Ask an Expert: Stefan Eder

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Using Carpet in Modern Designs

Q: Hi Stefan, I am a big fan of carpet, but it seems to be going out of style. Are there any types of carpet that you would recommend that complement a modern design style? - C. Bird

A: Hello C. Bird. We see somewhat of a resurgence in the carpet world because there are so many beautiful and contemporary looking carpets available these days. Regardless of style please make sure to check what the carpet and the backing are made of (material, dyes, glues, etc.) Off-gassing coming from carpets can be toxic. It is the first thing we check when specifying a product.

One of my favorites is LAMA by LAMAconcept.

They make modern, young, fresh looking area rugs and carpets that are healthy, durable and, dare I say, timeless. I recommend tying in the carpet with accessories like pillows and blankets that relate to the carpet. This way a non-descript carpet becomes a subtle yet interesting accessory and not just a floor cover. And yes, they can incorporate LEDs into the carpet for the extra sparkle.

Modern Carpet
Images: LAMAconcept

A “trick” we use at my office when the owner wants carpet is to use a low profile, low pile carpet in the room and then add a gorgeous and interesting area rug on top of it. Our go-to manufacturer for wall-to-wall carpet in this case is Design Materials Inc. I am fond of their Fete line.

Modern Carpet
Images: (Left) Claudy Jongstra, (Middle & Right) Ruckstuhl

Incorporating White Materials into Your Design

Q: Hello. Just bought my first house and have to remodel my kitchen and bathrooms. I like minimal architecture and clean interiors. Thinking about doing all white in the kitchen and maybe some of the bathrooms. Thoughts and recommendations?? - Urban Miller

A: Hello Urban. Glad to hear you are not afraid of white-on-white.

You will immediately learn that white is not white and as soon as you hold “white” materials up against each other you will see the difference in white. For instance, the stark white sink you liked in the showroom all of a sudden looks gray against a bright white Caesarstone countertop.

My recommendation: Get every white material you are planning to use in the room and compare them side-by-side, hold them up together and see if they match or harmonize. Look at the materials in the same plane they are intended to be used (i.e. countertops horizontal, tile vertical).

Modern Kitchen
Image: Pinterest

In kitchens and bathrooms I usually start with white materials that I have little to no control over like countertops, stone tile, plumbing, etc. This material becomes the benchmark white and everything is matched to this particular color. You can perfectly match wall, ceiling and cabinetry paint color white to the benchmark.

One tip: Make sure to compare the whites in daylight settings in the actual room AND with the actual lighting to be installed in the room for night time use. We learned that many white materials reflect light in different ways at night and whites often shift slightly to a blue or a red.

Don’t forget to look into white faucets. Dornbracht, Hansgrohe and Graff have gorgeous looking faucets in white. Currently my favorite is the Graff Sento in “Architectural White”. We just installed a few in one of our projects and they are stunning.

Finally: To make the white look whiter and crisper add a carefully placed dark or bright colored accent.

A Warm Approach To Modern Interior Designs

Q: Hi Stefan, I appreciate the minimalist approach when it comes to interior design and love the combination of modern materials like white stone and glass. What types of materials can I use to warm up the interior design but without ruining the modern touch? -Ellen

A: Hello Ellen. Many people shy away from materials that are typically used in a traditional design language. But with the right application, they can add a modern, contemporary, and clean feel to the room.

Wood paneling:

wood paneling
Image: Banks Ramos

Traditionally wood paneling is used as wainscot, full height paneling, or wood ceiling. However, we use wood a lot in unexpected applications and based on contemporary design philosophies: Wood wraps, wood “tunnels”, wood cubes, etc. One idea would be to have the wood floor wrap up and become a wood wall and then turn into a wood ceiling. Very slick!

Woods also come in all sorts of fresh, really amazing colors and stains that are unexpected, non-traditional , and very modern without losing its warmth.

Metals:

Metal panels somehow have never really made it into residential applications. They should, especially in contemporary minimalist architecture and interior design. I am currently working on a project where various walls will receive metal panels. I am using a product called “GageCrave” C1005A “Rough Cut” by Gage architectural Products.
It is textured nickel and nothing shy of stunning.

Using Materials to Capture a Natural Look and a Minimalist Style

Q: Hi Stefan, I am in the middle of a significant renovation to my 15 year old house and would love some advice on capturing a natural look AND a minimalist style in the living/family rooms. How should I make this duality work?< ?p>

  1. Use less texture to stay minimal, and more natural colors/patterns?
  2. Or use more natural textures but keep the colors minimal?

Thanks for your perspective. -Nassim

A: Hello Nassim. You are on the forefront of a trend we have watched develop over the last year: minimal design with natural influences. Three basic design principals will help you create the perfect room:

  1. Choose one big gesture and let the rest of the room pay homage. Rather than having a little accent here, something interesting there and a little more over on the other side - be gutsy and choose one feature you really love—a floor-to-ceiling stone wall, a textured fireplace, “crazy” wood ceiling—and then the rest can be understated and calming.
  2. Modern Kitchen
    Image: Feldman Architecture

  3. Carefully balance light and color in the room. A minimal color and texture palette doesn’t have to be boring. If you allow natural light into the room it will change the atmosphere all throughout the day and create warmth and comfort even in a minimal setting.
  4. Let the outside in. If you have a view or a garden you can bring in color, light and seasonal changes without having to do much on the inside. You can change accessories in the room with the season and create an ever-changing calm, comfortable, minimal environment.

Meet This Week's Expert:
Laurie B. Haefele

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Laurie’s architectural background sets her apart in the kitchen world, as she designs innovative spaces in styles ranging from clean contemporary to traditional.

This Week's Topic: Kitchen and Bath Redesigns

Laurie will be answering your questions about kitchen and bath redesigns.

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