Category Archives: Design

London Calling – Modenus’ BlogTour 2012

(Cue Violins)

Ok so last month I didn’t win the coveted open spot on Blog Tour London.  You should all be ashamed of yourselves for not voting more and from every device you own.

I forgive you this time around. 

I’m trying not to be a sourpuss but following the Twitter Hashtag #BlogTourLDN and seeing all the awesome pictures (like Christian May sleeping or Patti Johnson in her awesome hat and great heels) makes me a bit jealous.


Enough with my sniveling.

I didn’t get to go but there are 14 amazing bloggers and designers that I think it’s time you followed.  If only because over the next few days and weeks you’re going to see a whole heaping lot of Brit design.  All served with pinkie up, with a fresh scone.

Ok maybe not with the scone but if you pour a cuppa tea before you read their posts you might feel like you’re in Jolly Old England.

And sometimes that is all that matters.

So check ’em out…. And report back would ya?

Igor Josif – Happy Interior Blog

Maryam Montague – My Marrakesh

Nyla Free – Nyla Free Designs

James Bedell – James Bedell – Lighting Designer

Robin Horton – Urban Gardens

Christian May – Maison21

Raina Kattelson – A Stylist’s Life

Jennifer Mehditash – Dec-A-Porter

Lynn Byrne – Decor Arts Now

Patti Johnson* – Chatti Patti Talks Design

Rashon Carraway – Mr. Goodwill Hunting

Cheryl Kees Clendendon – Details and Design

Jill Seidner – Jill Seidner Interior Design

Vitania Liscio – Verdigris Vie

*An Official Member of the DCoop Stalkeratzi!

And if you want to learn more about Blog Tour or the awesome Modenus website…. click here ya’ll!



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DCoop Sourcebook – Crossville Oxide Collection

Ok so I know that we’ve been stressing for years that smaller is better.

But listen.  I’m a size queen.

I love me some Big…..


of Tile. 

What did you think I was going to say?  Get your mind out of the gutter.  I’m going to have to keep an eye on you.

Anyway, so imagine my surprise when what should show up in my email but a big panel of oxidized goodness.  *Insert Blanche DuBois accent* Crossville and their subdivision Laminam (which made a big hit at this year’s Neocon in Chicago) has gone metal.  Or at least it looks like it anyway.  Seven colors, including the creamy Perla, unadulterated Bianco, and the sexy Nero, make up the Oxide Collection of one meter by three meter (approx. 3′-4″ x 10′-0″)  porcelain panels which I must remind you are a mind blowing 3mm thick.  Think of it this way…. one big panel, one little cost.

But remember… it isn’t so much the size that matters.  But what you do with it.

And I’d do a whole lot with this one.

Designer Tip: We all love the look of solid surface wall treatments.  Who doesn’t want an entire shower covered with carrara marble?  But the cost…. it’s enough to break any remodeler’s budget.  Try this instead.  The panels are simple to install, lightweight (so they don’t require any major structural components) and can be installed OVER most substrates including existing wood, tile or painted walls. 

Crossville | Available to the Trade |

If you’re interested in purchasing any of the items featured on the DCoop Sourcebook, shoot us an email.

DCoopMedia was not compensated for this post. Tile me up baby!

Image courtesy Crossville and may not be used without prior approval.

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The Open Road – A Case of Vehicular Genetics

In today’s world of vehicular incest, where car manufacturers are continually blending elements from within their own family of vehicles, it is always interesting to see just what will be hitting the streets in the upcoming model line ups.

It is never a surprise to see a design feature from a brand’s higher end lines trickle down into their lower end models.  It happens so frequently that we rarely batt an eye when doing a double take on the highway because one model looks so entirely similar to another.   More so, the plot thickens when automakers share design elements across brand lines.  Case in point, the Volkswagen Toureag has a very similar rear end to the Porsche Cayenne.  In it’s simplest of terms, it makes sense.  Keeps costs down, ensure brand recognition (rather than moniker division), and ensures the consumer believes they are getting a higher end product at a lower end cost.

I’m all for it.


So it should come as no surprise that Ford looked within their brands for the design of the new 2013 Fusion.  Granted it’s a striking vehicle with a design that is less “Hertz Gold Member Downgrade” and more “Normal People Might Want to Drive Me”.   If you’re a car buff like me, you’ve already ventured a guess at just what family member influenced the new design.  And you’d probably be right if it weren’t for the fact that said brand is no longer in Ford’s stable of brands after being sold to a UK investment group.

So tell me…. do you think the mother in this case was the Aston Martin DB9 Coupe?

Or am I just off my rocker.

Images via [1] [2]

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Hue Injections – The Cure for Chromophobia

*Cue late night infomercial music*

Do you suffer from Chromophobia?

Does color scare you so badly you run from the room with your hands over your ears screaming at the top of your lungs like a Pomeranian seeing the mailman for the first (or thirtieth) time anytime someone (like your designer) pulls out a fan deck?

Does the term Pantone illicit night terrors that ensure your husband has bruises behind his knees from all of the kicking?

Does the sales lady at Bloomingdales know you as the “Lady in White” because you haven’t bought colored linens since the Nixon administration?

Fear not my pigmentally challenged readers because I’m here to help you.

Or make it worse.  I can’t help all of you.


So just what is a girl to do when she desperately needs a shot of color but can’t get past the single most annoying shade in the entire world (antique white and it’s variants…..)?

Funny you should ask…..

Start Small

I know that everyone says Go Big or Go Home. And normally I’m all for the “just jump in the pool feet first and experience the shock once instead of over and over and over and….” But I totally understand.  Sometimes it’s scary.  It’s like standing at the top of the bunny slope with a snowboard strapped to your feet and hoping to the Holy Baby Jesus that you don’t hit another person or, worse, the one lone tree on the entire slope that some nitwit left when they designed the course.  It’s like cooking for your Mother-in-law for the very first time.

Normally the advice is to buy a pillow or an accessory or … that embodies the color that you think you may or may not want to commit to.  Sure this is fun and all but it’s sort of like taking a car on a test drive – no real reason to commit unless you’re somehow overly lazy and forget to return it.  Paint is another trick we designers use to get a little commitment out of our clients since once it’s on the wall who really wants to go back and paint over neon green?  Not me. Because I wear more of said paint than I put on the wall. I can’t help it.

So I like to take it just one step further.  I will sew and/or laquer the damn color right into your furniture.  Aha!
True commitment! What are you going to do?  Have your eight foot sofa reupholstered when I leave?  Gonna lug the rather expensive lounge chair out to the garage because you’re afraid you may be swallowed in to the space that always manages to collect enough change to bail out Greece?  Or to at least buy you a McD’s cheeseburger.

As my other half would say, Simmah Down Now.

I’m not going to push you off the deep end and force you to cover every square inch of something in one deep vibrant color.  I’m not that mean. Well… most days anyway.  BUT… we’re going to find one detail and we’re going to go all gangbusters.

A keyhole opening in the side of a wingchair upholstered in a swatch of deep teal.

The underside of a table leg deliciously picked out in red like the underside of a Louboutin heel.

The stitching of a white cotton sofa hemmed in tangerine.

See where I’m going with this?  It’s less “get married on the first date” and more “I’ll meet your parents but I’m still keeping my apartment”.  Semi-commitment without the 1-carat emerald cut diamond.

And it might actually make you step just a little further outside of your comfort zone.

Or you’ll hate me.

And then you’ll leave me anonymous comments at which point I’ll comment back and we’ll have to make up over Twitter.

And it’s hard to make up in 140 characters.

*Shameless Self Promotion Below*

Looking for a Hue Injection of your own?  Give me a shout and let me help take the phobia out of incorporating color.  Or maybe I’ll be adding the “Homo” in “Chromo”.  Either way….

All images via DCoopMedia except [4]

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DCoop Sourcebook – Golden Gate Furniture Company

Let’s be honest.  I’m addicted to automobiles.

And anything related to automobiles.

Except oil and grime.

And gas prices.

Because I think it’s safe to assume we all hate those (especially my Euro friends who have to pay by the litre!).

So this morning when an email popped up from a company with close ties to the big orange bridge just north of San Fran, I couldn’t help but not delete it.  I told you I couldn’t resist.

I was pleasantly surprised. 

As we all know, industrial and Steampunk are all the rage.  I knew what one was but it wasn’t until I spent a little time on Etsy that I figured out the other. And aside from the random goggles and Victorian garb made of metal, I’m all for it. Steampunk that is.  But this isn’t Steampunk.  This is more industrial meets automotive chic.  Are you sufficiently confused yet?  That’s what I get for writing at 12:30 am the morning of a long weekend vacation with the in-laws.  At least there is no spelling typos.  Yet.

So anyway, that hard part about using industrial components in an interior scheme is that it can start to feel a little overused.  A little too “normal”.  Look at the explosion we’ll call the Edison lamp.  One restaurant in the back alleys of Portland attaches one to their bar and the next thing you know, half of the United States has lamps with carbon filaments.  You get the point.

The point is that it’s generally tough to make an industrial inspired interior stand out from the others.  Unless you’re a picker on TLC and wander into some guy’s barn with 100 year old signage. And a turbine.

Which is why I’m smitten by the Golden Gate Furniture Company. 

The skinny is this – in 1993 a signifigant portion of the pedestrian handrail from the Golden Gate Bridge was replaced.  56 years of sea and salt had done its damage.  Upon hearing (via radio no less) that the contractor chosen by the transportation department had not determined the end all for the removed sections, Richard Bulan (the founder and a Bay Area native) determined that a section needed to become his headboard.  However, considering each section was nearly 12 feet in length, he ended up with not one, but four pieces of automotive art with a historical provenance.  A long story made short, friends wanted one too and the Golden Gate Furniture Company was born.


But what I really dig is that Bulan has left the historical integrity of the removed steel sections intact.  Rivets are left in place.  Random details are utilized.  And although the original finish has all but deteriorated, he continues to paint his furniture pieces in the original International Orange using the same methods and techniques used in 1937.

GGFC has a number of pieces, most notably the headboards that started it all, but my favorites are easily the tables.  The occasional table is a monster of an accent with three very hefty legs and a 3/4″ glass top.  My ultimate favorite? The club table with the super thick Claro walnut top.  It’s a supreme blend of industrial meets mother nature.  I guess you could say it’s a fabulous compliment considering Mother Nature is exactly where this whole thing was started.

And before I forget, every piece is limited and once the supply of steel has run out, that’s it.

Alright… I think it’s bed time.  Or time to pack.  Not sure which.

Golden Gate Furniture Company |

If you’re interested in purchasing any of the items featured on the DCoop Sourcebook, shoot us an email.

DCoop was not compensated for this post.  At least, no section of pedestrian railing has shown up at my house as of July 27th.

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Ikea – All Grown Up

Once the poster child for disposable furniture, the quintessential college dorm set, the mainstay of every newlywed/newlygraduated/virgin apartment owner everywhere, has grown up.

Gone are the days when Ikea was known simply as a flatpack nightmare. Sure, they still have undecipherable instructions and quite typically Boot Camp instructors have included assembling bookcases and dressers as part of their routines, but Ikea is slowly, surely seeping into high end decorative interiors.  And I don’t just mean my own.

You’re beginning to see it everywhere.  From the pages of Elle Decor to the multitude of photos on Apartment Therapy.  Designers everywhere are playing on the quirk and taking advantage of Ikea’s budget friendly, modernist designs to round out there own super cool interiors.  I’ll admit, I’ve done it too.  I have a grouping of LACK sidetables in my living room as a substitute for a giant coffee table.  It works and know one is the wiser that I spent 50 bucks without dumpster diving or being exposed to the potential dangers that is known as Craigslist. CL isn’t that bad but for story we’re taking dramatic license….

Don’t believe me?  Still think that Ikea should be left to the college dorm?  Take a peek at these examples and see if they change your mind….. And tell me, Would you use Ikea flatpack to round out your client’s designs?

Images via [1] [Author] [3] [4] [5]

D.Coop was not compensated for this post.  Though I do have a number of blisters and bruises from the Ikea Allen Wrench.

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Green Living – Can History and Sustainability Live in Harmony?

With my practice located in San Diego’s Northpark neighborhood, one of the most common objections I hear to the sustainable movement relates to the integration of sustainable features into historic architecture.

I get the impression that a vast majority of the owners of these vintage Craftsman bungalows and late Victorian manses just aren’t aware of the plethora of options available to them.  In a round about kind of way, I can’t blame them for two simple reasons – There are a ton of sustainable options and they’re usually geared to newer homes in more contemporary styles.

Side note: I was talking to a vendor about adding a new window in my bathroom.  He suggested I replace ALL of my 100 year old wood frame casement windows (with their original glass I might add) with all new “state of the art” vinyl windows. I immediately hung up.

Anyway, the whole idea is that sustainability is a viable option for the owners of historic homes as well.  Even better, there are a slew of methods available that do not take away from the aesthetics of the original home, can meet State Department requirements (should your home be on the National Register), and can actually make your historic property more efficient than even new homes built today with Green principals in mind.

As an example, I ran across (via the great Mark Johnson over at Green Builder Magazine) a great example of just how far one can go.  Pay close attention because if you didn’t know this home was a prime example of energy efficiency, you’d have had no clue quite simply because from the outside (and even from the inside) it looks like nothing more than a 110 year old farmhouse.

You know what they say – the greenest house is the one already standing.

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My Chemical Romance – A Love Affair with Geeky Interiors

I have a confession to make.

I’m a bit of a geek.

No I didn’t major in Chemistry or win a science fair or participate in a Math-a-thon (that’s a Math Decathalon, not a sale that Toyota does every year to sell Carollas).  I wasn’t that geeky.  No offense to those of you that did any of those above.

But really, I like geeky stuff.  Vintage beakers. Chemistry sets. Atomic structures. I dig it.  And although you won’t find tape holding together my glasses, you will find a porcelain beaker from the late 1800’s gracing my bar.  (And framed Chloroform labels hung in my bathroom…..we’ll save that for another time)

So just what is a part of my chemical romance?

Via Factory 20

via Etsy

via Etsy

via Etsy

via Nervous System

Takes you back to AP Chem doesn’t it?

The DCoop Bloggie was not compensated for this post.  Nanu Nanu.

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Living in a Nutshell – Could you do it?

Living here in Southern California we have no shortage of gargantuan living spaces.  Big apartments, bigger condos and really big houses.

Granted I don’t live in one of those self-proclaimed McMansions (my little bungalow is a measly 1,010 square feet) I do take great pride in knowing that I have multiple rooms in which I can spend my waking hours.  Watch tv in the living room.  Eat in a real dining room (when we do actually eat there), and work in a walled off office with a gen-U-ine door.  Yes kiddies, I said a door.

We’ve talked about downsizing, taking up residence in a smaller space downtown.  Maybe a loft. One big room with a separate bathroom and kitchen that I can go a little nuts with and carve out new spaces weekly (Steve still cringes at that idea).  But in the end, every time we look we tend to cringe a little when we hear square footages.  600 square feet.  725 square feet. 800 square feet. They seem so small when the thought of just how much we’ve accumulated over the years comes to mind.

Where would I store my six different sets of china?  What would happen to the 7′-0″ artificial Christmas tree we have in the garage (sidenote: I actually can’t sleep in an enclosed space with a real pine tree; kicks my allergies into high gear and I’m all bah humbug).  How about 10 years of Interior Design magazine?  Am I that attached to my stuff? Yes dammit!

Anyway, amidst all this introspection it beguiles me to think of living in anything smaller than the little bungalow in which we already reside.

But then….. I manage to run across something that bewilders me.  Confuses me.  Puts me in awe of another individual.

Like this New Yorker…. who lives in 78 square feet.  No kiddies, I didn’t go all typo on you and forget the zero.  That’s a seven and an eight.  And that’s it.  And although his plan of attack and sense of organization are genius, I can’t help but think that maybe he should be padding the walls because an entire apartment that size (and I don’t mean just his bedroom) would drive me a little batty.  A little nuts.  They’d be carting me off in a straight jacket and the Ghostbuster’s ambulance.

Take a peek a the video via Grist and tell me…. could you live in 78 square feet?

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Las Vegas – City of Lights

Let’s put it this way.

I’m laying in my hotel room in my pajamas after a very stimulating two days at the International Light Fair in Las Vegas.  No drink in hand but I did finish off a very fattening burger with bacon and blue cheese.

You know, because what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.  And that includes carbs. (This is not a scientific fact…)

So anyway… while I’m being lazy I wanted to make sure I didn’t leave you hanging.  A little walk around the strip resulted in a couple of great lighting installations. I mean, I AM here to see lighting.  So what if it happens to be lighting in the shopping arcade at The Aria.

You agree right?


The Chandelier Bar dripping with miles of crystals.

The very industrial meets Hollywood spot fixtures at All Saints.

An awesome light meets signage display.

A close up of the bottles as light sources.

All images via D.Coop and may not be reproduced without permission.

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