A Glass Ceiling Break Through

Every once in a while I come across a design image that makes me immediately think, “Oh!  We TOTALLY have to do that!!”  Of course, then I quickly remember the confines of our current living space (a lovely space that we plan to inhabit for many, many years) and realize that there are certain limitations to my sky-high desires.

Below, is one such image.

Oh we could totally achieve this look in our kitchen…but we’d have to move the kitchen to the 3rd floor, which really isn’t practical.


Fortunately, I have found some other beautiful, inspiring ceiling designs that are actually quite reachable.

We’ll start with the Coffered Ceiling.  Always a dramatic treatment, a coffered ceiling does require a certain amount of space in a room to truly shine.  This one that spans the kitchen and great room is embellished with bead-board and beautifully detailed moldings.


For a more modern, yet more romantic (in my humble opinion) version of the coffered ceiling, a circular pattern can really make an impact.


Paneling a ceiling can also be a fantastic upgrade.  This kitchen balances charm with modernity.  The stainless steel, mini-subway tiled backsplash contrasts so beautifully with the rustic, paneled ceiling for maximum appeal.


Even less of a challenge for ceiling installation is the charming tin ceiling.  Very popular in the Victorian era, the look can be replicated these days with stamped aluminum or even plastic.


For a less permanent ceiling treatment, swags of linen can have a very powerful impact.


Even small spaces can take advantage of a ceiling treatment.  The application below is actually a wall paper graphic that can be custom fit for the size of your room.


If the thought of wall papering your ceiling doesn’t make your back ache and your fingers go numb, you could always go the stencil route as well.  This damask print is quite the statement…


…likewise, this delicious, large-scale graphic ins bold turquoise is a game changer for an ordinary bathroom/laundry nook.


And if stenciling or wallpapering or applying a textural treatment seems too overwhelming, it is always an option to utilize some simple faux painting techniques.  While faux finish applications on furniture and walls may have seen their prime, an application on the ceiling would offer just the right amount of perspective to make the technique fresh.


Have you ever done any of these to a ceiling in your home?  Would you?

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Jeanne Gang The Sky’s the Limit

The work of Chicago architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, has been previously highlighted in the FLOR catalog as well as here on the FLOR blog. Recognized for her innovative designs centered on sustainability, Aqua, her gorgeous, sculptural, 82 story Chicago skyscraper completed in 2010, is the subject of a new short documentary which aired recently on PBS. Please click here to watch the film. The film provides accessible insight into Gang’s practice and philosophy, as well the importance of her contribution to the architectural fabric of Chicago’s skyline, one of the greatest in the world. It’s a quick 13 minute flick. Take a peek. Additionally, on the architects website, there is a quick video offering a look at the creative story behind the design. I highly recommend watching the visual Conceptual Story, which follows Jeanne on her path to better understand the three dimensional opportunities unique to this project and site. A look into her process and the considerations which influenced her design. Jeanne Gang was recently named a fellow and awarded a $500,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

“Aqua Tower is one of few high-rises in the world that creates a community on its façade. With a hotel, apartments, condominiums, parking, offices, and one of Chicago’s largest green roofs, this multi-use tower demonstrates both architectural and technical achievements. Its outdoor terraces—which differ in shape from floor to floor based on criteria such as views, solar shading and dwelling size/type—create a strong connection to the outdoors and the city, as well as form the tower’s distinctive undulating appearance.”

Images found at Studio Gang’s Aqua webpage.

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Stellvertreter Coat Rack


German designer Stephan Schulz creates some dynamic and spirited solutions to some of our everyday functional needs. The ‘Stellvertreter’ (German to English translation: Deputy) puts its best foot forward with a playful and modern interpretation of the ubiquitous boot brush and coat tree.  Depending on the available space, there are two sizes to appropriately adorn your foyer. The foundation of the largest entry way conversation piece boasts a big man’s footprint alongside a child’s, with a thick, bristly shoe brush. The second option is small and simple with a single pair of shoes imprinted. This object wardrobe will always give you a warm welcome. Much of Stephan’s work uses concrete as a medium. There is something about the formative ability of concrete for expression, paired with the cool crisp materiality and color palette that I find irresistible. I can imagine many custom expressions that would be great fun to explore. How about soles?  The graphic quality of Stephan’s choices are expressive and spot-on.

Manufacturer: nils holger moormann gmbh -www.moormann.de




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The Modernist Holiday Feast

Deep Fried Brussel Sprouts

The authors of Modernist Cuisine, a collection of cookbooks focusing on the Art and Science of Cooking, have published a ‘how-to’ for a most fabulous Modernist Christmas Feast. From the consideration taken to the design of the menu, right down to the presentation and photography of the edible art, this modernist meal is an inspiration. The visual impact of the composition on the plate is as important as the taste of the dish, the food pairings are carefully considered and each and every detail is beautiful. When charged as I am with preparing something new and interesting for the holidays this year, I appreciate this great resource for influence of artistry, and expertise of technique. I have attached the images and descriptions below, as these pictures speak much louder than words. If you’d like the recipes for your holiday meal, please visit Modern Cuisine for the complete details.  Bon Appetit!

Christmas Ham-Hock with Pineapple and Cherries

Garnet Yam Fondant with Sage Foam

Pumpkin Pie:  Butternut Squash Custard

From the publisher:  In Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet—scientists, inven­tors, and accom­plished cooks in their own right—have cre­ated a six-volume 2,400-page set that reveals science-inspired tech­niques for prepar­ing food that ranges from the oth­er­worldly to the sub­lime. The authors—and their 20-person team at The Cooking Lab—have achieved astound­ing new fla­vors and tex­tures by using tools such as water baths, homog­e­niz­ers, cen­trifuges, and ingre­di­ents such as hydro­col­loids, emul­si­fiers, and enzymes. It is a work des­tined to rein­vent cooking.

Images found at Modernist Cuisine.

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The documentary film work of Gary Hustwit includes such design cult titles as Helvetica and Objectified. I loved both films. Therefore, it is with great anticipation I have been waiting for the release of Gary’s latest film Urbanized. Funded in part by his supporters on Kickstarter back in March of 2011, Urbanized enjoyed its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in early September. The film premiered in Chicago last week, and I was taken by its visual beauty and heartfelt message. Design in our everyday, and our conscious and unconscious experience. Architecture and design are so much a part of our daily lives, we seldom stop to focus on the details which create our experiences. The power of design and the future of cities was beautifully and poignantly presented.

This introduction from the films website: “Urbanized is a feature-length documentary about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers. Over half the world’s population now lives in an urban area, and 75% will call a city home by 2050. But while some cities are experiencing explosive growth, others are shrinking. The challenges of balancing housing, mobility, public space, civic engagement, economic development, and environmental policy are fast becoming universal concerns. Yet much of the dialogue on these issues is disconnected from the public domain.Who is allowed to shape our cities, and how do they do it? Unlike many other fields of design, cities aren’t created by any one specialist or expert. There are many contributors to urban change, including ordinary citizens who can have a great impact improving the cities in which they live. By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, Urbanized frames a global discussion on the future of cities. Urbanized.


The film is receiving great reviews. A few highlights follow with links to the full articles for your reading pleasure.

“Urbanized posits that city dwellers must not only forge an innovative self-reliance, they must imagine higher forms of living. The radical fluctuations of growth and decline happening in modern cities necessitate infinite innovation. Urbanized is an extraordinarily ambitious attempt to make sense of a world flowing into cities. This visually arresting film, like Hustwit’s past work, elegantly conveys the omnipresence of design in daily life. Essential viewing”.  Joshua K. Leon, Metropolis

“This is the third film in Mr. Hustwit’s trilogy of documentaries on the role of design in the modern world, and it can be thought of as the conceptual shell that contains the other two. The first, “Helvetica,” is about the shape of the printed word, and in particular the font named in the title. “Objectified” concerns itself with the shape and packaging of the things we buy, sell and carry. In both cases a phenomenon likely to be taken for granted is shown to have a complex back story, a set of often unexamined reasons for being the way it is. Urbanized is less focused on the history of cities than on the way they are adapting to the challenges of the present and future, notably climate change and population growth”.   A.O. Scott NY Times

Screenings of Urbanized continue in the U.S. and abroad. Take a look at the Urbanized film schedule, to find out if the film will be showing in your area.
To learn more about Urbanized, visit the films website here.


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