Till sleep do us apart, why the modern bedroom is split in two

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Back in 2010, the National Association of Home Builders predicted that one of the strongest 5-year trends in custom-building will be a dual-master bedroom.  This prediction most like ensued from the survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation which revealed a double digit growth in married couples who chose to sleep in separate bedrooms.  While this development in residential interiors is not entirely new, even the cyclical nature of furniture design could not have predicted this surprising revival.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera had separate houses with a bridge connecting them, which could be attributed to their political spotlight.  Many of our grandparents did not share a bedroom in the 50’s, while our parents may have shared a room but slept in side-by-side beds.   But our generation is certainly on point with the king size bed and the idea of a “master” bedroom or a bedroom “suite, denoting a matrimonial oasis with symbolic equivalence to the diamond ring and honeymoon.

So what exactly invaded this sacred institution, converting the occasional “I’ll sleep on the couch” solution to an embedded feature of many newly constructed or recently renovated homes?  For starters, various physical conditions like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome are to blame.  Other obstacles are either kids, who sleep in between their parents or pets that are often welcome to share their owner’s bed.  Other intruders are disguised as various technologies and social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, emails and texts, or as one-sided entertainment choices like SportsCenter or Dancing with the Stars that are less than desirable to the other partner.

The dual master-bedroom trend is catching fire fast with many buyers opting to make sleep a priority and using their more rested state-of-mind and body as a stimuli to healthy marriage amidst a pragmatic lifestyle.  Nonetheless, the critical task of today’s architects, builders and interior designers is to get creative and settle sleep deprivation issues with less emphasis on the separateness, stressing the importance of invigorating yet intimate bedroom spaces where couples can spend most of their time together and still choose to sleep apart, almost like trying to preserve the pillow-talk while having the pillows at different beds.

How often and how the areas behind and underneath heavy furniture should be cleaned?

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

To start with, cleaning behind and under large furniture is not as intimidating as it seems.  If anything, avoiding the shocking discovery of dust and dirt hidden by furniture only when moving or renovating should be the main reason behind planning to better upkeep the more challenging areas of our interiors.  So how often and how should these areas be cleaned?

The hard-to-reach areas like the ones under a bed, around the sofa, and behind the buffet, should be cleaned at least every 6 months.  This can be done by either moving the furniture or creatively reaching the areas under-and-behind these pieces.

But before we proceed with various ways to move furniture, let’s take a step back and discuss the type of furniture that should be selected if the choice is there.  To prevent having to move heavy furniture, albeit twice a year, chose furniture on legs with easy access to the space underneath.  Examples of such options include the Nelson bed by Cattelan Italia, Sunset sectional by Gamma Arredamenti and Tide buffet Karim Rashid for Horm.

Sunset sectional by Gamma Arredamenti

Sunset sectional by Gamma Arredamenti

If the space under the furniture is almost non-existent, try a stick vacuum or any other tool with small footprint.  And also plan ahead.  When installing new furniture or moving in, add felt pads to heavier furniture that are standing on hardwood or tile floors.

Is marriage between modern and country styles possible?

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

One of the most unexpected interior style hybrids combines the wild side of country decor with modern minimalism, delineating an eclectic melange called country-modern.  The stark contrast between these polar styles creates lasting sophistication, warmth and welcoming charm that’s entirely innate to the rustic finishes like wooden beams, distressed surfaces and natural hides.  But this style is also full of contemporary flair like straight lines, floating effects, and shiny materials.

The transformation is particularly astonishing when a typically ultra-modern floating bed like Dylan platform bed by Cattelan Italia, gets a rustic makeover in the form of pony leather.  The result is a country-modern bedroom space that would otherwise be pure and minimal.  And this is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to completing this stylistic phenomenon.  The modern twist to this rustic style continues with a matching pony-leather upholstered Taxedo floor mirror and Casanova chaise lounge, offset by the unexpected crisp blue accents on the wall and through softer accessories.

Incorporating modern and country styles together

Are large scale square dining tables close to extinction?

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Perhaps the most unusual and least common dining room layout is one with a square dining table as its centerpiece.  Why?  While it’s certainly a contemporary choice, the open layouts of today’s living/dining spaces almost necessitate a rectangular or an oval dining option.  And even when the space does call for a square shaped table, many are discouraged by the edges and instead opt for a round dining table.  The resulting design prognosis in such environment where demand drives supply, is a scarcity of modern square dining tables that can accommodate a large party.   However, scarcity does not mean entire extinction which brings forth the awe-inspiring introductions in recent years with awe-inspiring aesthetics. Offering to make conversations easier and dining rooms more dramatic, these designer showpieces are truly awe-inspiring and can be easily paired with curved dining chairs to soften their hard edges.

Topping the list is the Autoreggente dining table by Patrizia Bertolini for Horm which is truly spectacular from every angle.  It’s sculptural but minimal, with the main focus on the purity of its materials, which are either solid walnut or stained natural beech and clear tempered glass top.  Autureggente’s largest size is 71”x71 making it fitting to accommodate 12 people.

Autoreggente dining table by Patrizia Bertolini for Horm

Autoreggente dining table by Patrizia Bertolini for Horm

Autoreggente dining table by Patrizia Bertolini for Horm

Autoreggente dining table by Patrizia Bertolini for Horm

Another stunner is the Mille dining table by Bartoli Design for Bonaldo featuring a striking architectural focal point as its base and a minimalistic aesthetic that transcends color palettes and even stylistic dispositions.  Mille dining table is also available in a 71”x71” size which can accommodate at least 12 guests.

Mille dining table by Bartoli Design for Bonaldo

Mille dining table by Bartoli Design for Bonaldo

What can a Russian doll add to modern interiors?

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

The fascination with the popular Russian nesting doll, Matryoshka, continues to offer aesthetic inspiration to many European designers and manufacturers.  Its folkloric roots along with its familiar structure, shape and the decorative freedom that it extends make it a visual marvel, almost to a point of exoticism, which is why it is not surprising that this archaic muse is front and center (in various adaptations) on the world’s main design stage, Milan’s International Furniture & Accessory Exhibition.

Objects inspired by Russian nesting doll, Matryoshka

Objects inspired by Russian nesting doll, Matryoshka

From recently introduced Earth, Wind & Fire seating collection designed by Gino Carollo for Bonaldo to the Fedora pendants by Dina Loginoff for Axo Light and the Matroshka glass vase set by Maxim Velcovsky, the literal adaptation of the original Matryoshka doll’s feminine silhouette reiterates though many decorative genres and thus translates into a practical interior solution for the modern home.

What’s more, the now famous Matryoshka concept is also used metaphorically, as a nesting principle by the likes of Karim Rashid who applied this philosophy to a furniture solution, fittingly named Matryoshkarim, that offers space saving seating and work of art qualities.

Matryoshkarim by Karim Rashid

Matryoshkarim by Karim Rashid