuals further amplifies the feeling of theatrical and cinematic ambiance within the home itself, such as with the black and white photographs that act like stills with the subtitling hanging in the home at Travis Heights. 

As a duo Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe are successful because they bring a compatibility of “his” and “her” points of view to each project that they work on, noticeable in details such as the occasional brown leather comfy chair nestled in the den or a corner of the living room coinciding with bolder colors in the couches, drapes, or patterns in the wallpaper. My personal favorite is their Los Feliz residence in the Los Angeles area. The sweeping ceilings and floors of tile initially grabbed my attention, while Nickey and Kehoe were able to merge such classic design with modern, drawing in the original warm ambiance of the house with warm browns, pinks, and cool turquoise, while incorporating more classic pieces (sink in Los Feliz) with their modern design.
Los Feliz Residence

And of course… Barbara Bestor, architect, designer, artist. Our favorite of faves! Why? Mostly because she uses Amsterdam Modern’s chairs in her award winning design of the Pitfire Pizza Restaurant. But also she reminds us of being young and carefree with her vibrant design. Her use of mid century pieces puts a flare of sophistication in playful, and we can experience trendy and youthfulness in her aesthetic. The bright colors and decorations that look like cool tech gadgets toy with our inner child and brings out some of that young excitement. Her architecture and interior design is not only fun to look at and experience but also sculpturally fascinating…as if looking into a completely imagined space.

Pitfire Pizza

Each of these amazing four designers shows us the versatility of using mid century modern furniture in many aspects of life. And we can find inspiration in their aesthetic when designing our own spaces!


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