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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Entries from the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Finding Inspiration in Finnish and Modern Design

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Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen was critical to the success of the Michigan-based design school Cranbrook. His students included the Eamses', Florence Knoll and Harry Bertoia. So it is no surprise that his 1930s house, built on the campus, has some fine design elements. I particularly love the idea of painting or gold leafing the ceiling; here it is done so well in a magnificent gold.

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It has me thinking that this could work for a recessed ceiling in my living room. It would add a bit of architectural detailing that seems modern and polished and give the space a more finished look.

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another view

Also, check out the unique use of wall covering, the living room's fireplace and bookcase. Love it! And, is that a rug covering the bench? Clever.

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Finally, here's a great example of a mid-century modern color palette from a Marcel Breuer designed home. Though originally created for an architectural exhibition in the 1950s, the space's color combination of blue, ivory and orange still feels fresh and classic. I am looking forward to accessorizing my sofa with some color, perhaps in the pillows and maybe some soft orange and hints of blue.

I love the color combination of blue, ivory and orange

I love the color combination of blue, ivory and orange

*Photo Credit: The World of Interiors, images 1-3 from November 2009 issue, image 4 from September 2009 issue.

Palm Springs Modern

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One of my favorite recent trips was to Palm Springs, CA - a national treasure with stunning modernist architecture. I loved Palm Springs so much that I had to bring some of it back with me, so I bought tons of great books on architecture and interior design while I was there. One of my favorites is a book called "Palm Springs Modern," written by Adele Cygelman and photographed by David Glomb. Here are some of the images that struck me the most:

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From this aerial shot, it's easy to see why Palm Springs was such a hot spot for 1950s starlet's to escape to - it's in the middle of nowhere!

1 From this aerial shot, it's easy to see why Palm Springs was such a hot spot for 1950s starlet's to escape to - it's in the middle of nowhere!

The Raymond Loewy House was designed by the famous Palm Springs-based architect, Albert Frey. Though I love the irreverence and imagination behind the pool, which extends into the living areas, I would be afraid of my guests taking an unwanted dip during cocktail parties!

2 The Raymond Loewy House was designed by the famous Palm Springs-based architect, Albert Frey. Though I love the irreverence and imagination behind the pool, which extends into the living areas, I would be afraid of my guests taking an unwanted dip during cocktail parties!

This is a stunning black and white shot looking out at the Loewy House pool and the vast stretch of desert, mountain range and rolling clouds beyond. Those large blown-glass vessels to the left and far background also catch my eye. The owners filled them with pink-colored water - I'd like to try this on a smaller scale in the powder room.

3 This is a stunning black and white shot looking out at the Loewy House pool and the vast stretch of desert, mountain range and rolling clouds beyond. Those large blown-glass vessels to the left and far background also catch my eye. The owners filled them with pink-colored water - I'd like to try this on a smaller scale in the powder room.

The dining room of the Kaufmann House, with Eames chairs and a Raymond Loewy-designed rug. The wall of glass to the left mimics the open wall to the right. It's an invitation to bring the outdoors in, and it inspires me to create a botanical garden on my deck.

4 The dining room of the Kaufmann House, with Eames chairs and a Raymond Loewy-designed rug. The wall of glass to the left mimics the open wall to the right. It's an invitation to bring the outdoors in, and it inspires me to create a botanical garden on my deck.

I love the low lying lounge chairs, floor pillows and table featured in this open room of the Kaufmann house (called

5 I love the low lying lounge chairs, floor pillows and table featured in this open room of the Kaufmann house (called "the gloriette" by designer Richard Nuetra). They're closeness to the floor creates an air of comfort and luxury - something I'm aiming for in my apartment.

Julius Schulman, a pillar of modernist architectural photography, took this iconic exterior shot of the Kaufman house -

6 Julius Schulman, a pillar of modernist architectural photography, took this iconic exterior shot of the Kaufman house - "Twilight."

The designers of this home, Donald Wexler and Ric Harris, said that the only materials they ever used were steel, concrete, and glass, as they are

7 The designers of this home, Donald Wexler and Ric Harris, said that the only materials they ever used were steel, concrete, and glass, as they are "all appropriate to the desert climate" and resistant to earthquakes and termites. My building employs the same materials, but luckily I don't have to worry about the earthquakes and termites!

Here's an interior shot of the Wexler & Harris home with original terrazzo floors, which were hidden under unsightly shag carpeting for decades until the current owner discovered them! I considered a similar flooring option but am happy with my final decision to go with bleached wood.

8 Here's an interior shot of the Wexler & Harris home with original terrazzo floors, which were hidden under unsightly shag carpeting for decades until the current owner discovered them! I considered a similar flooring option but am happy with my final decision to go with bleached wood.

I want to pull every piece of furniture from this photo and place it in my living room! I love everything here - from the clean, crisp sofas to the angular leather and metal chairs and geometric shelving to the right of the mantel. *(correction: the

9 I want to pull every piece of furniture from this photo and place it in my living room! I love everything here - from the clean, crisp sofas to the angular leather and metal chairs and geometric shelving to the right of the mantel. *(correction: the "shelving" is actually the work of artist Donald Judd)

I'd love to have a spot like this in my library to sit down and leaf through all of my books.

10 I'd love to have a spot like this in my library to sit down and leaf through all of my books.

Color Story

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I am painting my entire apartment a khaki color and am constantly on the lookout for accent colors that will give each room a personality. When I saw Colefax and Fowler designer Emma Burns' country home in England, I wanted to put into practice some of her color principles, particularly the color scheme in the dining room. The wall color is very similar to what I imagine my apartment will be. I love how she uses deep, saturated purples as accent colors in the accessories (apron, plate, and candles), chair fabric, and flower arrangements.

Emma Burns' dining room color palette inspires me to think about purple in a new way.

Oddly enough, a few pages after the story, the London company 'And So To Bed' had an advertisement with the same palette.