Updated: Apr 29, 2020
I thought it was maybe time to write a little article on one of the projects I have personally completed; a way to showcase some of my own ideas and concepts that have been brought to life. I am lucky enough to be able to travel the world, getting inspiration and pieces from different parts of the globe which I have incorporated into my designs for EWI Designs.
The Fairways Project used to be my home and was a labour of love since it was constructed back in 2011. Having dealt with a private building company rather than the usual main housing development firms, from the planning stage we were able to influence elements of the build from scratch.
Today I’ll focus on the Living Room of the home, a good sized room of 6m long by 5m wide. The room features two double French doors with Georgian style glass leading out to the garden. The room also benefited from a glass and metal sloping roof over the outer wall, flooding the room with natural light.
I wanted the design to be modern and contemporary with clean simple lines but not stark or un-homely. The walls are painted in a neutral colour of Chalkstone White, with the ceiling painted in a slightly lighter shade, Glidden White (however to the eye, due to the shade from the natural light they look the same) to make the room more spacious.
As the floors of the house were made of concrete, the flooring presented a slight problem when it came to wanting a wooden floor. Engineered wood in a Distressed Gunstock Oak finish was chosen and fitted due to its suitability in laying on top of concrete. The real wood texture gave a great natural look and feel and was reasonably cost-effective. The dark tone of the wooden floor gave contrast to the plain white walls, especially as the room is flooded with light due to the vast amount of glass.
With the layout of the room, I wanted to create a sense of symmetry with strong clean lines but softened with specific furniture and fabrics. I (maybe controversially) opted not to have a fireplace put in the living room and instead asked for the television points to be tracked inside the wall to have the TV as a focal point to the room.
Mounted to the wall was a 50″ flat screen TV which is large enough but not too dominating for the room. Underneath the TV, I wanted a floating unit to house all the extras like a DVD player, SKY box etc.
Ikea supply great storage solutions that are customizable, opting for the Besta range and created a double cupboard unit with black high gloss doors and black glass top. The unit was then attached to the supporting beams behind the stud interior wall to enable it to ‘float’
When it came to the seating arrangements, I wanted to take the lead from traditional formal living spaces centred around a coffee table. The two Natuzzi three seater sofas are upholstered in light grey, grade 10 leather.
The sofas were placed to face each other to enable conversation and interaction with guests. They were chosen for their almost modernist like style, simple, clean lines, with large cushion seating and chrome cage structure. They even have a hint of Le Corbusier’s famous designs from the 1920’s and 30’s, but with an Italian edge and a higher back for more practicality. Light grey was chosen to keep the palette neutral and enable accessories to bring out colour.
In the centre of the seating area is the Gala bent glass coffee table from Habitat, made from one piece of solid 12mm thick glass, its design is mid-century in style and was very popular in the 1970’s. The table’s simple style and all glass structure means it is unobtrusive to the room and enables light to carry through the glass and keep the room looking spacious.
Underneath the table is a cotton shag-pile rug in a bright white shade from Crate and Barrel, a style that was also popular in the 70’s. It created a contrast to the dark wooden floor and helped zone the seating area of the room.
At the opposite end to the seating area is a large full length horizontal mirror with a solid black frame. The use of a large mirror not only reflects the light from the glass roof and doors, but helps give the impression that the room is greater than it actually is.
Underneath the mirror is a solid Canaletto walnut sideboard with contrasting high gloss black doors and drawers by German furniture designers MWA Aktuell. I love how it demonstrates clean lines and uses walnut and high gloss to give a retro 70’s feel but still look modern. The sideboard is handleless and mirrored the style of the floating high gloss TV unit on the opposite side of the room.
At either side of the sideboard, I placed two black Kartell Master Chairs by Philippe Starck. The Masters chair is actually designed with the silhouettes of the 'Series 7' by Arne Jacobsen, the 'Tulip Armchair' by Eero Saarinen and the 'Eiffel Chair' by Charles Eames, intertwined into one design. The iconic pieces are beautiful in their own right, but together they create a genius piece of modern design.
Master Chairs by Philippe Starck
When it came to lighting, I wanted to use soft lamp lighting to create a warm feel to the room. I still wanted to have a focal lighting point to the room so I added two ceiling lights to create more of an impact than just the usual one central ceiling light. Two round Abacca extra-large shades from Dwell are made from twisted rope in a charcoal grey and when lit, cast a crisscrossed shadow pattern across the white walls adding texture to the room.
On top of the sideboard I chose two Habitat Yves table lamps in black powder-coated metal with contrasting copper and black shades. The simple tripod design continued the straight modern lines of the room, but the copper tone of the shades provided a much needed soft warm tone.
To complement the table lamps, I also included a tall floor lamp at the opposite side of the room. The Tripod, also from Habitat is made from solid wood, in contrast to the metal table lamps, to give a little contrast to the lighting within the space. The shade compliments the table lamps with a copper inner and black shade.
As the room featured so much glass, I wanted to create privacy when needed, so a double curtain track was constructed that ran the full length of the room, hidden by a custom made white wooden housing unit. The curtains were tailor-made using Clarke and Clarke Crusader Steel fabric, fully lined with a pencil pleat. Behind this is a white voile fabric to keep privacy during the day but still keep the generous amount of light from the glass French doors.
Colour was brought into the space with the use of accessories. In certain designs by having a neutral base it enables colour to be brought it without being overpowering. Two giant colour butterfly prints adorn the wall by Hagedornhagen of Denmark. Both are printed on 'Galerie Art Silk' with a mat finish. The butterflies are emerald-green and electric blue and are framed in simple 2″ thick black wooden glass frames.
Not only to add colour, but to soften the room and add texture, I wanted to introduce vibrant fabrics for the cushions on the sofas. Four cushions, two large 23″ and two slightly smaller 20″ cushions in several variations of orange, black and white create a bold contrast to the neutral light grey sofas.
A geometric black, white and orange woven pattern fabric from CB2 is mixed with a softer larger orange velvet cushion. The handmade dhurrie pattern cushion, crisscrossed in contrasting white and black, teamed together nicely with a smaller ruffled pin-tuck burnt orange design. The mix of colours and textures help create personality to the room, but are unified in three defined colours palettes.
A simple soft 100% wool knitted charcoal grey throw from Rockett St George adds a homely touch to the room, without losing the room’s modern edge.
On one of my travels I found a geometric ‘cube’ metal sculpture in Los Angeles and thought it would look amazing sat atop of the sideboard between the two lamps, giving a ‘modern art’ edge to the room. Three different sized chrome and silver metal textured balls sit alongside the sculpture to help balance out the hard straight edges and tie in with the chrome structure of the sofas.
Accessories for the coffee table were chosen to complement the room. Two varying sized chrome candle holders with bright orange candles bring coherence to the space by using a focal colour. A collection of designer “coffee table” books and a large glass vase holding fresh flowers also help soften the straight lines of the room.
Finally to add a little more retro mid-century modernism, I added the classic 1950’s Pluto Starburst wall clock by Newgate, finished in walnut wood and brass…it is a true design icon.
So there you have it, a little tour of some of my work, as you can tell I love mid-century modern, contemporary, simple classic design. This is especially true when combined with 21st century elements such as glass, metal and high gloss plastics.
When my very straight talking Northern Father first saw the room he commented with a little air of cheekiness “it looked like this in my day” well, if the style has survived that many decades…it must of done something right!