Monthly Archives: February 2014

Modern Terrariums: Bringing Nature Indoors

modern terrariums

Faceted Terrariums from West Elm

Living here in the Pacific Northwest has a tendency to spark an intense love for the outdoors in modern homeowners.

If lush greenery makes you come to life, why not bring some of that splendor indoors as part of your décor? Get inspired by these gorgeous modern terrariums that are as beautiful as they are functional.

Succulent Beauty

modern terrariums

Obelisk Terrarium by megamyers on Etsy

We love the clean lines of modern geometric décor in a home. Glass enclosures in geometric shapes allow you to admire both the display and the tender plant inside. The  handmade piece to the left features recycled glass and is an eco-friendly choice for environmentally conscious homeowners.

We recommend using a variety of geometric shapes when incorporating terrarium displays in your house. For example, you can blend diamond and triangle shaped terrariums with cube shapes for multi-faceted décor.

Large Terrariums

modern terrariums

Freestanding Terrarium from H Potter

Large terrariums create a focal point and serve as a statement piece in a sun room.

We love the way large terrariums let you showcase larger displays of greenery in the home.

Moss Adds Texture

modern terrariums

Moss Terrarium Bottle from Uncommon Goods

The rich layer of moss that coats the rocks and trees in our state’s vast forests adds just as much greenery to our surroundings as our verdant evergreens and ferns. You can bring those emerald tones into your home with a lush moss display. Martha Stewart even touts the woodland decorating trend with instructions on how to make a mushroom and moss centerpiece.

Go Coastal

modern terrariums

Modern Beach Vessel Lichen Moss Terrarium by TinyTerrains on Etsy

Sand, shells and small pieces of driftwood can bring a touch of coastal charm into your home for those who love the Pacific Northwest coast as much as they love its forests. You might even consider scattering several different miniature ecosystems in displays throughout your home.

 

(Photos from top to bottom via WestElm.com; Etsy.com; HPotter.com; UncommonGoods.com; and Etsy.com.)

When Less is More: Decorating with Neutrals

Many modern homeowners enjoy a more understated look in the home. After all, saturated colors aren’t for everyone, and neutrals are perfect for creating a sense of spaciousness. Neutrals can also help promote a minimalistic feel by focusing one’s attention less on the colors of your home’s furniture and décor and more on the beauty of their structure and function. Here are some attractive pieces to inspire your decorating with neutrals:

A Touch of Texture

decorating with neutrals

Parsons Floor Mirror from West Elm

To prevent a neutral-themed room from becoming too flat, we recommend adding in subtle layers of texture to add depth. Herringbone and chevron in neutral tones are popular ways of accomplishing this. A full-length floor mirror with a substantial herringbone frame demonstrates how adding in these sorts of elements can improve the look of a space.

Tufted Neutral Furniture

decorating with neutrals

Atwood Sectional from Gus Modern

Classic tufted furniture has made a resurgence in modern home design. Modern pieces eschew the button that previously held the “tufts” in place and abandon ornate styles for cleaner, more simple lines. A neutral sectional helps you set apart a dedicated space within a larger, open-concept space, while letting you build almost any color scheme around it.

Neutral Ikat

decorating with neutrals

Nourison Nepal Quartz Rug

When most people think of ikat patterns, they immediately think of eye-catching, conspicuous colors.

By sticking with neutrals, however, you can add a touch of the exotic in your home without letting the color overwhelm your décor.

We recommend ikat patterns in grays and pale blues.

Striking Neutral Prints

decorating with neutrals

Thomas Paul Ornithology Cotton Duvet Cover

Sticking with neutrals doesn’t mean you can’t add any daring elements to your décor. A fascinating print on your bedding or other home textiles helps you make a bold statement without adding unwanted color.

 

 

(Photos in order of appearance via WestElm.com; GusModern.com; Wayfair.com; and AllModern.com)

EVOKE Modern Homes Featured in The Scene Magazine

luxe lifeWe’re excited to announce that EVOKE Modern homes were featured in the February 2014 issue of The Scene, a monthly publication that covers arts and entertainment news for Bellevue and the Eastside.

The article, titled “Luxe Life,” discusses EVOKE Modern’s design sensibility at length, exploring facets like the homes’ 10-foot ceilings and emphasis on sustainability.

We’ve posted the text of the article, written by Kirkland-based independent journalist Francesca Lyman below:

Luxe Life

EVOKE 1A new brand of homes being built on the Eastside may be redefining the homeowner experience of green design, mixing sustainability with the high ceilings, glass and cement that marks industrial chic while achieving some enviable cost and energy savings.

EVOKE Modern homes, a new offering from Bellevue-based Quadrant Homes, embrace the outdoorsy lifestyle of the Puget Sound, cool and rugged, but with an unmistakable urbanity, achieved through high design, using natural materials like hardwood and stone that warm up interiors.

Quadrant Homes, known more for production homes in master-planned subdivisions on the sprawling edges of suburbia, is now focused on building these high-design homes in closer-in, ‘infill’ locations that offer walkability and proximity to services. “We think that this is the niche we can fill,” says Bonnie Geers, vice president for community development at Quadrant.

What’s different in this offering, says Geers, is a revival of the Northwest contemporary style, after building many Northwest Craftsman homes. There’s a return to the clean, sleek lines of contemporary design, leaving out moldings and cornices – hallmarks of earlier styles like Craftsman or prairie. All of the homes feature 10-foot ceilings, a huge departure.

While the builder has offered buyers some customization (adding a window, moving a wall), the EVOKE brand takes this a step further, enabling buyers to plan their home in a way that’s most conducive to their lifestyle, putting, for example, the master bedroom downstairs or upstairs, moving halls, doorways, and other design features around. People with several children might opt for a so called “Jack and Jill” bedroom design, with a bath situated in between. Older people often choose to have their bedrooms built downstairs.

EVOKE 2 kitchenSince kitchens are rooms people gravitate toward, particularly “foodie” Pacific Northwesters, these form the centerpiece of these homes. People in this region are particularly interested in outdoor entertaining, with new sorts of spaces for grilling or serving food. “A desire for people who live in the Northwest is to really be outdoors, relaxing in multi-use spaces,” says Geers.

According to Jennifer Kim, Quadrant’s house architect, “People live in more open ways, with parents sitting around reading, drinking coffee and working at home, in places where they can also watch their kids, or visit with friends. A lot of action happens together around a family room, and spaces between kitchens and dining room, as well as outdoor spaces.”

Indeed, the Pacific Northwest architectural style was born out of the natural qualities of the environment. Lush forests and long rainy seasons allow for year round evergreen gardens and landscaping spawned a style that author Anne Wall Frank, author of Northwest Style, calls “informal, organic, and above all eclectic.”

The EVOKE Modern offered by Quadrant adds to the design kit of tools in the Northwest contemporary style, by adding some of the industrial feel pioneered by architects like Tom Kundig, featuring industrial materials like cement, says Kim. On these homes, the exterior siding consist of flat, fiber cement panels that are painted, as well as prestained, fiber cement lap siding.

Kim says that a lot of the energy efficiency is gained through the way windows are situated, with rooms facing courtyards, looking south or west to capture natural light. Smaller windows in bedrooms, situated high, insure privacy and keep out noise, but also save energy.

According to Geers, these homes are more efficient than most new construction by a factor of a third. They feature enhanced insulation products and sealants, tight window treatments, and mini-split heat pump system for heating and cooling, she says, where comfort in climate “zones” can be controlled by remote as well. Other green features include Energy Star-rated appliances, low-flow plumbing fixtures, dual-flush toilets, and rain gardens.

“Sustainability, and energy efficiency, are among those features that people, especially luxury home buyers, have more come to expect than ask for it,” says Geers.

According to Geers, the Evoke models achieve impressive energy-efficiency by Home Energy Rating System (HERS) standards. The Luxe model achieves a HERS rating of 63, the Grande a 64, which are thus 37 and 36 percent more energy efficient than average new American home, (which is about 100), says Geers.

On one of the smaller models, the “Luxe,” there’s an accordion-fold patio door in the kitchen, giving it the feel of a Mediterranean restaurant. Upstairs, a child’s room has a barn door sliding across the top of the room opening. And a family room features a mechanical shade, with hallways sporting marine lighting. On the larger model, the “Grand,” the kitchen features a smaller island, as well as niches for home desks, workspace countertops, and overhead beams. Floor to ceiling windows or half-wall windows look out onto lush Pacific Northwest forest.

With the new level of customization available to them, what are some of the unusual features home buyers asking for?

“People are redesigning their homes for their cats and dogs,” she says, adding that two people whom she design for just added new closets to the house, complete with cat-friendly flooring, kitty closets, and kitty doors specially tailored for those nocturnal creatures. Felines have been trending this “indoor-outdoor” feature for centuries.

For the moment, EVOKE has a few homes of $700,000 and up under construction in several locations in Redmond and Kirkland, since it was launched by Quadrant last summer, but none of the homes is in the finishing stages. The company will also, for the fist time in its history, “build on your lot,” too.