Author Archives: Mod Abode

About Mod Abode

Mod Abode was started out of a passion for three things; photography, architecture, and design. A photographer by trade for the past 13 years, I figured, what the heck--why not combine all my passions into one. Thus, Mod Abode was born! For as long as I can remember, I have loved design. I've always been particularly drawn to modern design. It has always been a favorite pastime to pick up the latest issue of Dwell Magazine and gawk over the stunning modern architecture and clean, minimalist interiors. And every store catalog I receive in the mail containing simple yet bold interior accessories, has a rather long shelf life in my home, because I love to study the featured rooms photographed so beautifully inside the issue. Since starting my photography business in 2006, I've had many opportunities to photograph our travels, our home, and lots and lots of happy moments in peoples' lives. After being a general contractor on the build of our own modern home in Indianapolis, Indiana, I gained an even stronger appreciation of modern craftsmanship and functional homes built with form in mind. So here you have it, a broad range of things that interest me, related to modern homes, for modern enthusiasts like yourself!

Cigar Room Retreat

When Indianapolis homeowners tasked Chris Short, Principal Architect at HAUS | Architecture for Modern Lifestyles, to create a cigar room addition to their existing 1954 mid-century modern home, not only did he deliver a flawless design that seamlessly carries on the pre-existing rooflines, materials and glazing themes from the original portion of the home, but he along with Matt Harris, founder of MW Harris (an interior design firm) created a retreat; a night and day experience from the main living space of the home to the new cigar room.

The home, designed by renowned Indy architect Edward Pierre, was originally created for the 1954 Indianapolis Home Show, and was updated in 2007 with additional expansions to the back of the home. This main living space is filled with daylight and bright white walls.

Original brick commonly seen in mid-century modern homes still surrounds the fireplace today. In stark contrast to the light and airy nature of the main portion of the home, the cigar room now adjoined to the opposite side of the garage showcases a dark design palette rich in colors and textures.

A fully custom bar made of red gum wood, which is easily one of the main focal points of the design, houses a special place for a humidor and beverage cooler as well as additional storage space. This modern and masculine cigar room is truly a retreat. “I use this space to listen to music, to work, and to play piano. It’s a place to get away,” said the homeowner. With state of the art ventilation, it’s also a place to enjoy his cigars. Short explains, “The HVAC and exhaust systems operate independently and were specifically designed to ventilate the cigar room smoke while maintaining a comfortable temperature in the space. The HVAC system includes a carbon-filter and electronic air cleaner, and there’s 70% make-up air drawn from a roof intake while the HVAC system is operating. The make-up air also serves the exhaust system when it is active. HAUS integrated the exhaust ducts and ceiling slots into the highest point of the sloped ceiling roof for minimal visual impact and optimal functionality.”

The north and east walls feature nearly solid glass, built of some of Marvin Windows sleekest products. Indiana Marvin dealer, Franklin Window and Door, looked at the space and recommended 16’ x 6’8” four-panel sliding patio doors to fully take advantage of the property views and outdoor living space. “We had to design the three trapezoid direct set windows above the four- panel sliding door, and the tricky part was getting the stile lines to line up. The opposite wall was made up of polygon direct set windows to minimize site lines and provide maximum glass,” said Cori Brown, CEO Franklin Window and Door. These walls flood the space with ample daylight in the early hours of the day, but at night, the space takes on a totally different vibe. The black painted walls and ceilings, the warm glow of several wall sconces, and the rich navy chevron wall covering offer the ambiance of a cocktail lounge. “The cigar room doors and windows compliment the house, but are taller and larger in the new addition to maximize the drama and natural light. The doors and windows were oriented for convenient access to adjacent outdoor spaces to the east and views to the north,” said Short.

This cozy and inviting retreat is a result of excellent designers in each trade pulling together to create a space for the homeowners that fulfilled their every need, in an already amazing Indianapolis home. For modern enthusiasts like myself, a deep appreciation is felt for new construction that carries on the original architectural lines of a home designed by Edward Pierre, who is responsible for much of Indianapolis’ modern architecture.

For more inspiration: How To Extra Superfino Your Design | Curb Appeal: 4 Stunning Walkway Concepts 

Modern Urban Dwelling

Hi! Meet Mac, a ten-year-old Scottish Terrier who gets to reside in this amazing modern urban dwelling in Indianapolis, Indiana with his owner, Joe Shoemaker. I’m sure you’re wanting to jump ahead and immediately look through all of the photos to see more of this home—I usually do the same thing too. However, you’ll appreciate it even more if you read a little about this home, what design considerations were made based on Joe and Mac's lifestyle, and characteristics of the neighborhood that it is a part of.

This Indianapolis home occupies a narrow 33’ in-fill lot that is surrounded on three sides by a city street and two alleys. In the historic Fletcher Place neighborhood, architect One 10 Studio took careful consideration to appeal to the homeowner’s desire for a modern aesthetic, yet fit the fabric of the existing set of homes. “Of paramount importance was the opportunity to integrate the modern exterior aesthetic of the home into the traditional character of the neighborhood. The design parti employs an efficient 2-story masonry cube form flanked by a single story, single pitched roof volumes to echo the scale and vocabulary of the adjacent neighboring properties. A horizontal datum of floor, porch floor and roof lines visually connect and nestle the home into its environment. The covered porch provides a nostalgic link between neighbors,” says Patrick Kestner, Associate at One 10 Studio.

This home needed to be designed for Joe and his beloved dog, Mac. He did not need excessive amounts of square footage, but rather, desired a home built around the way that he lives. Most areas in the home serve dual purposes, which means he covers nearly every square foot of the home on a daily basis. An avid Vespa enthusiast, the home and detached garage were designed with that passion in mind. In-line with the large glass expanse on the backside of the home is a view across a small backyard of a glass overhead garage door where the silhouette of his Vespa can be seen. Opposite from the single glass garage door are two individual garage doors that open to a back alleyway.

On the main level of the house, the homeowner occupies a home office, which could also serve as a bedroom, with a pocket door separating it from the main living space. The upstairs is an open-loft master bedroom and bathroom suite, while the basement also features a bedroom, spa-like full bathroom, and open living space. So while the home may not offer an abundance of square footage, each of the three levels of the home operates as completely independent living spaces equipped with everything one would need. And due to the careful design consideration to keep windows in a linear fashion across opposite ends of the home, one’s line of sight is not interrupted from the front of the home to the back of the home.

“From the start of the design process working with One 10 Studio, I handed over a 5 page summary of what I felt were life’s necessities to achieve a minimalist and low-maintenance modern home. I also included information on the things that I did not need—common things to the average traditional family like dining rooms, formal living rooms and elaborate walk-in closets, and excessive square footage were all things that I viewed as completely unnecessary for my lifestyle. Efficiency and low-maintenance quality finishes were of utmost importance,” says Joe.

The interiors have a simple yet sophisticated ambiance. This natural-light filled home complete with nearly all white finishes, is starkly contrasted with walnut wrapped portals offering egress between the entryway and vertical circulation of the main living space. Additionally, steel details on the stairs and kitchen island, and sealed timber strand wood beam treads in the open-riser staircase all combine to create an organic warmth inside a stark white interior.

Beautifully and tastefully designed, Joe and Mac get to enjoy all of the common characteristics of modern architecture while uniquely molding to their own minimalist lifestyle. This downtown urban dwelling is simply stunning and a remarkable structure fitting into the landscape of historic Fletcher Place. To see additional images, please continue to scroll down, For more modern design inspired topics, make sure to visit my blog, Mod Abode, and follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

For more modern homes: New Life For A Brooklyn Retail Landmark | [Beach] House Tour

How To Create A Vertical Garden Design

A growing trend (no pun intended) are vertical planters! They’re a smart and beautiful way to enhance sides of buildings in urban spaces, decorate lobbies of hotels or office buildings, or even help to decorate a feature wall in your home. They’re also being used in restaurants to serve a dual purpose of wall decor and growing fresh herbs inside them for an organic method of growing their own spices for dishes that they serve.

For quite some time now, I have had my eye on a company doing some amazing things. That company is Florafelt! Not only do I love what I see on their website with all of the various installs that are taking place using Florafelt’s products, but when I read more about the CEO and Founder of Florafelt, Chris Bribach, I knew that their product was legit, and was born from an architecture and design school of thought. Chris earned a 5-year degree from SCI-Arc, a world-renowned center of innovation and one of the nation’s few independent architecture schools.

“I was excited about organic ideas in architecture and created chaos sculptures made from many pieces of building elements connected in a free-form structure. I assembled the pieces in what seemed chaotic designs, but the goal was to create a redundantly efficient organic space frame. Similar to how a bird builds a nest, I wanted the assembly to become a process that organically helped create the scope and shape. On the human scale, I created what I called ‘performance architecture’ where the audience would create their own experience resulting in a structure.”

Chris realized a problem, that massive industrial urban centers of today are plagued with paved and roofed surfaces that require enormous amounts of energy to create and maintain. Thus, his idea to cover urban exteriors with foliage to help cool interiors, prevent decay and even grow food was born! In 2010, his “vertical garden panel” was patented.

I’m so honored that I was able to team-up with Florafelt and Allisonville Nursery to create my own vertical wall in my home. In the photos below, I will walk you through the process of building your own vertical wall. All of Florafelt’s products can be purchased directly through their website, and they also have some excellent tutorial videos that you can watch online. Then find your favorite local nursery, mine being Allisonville Garden & Home, and work with their pros to pair the best plant species for the specific needs of your project.

STEP 1) Plant Selection

Since I chose to use four "4-Pocket Vertical Garden Planters” rather than one of their products that includes an irrigation or drip system (for ease of install in the location I had chosen within my home), I wanted to stick with a plant species that didn't require a ton of watering. Therefore, I chose succulents. They are gorgeous, unique, eye-catching, and offer deep rich colors that I knew I wanted on my wall!

STEP 2) Identify Your Wall Product

As mentioned above, I wanted to keep my vertical wall system simple without having to worry about adding a new electrical outlet on the wall that I wanted to use (to run a recirculating water system and pump). Therefore, I chose Florafelt's "Vertical Garden Planters,” which they offer in 4-Pockets (vertical orientation) or 12-Pockets (horizontal orientation). The particular spot I wanted to hang mine was in a two-story stairwell, so I knew the space lent itself well to a vertical orientation. I actually decided to pair four of the 4-Pocket panels together to create a design that was overall 2 pockets wide by 8 pockets tall, totaling 16 pockets.

STEP 3) Plant Layout

I found it helpful to layout all of my plants in a similar arrangement to how they'd eventually hang on the wall. Some plants needed to be separated into smaller sizes and then dispersed amongst multiple pockets. With each pocket, I tried to have a vertical-natured plant, a small and lower plant, and then in most, I included a cascading plant. I felt that diversifying each pocket would give me an overall more visually interesting end product.

STEP 4) Pocket Arrangement

Now the fun begins! I had 16 individual pockets to design. I wanted my colors, shapes and textures amongst all of the plants to be mixed as much as possible. Florafelt has an excellent tutorial video on their site that you can find here, and it shows how to arrange each pocket using their felt sheets. There is a specific folding technique and a rubber band to use before slipping the arrangement into the wall planter.

STEP 5) Home Stretch

All you have left to do is slide your arrangements into each of the wall pockets. You are first supposed to pull the felt pockets open and stretch them out a bit, as they are pretty snug when they first arrive. Stretching them allows ample room to slide your arrangement in, yet the fit should still be firm since the roots of your plants will eventually grow into the felt material. My piece of advice when deciding where to place each arrangement within your wall panel design is to alternate sides that have cascading plants. For example, if you use a cascading plant on the left in the top pocket, try using a cascading plant on the right in the pocket immediately below. That helps to keep your design balanced and seem more random.

It is an incredible feeling to create your own masterpiece, that is not only unique to you, but also fits perfectly in your home the way that you envisioned from the start! Definitely go checkout Florafelt's website to shop their products and for ideas and inspiration. And a HUGE thank you to Allisonville Garden & Home, for not only supplying me with the most gorgeous plants for my living wall, but also for the expertise and guidance that I received from Ra Gadd and Scott Bardash there!

For more home plant ideas: How to Make A Macrame Plant Hanger | Decorating With Succulents

Mid-Century Modern- Designed Then. Relevant Now.

Today more than ever, mid-century modern design is everywhere. It is a term that describes mid-20th century developments in interior design, product, graphic design, architecture and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965. Most of the designs of mid-century had gone out of fashion by the late 60s, but in the early to mid-eighties, interest in the period began to return. Commonly used materials and finishes in mid-century modern homes make liberal use of wood, metal, glass and lucite. It is common to see a vast range of colors—anything from neutral to bold, to black and white.

There are so many things about this design genre that draw me in. This style consists of a classic, understated look with clean and minimal lines. Distinguishing features include:

-Functionality. It is of utmost importance, as form follows function.
-Simple and sleek lines mixing both organic and geometric shapes and patterns.
-Minimal ornamentation.
-Juxtaposition. The use of contrasting patterns and materials is common.

What is most fascinating to me is that the same styles that were popular when my grandparents were roughly my age, are still being manufactured and sold at premium prices today! It is a true testament that good design withstands the test of time. With so much thought put behind the “function” of a mid-century modern home or piece of furniture, it proves that design built with a purpose in mind will always last and properly serve the needs of consumers no matter the decade.

To properly prove this point, I had the privilege of visiting and photographing a mid-century modern home in Indianapolis, Indiana that was built in 1958, filled with classic and original 1950s and 1960s iconic furniture pieces, and then paying a visit to a local Knoll furniture dealer, RJE Business Interiors supplying businesses and modern homes today with the same iconic pieces.

This home was designed by an Indiana native, Evans Woollen III, known for much of what Indianapolis looks like today. He is responsible for the city’s most distinctive 20th-century buildings. This gem was purchased in 2000 by a mid-century modern purist; someone who is a former Creative Director of Showroom Design for Herman Miller, a company synonymous with modern design. Today, he is the owner of Design Studio Vriesman, and prides himself in creating classically modern spaces of timeless simplicity; exactly what he has done with his own home. With just 2,400 square feet, the I-shaped home is modest by today’s standards, but provides his family with all of the necessary function for efficient living. Enjoy this photo tour below of some of this genre's most well-known designers.


After paying a visit to this stunningly beautiful and modern residence that is as true as mid-century modern design gets, it was as if nearly 60 years had stood still entering RJE Business Interiors' showroom, where some of the same furniture pieces sat on display. These striking lines and clean textiles used in homes decades ago are being designed for new work and living spaces alike today! Please take a little tour of RJE's gorgeous showroom.

A special thank you to Design Studio Vriesman and RJE Business Interiors for allowing me to photograph their respective spaces that I deeply admire. For more modern design inspired topics, make sure to visit my blog, Mod Abode, and follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

For more themed spaces: Farmhouse vs Modern Design | Inspiration for Eclectic Kids Bedroom Designs

Inspiration for Eclectic Kids Bedroom Designs

When it comes to designing a kid’s bedroom, it is so easy to walk inside your favorite children’s home furnishings store and pick a “theme,” and then buy the individual pieces to that theme; crib bumper, matching throw pillow, coordinating wall art, complimentary sheet set, ALL with the same design carried throughout the items. That’s a great way to quickly design and furnish an entire room without having to put a whole lot of thought into it. However, I want to challenge your creative juices just a bit!

When I think about creating a cool and creative space for a child, I encourage you to think less about an age appropriate theme, but more about eclectic colors and textures that foster a child’s creativity and compliments their personality. Not only will that save you money in the long run since he/she will never reach an age where the entire themed set of items is no longer appropriate, but rather, maybe just having to change a piece out here and there without totally dismantling the room from floor to ceiling to better suit the current age of the child.

Another idea I try to abide by when decorating a kid’s room is buying some pieces that I might use elsewhere in the home. What that means is that I encourage you to start looking outside of kid-designated home furnishing stores and focus some of your efforts in stores that you’d furnish your living room or master bedroom with. Sometimes, without having to spend any money at all, it’s fun to move a few items around the house to give things a fresh, new feeling. Comforters, duvets, and wall decor are great items to look for at kid stores, but perhaps think about purchasing a nightstand, throw blanket, or rug at a store you personally like.

“BRIGHT + CHEERY” - 7- Year- Old Girl Room

This little girl’s bedroom that I got to visit makes me wish I could sleep and play here. Certain items are relevant to a seven-year-old girl, while the majority of the decor could easily be used in other spaces of the home since it isn’t necessarily a “kids-only” decor item! Bright and colorful pieces bring this daylight-filled room to life while offering a comfy place to sleep, and a cozy chair to curl-up with a book.

(Product Links:)

Strandmon Wing Chair | Novogratz Preppy Twin Upholstered Bed | GIRLS RULE Wire Wall DecorGeometric Pillow and BlanketPolka Dot RugYellow and Green Throw Pillows | Duvet | Hanging Light Strand

“TRENDY TODDLER” - 4-Year-Old Boy Room

This room is another great example of using eclectic decor and contrasting colors to bring energy to a child’s room. The “#OHDEX” wall vinyl in bright orange is definitely a focal point, but what I love most is that this piece is only $50, and when it’s time to change-up the decor, it peels away easily, leaving the paint and drywall unharmed. Every piece of the bedding set is from The Land of Nod, however, they’re individually from different themed product lines at The Land of Nod. The items were picked based on a palette of contrasting shapes and colors.

(Product Links:)

Twin Little Prints Duvet Cover#OHDEX Wall Vinyl | Lightning Bolt Garland | Grey Quartz Floor Bin | Zebra Shaped Bath RugFamily Photo Poster Board Prints | Yellow Table Lamp

“POPPIES + PRETTIES” - 4-Year-Old Girl

Alright, I’ll let you in on the background inspiration for this little girl’s bedroom. I’ll give you a hint: Her name is “Poppy,” so yes, this gorgeous Marimekko duvet was an obvious choice for a little girl with a bright and happy spirit, and for someone who's name is shared with a flower. A simple color palette of reds, pinks, and purples is carried-out through this entire room. Animal busts stacked vertically on the wall not only add dimension and visual interest, but they offer the perfect amount of whimsy.

(Product Links:)

Brimnes Storage Bed | Unicorn Head Wall Decor- Pillowfort | Fab-you-lous Screen Printed Glass Art- Pillowfort | Carpet Runner Squares | Knitted Graphite Pouf | Red Table Lamp

“DUDE CAVE” - 7-Year-Old Boy

This seven-year-old boy’s room uses a bold cobalt blue color that was found in an accent color on his desk. That color was matched to the wall paint to tie the two sides of the room together. A little paint, a simple design and another wall vinyl spelling “HELLO.” make for a very affordable feature wall. With only one other bold bright orange stool for a pop of color, the rest of the room uses grays and blacks for a masculine feel for this growing boy. While there’s lots of floor space to play, the most popular place in this space is the fort bed!

(Product Links:)

Kura Bed Tent | HELLO Wall Decal | Desk | Organic Comic Book Twin Sheet Set | Breakdance Blanket | 4x6' Simple Geometry Rug | Hey Jude Metal Letters

Make sure to follow my blog, Mod Abode for more modern design related topics.

For more family- friendly designs: A New Kitchen, and Baby, On The Way! | How To Design A Kid-Friendly Bathroom

Decorating With Succulents

One of my favorite ways to add color and life to any room is by incorporating plants. In particular, succulents have been all of the rage lately. They come in a vast assortment of shapes and sizes, and their unique details are sure to grab anyone’s attention.

After a recent terrarium-building collaboration I did with West Elm Indianapolis, which you can read about here, I decided to take what I had learned, and put together some new indoor and outdoor planters, as well as build a terrarium at home, which by the way, features Caesarstone countertops in Pure White.

Here are some tips to consider based on what I learned from the pros at West Elm:

  1. Start by selecting a planter based on the size, shape and color that will fit the space you plan to use in your home. For my terrarium, I purchased this Gem Cut Terrarium at my local West Elm store. Not only are the detailed cuts of the wooden base gorgeous, but I happen to love that the walls are glass because that highlights the beautiful layering of the soil and finish layers.

  2. The next step is to make your plant selections. Succulents come in so many shapes and textures, so I consider this the most fun step in the design process! I chose a small cactus, one plant with a fuzzy feel, a couple of air plants for height, and a couple that had some deep reds and maroons to add color depth.

  3. Now it’s time to decide how you are going to layer your base. After your soil layer, some popular toppers are moss, sand and/or small stones. Since my home is very modern with “white” as the main color in my palette, I thought that moss would be an excellent way for my design to contrast the surroundings and make it more eye-catching! I wanted to make sure that the depth of my soil was deeper than the wooden base so that you could see the layering through the glass walls.

  4. I think that most people consider this next step the most difficult—plant arrangement and spacing. To try and make this step seem less intimidating, here are just a few things to think about: I find it easiest to start with the tallest plants. Are you going to place your planters against a wall? If so, I suggest taking your tallest plants and placing them in the back and slightly off-center so they act more like your planter’s “backdrop". Or are you going to have it in the middle of a room where you will see all four sides? If that is the case, I suggest placing a tall plant (or two) in one back corner, and then placing another tall plant on the opposite side and slightly forward so you create some balance. If you choose a plant that will cascade after it grows larger, make sure you plant that in the front. After that, just make sure you arrange your remaining succulents so that you keep balance and mix textures.

  5. The final step is the icing on the cake! It’s time to lay down your top layer. I chose to tear-off small sections of moss at a time, and place them around the corners and then sporadically throughout a couple other portions of the planter. My best piece of advice is to not overcrowd your design. Remember—sometimes, less is more.

Make your planter design something that fits with your home decor. It’s sure to be the conversation piece when you host your next dinner party! They also make excellent gifts if you’re someone that likes to put your own thumbprint, no pun intended, on your gifts! Here are a couple of other examples of different plant arrangements I made in my home, for more inspiration! The concrete planters can be found at West Elm, as well as the front porch chevron planters. Now it's time to get to work designing yours! Make sure to follow my blog, Mod Abode, for more modern design related topics.

For more decorating with planters: 5 Easy Planters to Make For Your Home This Spring | Modern Planters, Indoors and Out