Elements of Modern Country

When designing homes for my clients, I see a common thread. They all want their spaces to be warm & inviting; casual, comfortable, unpretentious and where you can put your feet up without worry and judgement. Hence the surge of the modern farmhouse and enter modern country or new country. It’s rustic living without being too rustic, it’s simple, yet it’s filled with furnishings that screams a “passion for craftsmanship allowing the natural materials to shine through.” I came across this book that celebrates all of that and more; Modern Living | New Country by the amazing interiors journalist & design writer Claire Bingham {she was the Homes Editor for Elle Decoration UK and her work has been featured in international glossies, including Vogue Living and Architectural Digest}.

There are tons of eye-candy in this book; you’ll find a Moroccan villa, a French chalet, a Nordic log cabin — the book re-interprets what “country” is. But my best takeaways are the practical tips to achieve this look, here are my Top 10.

modern-country

Let’s examine what I mean by each one, shall we?

1/ Layers: The lived-in look is all about layering and mixing & matching. Love 2 rugs for your living room? Why not layer & use them both? Have so many textures going on & think it may be too much? The answer is “No.” Go ahead and have linen, velvets, kilims & sheepskin all in one space.

2/ Whitewash Walls: In the era of shiplap {thanks Joanna Gaines}, whitewash walls takes it to another level of rustic. Don’t think whitewashing can be done to wood only, essentially any surface can be whitewashed — sheetrock walls, brick, anything!

3/ Vintage Tub: I saw lots of them in this book & for good reason. They are just so adorable & gives a bathroom so much character. A simple refinishing is just what a vintage tub needs but if you find one, don’t get it refinished to where it’s too pristine; the wear & tear should still shine through.

4/ Ticking: That casual fabric made of cotton & textile used in the old days to cover mattresses & pillows is now used as upholstery,linens & napkins, cushion covers & even drapery. I’m rather partial to red ticking. See some of my fabric obsessions here & here.

5/ Functional Spaces: This seems like a no-brainer but how many of us have spaces in our homes that literally have no function? In a modern country home, each space is important. The stair landing may hold a cabinet storing extra linens or a wall niche may hold firewood logs.

6/ Natural Hues: The organic tones of wood, the crisp whiteness of clouds, the ashen gray & black hues of burnt firewood.

7/ Salvaged Rustic Pieces: What is country without rustic pieces right? A factory cart turned into a coffee table, lighting suspended on old pulleys, old barn doors turned into wall art, the list goes on.

8/ Wood Beams: Of course, right? Get some reclaimed ones while you’re at it. It will be perfect!

9/ Rethink Wood Floors: Real wood floors — it’s timeless, it’s classic. But give it a modern twist — mix it with other materials. By now, you’ve probably seen a lot of the tile-wood combo where the tile bleeds on the wooden floors {or is it the other way around?}; you would need a geometric tile & at Fireclay tile, the possibilities are endless.

10/ Linens + Slipcovers: Dress your seating in this type of fabric — they just spell comfort.

More eye candy ….
modern-country-bedrooms new country living room

denim chair and ticking

From top left: 1. A white bedroom with canopy makes for a New Country bedroom dream 2. A rustic French chalet makes way for a Rococo bed 3. A very Scandinavian Living room 4. A glorious nook

The verdict for the book? Two thumbs up & five stars — you will not be disappointed with a whole slew of inspiration & heaps of practical tips — to making the most of small spaces to lessons in layering. Go get it at Teneues or it’s here on Amazon too! It’s a must have for every design enthusiast & a perfect coffee table book.

Modern Living New Country Book

Rug Pile 101

Some weekends, I intently think about how to make a blog post that will make the topic of rug pile exciting {yes, not all weekends are exciting}. But hey, although rug shopping is mostly fun — thinking about color, size, shape & patterns, form and function is important. Thus, please consider the rug pile height when you’re selecting the right rug for your room.

What is rug pile?

Rug pile is essentially the density of a rug’s fibers. Longer pile usually equals a softer feel, while a shorter pile generally equates to a more rugged, durable texture. The height of the pile is the actual height of a rug measured from the rug backing to the top of the rug surface. These pieces of information can be helpful when you are buying a rug online since you don’t have the opportunity to get up close and personal until you buy the rug.

The best way to visually understand rug pile and pile height is to see the two ends of the pile spectrum. On one end is low pile, think flatweave rug. These fibers are tightly woven and kept short causing them to look and feel flat. On the other end is high pile, think of a super plush shag rug. High-pile rugs are made of longer, looser threads, hence the soft plush feel.

Ok, now you know WHAT pile and pile height are, but what does this all mean for the interior design of your home? How does this help you in your hunt for the perfect rug? In some rooms or areas of your home, understanding the pros and cons of the different pile heights can come in handy! Here are some tips from RothRugs.com for helping you pick the right rug and pile height for every room.

rug-pile-101

Flat, Low less than 1/4″ (low); 1/4″ to 1/2″ (medium); 1/2″ to 3/4″ (plush)

Dining Room

For a dining room we recommend a low pile rug. The reasoning here is simple, you need it to be easy and smooth to pull out a chair. A low pile rug will also hopefully cut back on the amount of spilling that happens from tripping over the rug.

Bedrooms

For bedrooms, it is completely personal preference. If the room is for a young child or if there is a pet and you often find yourself on the floor, it might make sense to have a higher pile but not too high (meaning steer clear of shag rugs). You want something that is soft and cushiony but not so high that it makes it difficult to clean should your little one have an accident.

chair

Living Rooms & Dens

This rug choice depends partially on personal preference and partially on how the room will be used. If your living room is more of a formal sitting area, any pile height could work. If the room is set up for movie watching and laid back family time, a pile similar to the bedroom choice makes the most sense.

dining

Kitchen

Whether the rug is for under a kitchen table or in a high traffic area you most likely want a shorter, denser pile. This will help with sliding chairs again, as well as with the annoying problem of pile crushing. This is what happens when either heavy furniture weighs down on a rug, or constant traffic stepping on the rug flattens it out. There are many tips for helping to battle pile crushing, but that is for another day.

kitchen

So, the next time you are rug shopping — don’t forget that oh-so-important {and exciting} criteria of rug pile height.

5 Mid-Century Modern Brands to Love

We’re no longer in the 50’s but just like how fashion evolves, interior design takes it’s cues from the past. When designing a home with clients who loves Mid-Century modern, I guess I can say I’m not a purist. I like mixing & matching and taking the design style to now & meld it with the styles of other eras as well.

Mid-Century Modern {MCM} is more than a buzz word {not just in Austin but definitely beyond}. If you’re into the contemporary & minimalist vibe, pared-down forms, organic & natural materials and no fuss, no muss functional furniture, this style is for you! The brands above are some of my go-tos, some affordable, some are not but love that they took MCM back in the mainstream {Article, Bludot, Joybird, DWR, Rove Concepts}.

Exterior Cladding // 3 Things to Think About

Vertical Wood & Wood Slats + Black or Gray // Modern + Organic Cladding

Vertical Wood & Wood Slats + Black or Gray // Modern + Organic Cladding

I know, I know this is probably not the most exciting of posts but hey, you want your home to have curb appeal right? Have that wow factor where your neighbors or passers-by will take a second look at the exterior of your home & subtlely tell themselves, “I want that.”

These days, there are so many house cladding options on the market that it can be difficult to choose one that’s right for you and your home. But first, what is cladding? Simply, a covering of a structure or material. Whether you’re building a house for the first time, or fixing up an old house to look like new, there are many things to consider while you choose the cladding that is right for you.

1/ The B word again, your Budget

One of the biggest things to consider when choosing your cladding is your budget. The price of different materials can vary widely, both because of the material itself and because of the amount of time and expertise required to install each type of cladding.

Materials like stone and brick are toward the top of the price list, because they typically require a skilled team of experts for installation. Many homeowners are incapable of installing these materials themselves because of the required equipment and skills.

Materials like vinyl cladding, however, are typically cheaper because of the material but also because installation is much easier. In fact, some homeowners choose to install vinyl cladding themselves — though you should only do this if you feel comfortable.

2/ Your Taste

One of the biggest considerations when deciding on the cladding for your home is your taste and personality. Your home is a reflection of yourself, and its appearance is important.

Each type of cladding has a different look, and many can be personalized even further. There are many different types of wood cladding in different shapes, sizes, types of wood, and even directions. Vinyl cladding comes in a variety of shapes and colors as well.

Even brick has a ton of variety when it comes to the color and size of the bricks, the color of the grout, and whether or not you choose to paint over it.

When you step back and look at all the options out there — stucco, stone, brick, vinyl, wood, engineered materials, metal, fiber-cement, and so much more — every type has ways of further modifying and customizing to make sure your home looks exactly the way you want it to.

Farmhouse Classic in White or Gray Siding

Farmhouse Classic in White or Gray Siding

3/ Weathering

Another important consideration is how well your chosen material will hold up to the weather, whether that’s rain, snow, sun, wind, or anything else. Certain materials perform really well against common types of weather, but others don’t.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t get a certain material because it doesn’t hold up well against weather — it just means that if you decide to use that material, you’ll also need to install other forms of weather proofing to ensure the interior of your home doesn’t fall victim to the next big rain storm.

Honey-hued wood in gray or horizontal is amazing as an exterior cladding option

Honey-hued wood in gray or horizontal is amazing as an exterior cladding option

Brick does not hold up well against water, but does well against intense heat and sunshine. Stone typically holds up well against many types of weather. Wood does not do well against many types of weather, and requires much more upkeep because of that.

When it comes to choosing a material that will hold up to the elements, it’s best to consider your location and ask a professional about what would work best for you.

A Q & A with Travis Young of Studio Momentum | 2017 Austin Modern Homes Tour

Are you enjoying this Spring-Summer and it still should be Winter weather or what? Austin is definitely made for outdoor living and it’s no wonder why, there’s a slew of architects and homeowners that makes it a point to make their outdoor space an extension of their interior abode. This weekend is the Austin Modern Homes Tour, get your tickets and get ready to be inspired!

Read my post on one of the amazing properties by Bercy Chen Studio and lucky me, I also got to do a Q & A with the visionary behind 1705 Collier, Travis Young of Studio Momentum. 

The backyard at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

The backyard at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

1/ How does Studio Momentum approach a project? First steps taken? 

The initial steps include a discussion of the goals and parameters of the project.  Oftentimes, this includes a frank conversation about the budget, the site, and the timeline.  In the case of the Collier residence, our firm acted as the architect and the builder, so meeting budget limitations was our responsibility from the beginning.  Secondly, we do a thorough examination of the constraints of the site.

For inner city lots, in existing neighborhoods constraints can be significant.  The City of Austin has numerous restrictions on the amount, size and scale of development.  Trees and topography as well as solar orientation all impact the site in very specific ways and we like to start with the right information to avoid pitfalls down the road.  Lastly, we must be clear about the time it takes to design, permit, bid and build a residential project.  For the Collier project, we spent approximately 17 months from the very first initial meeting to completion of the construction.

2/ What are the materials used in the Collier St. project & why?

The materials used in the Collier project are stone, stucco, steel and wood.  The stone and wood siding are regionally produced.  The stucco and steel is durable and designed to withstand the central Texas climate with very little or no maintenance over time.  The decking material is called Bam Deck, and is a composite product made of recycled plastic and bamboo fibers.  The interior flooring is a seven species, antique, reclaimed wood, that shows it’s patina and original saw marks.  This particular product was picked for its varied color and textured surface which would show less dirt, and allow the client’s dogs to get a better grip on the flooring, thus minimizing the appearance of scratches.

The kitchen at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

3/ Tell me more about the round cut outs made in one of the interior spaces & exterior space.

All things have a reason, and all things have been done before.  With that said, this particular detail provides a counterpoint to the many rectilinear forms seen in the house.  These circular openings mark thresholds between busy and quiet spaces.  They are intended to mark points of respite within and outside the home.  The keyhole entryway near the front of the house leads to a smaller “zen” space that is adjacent to the relaxing sound of the front porch fountain.  In the case of the outdoor covered porch, the opening allows views into the neighbors bamboo grove.  In this case, the neighbors are also the parents of the homeowners, so this connection is warranted.  Lastly, there is a beautiful art deco home near Shoal Creek called the Bolm house here in Austin.  This home has a similar keyhole feature.  In the Bolm Residence the keyhole passage is equipped with custom pocket doors.

This keyhole entry struck me as both functional and beautiful.  Architecture should have moments of joy.

4/ The balcony fence design is very interesting, tell me more about that.

We wanted to have something that met the criteria of the code, providing a fall guard at the balcony, that also reflected the exterior environment.  In particular we wanted something to blend and complement the massive trees that mark the site.  The home is designed around these trees, and each balcony projects into the canopy of a particular tree.  All standard railing designs seemed to stand in stark contrast to the organic natural forms of the canopy.  

This railing design attempts to mediate between that which is man made, and that which is natural.  It attempts to obscure the top edge of the guard rail, allowing the vertical flow of light and space.  The pattern is repeated, and modified at each corner, creating a musical rhythm.  

The front facade at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

The front facade at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

Thank you so much Travis! And yes, we totally agree — architecture should have moments of joy!

Peek inside Austin’s most coveted contemporary homes and explore throughout: 

 

3201 Sunny Lane, Austin, TX 78731 (Riverside Homes LLC)

1207 E. 13th Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Verde Builders Custom Homes)

1705 Collier Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Studio Momentum Architects)*

2111 De Verne Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Barley|Pfeiffer Architecture)*

2804 S. 4th Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Bercy Chen Studio LP)*

2003 De Verne Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Steve Zagorski Architect)

4911 Timberline Drive, Austin, TX 78746 (Bade Stageberg Cox)

1606 Salina Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Newcastle Homes)

1608 Salina Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Newcastle Homes)

3306 Lakeside Drive, Austin, TX 78723 (Thurman Homes)^

2800 San Juan Drive, Austin, TX 78733 (The Value of Architecture, Bercy Chen Studio LP)*^

5111 Crestway Drive, Austin, TX 78731 (Grey Raven LLC)^

2207 Townes Lane, Austin, TX 78703 (Winn Wittman Architecture)*^

Get your map and get your tix HERE >>>. And because I’m feeling extra generous, get $5 off with this discount code, MAUREEN2017.

Austin Modern Homes Tour 2017 | 5 Things to Know about 2800 San Juan

The Austin architectural landscape is as diverse as they come — from traditional homes to Tuscan villas in & around the Lake, from mid-century modern homes to French chateaus, but the ones making waves are the clean lines with both aesthetic & sustainable sensibilities. This weekend, brace yourself for another awe-inspiring Austin Modern Homes Tour.

Living Room 2800 San Juan Austin

Last Thursday, I met with the Design-Build team for one of the projects featured in the tour, 2800 San Juan. It’s easy to be intimidated by award-winning & internationally acclaimed architects but Thomas {Bercy} & Sasha of Bercy Chen Studio is as Austin-friendly as they come. The site visit was both enlightening as it was educational. If you are attending {and you better!}, you must make it a point to check out the property. Here are 5 Things to Know about the Property:

1/ There are 2 homes built opposite each other, each one symmetrical in plan and design but the other one rotated at 90 degrees.

2/ The homes are built for outdoor living. There are open vistas bleeding to a view of the neighboring house creating a “borrowed” and Zen-like landscape as well as the rest of the hill country on the horizon. Which really begs the question, aren’t we all intertwined and interconnected? If you didn’t notice, I was getting a tad political there for a second.

3/ They built a contrast between the upstairs & the downstairs, case in point, there is dark stained concrete floors downstairs & upstairs are white {and bleached some more} oak floors. Walls are thinner upstairs {look for the indention} than downstairs. According to Sasha, “we want the downstairs to read as a carved out piece so we decided to go with a thicker material on the lower level so it would read as a block that was being carved out with the courtyards.”

A mix of materials, Corten Steel + Stucco Base & bleached, white oak floors {no it's not a typo}

A mix of materials, Corten Steel + Stucco Base & bleached, white oak floors {no it’s not a typo}

4/ There is beauty in imperfection. Look for their take on Wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetics of the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The oxidation of Corten steel to the stucco base creates an imperfection that’s impermanent & incomplete, continually evolving and yes, imperfectly perfect!

5/ The mix of materials is a study of different cultures. The structure itself is a take on the artistry & sculptures of Mexican artist, Yazpik — thick stucco base at the bottom, thin Corten steels for the top. The outdoor living space upstairs has Brazilian Massaranduba floors unmistakable for it’s rich red hue. The perforated steel inspired by Moroccan shapes & cutouts. The cabinets are European. White oak floors are so Scandinavian & the Lueder limestone in the bathrooms, well, it’s from Lueder, Texas. Of course, there’s the Japanese influence {wabi-sabi} and the Zen-like courtyards. Look also for the beautiful Walnut kitchen cabinet doors, custom made in Austin. So, I would say that’s 6 cultures all together, 7 if you consider the Texan culture as distinct {and it is, right?}.

Walnut Kitchen Cabinet Doors 2800 San Juan Austin

Photos by Andrea Calo

Thank you so much Sasha & Thomas!

Architecture is more than meets the eye, guys! When you go on the tour, step into the minds of the architects, feel the materials, look for inspiration and revel in the beauty that Modern Architecture in Austin has to offer.

Peek inside Austin’s most coveted contemporary homes and explore throughout: 

3201 Sunny Lane, Austin, TX 78731 (Riverside Homes LLC)

1207 E. 13th Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Verde Builders Custom Homes)

1705 Collier Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Studio Momentum Architects)*

2111 De Verne Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Barley|Pfeiffer Architecture)*

2804 S. 4th Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Bercy Chen Studio LP)*

2003 De Verne Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Steve Zagorski Architect)

4911 Timberline Drive, Austin, TX 78746 (Bade Stageberg Cox)

1606 Salina Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Newcastle Homes)

1608 Salina Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Newcastle Homes)

3306 Lakeside Drive, Austin, TX 78723 (Thurman Homes)^

2800 San Juan Drive, Austin, TX 78733 (The Value of Architecture, Bercy Chen Studio LP)*^

5111 Crestway Drive, Austin, TX 78731 (Grey Raven LLC)^

2207 Townes Lane, Austin, TX 78703 (Winn Wittman Architecture)*^

Get your map and get your tix HERE >>>. And because I’m feeling extra generous, get $5 off with this discount code, MAUREEN2017.

Shaping the Conversation | Women in Architecture – Austin

If there is one profession I’m intimidated yet utterly respectful & enthusiastic about is the field of architecture. I believe that it is so amazing that everyday, the genius of architects shape our physical environment & the way we live meeting both our functional needs and an outlet for creative expression. Reference.com states, “At a deeper level, architecture provides an expression of human civilization at a fixed point in time, which endures as a monument for study by future generations.”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Wendy Dunnam Tita, chair of AIA Austin’s newest committee, Women in Architecture regarding the role of women architects in Austin & beyond. Their inaugural three-week event, Shape the Conversation, started February 8th & will continue through March 2nd

The Exhibit on 2nd St. District | Photo Credit: Andrea Calo

The Exhibit on 2nd St. District | Photo Credit: Andrea Calo

1/ What do you think is the importance of addressing gender disparity {if you think there is one} in architecture?

There have been a number of well done, national surveys conducted in the last few years that point to the same conclusions.  The conclusions are not exactly the same for women as minorities.  For women, there is actually a fairly equitable number of women and men graduating from architecture schools.  The disparity occurs in actual licensure, career advancement, and pay equity.  For minorities, the disparity starts earlier, in the lower diversity of students both entering and graduating from architecture schools.

As a profession, we will be made stronger when we address the root sources of these numbers, which include some of the same causes we see in other professions: unintended bias, a profession with a higher ratio of hours in the office, lack of flexibility, plus a high reliance on recent project and technical credentials that make it hard to re-enter after taking time off for children.

The Early Career Leadership Program, currently in development at AIA Austin, is intended to address many of these issues for both women and men.

2/ What would you like to see change in the future?

What I hope happens in our profession is that talent, hard work, creativity and problem solving skills are more equally recognized. Those qualities in women need to be recognized and rewarded, closing the gap in disparities in advancement and compensation between men and women. 

Opening Celebration of Women in Architecture "Shape the Conversation" | Photo Credit: Atelier Wong

Opening Celebration of Women in Architecture “Shape the Conversation” | Photo Credit: Atelier Wong

3/ Who are your inspiration as far as “Women in architecture”?

Everyone involved in the Women in Architecture exhibits and events series in Austin has said that we have been each other’s greatest inspiration.  From the Fellows —  like Heather McKinney, Elizabeth Danze, Emily Little, and Donna Carter who have shared their stories of Women in Architecture in Austin in the early to mid 1980s — to the students, early career women involved, and all of the others in between.  It has been an incredible treat to spend time working side by side, hearing one another’s stories and inspirations.  We feel like we are sharing the work of many hands to raise the boat for everyone.

4/ How do you think Austin architecture is evolving?

Architecture is at a “both/and” point in Austin.  We are so fortunate to have a rich and broad maker culture here that extends way beyond just “making music.”  This allows us to reinforce “place” with an authenticity that tells us where things came from and provide a granular texture that has always been a part of Austin.  At the same time, Austin is very comfortable advancing as a high-tech center, and we are getting new influences every day.  This is allowing us to become more nationally relevant and economically sustainable. 

One thing that is evident from the exhibit is that women are a huge part of this evolution.  The talent in this city is touching all scales and aspects of design from city planning, landscape design, to important buildings and homes, with all types of clients.

I can’t think of a better time to be a part of Austin’s architecture and design community!

Photo Credit: Atelier Wong

Photo Credit: Atelier Wong

  _______________________

Thank you for an insightful Q & A Wendy! The list of events & exhibits are below or check out the link here. Austin, let us support the people shaping our very own world.

Women in Architecture: Shape the Conversation

February 8 Opening Dialog & AIA Austin Reception

Featured Guest Speaker Amale Andraos (Dean of Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation)

Jessen Auditorium, UT School of Architecture // 5:00PM

Open to the public. 

Women in Architecture: National Outlook, Local Stories Exhibit Opens

Goldsmith Hall, UT School of Architecture // 11:00AM to 6:00PM

Open to the public.

February 9 – Lunchtime Panels and Conversations

March 2 Various Austin Architecture Firms

Open to the public; RSVP and see full list of panels here.

February 10 Women in Architecture: 1850 to the Future Exhibit Opens

249 W. 2nd Street // 11:00AM to 6:00PM

Open to the public.

Women in Architecture: Shaping Austin Exhibit Opens

249 W. 2nd Street // 11:00AM to 6:00PM

Open to the public.

AIA Austin Women in Architecture Opening Party

Featured Guest Speaker Wendy Davis (Former Texas Senator)

Live Music Performance by Sarah Sharp Trio

249 W. 2nd Street // 6:30PM

Open to the public, RSVP to Monica@AIAaustin.org; Press, RSVP to Amanda@POMpr.com.

February 14 AIA Austin Speaker Series Lunch

Featured Guest Speaker Melissa Murphy (Founder and Chief Communication Coach, The Pitch Academy)

Mercury Hall // 11:30AM to 1:00PM

Purchase tickets here.

*15 Students, $30 AIA Austin Members, $40 Non-Members & At Door 

10 Contemporary Hallway Sconces

Hi friends! Folks, I know we’re so inundated with everything about the election, polls & politics. November 8th is almost here…before we get to the sconces, don’t forget to vote. Get to the polls before the 8th or on the 8th. Whatever day, time, just do it & get ‘er done!

Anywho, I’ve been sourcing hallways sconces for a couple of clients & man oh man, there’s so many gorgeous options out there. I like wall sconces in hallways but particularly right at the doorway, it’s like creating a red carpet feel at the start of a hall. I mean, nothing says you are fabulous than some lights as you enter right? So here are 10 contemporary hallway sconce options:

10-contemporary-hallway-sconces

1/ Trapeze 2/ Cora 3/ Agnes 4/ Delta 5/ Pillar Offset 6/ Tassel 7/ Seed 8/ Vibia 9/ Pris 10/ CounterBalance

I have so many favorites! Check out the progress of some of my projects on Insta!

A Q & A with the Founders of POP Austin

 

On a hot Fall Austin day last week, I met the coolest couple. Self-proclaimed “chic global citizens with good haircuts,” they are that & more! I met Steve & Lana Carlson, founders of POP Austin in their hip East Austin headquarters filled with both contemporary & classic art. From oil paintings curated & collected by Steve’s grandfather, Dr. Scott Schubach to contemporary art {Lana’s choice} by Beb Deum  & collaborations by Bleikh & Serebryakova as well as the mind-provoking work of Micky Hoogendijk peppered with “Hollywood glitz but tempered with deep personal tragedy.”

Not only was I so lucky to have an art tour but I got to know more about them & what’s in store for POP Austin International Art Show this year.

1/ How did POP Austin International Art show come about?

The story is as inspiring as you may expect. A chance meeting in Paris between Lana, an art enthusiast who was just involved in the production of Pop Asia & Steve Carlson who was then doing a music documentary led to both a personal collaboration {they are now married!} & an art movement. According to Steve, the venture came from a desire to create something different than the humdrum ways of state museum exhibitions & traditional galleries. They aimed for an “event & an exhibition,” one that focus “more on the experience” & have a flow rather than one that feels too “commercial & compartmentalized.”

I couldn’t help but ask of course, why set roots in Austin? It sounded like an easy choice for both of them. Lana stated that the city is just growing & Steve added that Austin is has definitely become a destination city with a fascinating spirit. The show also helps to level the playing field between Austin artists & others who has attained commercial success, from LA to New York, Paris to Beijing.

austinpopartists

Austin Contemporary Artists {clockwise from top}: an art installation by Beili Liu, Lollypop Girls by Denise Prince, a gilded tumbleweed by Bale Creek Allen

2/ How do you curate or vet the artists or work to include in the show?

Coming up with a theme is mind-boggling with all the interesting art they are exposed to — from visiting art exhibits all over the world to whispers from other art curators, dealers & enthusiasts. This year is all about “Street Art meets Pop Art” or “Modern Pop Art.” It’s contemporary, it’s current, it’s alive and continually evolving. If last year’s Illumination — architectural installations meets art & technology in a hypnotic party of ethereal kinetic light {that’s a mouthful!} — astounded you, this year is about that and more. From graffitis that’s shaping cultural discourses to commissioned ones that evoke the pulse of the times —- street art is inevitably an integral part of contemporary art.

Last year’s Illumination was hypnotic & kinetic.

3/ Do you plan to expand into a multi-city event?

The clear answer from both of them is “No,” well at least not at this time. The allegiance to Austin is resounding. They built it and they came {and more will come} & I for one am loving it.

4/ What new trends are you seeing in the pop art world?

They see digital screens, light and other forms of technology applied in art but the most interesting is Chinese contemporary art. China of course is an economic superpower but their influence is now transcending towards what is mainstream & an expression of the times.

chinese-contemporary-art

The art of Yang Na reminds me of Keane’s Big Eyes {right} & could Feng Zhengjie’s Chinese Portrait {left} series be the new Warhol Marilyn Monroe pop art?

Here are the details of this can’t miss show:

Where: Fair Market 1100 East 5th Street Austin, TX 78702

When: October 13-16, 2016

13th ///// An exclusive Collector Preview to support The Texas Cultural Trust’s Arts & Digital Literacy Initiative in partnership with The University of Texas at Austin

14th ///// A screening and after-party for “Wall Writers”, a feature-length documentary about graffiti in its innocence

15th /////  In conjunction with the THINKERY, Nonotak Studio will be featured showcasing art that merges architecture and sculpture to create light and sound installations, POP Talks

16th ///// POP Talks, an educational & engagement series

This year, POP Austin’s Virtual Showroom will also be unveiled. Buy your tickets HERE >>>>

Just like Steve stated, appreciating & buying art should be a celebration, I hope to see you at the event & celebration!

Q & A : Choosing Paint Colors

I had an eventful past two weeks! Amazing vacation with my daughter to Italy & Morocco … details later! I’d like to share with you a little Q & A with Wayfair on Choosing Paint Colors.

Paint can set the tone for a room before you’ve even added the furnishings or decor—making it all the more important to choose the right color. No one understands this better than our May Designer of the Month, Maureen Stevens. Lucky for us, she shared all of her paint knowledge and experience, as well as some of her favorite hues, to help tackle some of the most cumbersome dilemmas.

What Matters When Buying Paint?

I keep these three things in mind when shopping for paint:

1. Quality. Many people think all paint is the same, but it’s not. Paying a little more goes a long way. Quality paint provides better coverage and a depth of color that makes your walls come to life.

2. Eco-friendly and non-toxic. Look for a paint that has no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). By doing so, you are helping the planet and keeping you and your family safe.

3. Vibrancy. There is nothing more disappointing than a paint color that dries dull and uninteresting. If the name of the paint is bright red, it should be bright red!

How Does Color Change Mood?

If you want a relaxing space, then go for different shades of the same color that are more or less tone on tone, such as a room done in creams and whites. If you prefer a bolder look that packs a punch, then consider contrasting colors in brighter hues, such as an orange and blue color scheme.

What About White? Black?

White is so versatile, it can be used in pretty much any kind of space—but there’s more to white than just one shade. Go for ivories in traditional spaces, bright whites for modern rooms, and whites with warmer tones for a cottage look. They’re also perfect for wide open spaces. On the flip side, I prefer darker colors in small spaces. Some people think that would make a space feel smaller, but it really creates a dramatic mood. I also like it in bedrooms since dark rooms are best for sleep. Black is so sophisticated & so luxurious in high gloss!

Both of these rooms are painted the same color, but because of the light in the space and the furnishings, the left one looks cooler and the right one reads warmer.

Tip!

It’s all about the undertone when selecting a paint color. Be sure to take samples home and look at them during different times of the day to see how they read in your space. Maybe that gray-white really is the way to go!

Accent, or Not?

I’m not usually a fan of accent walls, as I think it makes a space feel choppy, although I do think there are spaces where it works. If you decide to do an accent color, make sure it feels cohesive with the other elements in the room. Since you are making this the focal point, everything else in the space should pack a punch too.

However, I do like the idea of accenting features in the room. Architectural moldings are traditionally painted white, but try going in the opposite direction and paint them in a glossy black or dark navy. You can also paint ceiling medallions an ultra-bright color amidst a sea of white ceilings or try playing up crown moldings by painting a line around them as a sort of frame.

Go-To Sherwin Williams Colors?

I have a wide array of favorite Sherwin-Williams paint colors, from neutrals to pastels, muted to bold; here a few of them.

Have an amazingly positive week everyone!