Posts filed under ‘Designer Spotlight’

Kitchen Cousins + Modwalls = Backsplash Sensation!!!

We seriously couldn’t be more ECSTATIC with the final result of HGtv’s Kitchen Cousins (& Brunellesci Construction‘s) recent kitchen remodel project!!!

The episode Fireplace Fiasco aired on HGtv nationwide last Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 and will re-air this Saturday, June 16th, 2012 at 4:30 ET.  Set your dvr’s to record if you missed it because it features our very own Lush® glass subway tile, designed by Rex Ray Studio, as the finished kitchen backsplash!!!  We always knew this tile would end up in some cool locales and this kitchen definitely exceeds our expectations. :)

Here’s what HGtv has to say about this surprising episode(!):

“Sometimes it’s what’s behind the walls that makes all the difference. When John and Anthony take a look at Joel and Maria’s kitchen, the first thing that stands out is an unusually thick wall. After a little exploratory demolition they discover an incredible hidden fireplace which completely changes their original design. But as construction progresses, the fireplace they fell in love with becomes their biggest nightmare. Will this hearth be the centerpiece of the home, or will the whole job go down in flames?”

Here’s the BEFORE…

As you can see, this dark and divided kitchen left much to be desired by it’s homeowners Joel and Maria...Photo by (c)Christopher Amaral
http://www.christopheramaral.com/

And here is the AFTER!!!

We can only imagine how thrilled the homeowners must be to now come home to such a gorgeous, light, and modern kitchen with some flair of the unexpected!

AFTER! Photo by (c)Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

AFTER! Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

AFTER! Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

AFTER! Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

Notice how stunning our Lush Rex Ray TYPE White tile looks as the backsplash.. Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

AFTER! Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

AFTER! Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

AFTER! Photo by (c) Christopher Amaral http://www.christopheramaral.com/

You too could have this American made tile in your home or commercial space!!  Find it here on our website and let us know what you think.

Modwalls has been making colorful modern tile since 2005. We have and unique designs that are in stock and available for purchase online 24/7 at  Colorful Modern Tile by modwalls.com.

January 19, 2016 at 3:49 pm 2 comments

Janet Bennett: A Life in Design

Janet Bennett“Are you the artist Janet Bennett?” Bennett is a striking and elegant woman who looks quite at home in the colorful surroundings of Robert, the restaurant housed within the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan. But perhaps the question should have been, “are you the artist who designed the iconic tile murals in the Los Angeles Airport?”

The murals have been widely attributed to Charles Kratka who was Bennett’s immediate supervisor. “When I found out about the obituary for him in the L.A. Times which said that Charles Kratka was the designer of the LAX murals, I freaked out.” By her own admission, she’d never claimed credit for the murals which were installed in 1961, when she was working for the architectural firm of Pereira & Luckman.

Mad Men Mural

LAX MURALS” Mad Men Promo Image. Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Her assignment, given to her by Kratka, was to design a mural that would distract people from how long the tunnels were. The 2007 L.A. Times obituary mentions that Kratka told his children that the changing colors of the mural were to reflect the changing seasons, but Bennett said that actually her concept was to express the changing terrain as seen from a transcontinental flight, “from ocean to ocean.”

“I started with blue on one side, then green, then into earth colors, then,

Janet in Blue

Janet Bennett

in the middle, I had one red element; then the colors reverse. My idea was that you’d see the same colors going from the ocean to the middle of the country, over the prairie, then back to the ocean.” The mural has been featured in both film and TV, from The Graduate to Mad Men. “It’s been used as a vehicle to show people coming in and out of Los Angles; it’s an ideal background because of the procession of colors.” Overall, Bennett created mosaic designs for five terminal buildings found in the airport.

IMG_0400 (2)

A Janet Bennett Painting

Bennett grew up in Detroit; her father was a painter. He discouraged her from becoming an artist due to concerns about making a living. “He had been successful as a painter, but there came a time when he had to think about money, so he went into automobile design. For him, (designing for automobiles) was like interior design for me. He was okay at it, but he didn’t have a passion for it because he was a painter, as I was a sculptor, and am now a painter.”

JB Paint wave

Janet Bennett

Bennett studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art which is known as one of America’s leading architecture and design schools, with its graduates and faculty being described by the New York Times as having a “profound effect on the physical environment of this country.” Bennett majored in sculpting and upon graduating, came to New York City to work on commissions, one of which was a bronze sculpture for the department store B. Altman & Co. Once completed, she was called to Madrid for further study before finding herself back in the states, working in architecture.

“It was an ideal job for someone like me.” Her work took her to Los Angeles, San Salvador, “I love anything Spanish,” San Francisco, Honolulu, and back to New York. “My sculpture commissions were always in different mediums, using different materials – whether it was steel, or

IMG_0406 (2)

Janet Bennett

plastic, or wood – I really had to learn as I was doing. I’ve gone to a couple shows at this museum (The Museum of Art and Design) and I’ve thought, ‘I’ve done that once, but this artist has made a whole career out of it.’ If I had stayed with one thing, people could look at it and say, ‘that’s a Janet Bennett.’”

In addition to the LAX murals, Bennett was one of the contributors to San

Brio Blends

Modwalls Brio Blend Glass Tiles

Francisco’s BART stations in the late 60’s and early 70’s when a panel of art professionals commissioned murals and other art for nearly all of the then newly designed stations.“The tiles for the San Francisco murals were ceramic, as opposed to the Italian glass used at the airport.” When she wasn’t doing mural work or designing decorative art, she worked in interior design. “That’s where I ran into some restrictions. When I was doing the commissioned artwork, I pretty much had full reign. With the murals, there were no influences other than driven by theme.”

JB Dogs

Janet Bennett

At 83, Bennett is now working in acrylics. “I like things that are malleable. That’s what I like about oils. Mixing them; they’re nice and squishy.” She works both in New York City and “on the Island” (Long Island) and finds inspiration everywhere.

“Artists are much more observant. I walk my dog in the park and things are happening. A big crane is taking something down, a people thing is happening, and no one is looking. I’m always looking. If you have an artistic temperament, you’re sort of a voyeur.”

I ask her if she’s tried to contact the airport about receiving credit for the LAX murals. ”Anytime I try to follow up, they say, ‘can you document it?’ It was so many years ago; I’ve lived in so many places, thrown out files, or books, or photographs. Everyone I worked with was older than I, and they’re not around anymore.”

Mosaic Tunnel

Bennett is quick to point out that she wouldn’t have minded if the architecture firm had been credited. “Working for an architectural firm is like working for a fashion house – you can design it, but it goes out under the name of the firm.” The discomfort that Bennett feels is in having another person receive credit for a design she conceived. She sighs, “I never thought about publicity. I remember a magazine contacting me (after creating the mural) but I was busy with something else.”

Janet Bennett with daughter

Janet Bennett with her daughter

Bennett has been creating art for over sixty years and is still evolving, still exploring design, color and texture. Perhaps, if you find yourself passing through the midcentury mosaic tunnels in LAX, you’ll find yourself thinking, “I know what that is. That’s a Bennett.”

Micheline Auger is a playwright and freelance writer living in New York who loves art, color, and all things Modwalls.

December 5, 2015 at 5:22 pm Leave a comment

Artist Shawn Dulaney on the Intimacy and Grandeur of Color

Shawn Dulaney has worked as a painter for over three decades. Her paintings Shawn Dulaney formal  can be found in extensive public collections worldwide, as well as in the private collections of author Annie Proulx, actor Steve Buscemi, artist Jo Andres, talk-show host Conan O’Brian and musician Stuart Copeland.

Her landscapes have also appeared in episodes of TV’s Sex & the City and Portlandia, the films It’s Complicated and Interview, and in the HBO series Enlightened. Her work has been reviewed in ARTnews Magazine and the New York Times, and has been featured in Parabola Magazine and New American Paintings.

Many Waves 42x44 Acryclic on Linen

Modwalls wanted to grab a few minutes with her to talk about her approach to color and design. She describes her work as “layered constructions of color merging to form spacious abstractions where nature references correspond to human emotional state.”

Deep Lake 54x56 Acrylic on Linen

William Zimmer of the New York Times says, “Shawn Dulaney is deliberately out for grandeur. but she is also out for intimacy. Her paintings take advantage of their innate ambiguity and declare themselves to be very current in the thinking that lies behind them.”

Devotion 38x48

How does color inform your work?

I love the alchemy that happens between physical materials, intuition and inspiration. I use color as the primary vehicle in attempting to create something experiential and ephemeral.

Moved-44x42-Acryclic-on-Linen-2013

When I start a painting, I have a sense of what it will feel like at the end, then I begin to search for that feeling usually to find something else entirely. I may start with some reference, i.e. a cloud, a horizon, an event in nature, etc., and then it becomes a process of reducing that down to its essence. This way the color can be experienced as a metaphor or vehicle.

exhale II

I am inspired, nourished and transported by color.

The art world, as in design, can be influenced by trends. How do you deal with the influence of trends in your work?

 Trends don’t influence me. I try to be true to my own voice and essence. When I work, it requires a focus much like meditation where I empty my mind and become receptive. I know this spills over into my daily life. It helps keep me grounded and in the present moment.

Represented by:
Sears Peyton Gallery, New York, NY
Weber Fine Art, Scarsdale, NY

To contact Shawn about her work, email info@shawndulaney.com

April 15, 2015 at 7:06 pm Leave a comment

Craftsman Detail = Simplicity, Quality and Passion

semihandmade tileJohn McDonald is the owner of Semihandmade which is an innovative company that makes one-of-a-kind doors for IKEA kitchens, bathroom, closets and media cabinets. Modwalls spoke with John about how he started the company and the best way to incorporate craftsman touches in your remodel.

“I had been in LA for about 13 years working freelance in the film biz doing writing and production (mainly waiting tables).  At 34, I started buying old furniture, refinishing it and selling at swap meets. Then I moved on to making custom furniture and cabinetry.”

John transitioned to making doors from IKEA cabinets about five years ago and because of the demand, his company expanded to include 30 employees. The concept is simple and brilliant. You want that IKEA kitchen but not so crazy about the doors that come with the cabinets? What do you do? Simple:

“You don’t have to buy them,” says John. “All you do is just buy the boxes and hardware and we’ll make the amazing fronts, panels and tops so you get a really custom look for less.”

Rex Rox Lunar SemiHandmadeJohn’s philosophy when it comes to design is to keep it as simple and clean as possible. “I can’t stand precious and overly thought-out.” He’s passionate and opinionated about what he does, which has made his company a success within the industry and a favorite among clients.

“I always make it a point to seek out other companies I like. Modwalls makes a clean  tile product that is really well-made with great colors and excellent customer service. We’ve used their tiles at different design shows to compliment our booths. We also recommend their stuff to clients we think it will appeal to. Some of their new stuff is really amazing!”

So what do you do if you want to incorporate craftsman touches but you’re on a budget?

“The key is trying to have a few nice things you’ll hopefully have for a long time, then building around that.  The fact that IKEA is our platform says all you need to know about us. They’ve got a great system, really solid bones, and they are genius to let people compliment things as they like.”

Teal Agate semihandmadeSo whether it’s colorful ceramic tile or semi-handmade zebrawood cabinets, pick a product you love, a company you believe in, and have fun. Anything else?

“Remodeling is a marathon. Be prepared for that!”

Have a Modwalls’ design question? Ask and we will answer!  www.modwalls.com

 

December 19, 2014 at 9:49 am Leave a comment

DVF Knows How to Live With Color!

Diane von Furstenberg knows how to Live With Color.

Diane von Furstenberg knows how to Live With Color

Diane von Furstenberg
knows how to Live With Color

 

I mean really LIVE with, in, around and about color!

I’ve been watching her new reality show, House of DVF, about interns vying for a job as a Brand Ambassador for her fashion empire.

While I’m underwhelmed by the immaturity, and in-fighting of the interns, I’m in Love with the DVF brand and the brilliant woman who created it.

Diane von Furstenberg has been making women look effortlessly chic for years.

Her signature wrap dress is at home in every setting and on every woman. I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember.

Watching this show is a master class on her joyous sense of color and print not to mention business and marketing acumen.  The latest collections are bright and beautiful with unexpected mixes of colors and bold designs.

And her office is also bursting with color. Not in a cluttered way but in a way that makes me feel as if I could do my best work there.

Take for instance those woven cloth side chairs in her office at DVF HQ – Where can they be found? I’m on a quest.

The office chairs of my dreams at DVF HQ

The office chairs of my dreams at DVF HQ

The finale to the show is coming up. I’m rooting for Brittany if she can get her ego in check. We’ll see if it works out for anyone and if the company decides to do this show a second time.  It seems like a big headache for the DVF team but certainly showcases the brand well.

What I’ve come away with is that Diane von Furstenberg is a fair and generous leader who is taking a bite out of the world in her own classy way. This woman knows how to Live With Color! And don’t we all want to do just that?

December 17, 2014 at 6:10 pm 2 comments

Modwalls Design with AlliJay Interiors

Allijay Kitchen with Tile

AlliJay Kitchen

Have you been drooling over design and architecture magazines thinking there’s got to be a way you can make your kitchen or bath the rooms you’ve always wanted without depleting your savings?  You have a vision and you want to make your vision a reality. But how? What are some of the tricks of the trade?

“One of the big things you can do is choosing some really amazing tile and then using it wisely.”

Allijay Bathroom Floor Tile

AlliJay Bathroom

Allison Schwartz and Jessica Lyn Ryder of the Seattle-based AlliJay Interiors are known for their modern yet classic interiors.

“If you’re on a budget, you can tile your bathroom floor and shower walls in the same tile and also use bigger tiles. If you get the Brio Glass Mosaic Color, it will give the room a luxury feel. You can use tiles behind the mirror and backsplash to add an accent of color. Then, if you want to get really crazy, use a vertical strip in the shower to tie it all together. There are always things you can do that will have a great effect while not breaking the bank.”

Allison and Jessica were introduced to Modwalls after working with developers and builders and designing for
them.

Allijay Bathrom

AlliJay Bathroom

“The color selection and variety that we get from Modwalls is unparalleled from what we see anywhere else,” says Allison.

“And it’s not only the color,” adds Jessica. “We just can’t find any other manufacturers that can make them like that. But even more than that, is the variety that Modwalls offers. Their Lush Glass Tile in those shapes, for instance, are really hard to come by. People love them. And as a company, they are the best to work with. They know who we are, it’s easy and it’s fun.”

When working on a remodel, it’s easy for a homeowner to get overwhelmed and Allijay is known for putting their customers at ease.

“We definitely recommend working with a designer. You forget about the little things, like hardware for cabinet drawers, and all the little stuff you don’t think about and then it comes up later.”

The trends that AlliJay is seeing are modern and a less-is-more esthetic.“There’s a Midcentury Modern revival happening, especially in Seattle, with bright colors, or colors placed intermittently throughout. The Brio Color Tile works really well with that. We love their Wintergreen or Pear and the Midcentury Blend #9 is our favorite. We’re also seeing a lot of mixed media – like corrugated metal with wood, and lots of different materials being used inside and out.”

Allijay

Allison Schwartz and Jenny Lyn Ryder

AlliJay recommends taking your remodel piece by piece while keeping your vision in mind. Regardless of budget or time, working with proven designers that know their materials is the best way to make your home your dream home.

 Do you have a Modwalls project or story? Share with us here!

December 1, 2014 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

A Kitchen Like Grandma’s

Like Grandma's Only Better...

Like Grandma’s Only Better…

It’s a cloudy day here. Makes me wanna bake cookies in a kitchen like this one.  The backsplash  is our Lush 4×12 Surf glass subway tile.
Kitchen Design and Construction by McCaffrey Homes
 “Live With Color” www.modwalls.com

September 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment

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Rebecca Lonergan


Founder and Creative Director of modwalls.com, a designer of modern tile with an online showroom at www.modwalls.com. Modwalls are colorful tile designs with a uniquely modern sensibility in a wide range of materials.

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